A great kitchen knife is one that is able to cut through a variety of ingredients without any difficulty. New kitchen knives have a quick cutting action as their blades are sharpened in the manufacturing process. Over time and with use, this sharpness is lost due to friction and wear.
If you invest in a quality kitchen knife, it is recommended that you also invest in a knife sharpener to make sure that your kitchen knife performs well throughout its lifetime.
What are Kitchen Knife Sharpeners?
A kitchen knife sharpener is quite a self-explanatory term, and they are basically tools specially designed to sharpen kitchen knives. As the essential component of knives is their blade and it is made from high strength material, to sharpen it, you need something which is equally strong.
A few decades ago, people used stones to do this job, but since then, more effective kitchen knife sharpeners have been developed that can do the job a lot easier.
Today, kitchen knife sharpeners consist of special grinding wheels with fine or coarse grit which only require you to pull your knife through them several times and the job of sharpening its blade is done.
Why Should You Buy One?
It could be argued that a knife is the most essential tool in the kitchen. But it is important to know that no matter how expensive the knife was to buy, it is only useful when its blade is sharp. If the blade becomes blunt, it is not only difficult to cut vegetables, fruits, and meat, but it also means that you could lose control while cutting. This is why the chances of injury while using a blunt knife greatly increase.
Another reason is that if you have bought a quality knife, you will want it to last a long time and function at its optimum throughout. To facilitate this, buying a kitchen knife sharpener is a must unless you want to go to a professional knife sharpening service each time you want to sharpen your knife.
Testing a Kitchen Knife for Sharpness
Before you sharpen your knife, it is good to know if it really needs sharpening. You may feel that your knife is blunt while using it, but to be certain, there is a simple test you can use.
Take a piece of newspaper and fold it in half. You can also use printer paper for this test. Hold the folded sheet in the air and try cutting through it by moving your knife swiftly downwards. If your knife gets stuck at any point, it is surely time to sharpen it.
Choosing the Correct Grit Size
Most kitchen knife sharpeners have two grinding wheel grit sizes, blunt and coarse; it is important to use the right one for your purpose. The coarse grit will remove blunt steel material from the knife while the fine grit can be used for regular maintenance. Depending on the bluntness of your knife, you can use either setting.
For knives which have not been sharpened for a few months and need reshaping of the blade steel itself, it is advisable to use the coarse grit first and then move to the fine grit. For knives which have been sharpened within the past few weeks, running them several times through the fine grip should bring the sharpness back very quickly.
How Many Times Should You Pull the Blade?
The more times you pull your knife’s blade through the grinding wheel, the sharper it will get, but overdoing it might spoil the shape of your blade.
For dull and blunt blades, you should pull the blade through the coarse grit 3 to 6 times, 3 to 4 times should be enough if your knife has been lying in a drawer and not been used too much. 5 to 6 pull throughs may be needed if you use it quite often and haven’t sharpened it in the last month or two.
After this, pull it through the fine grit to make sure the edges of the blade attain the required sharpness. This is necessary to give a fine finish to the ends of the blade. If you have already sharpened the knife in the past month, doing only the second step 4 to 5 times should be sufficient.
Motion of a Kitchen Knife While Sharpening
Having the correct grip and angle when holding the knife while sharpening it are crucial to prevent any damage to the blade. You are supposed to move the knife towards your body while using a knife sharpener and when you are doing this pulling action along the grinding wheel, move the blade such that you follow the contour of the knife’s blade.
You shouldn’t pull the knife in a perfectly straight line as the blade itself is not of that shape. You can verify you are doing it correctly by making sure that the handle ends up at a higher position than when you start the pulling action. After you do it for a few times, you can carry out the newspaper test again to see if your kitchen knife is sharp enough.