In addition to a glass of wine, cold cuts always go well. To prepare this, however, you need a sharp knife. So let me introduce you to the best way to sharpen kitchen knives.
Many of our friends get scared when they hold a well-sharpened knife in their hands. The belief that sharp knives are more dangerous than blunt ones is deeply ingrained in our daily lives, even though we are unsure where it comes from. A well-sharpened knife requires less effort from you and less force, which is consequently transferred to your hands in the event of a wrong movement or cut and thus causes injury. Most kitchen accidents occur due to blunt and low-quality knives combined with unsuitable cutting surfaces and boards (e.g., glass cutting boards are a great example of a trend without any real basis).
Choose the Right Cutting Board
A big part of safety at work is choosing the right cutting board. It will be best for you and your whole family if you have at least two cutting boards on hand: one made of plastic for cutting meat (real masters use two – they only have one for cutting poultry) and the other made of wood for preparing other dishes. If possible, pay a little more money for a cutting board that will serve you for at least 5 years. Avoid various glued kinds of wood (e.g., bamboo), as they often absorb moisture into the parts that hold the board together due to improper preparation. A quality wooden cutting base is made of properly cut parts folded together before gluing and usually pressed under a steam press. Let’s remember the quality butcher blocks of our grandparents and buy something similar – the thickness should be at least 2 cm, and the product’s weight should correctly indicate the work’s quality.
These boards are very gentle with knives; they keep them sharp and straight to help maintain an effortless cut. The soft straight grains and the hand-sanded smooth surface won’t cause excessive wear on knives or the board.
Are Sharp Knives Safer Than Blunt Ones?
So why are sharp knives actually safer than blunt ones? The answer is quite simple: the amount of force that needs to be applied to the cut. More blunt knives usually demand us to lean on them with our whole weight, and the pressure at the wrong angle will lead the knife in the direction you turned it, that is, towards your fingers. Blunt knives scrape the cell walls and expose the food to oxidation more quickly, negatively affecting how long the food will stay fresh.
As long as you use common sense and don’t play with knives, using sharp knives will be safer than using blunt ones. Like cooking itself, preparing food is fun and a pleasure that you will only catch with quality and well-sharpened knives.
The Best Way to Sharpen Kitchen Knives
The knife’s sharp edge is one of the most important food preparation factors. We sharpen the knives by hand, using one of the tools provided. We do not use mechanical grinding belts and circular grinders for grinding unless they are specifically designed for grinding metal. Otherwise, the knife’s reinforcement may be damaged, and it may start to bend and twist into itself.
To Achieves the Best Way to Sharpen Kitchen Knives, the Right Accessories and Tools Are Important
- For best results, we use grinding stones. Various traction or pocket grinders (Istor type) or diamond stones are useful for quick correction and catching of sharpness. If knives are blunt, we start with lower granulation stones (meaning they are rougher), then move on to higher numbers. Rough stones fix the edge and establish the right angle, while softer stones are used to polish and finish work. You can use the stones dry or wet. Whether wet or dry, it is important to stay with the choice, so if you wet the stone, it should always be soaked. It is also important to choose a lubricant; if you use oil, make sure that the stone is well-lubricated with oil each time you grind it. Do not mix lubricants; the first choice is permanent.
– Do not drop or throw them on the ground; the stones are fragile.
– Protect the surface from external influences and moisture.
– After use, clean and lubricate them properly (if you use oil, a light layer will suffice).
– Repair stones depend on the amount of wear, but it is also good to clean and repair grinding stones from time to time. The stone is sharpened by using it, just like your knives, although the process is more time-consuming.
- Using a sanding stick (or honing steel) is a slightly different process from the sanding itself; it is mainly about repairing the twisted edge, which we cannot see with the naked eye, but we definitely feel it at work.
- Diamond grinders: you can use them dry or wet. Using diamond grinders combined with oils, preferably with water, is not recommended.
The Best Way to Sharpen Kitchen Knives by Stones
Natural grindstones will work best if they are wet during use. Grinding will make it a little dirtier, which will make your knives so much sharper.
If the blade is very blunt or damaged (chipped), start phase 1.
If the blade needs only minor sharpening adjustments, start phase 2.
This phase is called “rough cut” and is used to correct blade defects and establish a strong edge to “V.” We recommend 5 cuts on each side and an inspection of the blade; if it is smooth and without errors, you can continue grinding in the next phase.
Hold the Corner
While grinding in an ideal world, you would follow the already-established edge that came with the new knife, but this is not always the case. The inclination level matches the way the knife is used – for more difficult tasks; we will grind the knife to a low “V” with a less sharp but more durable edge. For filleting and shaving, we will reduce the slope and raise the start of the blade as high as possible. We grind at an angle of somewhere 13-16 degrees on both sides.
Pull the Blade
Excessive pressure can damage the blade or leave various defects in it. Your grinding motion can be straight or circular, from tip to handle or vice versa, as you see fit. Remember to always cut into the stone and never pull the edge horizontally towards you (i.e., placing the entire edge on the stone and pulling it towards you). The edge of the knife should face the same direction as your movement. The easiest way to imagine grinding the steel pieces is to move away from the knife’s blade. First, circular grinding is the best method because it does not require you to lift the knife off the stone.
Keep the Edge in Contact With the Stone
When pulling on the stone, make sure to hold the knife at the same angle and pull with the same force. Do not let the tip of the knife fall out of the stone after the cut is finished; this results in a rounded tip and heavier sharpening in the future.
Swap Sides Evenly
We recommend 5 strokes on one side before turning the knife. If you turn the knife after each pull, the sharpening will be longer and less accurate.
This method of grinding is completely effective and helps maintain the edge. Hold the edge of the blade on the stone and use slight circular strokes in a clockwise direction. Be sure to press on the entire edge surface while circling, but be gentle – grind slowly and for a long time rather than damaging the blade. Turn the knife and use the same slight circular strokes, but this time counterclockwise. If possible, use both sides grinding at the same time.
Correct the Errors Locally
If you notice a dent or splinter on your blade, first focus on this part and use short strokes.
Inspect the Edge and Make Sure It Is Smooth
If you gently and carefully drive your fingernail along the edge of the knife (with the knife facing away from you) and do not feel any mistakes, you can continue working in phase 2.
PHASE 2 – Medium to High Granulation
Medium to high granulation: for blunt blades, quick repair, and finishing work. Once you have finished phase 1, you can move on to higher granulation stones, which remove less material by grinding and are thus more suitable for end polishing. If you are brave and have a lot of time, you can also use a stone with higher granulation for the blunt knife, but this is not recommended.
PHASE 3 – Last Phase = Polishing and Correction for Sharp Edge
The last part of the process removes irregularities and twisted edges, polishes the blade, and seals the edge. We use stones of the highest granulation. After completing Phase 3, you should not feel any cuts or defects at the very edge. The knife should be sharpened at this stage, sharp as a razor. Do not test the knife’s sharpness on the hair on your hand; take a piece of paper and try to cut it without excessive use of force.
How Do We Grind Saws?
Saw blades keep the sharpness much longer than ordinary ones, but they are much harder to grind – you will need dedicated tools, and the grinding stone will not help you here. We recommend using specialized grinders, usually in the form of a grinding cone made of ceramic or steel sprinkled with diamond powder. Each indentation (knife tooth) is ground separately, and you’ve probably also noticed that the saws are almost always grinding only on one side of the knife. If you repair the knife, sharpen only the side that has been previously sharpened, do not try to make an edge on the uncut side, as this will significantly reduce the sharpness. Hold the knife with the blade facing away from you, with the saw facing upwards, place the grinding rod on the recess at a right angle, and pull towards the blade. Knives with saws will be destroyed much faster in the wrong grinding process, so make sure the knife on the saw really needs grinding before you start.