Different kitchen knife sharpeners are available. For example…
- a sharpening steel.
- manual and electric sharpeners.
- sharpener attached to cans…
To have an effect on the knife blades, these instruments use pieces of steel or some of the following abrasives…
- tungsten carbide.
- natural or man-made stone…
Whether a sharpener cuts your knife, or only keeps it sharp for a certain period of time, depends on the way it works.
Features of kitchen knife sharpeners
1. Honing steel
This is a wonderful tool to keep your knives sharp. When you use it, you don’t sharpen the knife to create a new cutting edge, but simply straighten the edge of the blade, removing a minimal amount of metal. After a defined period of time (depending on how often you use the knives), the steel will keep your knives sharp no more, and you will have to use some of the sharpening tools below.
With a simple ceramic stick, or a stick with a diamond coating, you will sharpen the knife to a certain extent, because these implements are harder than a standard steel rod, but with them you will only lengthen the period between sharpening.
You can buy a sharpening steel either together with a kitchen knife set or separately, and the best have a textured or non-slip handle for your comfort. Some also have a magnet that attracts knife swarves and prevents them from falling onto the countertop.
I think that the standard steel rod remains the best choice, because it will not break if dropped, as it can happen with the ceramic stick. Also, with a stick that has a diamond coating, the coating will probably wear off over time.
2. Manual and electric skiffs
Both types of sharpener (manual and electric) are comparatively easy to use and are a a good choice for the home cook. They usually have guides that help you hold the knife at the correct angle, thus making its cutting edge symmetrical on both sides.
When it comes to cleaning, some sharpeners have a magnetic pad that collects knife swarf during sharpening, making it easier to clean afterwards. Other sharpeners have rubber feet for greater stability.
To properly sharpen your knives, choose a sharpener (regardless of whether it is manual or electric) with various slots, angular guides and diamond abrasives If possible. Diamond is very hard, sharpens aggressively and removes metal without disturbing the temper of the knife blade.
As you use the various sharpener slots, you will perform the following processes…
- in the first slot you will remove the largest quantity of metal from the knife, create a cutting edge and remove any damaged parts of the blade.
- in the second slot you can form the cutting edge more precisely.
- in the third slot you will polish the edge of the blade and in the finish, your knife will have a strong and durable cutting edge.
If the sharpener has only one slot, as it has, for example, a sharpener attached to cans, it can be too thick, taking too much metal away from your knife during sharpening. This will shorten the life of your knife and can damage the blade by ruining its temper. On the other hand, if the single-slot sharpener is too fine, it will take longer to sharpen your knives; or you can not focus them at all, but only hone them as with sharpening steel.
Another disadvantage of manual and electric knife sharpeners is the inability of some of them to allow you to sharpen the knife blade along its entire length or to sharpen a toothed blade. Other sharpeners are only suitable for a particular brand of knife or are not suitable for a knife with a cutting edge only on one side of the blade. The third type of sharpener is not suitable for ceramic knives, and some manual sharpeners are only for right-handed people.
With the stone you can sharpen the entire blade of your knife, thus keeping its original shape. You can also sharpen some more specialized instruments, such as kitchen scissors, cleavers, mincing knives, etc.
To properly sharpen the knives, use a stone with different degrees of roughness, as with the sharpeners slots. I mean…
- rough grit stone to create a cutting edge on the blade.
- medium grit stone to shape this edge more precisely.
- fine-grit stone to polish the edge of the blade.
Another good variant is to use one stone with two grits; rough on one side and fine on the other, with different colors to be able to distinguish between them.
When you use a stone, you have to be enough experience to hold the knife at the correct angle, because otherwise you can ruin its cutting edge. In addition, you must lubricate some stones with mineral oil or water before scanning. Therefore, you will prevent the sharves of the knife from filling the stone and interfering with its ability to sharpen. (The coating you should use depends on the type of stone and is usually written in the operating instructions. However, it is a good idea to clean your whetstone periodically with a brush.)
1. If you want a manual or electric sharpener, make sure it is capable of sharpening the knives you use and, if it is a manual one, that it fits the hand you normally work with.
2. If you want a whetstone, think about whether you have enough experience to use it properly.
3. No matter what kind of kitchen knife sharpeners you choose, always use a sharpening steel to keep the blades sharp in the period from one sharpening to another. Use a steel at least 10 inches long, so you can also lift your larger knives. Click here for the best deals on kitchen knife sharpeners