A dull knife is not only frustrating to use but also dangerous as it increases the risk of accidents. Therefore, keeping your knives sharp is essential for efficient and safe cooking. However, with so many sharpening techniques and tools available, it can be overwhelming to choose the right method. In this article, we will discuss the best techniques for sharpening knives, the cost of sharpening, the three methods of sharpening, and how to sharpen your knife yourself.
The best technique for sharpening a knife depends on the type of knife and the desired result. However, most experts agree that the most effective and versatile method of sharpening a knife is using a whetstone. A whetstone is a rectangular block of abrasive material that is used to sharpen and hone the blade. The advantage of using a whetstone is that it allows you to sharpen your knife to a razor-sharp edge, and it is easy to maintain the angle of the blade during the sharpening process.
The cost of sharpening a knife varies depending on several factors, such as the type of knife, the method of sharpening, and the location. On average, the cost of sharpening a knife ranges from $5 to $15 per knife. However, some specialty knives, such as Japanese knives, can cost more to sharpen. Additionally, some sharpening services charge a flat rate per hour instead of per knife. It is essential to research and compare prices before choosing a sharpening service.
There are three primary methods of sharpening knives: using a whetstone, using a honing rod, and using an electric sharpener.
- Whetstone: As mentioned earlier, a whetstone is the most effective and versatile method of sharpening a knife. It requires some practice to master the technique, but once you do, you can achieve a razor-sharp edge. To use a whetstone, you need to wet the stone, place it on a stable surface, and hold the blade at the correct angle while running it along the stone.
- Honing rod: A honing rod, also known as a sharpening steel, is a long, cylindrical rod made of steel or ceramic. It is used to straighten the edge of the blade between sharpening sessions. Unlike a whetstone, a honing rod does not sharpen the blade; instead, it removes any burrs or irregularities that may have formed on the edge. To use a honing rod, you need to hold the rod upright and run the blade along the length of the rod at a slight angle.
- Electric sharpener: An electric sharpener is a quick and easy way to sharpen a knife. It is ideal for those who do not have the time or patience to learn the technique of using a whetstone. Electric sharpeners have two or three sharpening stages that use abrasive belts or disks to sharpen and polish the blade. However, electric sharpeners can be expensive, and they can remove too much metal from the blade if used incorrectly.
Sharpening a knife yourself requires some practice and patience, but it is an essential skill that every home cook should know. Here is a step-by-step guide on how to sharpen a knife using a whetstone:
- Soak the whetstone: Before using a whetstone, you need to soak it in water for at least 15 minutes.
- Set the angle: Most knives have a bevel angle of 20 degrees. To sharpen the knife, you need to maintain this angle while running the blade along the whetstone. You can use a sharpening guide or angle guide to help you maintain the correct angle.
- Start with the coarse side: Most whetstones have a coarse side and a fine side. Start by using the coarse side to sharpen the blade. Hold the knife at the correct angle and run it along the stone in a sweeping motion, starting from the base of the blade to the tip. Repeat this process on the other side of the blade.
- Switch to the fine side: After sharpening the blade with the coarse side, switch to the fine side to hone the edge. Repeat the same process as before, but this time, use the fine side of the whetstone. This will remove any remaining burrs or irregularities on the blade.
- Test the sharpness: To test the sharpness of the knife, try slicing through a piece of paper or a tomato. If the blade slices through the paper or tomato effortlessly, then it is sharp.
- Maintain the edge: To maintain the sharp edge of your knife, use a honing rod regularly to straighten the edge. Additionally, avoid cutting on hard surfaces, such as glass or marble, as they can dull the blade.
In conclusion, sharpening your knives is essential for efficient and safe cooking. While there are different methods of sharpening, using a whetstone is the most effective and versatile method. Sharpening your knives yourself requires some practice and patience, but it is a valuable skill that every home cook should know. With the right tools and technique, you can keep your knives sharp and ready to use for years to come.