Look after your knife and it will work well and be a good investment. If you neglect it and allow it to blunt it will not perform and be a danger to you and others. It will not cut and will rquire more force to cut, uncontrolled force that can lead to slipping and accidents. A blunt knife will cut you as easily and more often than a well sharpened knife.
How to care for your knife
- Do not cut on a hard surface only use a wooden or nylon cutting board. Worktops and glass chopping boards will blunt a knife quickly.
- Clean knives in hot soapy water. Dishwashers use salt as a rinse aid and this corrodes the knife, if you leave them in overnight.
- Dry knives properly and keep them away from hard edges and each other in a block or knife roll. Knives rattling around in a draw soon loose their edge.
- Maintain the edge with a steel or sharpening stone.
The knife steel & how to use it
First start with sharp knives or a steel will not help. A steel keeps a working edge, it removes imperfections that occur as the knife works and also pushes the knife edge back into a cutting position, knife edges bend slightly and bendy metal breaks eventually, then a blunt knife appears.
The type of steel you need is a fine cut steel and probably easiest to use. Place the knife-edge on the steel and make the angle between the knife and the steel about 10 degrees. This angle can change from knife to knife for instance a fish fillet knife will need less angle say 5 degree but a cleaver more angle say 20 degree. The included angle is then 40 degree for the cleaver and 10 degree for the fillet knife a good general included angle is about 20 degree.
Then slowly, very slowly, start to draw the knife along the steel using the whole length of knife along the whole length of steel keeping the same angle (slowly). As you get more proficient you will get faster, and your knives will stay sharper longer (PRACTICE Sloowly).
- When this is mastered you can then look into diamond steels that remove steel from the knife-edge, that’s why people swear by diamond steels. However if you get the angle wrong you blunt the knife very quickly.
- You can also look into a totally smooth polishing steel that will leave your edges like a razor.
Steel a knife during and after use as required. The longer you leave it the harder it is to keep an edge.
There are many types and shapes and sizes of steel choose from. A 12 inch oval or round fine steel is a good general type.