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Knife Sharpeners - Forno Bravo Forum: The Wood-Fired Oven Community


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Knife Sharpeners

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  • Knife Sharpeners

    I like knives. I like sharp knives. I like REALLY sharp knives even better! (By the responses to the "what do you cut your pizza with" poll I might be the only knife enthusiast here... but I tend to doubt it.)

    I just bought a tri-stone sharpening stone set. It is "bargain basement" compared to the multi-hundred dollar system sold for restaurants, but still offers the same great features.

    Before that I used a two-grit stone, but it was warped... and then I dropped it and ended up with two really short stones.

    Before that I tried one of those electric knife sharpeners but didn't like the way it scratched up the side of the knife.

    What are folks around here using to keep their cutlery sharp?
    Last edited by BrianShaw; 05-16-2008, 01:58 PM. Reason: (yipee... my 'centennial' post.)

  • #2
    Re: Knife Sharpeners

    I too like sharp knives - can not abide a dull blade. To keep them sharp I use a diamond sharpener. It's like two small hard metal pieces with diamond coating in a V shape. You simply run the knife as required through the V shape. Easy and quick and does not scratch the knife.
    I have had the same set of Mundial carbon steel knives for 20 years, used daily and they are still like new.



    • #3
      Re: Knife Sharpeners

      I think I have the same diamond sharpener. Mine's not working so well these days. It's pretty old. Probably time for a new one!
      Everyone makes mistakes. The trick is to make mistakes when nobody is looking.



      • #4
        Re: Knife Sharpeners

        Could you possibly link to your sharpener? I have a stone--one I evidently use pathetically. I'm dying for properly sharpened knives, have good quality knives to work with, but evidently lack the skill to use it properly.


        • #5
          Re: Knife Sharpeners

          This is the 10 inch tri-stone set I just bought (top of the page):

          Natural Whetstone Company Products Sharpeners Page 1

          I've seen the 8 inch size offered by online knife "shops" for 50 to 100% more. Same thing, except the other ones had a shop name branded onto the side.


          • #6
            Re: Knife Sharpeners

            Most knife sharpening tools work by scraping off a thin layer of steel with a tungsten cutter at a relatively broad angle to expose a 'sharp' cutting edge. The more you do this, the longer the cutting bevel and the harder it is to sharpen.
            There are oil, water and diamond stones which hone rather than scrape a sharp edge on your knives.
            I guess I'm just a chip off thee old block.
            My father grew up on the land, always had good quality knives (usually German) and kept them exceptionally sharp, especially for slaughtering and butchering their own meat.
            Our knives in the kitchen were always very sharp, as were his boot making knives out in the shed.
            I too have the same desire and all of my cutting instruments, knives, planes, chisels and carving gouges are exceptionally sharp.
            My wife is a sewer and I even keep her and her bosses scissors sharp.
            We used to keep our knives sharp with a butchers steel, but eventually, you need to (hollow) grind them to get rid of the excessive material which inhibits a really sharp edge.
            To remove this steel (which should be made of good quality Inox steel). I use a 24" surface grinder which I purchased for sharpening my 12" planer and 18" thicknesser blades. This has a very fine circular grinding wheel which removes the excess material relatively slowly but don't let it get hot and burn the edge. The cutting edge of the sharpenned knife is very thin, it can overheat very quickly and burn/tarnish.
            I also use a 6" bench grinder with the stones removed and replaced with 2 woodern disks with some 80grit (for fast removal of excess steel) and 240 grit (for dressing the cutting edge), cloth abrasive together with 2 felt pads. I put the final hone on the knives with the 240 grit and then polish the edge to a mirror finish with fine abrasive on these felt disks. This is how you sharpen carving chisels which must cleanly cut through very hard Australian hardwood timbers, and they end up as sharp as razors and cut you without you even feeling it, unless it is a deep cut. I get cut regularly whenever I open up my roll of gouges, consequently have bandaid strips in witth the tools.
            At school (work), I use surgical scalpels to cut stencils, but hone the new blades on a very fine red oil stone. You can watch the blade push into your finger and not even feel it, they are that sharp.
            Only one problem with sharp knives is that they cut through your food easilt but also cut into your benches or boards.
            I never use tile, stone or melamine boards, they blunted a really keen blade, I rather use softwood or plastic cutting mats.

            Prevention is better than cure, - do it right the first time!

            The more I learn, the more I realise how little I know

            Neillís Pompeiii #1
            Neillís kitchen underway


            • #7
              Re: Knife Sharpeners


              open up the sharpener and reverse the cutting edges. They are dual sided.
              You can also buy replacements...



              • #8
                Re: Knife Sharpeners

                Originally posted by nissanneill View Post
                ... and they end up as sharp as razors and cut you without you even feeling it, unless it is a deep cut. ... You can watch the blade push into your finger and not even feel it, they are that sharp.
                Now you're talkin' my kind of sharp, Neill. I don't particularly like cutting myself... but if (when) I do I like it to be a surprise.. I prefer not to watch, though!


                • #9
                  Re: Knife Sharpeners

                  If you want to see sharp...

                  I bought some kyocera ceramic knives in Japan. Scary sharp, I have lost several very fine slivers of the ends of my fingers... didn't feel a thing.

                  Great for slicing but no chopping as they will splinter.

                  You can only get them sharpened on the diamond grinding stone back at the factory.


                  • #10
                    Re: Knife Sharpeners

                    I use a diamond steel - about 14" - and sharpen them in the way a butcher would. That way, the knife ends up being sharpened to your pattern, which is different to how anyone else will do it. If you need to really sort a dull edge, then more pressure on the steel will help.

                    Most people make the mistake of trying to sharpen new stainless knives on their old Grannys steel - which is carbon steel ! You end up dulling the stainless on the carbon ! If you don't have a diamond steel, the back of another large stainless knife will do at a push. The square edge of the knife back imitaites the groove and point on a steel.

                    For real detail work, and getting dinks out of blades, I use a Lansky sharpening system. Its time consuming, but it means the blades don't get hot and lose their tempering.

                    Most blades have a double bevel to start with, and its this second bevel that you will be working with one of the fixed angle diamond pair sharpeners. Eventually, the edge gets over square, and loses its ability to hold an edge - thats when you need a regrind by someone who knows what they are doing. Some of my knives are 15 years old, and I can still keep a decent edge on them.

                    One tip - if you have a knife block, USE IT ! But remember to put the knives in on thier backs, and you wont dull the edge as you pull them out of the block. Knives in kitchen drawers are a danger, and they dull quickly.




                    • #11
                      Re: Knife Sharpeners

                      Originally posted by PeterW View Post
                      (snip) One tip - if you have a knife block, USE IT ! But remember to put the knives in on thier backs, and you wont dull the edge as you pull them out of the block. Knives in kitchen drawers are a danger, and they dull quickly.
                      I second that advise. For carbon steel knives, however, I tend to favor magnetic bars since storing them "in the open" allows any residual moisture to dry... reducing the possibility of rust.


                      • #12
                        Re: Knife Sharpeners

                        In a pinch you can sharpen a knife on the unglazed bottom of a ceramic coffee mug. If you are in someone else's kitchen and need a sharp knife, this works pretty well.
                        My geodesic oven project: part 1, part 2


                        • #13
                          Re: Knife Sharpeners

                          There is a skill involved with imparting an appropriate shape to a knife edge....

                          That said, my challenge has always been to keep a consistent angle between the knife and the stone (steel, diamond, etc). I produced more round edges that didn't really cut than I can remember...

                          I bought one of these units at the local 'box sporting goods' store, and have had great success keeping the knives in the kitchen sharp. Paid less than $30 USD. For me it forces me to keep a consistent angle through the process of changing the shape of the steel in the knife to create a sharp edge.

                          Lansky Standard Knife Sharpening System

                          After using this set of stones, I can then maintain the edge for a period of weeks with the steel.

                          - One way to a sharp edge..



                          • #14
                            Re: Knife Sharpeners

                            A word here about using a steel, which was shown to me by a Henkels rep many a moon ago. You plant the point of the steel in your cutting board and stroke the blade up the length of the file, with the edge facing down. This is the safest way, both of your hands are out of the line of fire, and, standing above it, you can better visually judge the angle of the blade.
                            My geodesic oven project: part 1, part 2


                            • #15
                              Re: Knife Sharpeners

                              Originally posted by dmun View Post
                              A word here about using a steel, which was shown to me by a Henkels rep many a moon ago.
                              Many moons ago a Henkels rep even gave me a little wooden block, about 3 square inches, with "sticky pads" underneath and a dimple square in the middle of it to hold the tip of the steel. It really was quite useful and I used it for a while, but then found an alternative use for it... as a stand for an autographed baseball that is displayed in our china cabinet.