Useful Tips for Sharpening A Chef’s Knife at Home

Useful Tips for Sharpening A Chef’s Knife at Home

They say the workman is only as good as his tools. Well, a chef is also only as good as his knives. It is agonizing for any cook to go through the hustle of trying to make do with a blunt, dull knife that squashes tomatoes and barely makes a dent on that steak that should be ready in a second. Dull knives are inefficient, time-wasting, and suck the joy out of cooking and instead make it a tedious, unpleasurable experience.

To avoid the inconvenience of dull knives, you have to ensure that you sharpen your knives well and regularly. You may not have the time to take your knives to the pro down the street, in which case you’ll have to do it yourself at home. The following are some useful tricks and tips to help you sharpen your knives to perfection.

The paper test

Yes, we understand that you might think this should be the very last step of the knife-sharpening process to check if it is sharp enough. However, subjecting your knife to the paper test before sharpening it will let you know just how dull it is and the sharpening method that will be most suitable for its degree of dullness. Also, when conducting the paper test, you will notice which part of the knife’s body is dullest and therefore concentrate on it during sharpening. To perform the paper test, fold a non-creased sheet of paper, then slice it using your knife.

Improvise with available household items

Has your knife completely gone dull, and you have no electric or manual sharpener around you? Well, that coffee mug can do more than you thought. You can use ceramic mugs to sharpen small knives. All you have to do is turn the cup over and gently run the knife’s blade lengthwise at an acute angle on the cup’s rough bottom. Even though it won’t become razor-blade sharp, it will regain enough sharpness to get you through whatever task you had pulled it out for. Other items you can improvise to sharpen your knives at home include sandpaper, another knife’s spine, nail file, smooth stones or bricks, and fine concrete surfaces.

It’s not the effort, but the technique

However dull your knife gets, never be deluded into thinking that exerting more pressure when sharpening is what will get the job done. Using more force does more harm than good as it gives your knife a rough, uneven blade profile and exposes you to those nasty knife injuries you won’t enjoy. Regardless of the sharpening tool or method you are using, always sharpen your knives gently and carefully, working slowly to achieve that fine, sharp edge.

Pay attention to your sharpening angle

The angle at which you sharpen your knives is a critical determinant of how sharp they’ll get. Each knife has a unique angle at which the spine’s faces dip down into the edge. This makes it essential to adjust the angle at which each knife is placed on the sharpening stone so that its entire length is sharpened well. Also, don’t forget to sharpen the tip area separately.

Store your knives properly

While knives become dull due to regular use cutting different kinds of foods, your storage method is not entirely innocent either. Many people like to throw all their knives in a drawer and shove it close. The problem is that constant movement when closing the drawer or choosing which knife to use causes the knives to nick and scratch up against each other. This friction contributes to faster dulling of the knives’ blades and also increases the risk of someone cutting themselves. You, therefore, need to stop storing your knives in a drawer and get proper knife storage items like magnetic knife strips, universal knife blocks, and even simple knife guards.

Using more force does more harm than good as it gives your knife a rough, uneven blade profile

Lubricate with water

While a coarse surface is a requisite condition to sharpen a knife, too much of it can cause damage and result in a rough, uneven edge profile which is undesirable. Therefore, it is important to wet the sharpening stone before and after using it so that you can get that smooth, fine edge. The friction that results from the grinding action on a wet stone also exposes fresh sediments which reinforce the blade’s sharpness.

Do not use metal cutting surfaces

Metal cutting boards will have an abrasive effect on your knives whenever the knives scrape against them, making them dull faster. Therefore, the trick is to use cutting boards made of plastic or wood as they are less abrasive and will help to preserve your knives’ sharpness for longer. Also, always ensure that you dry your knives after washing so that they don’t rust.

To sharpen your knives better as well as to preserve their sharpness for longer, integrate these tips and tricks into your sharpening routine.

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