Cutting with a dull knife isn’t just slow and annoying, it can also be dangerous. If you ask any a chef what’s the most dangerous thing in your kitchen, he will point out to that dull knife you’ve been avoiding to sharpen. So, in order to help you avoid getting hurt, we prepared this article, and if you keep reading, you will learn how to sharpen any knife in your kitchen.
Keeping your knives sharp is important, that stands, but how will you keep them that way? Most people don’t like calling the neighborhood knife sharpener or going to their local butcher. If you are among those people, I understand. So am I.
Well, before, I used to use a dull knife as long as it was possible. I would apply a bit more physical force, and the knife would do its job. Until I almost sliced my finger off that way. Yeah, too much force can make your knife slip through what you’re cutting and injure you.
So, I decided to learn how to sharpen any kind of a kitchen knife – Japanese knives, ordinary ones, even fillet and boning knives. And it’s pretty easy, and I’m pretty good at it now. Just follow the instructions I prepared for you, and you can’t go wrong.
Normal kitchen knives
Without my standard knives, I don’t know how I could possibly cook. And because of that, they could always use a sharpening. You have two options for these knives – you can use an electric knife sharpener or a sharpening stone.
At first, I used stones, but the sheer multitude of knives in my kitchen made that a huge chore, as sharpening a knife with a stone is not a short process. If you do choose the stone, be aware that there are 3 types – diamond, oil, and whetstones, and that you can use them with veggie oil or with water.
So, I looked through some of best electric knife sharpeners, chose a model that suits me and my kitchen, and made life a bit easier. I’ll explain both ways to sharpen a kitchen knife here, and you decide which one you prefer.
Steps for electric sharpener knife sharpening:
- Turn your electric knife sharpener on.
- Take the knife. Hold the handle firmly.
- Run your knife from the end of the blade towards the tip through the sharpener.
Repeat until your knife is sharp enough. That is all.
Steps for stone sharpening:
- Splash the stone with water, or soak it in it (depending on the sharpening stone you’re using)
- Put the sharpening stone on a wet towel or stabilize it – you will need it immobile while you’re sharpening. You don’t want a slip and a bad cut.
- Grab the knife so that your thumb is on the flat side, the index finger is on the knife spine, and your remaining fingers are firmly holding the handle.
- Start with the tip of the knife, and use three fingers of your other hand and pin the edge to the stone.
- Hold the knife firmly. Press the edge to the stone, and push along it. Exert pressure as you go forward and release as you go back.
- Make slow, long movements – this can’t be done properly if you try to rush it.
- Repeat this, and sharpen one bit at a time. Keep doing it until you can feel a burr all along the edge.
- Once you feel that, turn the blade, start with the tip, apply more pressure while on the downward motion, and make the burr disappear.
Japanese chef knives
When it comes to these knives, they are a tough nut to crack. The best Japanese knives are simply amazing. They have an edge that’s like a razor, they are precise, and they are perfect for wonderful thin cuts. But, in time, just like any other knife, they get dull.
With these knives, as soon as you notice that their edge is getting a bit dull, you need to sharpen it. If you wait for too long, sharpening will last a while.
If you want to keep your Japanese chef knife perfect, you need to use a sharpening stone. Sharpening stones come in all shapes and sizes, so you should pay attention to take the right type of stone for your knives. Never over-soak the stone, and always wipe it clean and let it dry after you use it for sharpening.
- Wet or soak the stone, and then sharpen the cutting edge of the knife until there’s a slight, even burr on the reverse side.
- Make sure the blade is at the angle of 90 degrees to and flat on the sharpening stone. Remove that burr using the index and middle finger. Press the edge to the sharpening stone gently, while lightly pressing the knife spine. When you do it this way, the blade shape remains the same, so you’ll be able to sharpen it again and again.
- Flip the blade and make sure to sharpen the shinogi line while pressing slightly below the blade’s middle section.
Filet and boning knives
When you want to debone a chicken, or to slice lovely thin filets, you need to use a sharp knife made just for that purpose. Took me a while to find the best boning fillet knives, but since I have, I’m taking good care of them.
For these knives, I honestly recommend just using the electric sharpener. I tried to sharpen both my fillet and my boning knives on a stone, and I never managed to achieve that perfect sharpness that you get after using an electric sharpener. Plus, you use it the same way you would with standard knives.
If you do decide to use the stone, these are the steps:
- Wet, soak, or oil up the stone.
- Slide the cutting edge of your knife over the stone, like you would if you were slicing butter. While you’re doing this, make sure the end of the knife is slightly above the stone, so you can slide it forward easily.
- Repeat on each side until the knife is as sharp as you want it to be.
In the end – whether you choose to use an electric knife sharpener, or a full-blown, old-time sharpening stone, just follow the steps I described above, and you’ll end up with super-sharp knives that can cut through anything.
Oh, and one last tip – after you sharpen your knives, make sure to wash and wipe them with an oily cloth in order to remove the tiny metal filings.
That’s it, you’re good to go!
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