View Full Version : Sharpening a kitchen knife?

19th Jan 2013, 23:06
Have a draw full of blunt kitchen knives. Like old key's, I'm not keen on chucking them out.

Lovely & sharp when I buy'em, and keep 'em good with a rod (?stave) then all seems lost.

Got an electric knife sharpener in the shed, but doesn't seem to help things.

Sharpen me' axe on an oil stone, it cuts logs well, but 'aint so good at slicing tomatoes:p

Are my old friend's salvageable, or should I just spend more time in Wilkos. (A damn fine shop.)

Airborne Aircrew
19th Jan 2013, 23:11
Learn how to sharpen a knife. There's a million videos on You thingy showing you how if you lack the skill currently...

Adam Nams
19th Jan 2013, 23:21
Haven't you got a 'man' for that sort of thing?

19th Jan 2013, 23:32
Haven't you got a 'man' for that sort of thing?

We had "Tommy." Used to drive around on a moped&sidecar, grinding wheel attached, unfortunately he jossed it. Have checked out u tube, all saying slightly different things:p

19th Jan 2013, 23:58
Wetstone - 600 grit followed by 1000 grit. Final polish with a leather strop and honing paste.

If you still fail to get a finely honed blade, invest in a set of damascus beaten blades and a decent diamond steel; go Japanese if you will, but you have to look after them!

20th Jan 2013, 00:31
I'm convinced kitchen knives need a steel. And you don't need to do the fancy swish swosh of chefs. Just place the steel vertical on a solid table and have the knives at a 30 degree ish angle. Within seconds they'll be as good as new. Assuming they were decent blades to start with.

Never tried electric sharpeners, but I have been told the reason blades go dull is microscopically the metal bends left and right. To make it sharp it just needs straightening.

20th Jan 2013, 01:25
Sounds as though you have lost the original knife edge and have worn the blade edge too far back to a point where it is too thick to sharpen well. Need to re-work one back on either an oil or water stone, (NOT a grinder), then keep it sharp with a steel. I recently bought a Sekimagoroku, unbelievable!

20th Jan 2013, 02:07
Steels are for straightening blades and should be used before each use of the knife
Whetstones are for sharpening the blade
Different types of knife may need a different whetstone depending on the steel type

Electric sharpeners are crap

20th Jan 2013, 02:22
The Tri Angle Sharpener from Spyderco is excellent for someone like me who finds it hard to use a steel.
Can be found for less money than the manufacturers charge in this link

:: Spyderco :: (http://m.spyderco.com/catalog/details.php?product=77)


20th Jan 2013, 02:55
We had a hand held device that only cost a couple of quid in a local hardware store, you simply run the blade of your knife backwards and forwards through and with very minimal effort and nice sharp edge was restored in no time. However that gadget and those knives are now redundant.

About 5 years ago we were in Debenhams and heard a tannoy message along the lines of get your free vegetable knife at 12pm on the 3rd floor. Not ones to miss's a bargain Mrs Seldom and I popped along and watched the sales pitch for these

World's Sharpest Knife: Amazon.co.uk: Kitchen & Home (mods please excuse the advertising but I could not find another example)

At the time the box set was going for about 20 so we took a punt and it was one of the best 20's we ever spent. The long knife as depicted in the box set is the absolute dream for dicing veggies, cutting bread, carving meat etc etc and the only maintenance required is to put it in the dishwasher after use.

Heresy I know for the serious knife aficionados out there but they do and are still doing everything that I could want of them :ok:

20th Jan 2013, 03:43
Was watching a TV chef's contest show and one of the most sought after prizes was a set of knifes that retail at a thousand, yes a thousand, dollars an inch.

An eight inch chef's knife costs eight thousand USD.

On one of the demonstrations of just how sharp these knifes are, a piece of paper was dropped edged side down onto the knife's blade and was cut in half.

Now, it I could just remember the name of the company. :\

Loose rivets
20th Jan 2013, 05:05
My granddad was a butcher. One of the two memories I have of him is him sharpening a knife on a steel. I could hardly see the blade it was going so fast.

When I cleared my house out a while back, it was one of the things that got left behind.:{

Now, here's a thing. Don't blunt the darn blade in the first place.

People set about cooking, singing merrily in time to their crashing the blade down on some dumb block, and worse still, on some even dumber plastic cutting board. CUT AT AN ANGLE. Heck, it almost sharpens the blade while you use it.

Sharpening steel is difficult. Recently, I've spent time on the net trying to learn from the old-timers. Bloody kids of today. Bending the edge? WTF!

The burr edge is difficult to get rid of. I'm never quite sure how it's supposed to be done. The chisel and plane aficionados seem to be saying it just breaks off after so many bends. That seems weird, but looking at it with an eyeglass does show it there one moment and gone the next.

Nowt nicer than a sharp chisel. (unless you expose yer finger bone with one. :ooh:)

A knife that stays much the same shape for years is too hard. You'll need diamond or a lot of patience to sharpen that. A nice old Prestige knife is quite good, but a steel will curve the blade over five years or so. At least you know you're taking metal off with each swipe.

Often I used a knife after the Rivetess has 'sharpened' it. :* It only takes ONE bad pass to f-up a hundred good ones.

Danger: Cheap knives that are only sharpened on one side. The cut f:mad:s orf one way. So often in the direction of fingertips. Throw them out, having rubbed them on concrete first.

20th Jan 2013, 08:08
Two things are man should always have - polished shoes and a sharp knife.

20th Jan 2013, 08:17
My God! Not another interminable sharpening thread, full of instant experts?? What has this turned into, the Woodwork Forum?? :rolleyes:

One word. No, two words. Swiss Istor. Google it.

20th Jan 2013, 08:24
another point... keep knives in a block rather than a drawer, rattling around with misc. utensils is the worst thing for the blade.

personally i swear by a chinese cleaver for regular use and a heavier cleaver for more sturdy use.

20th Jan 2013, 08:44
Personally speaking when the moon is full and the voices in my head tell me to kill I find that any old blade will do.

Solid Rust Twotter
20th Jan 2013, 09:04
A dull knife is merely a stick and can be more dangerous to the user than a sharp one. I have a set of Victorinox knives that work very well and are kept razor sharp, although I also like using a Chinese cleaver. Cutting paper thin slices of ripe tomato is a doddle.

Milo Minderbinder
20th Jan 2013, 09:14
Go a your local gypsy camp and ask
Some of the older Romanies and Tinkers still have the skills

Big Hammer
20th Jan 2013, 09:51
My late Father in law was a butcher. He told me that old steel was the best material for any blade be it knife, chisel etc. He would sharpen a knife and then could dry shave the hairs on his arm with it.

20th Jan 2013, 09:56
Has anyone seen recently the chap on the bike with the front wheel driving a grindstone via a belt ? Used to be a regular when I was a nipper. Along with the onion sellers, they seem to have disappeared also.

20th Jan 2013, 10:06
Go a your local gypsy camp and ask
Some of the older Romanies and Tinkers still have the skills

they are few and far between..

now if you want your drive tarmac'd or a few fridges and stripped out mot failures dumped on your front garden you'll be in luck.

Windy Militant
20th Jan 2013, 11:54
Are they Stainless blades? If they are then they are usually induction hardened or similar which helps keep them sharp initially. The hardening is only a few microns deep so after the first sharpening they will go blunt almost immediately they are used. Of the kitchen knives I have the best are two I bought from the local cash n carry for 99p. Even they get to the point where trying to slice tomatoes is more like squashing them to death, but a quick flick with the steel and they produce paper thin slices in the softest toms.
I find that apart from thinning the blade to give the right angle, most of the small sharpening grinders are the wrong grade grit for sharpening stainless steel. The proprietary sharpeners aren't much better as all they do is tear the edge so you basically have a small saw.
A fine diamond hone is pretty handy I've even sharpened disposable blades for a modelling plane with it..

20th Jan 2013, 12:08
No-one with a Ceramic knife/knives then?

They looked like serious bits of kit when I saw them on TV.

G&T ice n slice
20th Jan 2013, 13:32
surely, under Health & Safety laws and all the other laws that criminalise almost everything we say, do or think we actually aren't permiited to have sharp knives?

20th Jan 2013, 13:37
Yes, Vulc., got one some weeks ago via a "Groupon" offer, a 4 1/2" blade. Use it daily in preference to any other for most cutting-up of vegetables and (boneless) meat. It came with a load of instructions of what not to do with it - basically it is pot, so it's susceptible to sharp knocks that will chip the edge, and musn't be bent or twisted or it will shatter. So we avoid anything with bones or nuts inside.

Cuts a treat and wouldn't hesitate to get another size if I get the chance.


20th Jan 2013, 13:44
Once you get a decent knife , you need to take care of it. No glass or marble chopping boards, use wood or bamboo ( something which has some "give" in it) or you'll blunt them prematurely.
no dishwasher
no throwing them in a drawer
OH uses "henckle" (sp?) knives - they seem to work well -for a few hundred dollars each.
He has one seriously badass knive he imported from Japan last time he was there, it is so sharp it scares the living bejesus out of me.
last time he tried to clean it he accidentally sliced the sponge in half:eek:

20th Jan 2013, 13:48
I bought two excellent and expensive ceramic bladed kitchen knives.

But no good for someone here who is "too strong for light work" (not me).

My son offered to cook a meal. He snapped both by using the blade sideways to crush garlic on the chopping board, exactly as I'd told him not to do.

Having tried the big one and broken it, he did the same with the second. :ugh:

Especially annoying as I have a Japanese cleaver in the same block, perfectly strong enough to do jobs like that.

Thing is.... how do you safely dispose of a ceramic knife? You can't!

20th Jan 2013, 14:59
I have quite a number of knives from different manufacturers. My favourites are the Japanese ones. I always sharpen knives on Japanese stones. I have sharpening steels of various roughness and can't use any of them successfully. I have also tried those sharpening gizmos (the wheels the knife blade goes between). Most of them do not do a good job.

Keep knives in a block and do not put in a dish washer. Also, only chop on wood or soft plastic.

I am not a knife expert by any means, but the above are a few things I have learnt the hard way.

Loose rivets
20th Jan 2013, 17:31
But this block thing - how do you keep the holes clean?

20th Jan 2013, 17:36
My block things is made from plastic and metal. I wash it in the sink. Besides which only clean knives go back in to it. Really only the outside gets dirty. The outside gets washed with detox weekly. The whole lot gets washed probably monthly.

20th Jan 2013, 20:12
Gingernut, you might find that a local independent kitchen ware shop, one that sells quality knives, might have a knife sharpening service for a few quid per knife.

To keep them sharp I use diamond sharpeners usually starting with a 600 fine grade, going on to a 1200 extra fine, and finishing with honing paste. They don't need doing more than once a month or so. I have never got the hang of using a steel, but I think they are only really for de-burring an edge.

DMT Diafold Whetstones (http://www.starkiesharp.com/starkiesharp-dmt-diafold-whetstones.html#DMT_Magna_Guide)

Fieldsports (http://www.starkiesharp.com/fieldsports-knife-sharpening.html)

21st Jan 2013, 18:52
I read this thread all the way through in the hope that I would find my answer - how do you sharpen a really good pair of nail scissors. No such luck. I have tried all the various methods but suppose I will have to dump them and buy new. :ugh:

21st Jan 2013, 19:37
Scissor sharpening?

I use a diamond sharpening rod. It's like a propelling pencil but instead of a lead it has a 6mm diameter, retractable inner rod, with one edge shaved flat and with tiny diamonds embedded in the surface. I hone the entire cutting edge of each blade lengthways, being careful to match the angle it was born with. This thing also has a groove down the back edge, so fish hooks can be honed, not that I use it for that. Works very well indeed.

21st Jan 2013, 20:19
Scissor sharpening? Ask your barber where he gets his scissors sharpened. They usually take a few days, and only costs a few quid: scissors are quite difficult in my experience.

21st Jan 2013, 20:27
I bought a set of 3 ceramic knives with stand from Lakeland for 50 at Christmas. So far, so good. Very sharp.

21st Jan 2013, 21:36
I wonder if there have yet been any domestic homicides involving the attempted use of a ceramic knife as a screwdriver?

21st Jan 2013, 22:04
Use a steel. I use one each time I want to cut stuff.

Don't buy knives whose blades you can bend.

Japanese knives are the way to go.

Renew the steel every couple of years.

Cut easy my friend.


Airborne Aircrew
21st Jan 2013, 22:48
Use a steel. I use one each time I want to cut stuff.


My wife used to laugh...

21st Jan 2013, 23:01

I know sharpening knives is a PITA but once you learn, you never forget.
I have stones, steels and the cheapies depending on what I am trying to sharpen.

However, if you are buying another set of knives in the future,
have a look at the Miracle Blade 3 set of knives in a block.

I used to use Spyderco knives when rappelling climbing as they
always cut the rope when required because of the scalloped edge.
So one day when I saw a set of Miracle Blade 3's for sale at a good
price, I grabbed them.

That was about 6 years ago and I haven't had to sharpen them yet.

The range in the block is good as well, virtually a knife for
every need in the kitchen.

Yes, I know at one point they were advertised on those TV sales speel
things but they are actually very good. I did my research before buying

21st Jan 2013, 23:13
My wife is a hair sylist. Her key implement is her 'shears', too good to be called scissors. Her shears cost about $500 US. She, and the other girls in the salon, has them sharpened by a pro about every six weeks or so for $50. He comes in, does his work in the salon, and walks out with $1,000 or so after two hours' work. He also sells shears and other tools of the trade.

I think the sharpener has a pretty good gig.

24th Jan 2013, 19:18
Barber? I'm totally bald. LOL

25th Jan 2013, 18:56
Bald with long jagged nails? :D