3 Simple Tips To Ensure Your Knives Stay Blazing Sharp!
When it comes to knives, most people are either ignorant or lazy. The ones who are ignorant think their knives should remain sharp forever. The ones who are lazy don’t want to do anything about their dull knives. If you’re one or the other, what I’m about to say won’t help you.
Keeping your knives in pristine condition requires some effort on your part!
There’s 3 things which if you make a habit of doing consistently, will transform your dull knife to something that’s sharp enough to shave your hair!
What are these 3 things?
Knife sharpening is very simple. People unnecessarily complicate the heck out of it. You have an edge that’s lost its bite, and all you’re looking to do is restore this bite. How can you restore this bite or sharpness? Well there’s 2 ways:
- You can restore the original factory edge by sharpening at the same angle.
- You can reset or reprofile the edge by sharpening at a different angle.
Why would you want to do number 2? Well it depends on what you’re using the knife for. Maybe a 20-degree angle is a tad tight for the hard material your knife cuts into, and therefore a 25-30 angle may result in a stronger edge. This is just an example. It all depends on what you’re looking to do!
Think Carefully Before You Sharpen!
How do you sharpen a knife? Well in 2018, there’s 3 common contraptions:
- Electric knife sharpeners
- Pull through sharpeners
- Sharpening stones
There’s pros and cons for all 3 systems, but if you want to get the best results, you’ll wanna learn to sharpen on stone. I won’t go over how to do this since there are tons of informative videos on YouTube. However, I will say that if you’re starting to learn how to sharpen on stone, you should probably consider investing in an angle guide.
Honing and sharpening are 2 very different things, so don’t confuse them. Sharpening is the process of abrading or stripping steel off to reprofile or reset an edge. Honing on the other hand, is the process of aligning a misaligned edge. Aligning a misaligned edge does not constitute removal of steel.
How does your knife edge get misaligned? The very act of using your knife causes the edge to misalign!
Most people hear “misalign” and immediately think they are doing something wrong or that something is wrong with their knife. No, you’re not doing anything wrong and nothing is wrong with your knife if it gets misaligned.
All knife edges will misalign at some point or another!
Honing is a non-aggressive process that corrects this misalignment. How do you hone a knife? Ever seen your local butcher swipe at his knife with a rod as he impatiently waits to take your order? That’s honing! Maybe not the most controlled and efficient way of doing it, but it’s honing nonetheless!
How often should you hone your knife? Well it depends on how often you use your knife. The more you use your knife, the more its edge gets misaligned.
Honing should always be a first step before sharpening. You hone until your knife can no longer effectively cut!
This Is What A Honing Rod Looks Like
Butchers love honing, as barbers love stropping. Head over to your barber and check out how he strops his straight razor against a leather belt. That is stropping!
It’s the process of cleaning up and polishing an edge, so that it’s razor sharp. For me it’s the very last step in the process of sharpening. I strop only after I sharpen.
Have you ever seen those videos where a guy holds up a knife about 2 feet from the counter, and then drops it over a tomato? The result is a tomato sliced clean through! This is the sort of sharpness you get if you strop your knife.
How often should you strop? I’d say you strop every time after you sharpen.
Don’t Forget To Strop!
What I Haven’t Told You!
I’ve given you a starting point on what it is you need to do to ensure your knives stay sharp. I have not shared how to do each of these 3 things. I have developed a comprehensive guide specifically tailored to newbies that talks about how to sharpen, hone, and strop. You can check that out by clicking here!
Lastly, if you have any questions, please drop me a comment and I’ll be sure to get back!
—I want to thank Irvan for providing a great guest post and look forward to any responses back. As mentioned above, if you have any questions, just drop a comment and I’ll make sure they get back to him.
Use your instincts to survive