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How to sharpen knives
Old 08-06-2008, 09:29 PM   #1
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How to sharpen knives

My dad always had extremely sharp knives which he sharpened on a whetstone with oil. He tried teaching me but I have never been especially good at sharpening knives.

So, any better/easier way? I am not thrilled with our collection of crappy dull knives.
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Old 08-06-2008, 09:40 PM   #2
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I'm a big fan of thin bladed crappy soft steel kitchen knives. They rust if you let them, but a sharpening steel gives them a good edge right post hasty - like under 10 seconds - and it doesn't take an extended set of stones or any kind of skill to use a steel. Don't care for stainless blades because a steel doesn't work on them.
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Old 08-06-2008, 09:48 PM   #3
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You can take them to a lot of supermarkets and ask the butcher to sharpen them. You'll have better luck with that at the more expensive high end markets.

Also check your yellow pages. Lots of professional knife sharpeners in major cities. They'll sometimes come to your house and do it at the curb out front while you wait for a few bucks extra.

Or get one of these...

http://www.amazon.com/Chefs-Choice-1...8077315&sr=8-2

I've had its predecessor for almost 20 years. The little "sharpening steel" included with a knife set will straighten an existing edge but wont do a very good job of putting a new one on. This little electric job has a set of magnets in it that keep the blade aligned. About 15-20 passes through each progressive 'notch' and you've got a brand new edge that'll stay on there with a bit of maintenance for a month or more.
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Old 08-06-2008, 09:49 PM   #4
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A lot depends on the quality of the knives. I'm assuming yours are normal, less than high quality knives. If so, one of those slide-the-blade-through-the-slot sharpeners will do fine. They come manual or electric. I don't know what the difference is. As stated above, a kitchen steel is pretty effective and easy too.

If you have good quality knives or are just into sharp knives (like me), get a set of diamond abrasive sharpening stones. It's a fun way to multitask while watching TV.
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Old 08-06-2008, 09:54 PM   #5
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I've never been all that great at sharpening knives using a whetstone either, but during my brief career as a dishwasher one of the cooks taught me how to use a sharpening steel - so that's my preferred method.

Here's a link to a video that demonstrates the process fairly decently. Sharpening A Knife With A Steel

One thing I learned just a few years ago is that you should never-ever wash good knives in a dishwasher. The chemicals etch the steel and over time you can turn a good knife into trash.

If your knives are salvageable, take them to a butcher and ask him to sharpen them for you. Keep them out of the dishwasher and just touch them up with a sharpening steel each time you get ready to use one (takes a few seconds once you get the hang of it) and you should be good for years.

Your last alternative might be either an electric kitchen knife sharpener, or a little ceramic sharpener like this.



I have one of those that I use while hunting, but I use cheap knives for that purpose.

The only problem with electric or ceramic sharpeners is that knives sharpened that way don't hold an edge for very long.
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Old 08-06-2008, 09:54 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cute fuzzy bunny View Post
You can take them to a lot of supermarkets and ask the butcher to sharpen them. You'll have better luck with that at the more expensive high end markets.
I have to drive 160 miles to get to a high end market.

Quote:
Or get one of these...

Amazon.com: Chef's Choice 110 Professional Diamond Hone Sharpener: Home & Garden

I've had its predecessor for almost 20 years. The little "sharpening steel" included with a knife set will straighten an existing edge but wont do a very good job of putting a new one on. This little electric job has a set of magnets in it that keep the blade aligned. About 15-20 passes through each progressive 'notch' and you've got a brand new edge that'll stay on there with a bit of maintenance for a month or more.
Maybe. Wish it wasn't so pricey.
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Old 08-06-2008, 09:56 PM   #7
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M470 Chef's Choice SteelPro - Chrome FREE SHIPPING!
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Old 08-06-2008, 09:56 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by harley View Post
A lot depends on the quality of the knives. I'm assuming yours are normal, less than high quality knives. If so, one of those slide-the-blade-through-the-slot sharpeners will do fine. They come manual or electric. I don't know what the difference is. As stated above, a kitchen steel is pretty effective and easy too.

If you have good quality knives or are just into sharp knives (like me), get a set of diamond abrasive sharpening stones. It's a fun way to multitask while watching TV.
Yeah, just general old middling knives. I do like them sharp and have good stones from my dad, but I am no good at sharpening.
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Old 08-06-2008, 09:56 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Martha View Post
My dad always had extremely sharp knives which he sharpened on a whetstone with oil. He tried teaching me but I have never been especially good at sharpening knives.

So, any better/easier way? I am not thrilled with our collection of crappy dull knives.
I admire people who can really sharpen knives with a whetstone. I am not one of them.

My son gave me a few Global knives, and a ceramic sharpening jig for them. My knives are like razors now! Here is this one:



For my older knives that are not Global I bought a little tool that costs about $5 and has a finger guard that does a pretty good job. I finish these off with a quality steel.

This one is not exactly the same as mine, but same design.



Ha
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Old 08-06-2008, 09:58 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Leonidas View Post
I've never been all that great at sharpening knives using a whetstone either, but during my brief career as a dishwasher one of the cooks taught me how to use a sharpening steel - so that's my preferred method.

Here's a link to a video that demonstrates the process fairly decently. Sharpening A Knife With A Steel

One thing I learned just a few years ago is that you should never-ever wash good knives in a dishwasher. The chemicals etch the steel and over time you can turn a good knife into trash.

If your knives are salvageable, take them to a butcher and ask him to sharpen them for you. Keep them out of the dishwasher and just touch them up with a sharpening steel each time you get ready to use one (takes a few seconds once you get the hang of it) and you should be good for years.

Your last alternative might be either an electric kitchen knife sharpener, or a little ceramic sharpener like this.



I have one of those that I use while hunting, but I use cheap knives for that purpose.

The only problem with electric or ceramic sharpeners is that knives sharpened that way don't hold an edge for very long.
I got one of those ceramic thingies and it doesn't seem to work well for me. Maybe my knives are too far gone.
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Old 08-06-2008, 09:59 PM   #11
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It was always a badge of honor if your pocket knife could shave the hair off your arm...
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Old 08-06-2008, 10:00 PM   #12
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Cool tools guys. Too many choices!
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Old 08-06-2008, 10:01 PM   #13
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How To Sharpen Kitchen Knives | eHow.com
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Old 08-06-2008, 10:09 PM   #14
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Yeah that units a little expensive but they last forever. Americas test kitchen did a review on a bunch of them and said that one was the only thing they tried that didnt suck or cost more than a brazillion dollars.
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Old 08-06-2008, 10:16 PM   #15
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:: Spyderco Product Details ::

BladeForums.com
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Old 08-06-2008, 10:20 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by calmloki View Post
I'm a big fan of thin bladed crappy soft steel kitchen knives. They rust if you let them, but a sharpening steel gives them a good edge right post hasty - like under 10 seconds - and it doesn't take an extended set of stones or any kind of skill to use a steel. Don't care for stainless blades because a steel doesn't work on them.
I think the sharpening steel you are referring to straightens out the edge (the edge rolls over); it does not sharpen the knife.
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Old 08-06-2008, 10:55 PM   #17
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Most kitchen knives are sharpened to a double beveled edge, I think. A steel will only help put the edge back on a blade that is already in good shape. Once they get dull, the blade needs to be 'thinned'. You get worn down to the thick part, and it just sort of rounds off at that point.

I've got an older version of that Spyderco that Dex linked - it works well, but if the knife gets really dull, I still need to use a stone or sandpaper to get it thin again, so it will 'take' an edge.

I've had good luck with wet/dry sandpaper, water and a drop of detergent on a flat surface (some people use a small sheet of glass). Cheap, and you can work your way from 320,400,600,etc down to 1200 and get a very nice edge.

search 'scary sharp' and sandpaper

http://woodworkstuff.net/scary.html



You need to understand the two bevels, that seems to be key, at least in my experience. So first you 'thin' it like in the V-Edge drawing, but thinner, then you add the second bevel - that's the part that is really sharp. Here's a pretty good site and drawing:

eG Forums -> Knife Maintenance and Sharpening



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Old 08-06-2008, 10:56 PM   #18
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[having trouble with images here]

Leonidas,

My favourite sharpener!

Ed
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Old 08-07-2008, 07:28 AM   #19
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I bought a diamond ceramic sharpener made by Buck for under $30 from a knife supply place. It works really well, is easy, and now my expensive German knives are like razors. Still haven't figured out how to sharpen the ceramic knife, though.
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Old 08-07-2008, 07:35 AM   #20
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You can sharpen knives by using the edge of an old pottery bowl. My now deceased mother-in-law grew up in tough times and taught me that. It works for me.
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