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Sharpening Kitchen Knives

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Peanut

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Years ago when I was working I'd buy a new set of kitchen knives every few years. The last 18 years, not so much. I've bought several sharpeners of different styles, none of them are very good. Any suggestions?

I have a Lansky kit for my regular knives and can put a shaving edge on quality steel. Finding a good sharpener for the kitchen befuddles me.
 

Patchouli

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I think kitchen knives are a big racket, @Peanut !
I've got no answer because my nice husband is the one who handles sharpening our blades.
The house of blades says they use a belt sander with 220 grit sandpaper. Then they put leather belt on the sander machine to remove the burr. Maybe they have something more you would be interested in because I see they also have the Lansky products.
 

Justin76

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Kitchen knives sold in department stores are (usually) 100% crap.
Typically stainless steel that once dull will take forever to get back to a decent edge.

You want a high carbon steel or a Japanese style Damascus type of blade. Sharpeners don't work very well if you want a razor sharp blade. ( a dull knife cuts you more often than a sharp blade will)
In my kitchen everyone has, Shun, JKC, Kei, Misono, Global or Wusthof.

Best advice,
Learn to sharpen a a chefs knife with stones, the proper way. Western knifes 20 degree angle, Japanese 14-17ish degree angle.
The Youtubes has lots of videos.
We have honing stones that start from 800grit all the way up to 10,000. Start on the low numbers and move up. After an hour you have a blade you can shave with. After that just a steel to hone the edge and you only have to sharpen/touch up once every few months. A good stone grit is about 3000 for household knives.
You don't need all those different knives they push in stores, a good quality 8" chefs knife will last you years if you take care of it.
I have on from when I was stationed in Japan from the 90's and it still holds an edge like when I got it. It gets used daily at home, my wifes favorite knife.

A chefs knife, a good fillet knife and a small utility knife is all you will ever need.

These are JKC, mine cost me $150USD but like they say, "buy nice, don't buy twice"
I have the top one, it gets used all day in my kitchen at work, besides from the tip being fixed because an idiot used my knife and dropped it.....it holds a razor edge and sharpens up fast.


 
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Woody

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I agree most common knives are not of high quality steel and dull fast. I sharpen the knives at work (small Mom & Daughter kitchen) and it gets done every two weeks. They are the typical line work commercial chef knives bought at the local restaurant supply shop. There are 4 counter knives used to cut sandwiches and such up front. They are serrated and get dull even faster but I do them on the same cycle.

Most of the dulling of their stock comes from dishwashing. We do lots of prep work then the knife goes into the SS sink, then a new one is used for the next job. I did get them to at least put them on a flat part of the sink instead of just tossing them in. Fewer divots in the blades to sharpen out now. Everyone goes through 5 or more knives in a day.

At work I bought them an electric sharpener, I will check the name next week. It is a 2-stage and does a good job fast without taking major life off the blades. It is easy and idiot proof. Well, as much as anything can be I guess.

At home I just have a stone for our knives. I do them as needed and that depends on how much use they get or who decides to use a ‘cooking’ knife for a plate knife. I cringe when I hear one of the prep knives hitting a ceramic plate! They usually only take a minute or so on the stone and are as sharp as can be again. Trick is to keep up with them and not let them get dull before stoning them.

Interesting story about work. When I was hired on they had a box full of knives in the back room. All the knives on the hanger in the prep area were dull as a bastard. I mean rounded off frustrating dull. They said they never sharpened them, they just bought new when they got really dull and would not cut anymore! At $11 or $12 a pop it wasn’t that bad of a hit to them. I bought the sharpener for about $130 and it took hours to bring the working stock up to date and sharp. Some I NEVER thought would sharpen! After I brought the working stock up to date and put them back out I warned everyone that the knives were sharp, and to be careful. They could not believe the difference! LOL Now, they can recognize when a blade starts to lose that fine edge and will put that knife in a box off to the side. It is amazing how much more productive, AND SAFE sharp knives are.
 

Justin76

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I make my guys wash their knives, no knives go in the deep sink. To dangerous.

Makes no sense to buy knives every-time the old ones get dull...buy good and no problems with decent training.

But.... commercial grade kitchen knives are usually not the top quality product people expect. So understandable the owners would do that.
 

SheepDog

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A good kitchen knife will cost two to three times as much as a good hunting knife. It should be made of 440C stainless or BG-42. It should be a forged blade with a full tang and the handle should be riveted with three nickel steel rivets. If it is dishwasher safe it is not a very good knife. Once sharpened you should use a ceramic rod to keep it sharp. Every time I use a knife in my kitchen I start by using the 1/2 inch ceramic rod to dress the edge. After I am done it gets washed and the blade is dressed again. It is hand dried with a clean towel and placed back in the rack. I keep the ceramic rod clean with chlorine cleanser. I have not had to sharpen any of my kitchen knives in the last 20 years. I paid $100+ for a four inch paring knife and over twice that much for my 10 inch chefs knife. My slicing knife cost just over $300. All three are 440C forged stainless. If I wanted to get a better knife I would get the BG-42 blades.
If the blade is not forged it is junk. If it doesn't have an integral bolster it is a stamped knife.
 

backlash

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I have just about every knife sharpening thing existing.
From Japanese water stones to electric sharpeners.
I use a Worksharp tool to sharpen all of my Wife's kitchen knives.
She will not take care of them and I always find them in a pile on the back of the sink or actually in the sink.
There is absolutely no reason to buy her good quality knives because she just doesn't get it.
We have Chicago cutlery knives almost exclusively.
They take an edge and hold it for a decent amount of time.
When they get really dull I will run them through the Worksharp and she is good to go.
Takes about 30 seconds a knife.
If you do get a Worksharp but the sanding belts from eBay.
Not the Worksharp brand, but generic 1/2" by 12" belts.
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B003IT5F14/?tag=skimlinks_replacement-20https://www.amazon.com/dp/B003IT5F14/?tag=skimlinks_replacement-20

I bought her 2 small paring knives made by Oxo Good grip.
She uses them for most everything.
Knives and my wife are a real sore spot with me.:(
 
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joel

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I have a bench made, hollow grind, stainless steel 10 inch kitchen knife, full tang,rosewood handle.
First time I craved a turkey, I slide though the ribs like butter.
I got it from the maker, I have 4 of his knifes.
I sharpen it with a stone, when needed.
It is on my bucket list to forge a knife.
 

Terri9630

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Sharp knives? My wife uses her kitchen knives to pry lids off, cut paper and open shipping boxes....and I almost forgot...as a screwdriver.
Butter knives are the screw drivers. Not the sharp ones!
 

captain belly

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I do believe in first having high quality knives to begin with. I have Cutco knives and they are amazing (and expensive)..... but they do hold an edge very well. My 2 favorite sharpeners are: Presto EverSharp Electric Knife Sharpener, and a Chef's Choice Pronto Sharpener (manual pull through)
 

Peanut

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and a Chef's Choice Pronto Sharpener (manual pull through)
The best sharpener I ever bought is an older version of this...
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B007IVBET0/?tag=skimlinks_replacement-20


Just hoping to find something better that will last longer... especially the "last longer part". Within 3 years the Chefs Choice I bought was worn out. It would put a quality edge on my knives... dress them with steel before using... excellent. The last stage of the sharpener for fine sharpening was ceramic... it just wore out too quickly.
 
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PopPopT

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Anybody have suggestions on how to sharpen a serrated knife? I have a couple of bread knives that could use a good sharpening.
 

SheepDog

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For serrated knives you have a choice; if the serrations are cut from one side only you can sharpen the flat side with a stone. Other than that you can get a stone with the same contour as the blade and use it to dress the serrations. I had thrown out all my serrated knives out because I hate trying to keep them sharp. With all my other knives I never have to sharpen them. I use a ceramic honing rod before and after each use as one would use a steel. The difference between a honing rod and a steel is that the rod actually wears the blade to keep the "curl" rather than just bend it until it breaks. Once the curl breaks you have to sharpen the knife.
I am a bit of a snob with knives and I always buy quality. I used to spend the time to sharpen my knives with gradually finer stones and then use the steel to keep them cutting until I had to sharpen them again. I would never use a grinder on a blade after the initial grinding process in manufacture. I have tried "pull through" sharpeners and the electric grinders only to ruin edges and have to go back to using stones again. Since I switched to using my 1/2 " ceramic rods I have never had to use a stone on them. I do have to clean the rods once a week but that only takes a few minutes with chlorinated scouring powder and some warm water. My kitchen knives are always sharp and even after 30 years they show very little wear from sharpening.
 

Justin76

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Sharp knives? My wife uses her kitchen knives to pry lids off, cut paper and open shipping boxes....and I almost forgot...as a screwdriver.
My wifes sister did that at our house when she was looking after our dogs while we were on vacation for a week.....

Came back two of my nice knives had the tips broken off and a half inch chip out of the middle of it...

I was upset....very very upset...
 

joel

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I agree with sheepdog, I have the tools for sharpening my combination folders & kitchen knives.
 

Weedygarden

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I do believe in first having high quality knives to begin with. I have Cutco knives and they are amazing (and expensive)..... but they do hold an edge very well. My 2 favorite sharpeners are: Presto EverSharp Electric Knife Sharpener, and a Chef's Choice Pronto Sharpener (manual pull through)
I have Cutco Knives. When I first got them, I hosted Thanksgiving for a bunch of people. One woman wanted to wash dishes. I warned her about the knives, setting to the side of the sink. Next thing, she is bleeding like a son of a gun. If you have dull knives, you really don't know how dangerous sharp knives are. Knives are not supposed to go into the dishwasher, or so I have been told.
 

Weedygarden

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Sharp knives? My wife uses her kitchen knives to pry lids off, cut paper and open shipping boxes....and I almost forgot...as a screwdriver.
Does she own a screwdriver or the tools she needs to do the job? There may be one in the garage or shop, but is there one in the kitchen, or close? If my screwdrivers were in the garage I would use a butter knife. My Craftsmen screwdrivers may not be the best screwdrivers, but they are in a tool bucket, readily accessible. They also have all been spray painted pink by me. When I find pink tools in my daughter's tool box, I know they are mine. When someone is doing some work at my house and is missing a certain tool and I offer my pink one, I know I will get it back.
 

joel

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Does she own a screwdriver or the tools she needs to do the job? There may be one in the garage or shop, but is there one in the kitchen, or close? If my screwdrivers were in the garage I would use a butter knife. My Craftsmen screwdrivers may not be the best screwdrivers, but they are in a tool bucket, readily accessible. They also have all been spray painted pink by me. When I find pink tools in my daughter's tool box, I know they are mine. When someone is doing some work at my house and is missing a certain tool and I offer my pink one, I know I will get it back.
Swiss Army Knife is the only knife to use on screws.
Got my daughter a pink bag & tools for college & it was a hit with the other young Ladies whos Father did not own tools.
They keep asking how do you know how to use those tools.
Answer"My Daddy showed me"
Also got the the same type of bag with tools for a friends daughter & son for college, big hit.

A lady at work complained that someone was alway taken her black flashlight.
I walked up to counter at Tractor Supply & saw PINK flashlights on sale, so I bought her one.
Two years later, she still has that pink FL.
Some men are funny/ that HAHa funny.
 

Weedygarden

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Swiss Army Knife is the only knife to use on screws.
Got my daughter a pink bag & tools for college & it was a hit with the other young Ladies whos Father did not own tools.
They keep asking how do you know how to use those tools.
Answer"My Daddy showed me"
Also got the the same type of bag with tools for a friends daughter & son for college, big hit.

A lady at work complained that someone was alway taken her black flashlight.
I walked up to counter at Tractor Supply & saw PINK flashlights on sale, so I bought her one.
Two years later, she still has that pink FL.
Some men are funny/ that HAHa funny.
I love the pink flashlight idea!
I know they make a set of pink tools for women, and I know a few people who have had them, some teachers, to keep and use at work. When I bought my Craftsmen tools, I had been told that they would be a good investment. They have been, but now I hear they are not the best. Oh well, I have had my screw drivers and other tools well over 40 years and they are still working.

I knew I wanted to paint them pink when things kept disappearing. I do believe that is the nature of tools. At that time, it took lots of looking to find pink spray paint. Times have changed!
 

Meerkat

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I have Cutco Knives. When I first got them, I hosted Thanksgiving for a bunch of people. One woman wanted to wash dishes. I warned her about the knives, setting to the side of the sink. Next thing, she is bleeding like a son of a gun. If you have dull knives, you really don't know how dangerous sharp knives are. Knives are not supposed to go into the dishwasher, or so I have been told.
So true,I almost cut off one of my fingers using a restaurant knife slicing tomatoes.
 

Weedygarden

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Sears sold off their Craftsman brand to Stanley Black and Decker.
I had a broken Craftsman ratchet and took it to the local Sears and they guy just went in the back and brought me a new, one no questions asked.
I mean NO questions asked. He didn't even ask if it was broken or why I had it.
I know that someone told me they would be good tools to buy. Mine have served me well. I am probably not strong enough to destroy them, but anything may be possible. I like to buy sets of things, like screw drivers and drill bits.

I am on my third drill. My first one, a Craftsman, is more than 40 years old and it no longer has reverse. I never thought to exchange it. It is corded. Then I purchased another corded drill. My third one is a cordless DeWalt that my daughter got me one year for Christmas. I do like having a couple drills when working on projects because I don't have to keep changing out bits. I put a particular drill bit that I am need in the old corded drill that no longer has reverse. I can use it to pre-drill holes for screws. Then my cordless has the appropriate bit in it to put in the screws. I have had projects where I was alternating between the three drills.
 
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