A good knife is an indispensable kitchen tool, whether it’s a paring knife or a chef’s knife, the quality of the blade can affect your efficiency and precision in the kitchen. A good knife will set you back by a pretty sum. Fortunately, your knife should last for years with the right amount of care.
For your knife to last, the blade’s sharpness must be maintained. You can hone and sharpen your knives with simple tools at home, but it is always recommended that you have them sharpened by a pro every now and then.
But, how often should you get your knives professionally sharpened?
It’s a good question with no straight answer since there are several conditions.
How Often Should You Get Your Knives Professionally Sharpened?
A dull knife is more dangerous than a sharp one. Because it requires more force to cut food with a dull blade, it’s easier for accidents to happen.
A quick way to check whether your blade is sharp or not is to try to cut through a tomato. A sharp blade will quickly slice through the skin while a dull blade will push down onto the fruit and smash it, leaving a mess on the cutting board.
How often you need to sharpen your knives depends on how often you use them. You can hone them with a rod or sharpen them yourself using a pull-through sharpener (go here for the Chef’s Sharpener from Cubikook— one of my favorite kitchen tool brands) or electric sharpener every few months. However, it is still a good idea to get them professionally sharpened from time to time.
Why Use a Professional Knife Sharpener?
To sharpen a knife effectively, you need a good eye for the angle and a steady hand. Typically, the edge angle of the blade can vary from 15 to 20 degrees depending on where the knife was manufactured, the brand, and also the type of knife. A professional knife sharpener can determine the exact angle of the blade and sharpen it accordingly for the best cutting performance.
Sharpening your knives involves shaving off a fine layer of the metal that makes up the edge of the blade. It results in a new edge that should be as sharp as it was when you bought it. Sharpening will also eradicate any nicks and dents in the metal. Because you remove a small amount of metal every time you sharpen the blade, it will eventually erode the size and thickness of the blade.
Professionals can minimize this erosion by shaving off very little metal to increase the blade’s longevity and preserve its shape.
Professionals also have special tools for the job. They can prevent the blade from overheating during the sharpening process. Heat can destroy the temper and render the metal brittle and prone to breakage.
If you use your knives often you may have to have them professionally sharpened every three months or so. For moderate use, a half-yearly or an annual professional job may be sufficient. Scalloped and serrated knives are difficult to sharpen by yourself, so a professional job is the best way to go when they need sharpening.
Honing to Keep a Keen Edge
Using a honing rod from time to time can help to keep the edge straight and true. Honing doesn’t sharpen the edge of the blade. It straightens the edge.
Every time you cut something, microscopic fragments of steel bend to either side of the blade. Honing the blade returns the edge to a flat, sharp surface.
You can hone as often as you like since it doesn’t affect the life of the blade. Usually honing the blade’s edge after every two or three uses is sufficient to keep the edge sharp and precise. Eventually, even honing may become ineffective, signaling that it is time to sharpen the blade.
Preserving the Edge
Caring for your knives will increase their longevity, here are some tips to preserve the cutting edge:
- Avoid cutting on hard surfaces such as metal, glass, or stone. They will damage the knife’s edge.
- Make sure that you wash your knives in warm, soapy water after each use. Don’t put them in the dishwasher as heat and pressure can damage the handle and blunt the cutting edge.
- When it comes to preserving blades, storage is all-important. Don’t just toss it into the cutlery drawer. Invest in a magnetic knife strip or a knife block.