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Knife Maintenance

 

How do I Keep my Knives Sharp?

Lets assume we are talking about a newly Sharpened Knife, Sharpened at the correct angle for the type of Knife and its intended use. Inevitably, it will get Dull, just accept that fact. Even if the company says its "Super Steel and Never will need Sharpening".

Knife HoningThe very Edge, the Apex of that Knife, in order to be Super Sharp, tapers down to an extremely thin piece of metal, comparable to a throwaway razor edge. Its the shoulders, the angle behind that Edge that gives it the strength to tackle tuff cutting. Though strong, this edge is not undullable. Within even an hours use and less, that thin edge is starting to bend.

Even vegetables are extremely rough on Knives. Take parsley for instance. Chopping it on a cutting board is putting intense pressure on that thin edge, pounding and pounding. It is going to move, bend, twist.

So what is one to do?

Hone it, use your steel regularly, that is what that rod in the block is for.
The idea is not to remove metal and reset the angle, it is to reset, straighten the thin edge, the Apex.

A Steel can remove the small bur that develops at the very apex, that is the objective, straighten the edge and remove the bur, but in reality, nothing more.
An extremely aggressive steel can remove metal, but for normal kitchen use, you want a mild steel, smooth, at a high grit to lightly work that edge back into place.

Do's and Don'ts of Knife Maintenance

That is the general idea. The videos will show you better than I can explain.
For now, lets go over some Do's and Don'ts:

Do's:

  • Steel Steel Steel. It makes all the difference in the world.

  • You need to judge how often you need to straighten, not sharpen, the edge. I can sharpen and put a new razor edge on them BUT... You need to maintain them to keep that edge straight. The more you use your Knives, the more often you need to steel them.

    A small amount of metal removal will take place, but if done right and light with the correct steel (I recommend a 1200 grit Ceramic), it is minimal.

  • Just something to think about. A butcher steels his knives maybe 50 or times a day.
    A Professional Chef tries to steel at lunch break to keep the edge at the very least.
    A Barber hones his razor constantly while he's shaving.
    Balance those thoughts on your usage.

  • Also, Veggies are extremely hard on knives. Some are near branch cutting tuff.

  • Use a wood or those white Poly NSF cutting boards ... NO Glass or granite!

  • Wash and dry by hand after use. Replace them in a Wood Block, magnetic strip or draw block for storage..(never throw them together in a draw).

  • Use the right knife for the job.

Don'ts:

  • Do NOT wash them in a dishwasher.

  • Do not use them as pry bars or screwdrivers.

  • Do Not put them loose in a draw.

  • Do Not leave them in the sink.

  • NO Glass or granite or Plates as Cutting Boards!

 

I recommend steeling them after use or at least once a week on the ones you use. YMMV.

Steels come in all varieties and very aggressive steels will take the edge off if not done properly so please do refer to the videos, they teach a lot.

This is the ceramic rod I recommend: Idahone Ceramic RodI just currently have gotten my hands on some great Ceramic Honing Rods in Black Wood Handle at 1200 Grit! These Hard to Find Honing Rods are just perfect for maintaining the edge on your favorite knife.
I carry them in both 10" @ $31 (plus shipping) and 12" @ $34 (plus shipping).
Careful & light strokes at the correct angle is all it takes to keep the Knife's Edge nice and sharp.

I personally recommend 12" Hones, but have found if you're planning on storing them in a Block, a 10" will usually fit without bottoming out.
But Do Be Aware! Take care with these rods as being ceramic, they can break if dropped. Always store them properly and the will have a long happy life.

 

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