Best method/product for sharpening knives?

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  • Best method/product for sharpening knives?
  • nukeproof
    Member

    Just looking at the thread on knife recommendations and figure my Sabatier knife set is good enough but wondered what was considered the best method or product for sharpening them?

    Saw the suggestion of the Minosharp on the other thread…£30 odd for the Plus 3 version on eBay; money well spent?

    carlos
    Member

    Only ever used a "steel" to sharpen any of my knives, got taught how to use one and look after my knives 19yrs ago whilst at college and they are still going strong & sharp to this day.

    Carl

    DrP
    Member

    I’d be interested in the STW collective view on this too….

    DrP

    Premier Icon Stoner
    Subscriber

    I also use a steel. It took some time to get the technique "right" – that swashbuckling flash stylee 🙂

    However, an easy technique in the mean time is this:

    Hold the steel vertically in front of you with the tip held down onto a chopping board. In a steady even motion draw the blade accross the steel towards you and down towards the board (holding the knife at 20degs to the vertical). Swap to the other blade face and repeat. Do it a 5-10 times a side.

    The most important tip Id say though is not so much how good you are with a steel, but that you use one everytime you use the knife to maintain the cutting edge. It’s always easier to keep a blade sharper with regular sharpening, than try and put a cutting edge back on a knackered blade.

    GJP
    Member

    If/when you have neglected your expensive blades then what is the best approach to get them nice and sharp again – or is it time to take them to a professional?

    I have a steel and some other contraption but neither is making much difference.

    I have certainly neglected mine over the last few years and they need some TLC

    Premier Icon Stoner
    Subscriber

    just found this:

    if your knife’s knackered, probably the best way back for it is to use a whetstone.

    tyke
    Member

    I use a Chef’s Choice Compact sharpener which was a cookshop recommendation.

    Not very happy with it and wouldn’t recommend it myself. Also considering the MinoSharp – so would be interested in what people think of it.

    Anthony
    Member

    A steel won’t actually ‘sharpen’ the blade as such. A kitchen knife is ground to a micro-fine edge as you need to use it for relatively soft cutting. The action of cutting and pressing the knife into the chopping board folds over this edge (talking mircoscopic here). Running the knife over the steel is actually straightening this sliver again thus restoring it’s edge.

    The process of ‘sharpening’ a knife involves grinding, albeit again on a microscopic level, to create a fresh bevel. If you were to use wet/dry paper over plate-glass you would be looking at 1000grits and finer, then stropped over leather using something similar to autosol as a paste.

    Often a knife will ‘feel’ sharp because running it over one’s finger you can feel the mirco serrations from sharpening over too rough a grit. In some circumstances this can be beneficial, as a serated knife cut certain food stuff’s better. A finely stropped edge will cut like a razor but won’t always feel as sharp to the touch.

    To tell if my woodworking chisels are actually sharp I will shave the hairs off the back of my hand.

    Provided you take care of your knives, a steel will be fine for most of the time. Once the cutting edge becomes damaged, it will need regrinding.

    doof_doof
    Member

    From my recent reading (I started the knife thread I think you’re talking about), the whetstone is the only way to go for a seriously sharp knife. I think a lot of this is down to being able to have a couple of different roughnesses to polish the edge.
    The foodie/chef/knife forums seem to only discuss stone shapening, I haven’t really seen many references to the use of steels.

    Premier Icon Stoner
    Subscriber

    a whetstone is impractical for everyday use, or indeed even to keep your knives "sharp" regularly unless it’s part of your job and you build it into your working day.

    For most punters a steel, used with the right technique, is fine and takes only 20 seconds a day on your regularly used knives (3? 4 max?). And a whetstone for knife recovery sessions over a bottle of wine and a decent album.

    Anthony
    Member

    Yup I’d agree Stoner, a sharperning session for my woodworking tools is usually a 1/2hr hour on a Sunday morning with Radio 4 and a coffee. On a day to day basis I’ll re-strop over leather.

    mattsccm
    Member

    For skinning knives I use a decent stone and finish with a ceramic stone. Like razors.

    twohats
    Member

    I have Global knives and used to use a whetstone on them for sharpening. As others have said, it takes a little time with a whetstone and you have to make a real effort to keep on top of keeping the knives sharp.
    I now use a Global specific Minosharp, as I was finding less and less time to bother using the whetstone. The Minosharp is very good and takes seconds to put an edge on the knives that passes the "shaving hair off the back of the hand" test. Ultimately the whetstone is more satisfying to use and puts a better edge on the knife, but for ease of use I’ll be sticking to the Minosharp.

    Stoner – Member
    I also use a steel. It took some time to get the technique "right" – that swashbuckling flash stylee

    Why thank you.

    8)

    But yes, it must be a steel and technique.

    nukeproof
    Member

    Some good stuff posted…thanks. I’ll go with using a steel and following Stoner’s technique advice.

    I kind of expected some gadget/hi-tech wizardary but seems the general consensus is the old fashioned way.

    MrNutt
    Member

    steel or stone

    chewkw
    Member

    I only use whetstone for sharpening. If the knife is made from good carbon steel and the edge is being maintained properly there is hardly any need to sharpen it frequently. Carbon steel is also easy to keep it edge sharp and to sharpen. Stainless steel knives on the other hand can be difficult.

    Steel is only used for honing NOT sharpening. If you want to sharpen your knives go for whetstone.

    My carbon steel knives only need few passes on the leather strop and they will be as sharp as ever. i.e. I can shave the hair off my arm as they are razor sharp.

    Whatever you do please Do Not attempt to try this.

    Dave Sharpening a Cleaver

    By the way there is another Dave but not the above one. The other Dave is expert in art of sharpening knives.

    😀

    chewkw
    Member

    Some info on sharpening by Chad Ward here

    As for Carbon Steel versus Stainless Steel … there is another category called Carbon Stainless Steel so there is no problem with patina or acid corrosion.

    Majority of Japanese knives are carbon steel and their chefs prefer them that way, so it is just a matter of how the chefs use their knives that’s all. Yes, troublesome to keep wiping them dry when in use but then who wants to use wet knives?

    🙂

    Premier Icon Brainflex
    Subscriber

    http://www.britishblades.com but hide your wallet if you intend to spend anytime there.

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