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There are very expensive knives, but as soon as the knife you have does the job you want (and does it safely), it's fine. Really!
- There are serrated knives which never need sharpening which are fine for many kitchen uses. Paying for something fancy may not ever matter to you!
A slicing edge (e.g. for sushi) is different from a cutting edge (e.g. for rope).
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- A block
- A side-block thing
Begin with a sharp knife.
- It should cut soft food without effort.
- A dull knife is dangerous. You would instinctively apply more pressure, making slips more common. Even a slip with a less-sharp knife can be disastrous. See Sharpening
- A dull knife will compress food as it cuts. This subtlety might actually matter.
- You may not need to sharpen your knife for ten or more years, if you use it appropriately and on a proper cutting board (wood!).
- Hone your knife before every major use.
Use the correct knife for the job.
- Some knives are just bad with certain tasks. Using the correct blade can make a world of difference, especially for safety.
Use a wooden cutting board.
- Glass, stone, metal and synthetic materials can easily blunt blades.
- Sometimes using a "terrible" dull serrated blade for cutting right in your hand will work, but you need a stable surface as soon as an item is sharp or cumbersome.
Cut stable food.
- Carefully cut a slice and put it flat side-down so it's stable.
- When you come to the last "nub" of an item, do not be hesitant about just chopping it instead of risking more slices.
- Be extra careful with wet food and wet hands.
Develop "chef's reflexes".
- If you slip or drop a knife, react with honest fear rather than shame. Don't try to juggle, recover or catch a knife. If it slips off the cutting board, let it slip. If it tips toward the edge of a counter, let it fall. Back away, raise your hands and look at the knife as it falls. Get your feet completely out of the way.
Have situational awareness.
- There can indeed be "too many chefs in a kitchen" and this can be a hazard when people walk behind one another. Someone being "careful" can also be so quiet that they sneak and are at risk of surprising. Lastly, though counter-intuitive, sometimes a person who is trying to be careful can also become clumsy and bump.
Develop relaxed confidence.
- Again, it is possible to try too hard or be too cautious. This can lead to a form tunnel vision and clumsiness.
.. and before too much martial art comes in ..
Hone Your Chops infographic ∞
- https://www.thespruceeats.com/how-to-use-a-chefs-knife-995812 [ 1 ] was culinaryarts.about.com/od/knifeskills/ss/knifegrips_3.htm
FIXME - dry before storing?
Sometimes called "trueing" or "realigning".
For a good already-sharp blade, this is something which should be done before every significant use.
Using a honing steel [ 2 ] Sometimes referred to as sharpening steel, whet steel, sharpening stick, sharpening rod, butcher's steel, and chef's steel. Sometimes mistakenly called a file. is almost the equivalent of stropping a straight razor blade. However, stropping does also exist for a kitchen knife.
Have the correct angle or you will damage your knife.
- If too point-on, you will essentially be doing the same thing as overusing it; deforming, bending and blunting it.
- If too flat-on, you will be working further away from the actual point, scratching along the "primary grind".
Gently pull the blade toward the handle in a way that strokes the full length.
- With some gentle experimentation you will find the angle where that particular blade will hone smoothly, almost ringing a tone out.
- Don't use much pressure or you'll roll edges
Steel in the direction of the edge, as though you were cutting.
You can go up to a ceramic rod if you're careful. Those are meant for sharpening and you can mistakenly rework your blade between being better for slicing or chopping.
A honing steel is made for a specific "rockwell". Know the rockwell of your knife and match it, or your honing steel won't actually do anything to a blade. People buy harder steel which stays sharp for longer but they also require a higher hardness of (or specialty) honing surface.
If you have a hard (high Rockwell) blade, you will need a steel which is good quality. Get one from the same manufacturer, in the same style as your knives and you can be assured it will be appropriate.
Steel is the only type for honing. Ceramic, glass and diamond are specialized and meant for sharpening.
If you really want to test you can use paper, but paper is the enemy of a good edge. [ 3 ] FIXME - I don't know why
Stropping is like an extremely high-grit honing.
See also stropping a straight razor blade.
You can choose to:
- Only hone
- Hone and then stop
You don't even need compound because you'll be realigning the edge without removing metal.
- Leather has silicate in it which will lend itself to this task.
- With compound it will remove metal.
- Green veritas paste is best.
Applying compound is called "charging"
Honing is the reverse direction of steeling, which is away from the edge.
- You can use a leather belt.
You can use a piece of cardboard. Either regular or with little ripples.
- Even with metal polish. Rub it in and let it dry. It's a good 10k-20k grit.
I'm not interested in researching this.
There are YouTube videos which have great detail on grinding, sanding and even making knives from random bits of steel.
Clean rust with WD40?
This is different from #honing.
I'm not interested in researching this.
After sharpening, you need to work your way up to a finer grit [ 4 ] a larger grit number to polish it to the best point possible.
For a rod, in order of decreasing hardness and sharpener-ness:
- You want mono-surface diamonds, and not poly-surface; those are not correct.
- 600 mesh/grit for common knives.
- Lightly. Get your angle right.
- Borosilicate glass
- Slightly sharpens
- A harder honing surface like this will polish a surface to turn a cutting edge into a slicing edge.
You can begin with the higher/rougher rods and go down the list until you get to your honing steel, and don't even have to bother with stone.
- A whetstone
A sharpening stone
- Keep it wet, because you don't want to overheat a blade.
- Do not "wash it", because you want the resulting powder; that's what performs the sharpening.
- There are attachments you can put on your blade to guarantee a specific angle of blade.
The higher number the grit, the more micro-beveling. The lower number the grit the more aggressive; that shapes. Go through consecutive grits; at least three. You can do a diamond rod, then a ceramic rod, then finish with a steel rod.
You still have to keep a ceramic knife sharp, though the process (and perhaps the tool) is different than with a steel blade.
Use a controlled-angle sharpening system.
|^ 1||was culinaryarts.about.com/od/knifeskills/ss/knifegrips_3.htm|
|^ 2||Sometimes referred to as sharpening steel, whet steel, sharpening stick, sharpening rod, butcher's steel, and chef's steel. Sometimes mistakenly called a file.|
|^ 3||FIXME - I don't know why|
|^ 4||a larger grit number|