Deevan Aw asked:

The knife is a very important tool and essential part of our basic food necessities. Even in cultures where utensils such as spoons and forks are not generally used, knives are used to cut, slice, and dice food. This includes Muslim culture, in which eating with the right hand is preferred, and in Chinese, Japanese, Korean, and Vietnamese culture, where chopsticks are common.

All knives though face a common problem; their steel edges will become dull over time. Knives become dull due to frequent use, oxidation, and improper cutting surfaces. There are many options available to make a knives sharp edge last, and also to sharpen a dull edge. Dull edged knives are more dangerous, they can slip from the food surface during cutting and injure your hand.

Several manufacturers offer complete knive sets which include multiple knives, a cutting block, and sharpening steel along with complete guidelines on how to maintain and sharpen knives. If you do find that you have a dull knife, a sharpening steel can be used to make a fresh, sharp edge. People can be intimidated with a sharpening steel, or a sharpening block, but there is nothing too complicated. If you have dull knives, take a minute, sharpen the knife, and literally in less than one minute, your cutting experience will be completely different. You will be glad that you took the time to sharpen your knife and use the sharpening steel.

I faced this experience myself the first time I used the sharpening steel. “Do I really want to try this – what if I mess up the knife?”, I thought. I was glad I did it, and the beef that I was cutting was twice as easy with the new blade.

A sharpening steel is actually a metal rod that you need to hold in one hand. Pick up the knife with other hand. Second put on the steel rod handle over the knife steel. At third step, hold on the steel on the knife handle at 25 degree angle and draw across the blade. Repeat this process several times until you get your desired sharp edge.

If you want to use stone to sharpen the steel, you can use any type of stone whether wet or dry but place it on flat and stable surface; you can use your kitchen counter for this purpose. Similarly sharpening steel you will use knife steel over stone at 25 degree angle. Draw your knife on the stone toward you and against your direction repetitively.

Homemade sharpeners are helpful because you can use anytime at home. Some knives require professional sharpening, for example, sending to the manufacturer. If your knife instructions specify this requirement, obviously you should follow these directions.

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Filed under: Knife Sharpening

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