How To Use A Hand-Held Knife Sharpener With Confidence
Among the most basic of kitchen practices outside of the actual cooking is how to properly sharpen your kitchen cutlery. In most cases, people tend to picture a chef with a long sharpening steel sliding the blade along it with precision and speed; this is often not the proper way to sharpen a knife using a hand-held sharpener.
How to use a hand-held sharpener is an important kitchen lesson and one that needs to be properly learned. Let’s take a detailed look at how to use a hand-held knife sharpener properly and safely!
Types Of Knife Sharpeners
Numerous types of knife sharpeners are used in kitchens around the world every day. Each of the different types of knife sharpeners are designed to hone the knifes edge for just the right amount of sharpness. Most home sharpening devices are hand-held, though, there are also many countertop models available depending on individual preference.
Sharpening stones are most commonly found in either a rounded shape or a rectangle, often palm sized. The sharpening stones are typically ½ inch up to several inches in thickness. Sharpening stones are commonly available in two different compounds; whetstone and carborundum. Whetstones are made from mined silicone dioxide minerals that are then separated in order to create soft grade, medium grade, and hard grade whetstones
The carborundum sharpening stone is derived from silicon carbide. Silicon carbide is an abrasive material that will slowly deteriorate over time as it is used. The carborundum stones are similar to the whetstones with a rectangular shape. It has a smooth side for finishing the blade and a coarse side to perfectly sharpen the blade.
A manual knife sharpener or sharpening steel is often known as a countertop sharpener. In most cases, they will contain an abrasive surface that is either diamond coated or a tungsten carbide grinding stone. Manual sharpeners are the most common type of handheld sharpeners and are designed for easy quick use that doesn’t require much precision. Manual handheld knife sharpeners don’t require the user to find the proper angle and are much safer than most traditional knife sharpeners.
An electric knife sharpener is essentially a grinding wheel of sorts. Electric knife sharpeners can be used for both straight edge blades and serrated knives. While a kitchen knife sharpener will be far smaller than a typical grinding wheel, it will still consist of a small grinding wheel that is often encased in plastic and may have multiple slots for different sharpening edges and knife types.
Why Choose a Hand-held Knife Sharpener?
With the many different knife sharpeners that are available on the market, choosing the one that will best meet your individual needs can be an intimidating decision. While every knife sharpener has its different perks and most have a history of tradition and heritage behind them; a hand-held or manual knife sharpener is typically the most affordable, quickest, and safest option. This is especially true for those who are not seasoned knife sharpeners.
Sharpening your kitchen knives on a regular basis is a key part of maintaining them; this is especially true when you decide to make a substantial investment into quality kitchen knives. Sharpening, polishing, and precisely honing the blade is the key to making your knifes last beyond what you feel your money’s worth is.
How to use a Hand-held knife sharpener
Properly sharpening your kitchen knives can bring you a great deal of ease in the cooking process.
Using a dull kitchen knife is dangerous and time consuming. Purchasing a hand-held knife sharpener can be a simple and affordable investment. Look for one that has multiple slots and preferably usable with multiple blade types. Once you have purchased a hand-held or manual sharpener, you simply need to choose the knifes you wish to sharpen and follow the step-by-step guide bellow.
1. Start out with a clean knife that is free of any debris or matter.
2. Observe the knife in a well-lit area and try to gauge how dull the knife is. For a knife that you have never sharpened, one that you know to be extremely dull, or a knife that is visibly dull; you should pass the blade through the coarse slot on the hand-held sharpener several times before moving on. When passing the knife through the slots on the sharpener, do not apply pressure. You want to guide the knife through the slot swiftly with minimal pressure on the blade.
3. After passing the blade through the coarse slot to sharpen the blade, you will then pass itthrough the fine slot to smooth and polish the blade edge. It is recommended that you do this before each use to maintain the sharpness of the blade for a longer period of time. You will only need to run it through the coarse slot when the blade needs fully sharpened.
4. Once you have sharpened and smoothed the blade, be sure to wipe it clean to remove any metal shaving or debris that could be left behind.
I would be the first to say that the world of kitchen accessories can be a bit of an overwhelming shopping experience. This is especially true when you are just starting out on the home chef journey. As for choosing the proper hand held knife sharpener to meet your needs, I’m afraid that trial and error will run its course just like most popular kitchen gadgets. The key is to choose a trusted knife sharpener that has multiple slots, is composed of quality materials, and a warranty/return policy just in case. For the most part, any moderately priced hand-held sharpener is likely to give you the same results.
Start out by sharpening your less expensive knives and remember that practice makes perfect. You should be a knife sharpening pro in no time at all! Do you have a quality tip or trick for using a hand-held knife sharpener? Give us the details in the comment section bellow!