Hone Your Knife
Store Your Knives Correctly
Clean Your Knives Correctly
Don’t Cut On A Hard Surface
Don’t Drag Your Knife Across The Cutting Board
We will get to more on those, but before we do, lets understand why knives can go dull.
Why Do Knives Lose Sharpness?
There are many reasons for a knife losing sharpness; some are preventable, while others are due to normal use of the knife.
Being aware of these causes for a knife losing sharpness can help you to be more cognizant of these issues when using or maintaining your knives.
Reasons knives lose sharpness include the following.
- Quality of the steel. A knife made from poor-quality steel or soft steel will not hold a sharp edge for very long and will lose sharpness every time you use it.
- Impact on a hard surface. Using the knife on a hard surface will dull the knife.
- Inappropriate use of the knife. Using a knife to cut something it was not intended to cut will cause the blade to dull faster than expected or damage the cutting edge.
- Incorrect storage of the knife. Storing the knife in a manner that does not protect the edge is a major cause of a knife losing sharpness.
- Improper washing of the knife. The way a knife is washed can reduce the sharpness of the knife.
- Incorrect sharpening of the knife. If the knife is not sharpened to the correct angle on the secondary bevel, it can affect the edge holding capability of the knife.
TIP 1 – Hone Your Knife
A knife can lose some of its sharpness, making the edge not keen enough to work efficiently but not dull enough to require sharpening. Honing a knife’s edge is a way to keep the knife sharp without taking it to a coarse whetstone and removing too much material unnecessarily from the edge.
The edge experiences wear with the normal use of a knife and can roll over slightly or become misaligned from the blade’s axis. This can cause the knife to feel like it has lost some of its sharpness and that it requires sharpening.
In most cases, the knife does not require sharpening but rather honing, which re-aligns the cutting edge ad restores sharpness to the blade. Honing does not remove metal from the edge of the knife, making it less destructive on the blade than sharpening.
Frequent honing will keep the knife sharp for longer and increase the time between major sharpening sessions required on the blade.
The way to hone your knife will depend on the type of knife you have and the tools you have available for honing.
How to Hone your knives
The tools you can use to hone a knife are as follows.
- A honing rod. A honing rod, sometimes called honing steel, can be used to re-align a knife’s edge. Honing rods can be made from ceramic, diamond, or steel material. The only knives you should never hone with a honing rod are Japanese kitchen knives .
- A high grit whetstone. A whetstone with a grit level of over 1000-grit can be used as a honing stone. The sharp edge can be restored with 2 or 3 passes of the blade over the stone. One of the best grits to use for honing is a 3000-grit whetstone. This honing method can be used on all knives, including Japanese kitchen knives.
- A leather strop. A leather strop is simple to use, and you can make your own strop with a few basic DIY skills. The leather strop must have a firm backing, such as a woodblock. All knives can be honed on a strop, including Japanese kitchen knives.
Honing your knife can be done once a week or as often as the edge needs to be touched up to restore sharpness.
TIP 2 – Store Your Knives Correctly
Correctly storing your knives is a key discipline that will help to keep your knives sharp. Many people make the mistake of keeping their knives in a kitchen drawer with other kitchen utensils with the blade unprotected.The knives will get jostled about in the drawer, causing the cutting edge to become dull from impact with other knives and utensils and even the draw itself. Your knives should be kept on a good quality magnetic wall-mounted strip, a quality knife block, or with individual blade covers.
TIP 3 – Clean Your Knives Correctly
Many people are not aware that incorrectly cleaning a knife can cause the knife to become dull and even damage the thin cutting edge.
The worst method to clean your knives is to pop them in the dishwasher. The high pressure of the water in this machine will cause the knife to bounce around in the rack and possibly collide with other items in the machine.
This excessive impact during the machine’s cycle can negatively affect the knife’s cutting edge, resulting in the knife losing sharpness or sustaining severe damage to the cutting edge.
The best method to clean your knife is under warm running water and using a soft cloth with some mild dishwashing soap. Once the knife has been washed and rinsed, thoroughly dry the knife before storing it.
TIP 4 – Don’t Cut On A Hard Surface
Hard cutting surfaces are not friendly to the sharp edge of a knife. Cutting on a hard surface can roll the knife’s sharp edge, push the edge out of alignment, chip or even crack the fine metal edge of the knife.
Surfaces that should not be used to cut on are ceramic plates, granite countertops, glass cutting boards, granite cutting boards, or metal prep tables.
These surfaces can quickly dull the knife’s cutting edge, requiring a sharpening session to restore the edge.
To avoid an increased frequency in sharpening your knives, you should avoid using these hard-cutting surfaces for your food preparation.
Wood, bamboo, and food-safe plastic cutting boards are better for the health of your knife’s cutting edge and reduce the amount of sharpening your knives will require.
TIP 5 – Don’t Drag Your Knife Across The Cutting Board
Many people are in the habit of sliding the sliced ingredient out of the way by pushing the chopped or sliced sections with a lateral dragging movement of the knife across the cutting board.
While this may be an efficient movement to clear your work area, particularly if you have some more slicing or chopping to do, it can be detrimental to your knife’s cutting edge.
Most cutting boards have ridges and grooves and various imperfections on their surface from use over time. Dragging the sharp edge sideways across the imperfections on the cutting board can roll the edge or push it out of alignment.
Here is one more video for you: How to wetstone sharpen your knives.
I hope that next time you reach for one of your kitchen or BBQ or Butcher knives that it's good and sharp. This will make quick work of anything you need to cut.