Every kitchen needs a good pair of knives readily available. Over time, your blades will start to dull, and clean slices will be impossible to achieve. How fast your knife dulls depends on the quality, but even the best will need some TLC to stay sharp. Here are some quick tips to keep in mind when sharpening your knives:
Try the Paper Test First
To accurately determine if your knives need to be sharpened, try the time-tested paper test. Hold a simple folded sheet of newspaper and try slicing it downward with your knife. If it fails to slice cleanly, it definitely needs some sharpening.
Using a Knife-Sharpening Steel
While sharpening steel is offered with most knife sets, it won’t actually sharpen your knife, as it will hone the edges of a dulled blade. Just keep sweeping the blade along the steel until you’ve realigned the edge. Also, do make sure that you hold it at a 15-degree angle throughout this process for optimal results.
Using a Whetstone
While whetstones are the traditional option for sharpening any blade, using one can prove quite difficult without any experience. You need to hold the knife at a specific angle, depending on what type of blade it has. While this is a very cheap option, do keep in mind that even if you know how to use one, restoring a very dull blade can take a while.
The most common manual sharpeners will have a V-shaped chamber through which you will have to pull the knife repeatedly. Try to maintain even pressure on the blade when using one, and follow any extra instructions that the manufacturer might have provided. They are cheap and easy to store. However, keep in mind that they won’t fix heavily damaged blades (if the blade has notches, for example).
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This is the most expensive option that you can go for but also the easiest to use. Make sure that you follow the manufacturer’s instructions, and you won’t be facing any issues. Simply hold your knife securely and run it through the slots slowly and smoothly. The machine will do most of the work for you from there on out. A small caveat for these devices is the fact that you can’t use them on blades that have a full bolster since you won’t be able to run the entire blade through the device.
Whenever you’re trying to chop something up and your knives are giving you trouble, remember that throwing them out isn’t your only option. Try one of these methods to sharpen your knives instead.
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