Sharp knives are an important asset in every kitchen and trying to use a blunt one brings nothing but frustration as it slows you down and it also requires more pressure for it to chop meat. This is why every knife should be taken care of and kept sharp.Sharpening shaves your knife and it is to be done less frequently. A blunt knife is more dangerous than a sharp one; here is how you can sharpen your knife.
Butcher Sharpening Waterstone / Oilstone
A waterstone or oilstone is a better way of sharpening your knife though it might take a little more time than you would expect. Firstly, you need to know which type of stone quality you want to use; it can be ceramic, diamond-edged or any hard stone.The stone you choose should be particle free.You immerse the stone in water for at least 10 minutes before using it. This is done so as to lubricate the stone and avoid risking the blade into turning to hot. Place the stone on a non-slippery surface or on top of a damp cloth, that will give it a grip. Position your blade’s edge on the stone at a 20 to 30degree angle. To properly position your knife to the required degree, you place your knife in a position perpendicular to the stone and then move it 2/3 the way down. This is as per Hyper Meats instructions. This leaves a 20degree angle between the knife and stone. Run the knife away from you on the stone’s rougher surface for about half a dozen times, making sure to swipe the blade all the way through to the tip.Do this for both sides of the blade and you will have a better edge.You can also immerse the stone in oil before using it.Once you start using water, for one sharpening, avoid using oil next time, the same goes for the oil.
Butcher Sharpening Steel
For some, depending on where you buy your knives, a sharpening steel comes with knife sets. It is also referred to as a honing rod and in actual fact it does not necessarily sharpen the knives but it corrects the edges of the blade making it sharper.Place your still on the countertop, where it will not slip and fall; you can apply the damp cloth trick to give the steel grip.Hold your knife with the tip touching the kitchen counter such that the sharpener is perpendicular to it. Make sure you are holding your knife at a 20degree angle from the steel before you swipe the blade in an arc motion across through a single pointing the sharpener.You should do this for both sides of the blades.
An Electric Butcher Knife Sharpener
An electric butcher knife sharpener is the easiest sharpening tool you can use; this is because it comes with instructions as to how to use it. Having this device is also an advantage because it allows for varying degrees of sharpening, accommodating not only butcher knives but all knife blade thicknesses. To sharpen your butcher knife, you place it in the device and pass it through. When holding the knife in a down motion, make sure that the tip of the blade is facing you; this will guarantee the sharpening of the entire blade without trouble. Repeat the process for two to three times. Clean your knife after, to remove all tiny metal piecesfrom it. It is important to watch out for the heat generated by the electric sharpeneras it can cause damage to the device, the knife or you if the device is not used properly.
Mug / Cup
This is not the best way of sharpening a butcher knife with common kitchen items works.You can use the bottomof a ceramic mug or cup. Position your knife well such that you get the 20degree angle and slide the blade of the knife across the grit of the mug or cup. Do this for both sides of the blade and your knife will be good to chop.
Is Honing the Same as Sharpening?
Most people confuse honing with sharpening, yet these two are different. Sharpening as explained above, shaves your knife and it is to be done less frequently. Honing is re-centering the edge of the knife. When the knife is used, pressure is exerted to its thin edge and the edge becomes dull because it is not centered.Using the honing steel, you rub the blade and the edge is put back to the center. The safest way to use when honing is pointing the table or countertop with the honing steel and draw the knife swipe the knife towards the table. Alternatively, you can hold the honing steel out in front of you and draw the knife down the steel towards you; both methods yield the best results.When honing, position your blade at a 20degree angle; this way you won’t be making the blade duller.When swiping the knife on the honing steel, start from the heel of the knife, putting pressure against the metal so that you can center the edge. If you repeat this process half a dozen times, then the best results will be attained.
How to Care for Your Knives
- Be mindful of the surfaces you cut on as these can affect the condition of your knife. Hard, metal, granite, aluminum and glass surfaces dull your knife. Choose a cutting board made from proper materials, which are plastic and wood.
- Wash your knives by hand and avoid stuffing them into the dishwasher as the heat dulls them quickly.
- Store your knife properly, having a space dedicated to them only, be it a drawer or knife block, or even magnetic boards. Avoid keeping your knives in a drawer with other cutlery, you might cut yourself while rummaging in the drawer. Also, when the knife bangs against other metals its edges become dull.
- Keep the blade of your knife facing away from you at all times, lest you hurt yourself and never try to catch a falling knife.