We can all agree that any new knife starts out sharp. However there is a load of confusion when it comes to dull knives. Below are our top three confusing issues around knife care.
Confusion point #1: A dull knife is a safe knife
Our Opinion: NO.
Why? Because with a dull knife you must use much more force to cut. This increases the probability of slipping, which can easily become a trip to the emergency room.
Confusion point #2: I need new knives, mine are cheap and dull quickly
Our Opinion: Your knives may have been inexpensive compared to high quality German and Japanese blades, but to be straight up with you...a good knife is a sharp knife. We have found that most people that are tired of their knives are not that careful with them. They get abused, dropped, jammed in drawers, and heaven forbid!!! put in the dishwasher!!! This kind of use destroys knives, or at least their edge. We believe that all knives have a place and should be cared for properly.
Confusion point #3: My knives are no good. I sharpen them all the time and they're still dull
Our Opinion: Sharpening is a confusing term as many items that you buy to "sharpen" a knife, don't actually sharpen. There are two things that you can do to maintain a knife:
Sharpen: Grind the metal blade to create a new edge...just like hockey skates. This is best done by a professional who has the right tools for the job.
Hone: This means keeping a sharp knife sharp, and is the basis of most knife maintenance confusion. There are many tools that hone; from steels and stones, to pull through sharpeners. However you do it, this is a crucial step that many people overlook in knife care.
So, how do you properly maintain your blades?
Make sure that you have a safe and dry place to store them, e.g. a knife block.
Have them professionally sharpened. Bring them to any Cook Culture location and we will sharpen them for free, Yes, free. Why? We believe that a happy cook is a more productive cook - making more food at home for their family, creating an environment where people can spend time together and focus on their well being. This is a large part of our corporate core values.
Spend time learning how to "Hone" your knives. Once your knives are as sharp as new, we have many simple tools to maintain your blades in-between professional sharpening. We are more than happy to help you learn how to use these. It's recommended to hone your knives as much as daily, but sharpen only when honing becomes less effective, probably after 6 months of use.
Please note: Grinding your blades, or sharpening, takes life off your knives. Honing does not. It is best to hone more and sharpen less.
Geeky note:What is the difference between sharpening and honing?
As above, sharpening is like grinding hockey skates. Round, course discs spinning at a few thousand RPM are used to grind the blade edge into a new shape. Then the same method is used with smoother discs to polish the blade. This will put a brand new edge on your knife which should end up as sharp as new. (Note: This is the method we use in store. Some argue that flat whetstone polishing is best)
Honing is maintaining the sharp edge. Imagine the edge being like a Mohawk, and through your day your awesome hair-doo starts to sag and get a bit messy. Honing is just like pushing your hair back up into the pointy spike. You use a honing tool to push the fine tip of the edge back straight and clean up any small nicks or scratches that may have happened with regular use. It's actually a very simple process that makes a huge difference. Please hone often!
Here are a few videos from a Master Bladesmith, Bob Kramer. Our partners at Zwilling, and the American retailer Sur La Table produced these great informative how-to's.