How Often To Sharpen Knives
Every time a knife is used, it becomes less sharp than before. The time duration may vary depending upon the material of the knife, whether it’s hard steel or soft steel. Though, the main point is that knives tend to go blunt over time.
Obviously, there are many ways to increase the durability of the sharpness of your knife. That involves taking care of your knives and avoiding using them on backgrounds or objects that may be damaging to the metal. Storage is equally important; knives need to be stored in a way that would prevent them from getting damaged.
How Often To Sharpen Knives
Caring for your knife can include a variety of ways from using them carefully to storing them carefully; from honing them to sharpening them. Though how often to sharpen knives? Normally it depends upon your knife. Maintenance is one thing but knowing when to sharpen your knife is another. Maintenance needs to be done on every usage however you don’t need to sharpen your knife daily. Sharpening can be done as long as after a month or maybe even more. The correct timing depends upon the performance of your knife.
A dull knife can be dangerous. It needs more effort to cut whatever you’re attempting to slice which means you are more prone to accidentally cut yourself whilst applying too much pressure.
Luckily, sharpening a knife isn’t as hard as you think.
How to Sharpen a Knife
Sharpening a knife is quite easy if you know how to do it properly. Sharpening can be done using different tools though using a whetstone is the best. Though, maintenance on a sharpening rod or a sharpening stone is also quite easy and a tedious process.
Sharpening On Whetstone
To sharpen your knife on a whetstone, you can follow the following steps;
- First, you need to figure out the angle at which you need to sharpen your knife. If you’ve already figured it out then it’s quite easy as you may already know how to go about it. Changing angle may significantly affect your time. To figure out the angle in case you don’t know, consider consulting the manufacturer of the knife, the knife shop or simply someone knowledgeable. In case you’re going by your gut decision then go for a 10 to 30 degrees angle. Shallow angles can make sharper edges but they don’t last long. Steeper angles last longer.
- Look for honing oil or any kind of mineral oil. Lubricate your whetstone using the oil. This will make it easier for the blade of the knife to move over the stone. It will also keep the steel shavings that are the by-products of sharpening from clogging the pores of the stone.
- Do check the manufacturing guidelines regarding the lubrication as some stones are designed to be used dry while others need to be lubricated before usage. Stones that are meant to be used dry can get destroyed if they are oiled. So research the stone carefully.
- Use angle guides if you don’t know which angle to keep your knife at while sharpening.
- Check the grit on your stone as the different grits have different purposes. The rough grit is meant to grind the steel down for sharpening while the fine grit is used for honing mostly. So, it’s better to start off from the rough side of the grit and grind it first then hone it later.
- Sharpen the knife by dragging it across the stone. Drag it in the opposite direction so as to slice a thin layer off the stone which can prolong the stone’s life by forming a burr.
- Grind at the specific angle until your grinding is half way through the steel.
- Now flip the knife and start over with the other side until there’s a new edge and you can feel that you have raised a burr.
- Lastly, flip the stone over and use the finer grit to remove the burrs and hone the edges.
Once you’ve figured out when your knife needs a sharpening it’s not difficult to determine how often to sharpen knives from thereon. The process is fairly easy and now as time taking or damaging to the knives as using electric sharpeners. This can easily be done at home even by a non professional.
Best Method To Professionally Sharpen Knives
Another method to often professionally sharpen knives is by using a honing rod. The honing rod can literally keep your blade from degrading. They are also simply called as steel. These rods are not exactly meant to sharpen a knife that’s gone completely dull. Rather, they are used to sharpen knives often between uses.
A honing rod can decrease the need of using a whetstone. Whetstones are no doubt the best knife sharpener there is but regular usage can reduce the life span of your knives. It’s better to use the whetstone as little as possible. Instead, use a honing rod in order to delay using one.
Honing rods realign the metal of the blade. They also massage away the nicks, indentations and flat spots. Unlike whetstones, they don’t actually remove any significant amount of metal therefore they can prolong the life of your knife while keeping it sharp.
How to use a honing rod
In order to properly use the honing rod, follow the following steps.
- The rod should be held at a comfortable angle which is away from your body
- Hold the rod in your non-dominant hand
- The tip of the rod should be elevated above the rod handle
- Hold the knife in your dominant hand, firmly and safely
- Hold your knife at an approximately 20 degrees angle from the honing rod
- Try to keep your angle consistent every time
- Start moving the knife across the top half of the honing rod and then move it across the bottom half of the honing rod
- Use your arm, hand and wrist properly to get the movement right
- Only use as much pressure as the weight of the knife
- A top to bottom sweep is called revolution, so complete 6-8 revolutions in order to hone your knife.
This process needs to be done quite often if you want to increase the life span of your knives and keep them sharper for a longer time as well so that you don’t have to often sharpen your knives.
Cutco knives and Wusthof knives
In case you need knives that are in business long enough to be of excellent quality and low requirements of constant sharpening; there are quite a few options in store.
Cutco knives and Wusthof knives have both in business for quite long. Wusthof has been in market for over 200 years while Cutco has been in business for about 70 years. Both knives cost almost the same depending upon which type you are purchasing.
Cutco makes all their knives in United States while Wusthof makes all their knives in Germany. Though, Wusthof are generally available in retail stores. Cutco let’s you schedule home demonstrations as well.
Features Of Cutco Knives & Wusthof Knives
The manufacturing process also differs because Cutco knives are basically stamped knives that are laser cut out of steel sheets. Wusthof on the other hand does have a stamped collection too but mainly their knives are forged. The forging requires almost a 40 step process in which the steel is heat-treated and molded into a knife. The forging process obviously makes them harder and more durable. That also means you don’t have to often sharpen Wusthof knives.
Cutco blade handles are quite comfortable through they come in only one style. On the other hand Wusthof comes in seven different handle designs. These designs include both synthetic materials and natural wood. Similarly Cutco also has three different blade styles while Wusthof offers seven different blades. Though, this doesn’t mean that Cutco compromises any less on quality compared to Wusthof. You also don’t need to often sharpen Cutco knives.
Both these knives can stay sharp for years though after extended usage they might need some sharpening. This is where the warranty matters a lot. Cutco warranty lasts through generations as long as you use their products as instructed. They’ll repair or replace their knives for whatever reason even if those knives were passed down. However, Wusthof warranty is limited to the original owner only.
Conclusively, how often to sharpen knives clearly depends upon the performance of your knife. Sharpening your knife is easy but it should not be done too often as it damages the blade. Honing your knife time to time is a better alternative. There are knives that don’t need sharpening for longer periods of time like German knives or shun knives and so on. This doesn’t mean that they might not become dull after being used for extended periods of time. Sharpening your knife is important for your safety if your knife has gone too dull that it needs a lot of pressure to cut through things. Though honing can prevent the need for sharpening and increase the durability of your knives.