5 Tips to Efficiently Sharpen Your Chef Knife

Posted by Ramon Elzinga on

If you invest in a Ferrari you need to take it to the mechanics for a tune-up from time to time - I high-end knife is no different...

The kitchen knife is one of the most important tools in a chef’s arsenal. They can cut all sorts of ingredients with ease. But it requires effort to maintain the quality of your chef knives. In this blog, we'll share useful tips that chefs can use to efficiently sharpen their knives.

  1. Don’t apply too much pressure on the blade.

You may be tempted to put extra pressure on your knife when sharpening it on a whetstone. While this may get the job done quickly, it can also lead to damages to your kitchen knives. To maintain a sharp edge, you need to apply pressure from a moderate amount of force, preferably with a firm, light grip.  

  1. The sharpening angle depends on how you use your knife.

The sharpness and durability of a kitchen knife's edge depend on the angle. The optimal angle for sharp kitchen knives used for cutting into meats and vegetables is typically between 15 and 20 degrees. This, however, results in a less durable blade that is only suitable for cutting into soft material. Giving your chef’s knife an edge angle higher than 22 degrees makes it duller but more durable. This is the best angle for cleavers that you sometimes use to cut through bone or hard non-food items.

  1. Choose a sharpening tool that fits your needs.

Most chefs will tell you that the whetstone is the best choice as it lets you easily adjust the sharpness of your knife based on your preference. Also, the sharpening process has a slower pace compared to using other tools, which helps prolong your knife’s lifespan. However, sharpening knives using a whetstone takes some people to master. An electric sharpener is easier to utilize for a lot of people, but improper use of it may cause damages to your precious chef’s knife. Both options have advantages and drawbacks, but it all depends on the tool you are comfortable with. 

  1. Use a ceramic mug in absence of proper sharpening tools.

You can also use the rough unglazed ring at the bottom of your ceramic mug to sharpen your knife. The same process as sharpening on a whetstone applies in this procedure: press your knife against the surface at your preferred edge angle, and repeatedly drag the knife’s edge along the steel and towards you at the same time.

  1. Test your blade by cutting a sheet of paper.

You can use any sheet of paper to test your knife’s sharpness. You know your knife is sharp enough if it cuts through the material. If it does not make a significant cut, though, or if it does not cut into the paper at all, you might want to redo the sharpening.

Chef knives need to remain razor-sharp if they have to get any sort of work done. It is important to know the proper sharpening techniques and regularly apply the tips you learned. Practice makes perfect, they say, and it couldn’t be any more true when it comes to sharpening your chef knife set.

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