Sharpening Knives

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John A
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2006/03/11 10:10:11 (permalink)

Sharpening Knives

I do not imagine any of you use a Chef’s Choice knife sharpener but I would appreciate your opinions of these things for an amateur. I have never been able to master the art of sharpening by hand and am considering one.

Thank You,

John

#1

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    Phishmonger
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    RE: Sharpening Knives 2006/03/11 10:31:58 (permalink)
    Hi John... I own one of these sharpeners and have had good results with it. The only caution, which I discovered after CAREFULLY reading the instruction booklet, is you CANNOT use a steel to touch up the edge. If you do, the edge is ruined. I find it great for keeping my most used knives ready for work. Especially great with paring knives.
    #2
    John A
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    RE: Sharpening Knives 2006/03/11 13:00:58 (permalink)
    Thank you, which model do you have? Their description indicates that the machine does the job of a steel.

    John
    #3
    prisonchef
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    RE: Sharpening Knives 2006/03/11 13:54:21 (permalink)
    john,
    if you have single bevel oriental or japanese knives under no circumstances should you use the electric sharpener. i would however recommend that if you want a truly honed edge and have to use an electric that you invest in a large piece of what is called "cat's tongue" leather, some 15,000 grit aluminum oxide powder and a large piece of hard chrome leather. this will allow you to hone or polish the edge or "set" it without using a steel. myself i use japanese waterstones and the leather honing method. makes a steel rather superfluous and it produces a more durable edge.
    jack
    #4
    Michael Hoffman
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    RE: Sharpening Knives 2006/03/11 16:07:30 (permalink)
    Unless you wanted to spring for around $350 to acquire one of Edgecraft's professional Chef's Choice machines, I'd recommend against the things. I had a consumer version. It did put a nice edge on blades, but it also meant that you couldn't use a regular steel. Yes, the machines do have their own "steel" slot, but inasmuch as you normally steel a knife before, during and after every use that means you'll be pulling out and plugging in your Chef's Choice machine several times a day. Plus using the machine to steel takes a heck of a lot more time than using an actual steel. Plus, considering the prices, a couple of good stones and a steel are lots more money-friendly.If you have a difficult time using stones properly, you can always get a Lansky or Gatco sharpener. They're not expensive and anyone can get a terrific edge with either one of them -- and, you can use a regular steel anytime you want. After having put several of my knives through my Chef's Choice I finally took them in and had them reground to put a normal edge back on the blades, and I haven't used the thing since.
    #5
    BT
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    RE: Sharpening Knives 2006/03/11 21:08:00 (permalink)
    I'm with you John and I have used a Chef's Choice since they came out in the 80's. I have a moderately expensive 3-slot electrical version (top of the line when I bought it decades ago), but I find myself using a newer, smaller 2-slot manual version more often because I keep it next to my cutting board and when a knife seems a little dull (slicing resistance noted) I give it a quick sharpening. I've read all the "issues" about the difference between the edge it puts on knives and the traditional edge but results are what matter to me and after a quick, simple use of the Chef's Choice, my knives are much sharper. A steel does not actually sharpen knives. It straightens out or "adjusts" (honing is probably the precise term) the edge but to really sharpen a dull knife you have to use a stone, preferably varying grits (coarse to fine) and it's just too much trouble--especially when you are starting to prep a meal and notice your knife is dull--unless you are an expert. Lazy, inexpert folks like me most often just make do with dull knives, but with the Chef's Choice we don't have to.
    #6
    John A
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    RE: Sharpening Knives 2006/03/12 16:04:13 (permalink)
    Thanks all. BT, you're the man. After reading your post I went to Target and bought the manual Chef's Choice you mentioned, it does the tick on my stainless knives. I was going to buy one of the top of the line models, you saved me over a hundred bucks. If you ever get to Daytona Beach I owe you one.

    Thanks,

    John
    #7
    BT
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    RE: Sharpening Knives 2006/03/12 16:53:06 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by John A

    Thanks all. BT, you're the man. After reading your post I went to Target and bought the manual Chef's Choice you mentioned, it does the tick on my stainless knives. I was going to buy one of the top of the line models, you saved me over a hundred bucks. If you ever get to Daytona Beach I owe you one.

    Thanks,

    John


    It's possible you'll have to pay up. I get to Daytona Beach annually because all of my family lives in Ormond (North Peninsula). I was there for Christmas 2005.
    #8
    stevencarry
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    RE: Sharpening Knives 2006/03/12 16:58:09 (permalink)
    BT, since you like this subject. Tell me why it seems everywhere I've seen and read the experts say to NEVER sharpen knifes, let a pro do it.
    #9
    rjb
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    RE: Sharpening Knives 2006/03/12 17:28:28 (permalink)
    I used to use a Chefs Choice and felt it was mediocre at best. I've used a DMT diamond stone (the large one) for some time now and its fantastic, providing you take the time to develop some proficiency at keeping a consistent blade angle. That plus a steel every time I pick up a knife keeps them shaving sharp.
    #10
    BT
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    RE: Sharpening Knives 2006/03/12 22:10:21 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by stevencarry

    BT, since you like this subject. Tell me why it seems everywhere I've seen and read the experts say to NEVER sharpen knifes, let a pro do it.


    Because they do the best job and don't "ruin" the edge like doing it yourself can. I realize the Chef's Choice is a compromise. Most people who use one do. But I don't feel like hauling my knives to a pro on a regular basis--and since I live so near the CA Culinary Academy, there's a knife sharpening shop only 2 blocks away. It's harder for most people. And like I said before, it's the results that count. I can certainly tell the difference in how my knives cut after sharpening them with the Chef's Choice so I'm happy with it even though I know it has a different type of edge than a pro would put on it.
    #11
    Pigiron
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    RE: Sharpening Knives 2006/03/13 01:56:33 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by stevencarry

    BT, since you like this subject. Tell me why it seems everywhere I've seen and read the experts say to NEVER sharpen knifes, let a pro do it.



    I wholeheartedly agree. No knife sharpening gadget will EVER do one-tenth the job of a professional sharpener, and you'll more than likely ruin your good knives. I mail my knives to Mr. Leonard in
    Virginia. He does a simply amazing job for $4 per knife.

    http://www.mrleonardknifesharpener.com/
    #12
    John A
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    RE: Sharpening Knives 2006/03/13 11:53:33 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by BT

    quote:
    Originally posted by John A

    Thanks all. BT, you're the man. After reading your post I went to Target and bought the manual Chef's Choice you mentioned, it does the tick on my stainless knives. I was going to buy one of the top of the line models, you saved me over a hundred bucks. If you ever get to Daytona Beach I owe you one.

    Thanks,

    John


    It's possible you'll have to pay up. I get to Daytona Beach annually because all of my family lives in Ormond (North Peninsula). I was there for Christmas 2005.


    Let me know when.

    John
    #13
    essvee
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    RE: Sharpening Knives 2006/03/13 12:04:49 (permalink)
    If you take care of your knives (don't store them in a drawer, put them in the dishwasher or the dish rack, etc.), own a good steel and use it properly, don't cut on the counter (I like wood boards instead of plastic, I think they treat the edge better), you only need to have your knives reground twice or even once a year. Not to disparage the folks who wish to pursue better living through electricity, but the old-fashioned way isn't so odious and difficult. My two cents.
    #14
    prisonchef
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    RE: Sharpening Knives 2006/03/13 12:39:25 (permalink)
    can someone explain to me why i,as a professional chef,would ever entrust the very tools that i use to make my living to anyone else?? by sharpening your own knives you have the ability to;
    1- find the bevel angle that best suits your style and needs
    2- allows you to recognize the differences in the steel your knives are composed of and thus fine tune the type of steel to the job at hand.
    3- by using the proper whetstones it will increase the life of your knives as you will not have as much metal removal during the sharpening process.
    4- by using either a steel or leather strop system to hone the dge you will reduce the times that the use of a stone is required to touch up your blade
    sorry i went kind of off but to me sharpening a knife is as much a part of being a chef as cost controls are.
    #15
    V960
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    RE: Sharpening Knives 2006/03/15 12:30:52 (permalink)
    I have to laugh...I use a solid brick 95% of the time I sharpen my knives. I put it under running water and go to town. I learned this from a sushi chef who kidded me about my hard, medium and soft stones...not to mention the super expensive water stones I bought in Japan.

    A 50 cent brick works just great. Keep a constant angle(10-15 %) and you're fine. Electric sharpeners?...not for me.
    #16
    Jeza
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    RE: Sharpening Knives 2006/03/18 01:04:43 (permalink)
    Depends on your knives.

    Use diamond block sharpeners if you use ceramic or crystalline steel knives like Globals.

    Use stone and steel for heavy steel knives like Tridents.
    #17
    V960
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    RE: Sharpening Knives 2006/03/18 14:26:28 (permalink)
    Jeza,
    Slap the person who told you that crap.
    #18
    Jeza
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    RE: Sharpening Knives 2006/03/18 20:05:37 (permalink)
    Richard Geen Head Chef of Amanapuri resort group. Brayden Birss Sous Chef Nicholsen St Restaurant London (aka Anton Callucio's restaurant) also backed him up on that.

    I have a 20 piece set of globals that I have used for 20 odd year. The blades on them are very very good, and extremely sharp. I used a steel on one and it pretty much ruined the sharpening of it. However I don't mind being wrong on this, its just what has worked for me.

    I should also add Brayden was the captain of the NZ karate team for 10 years, so I won't be slapping him...ever....

    #19
    V960
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    RE: Sharpening Knives 2006/03/20 13:57:14 (permalink)
    ok, he can kick your butt...ignore him.
    #20
    porkbeaks
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    RE: Sharpening Knives 2006/03/20 14:33:04 (permalink)
    This inexpensive knife sharpening system was recommended to me some years ago by a knife guy at a gun show. My 20+ year old set of Wusthoff's is always sharp and it's pretty easy to keep them that way. YMMV, pb

    http://www.edgemaker.com/4_step.htm
    #21
    prisonchef
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    RE: Sharpening Knives 2006/03/20 16:23:20 (permalink)
    jeza,
    guess you found out karate kid didnt know diddly about globals or any other japanese knife.
    #22
    Jeza
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    RE: Sharpening Knives 2006/03/20 18:56:24 (permalink)
    Prisonchef,

    I dunno, my blades are still really good and all I have ever used is a diamond block sharpener. Dale Drake (ex head chef at River cafe London and our former exec chef)used it for a while on his globals and loved it. However he was moving onto heavier steel knives like Tridents as he found them easier to use.

    Brayden is a very good chef and it was from his advice and the guys I bought my knives off that I bought the diamond sharpner.

    Is there something else I should use?
    #23
    prisonchef
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    RE: Sharpening Knives 2006/03/21 16:13:51 (permalink)
    ok,
    just one tiny little question to answer your above question.
    are your knives single bevel???
    #24
    Jeza
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    RE: Sharpening Knives 2006/03/22 05:13:49 (permalink)
    No. I stopped sharpening for a single bevel because nof the use my knives suffer. Boning for example I needed bevel on both sides. Keep in mind htis isn't professional, as I am not a chef, just personal for home.
    #25
    Jimeats
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    RE: Sharpening Knives 2006/03/22 06:18:33 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by V960

    I have to laugh...I use a solid brick 95% of the time I sharpen my knives. I put it under running water and go to town. I learned this from a sushi chef who kidded me about my hard, medium and soft stones...not to mention the super expensive water stones I bought in Japan.

    A 50 cent brick works just great. Keep a constant angle(10-15 %) and you're fine. Electric sharpeners?...not for me.
    V960, Thanks tryed that brick trick yesterday on an old knife that I hardly use, I must say damn decient. I didn't use water though why the water? I'll continue to take my good knifes to the tinker he dose a great job and only 2 bucks a pop. Chow Jim
    #26
    bassrocker4u2
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    RE: Sharpening Knives 2006/03/22 06:44:11 (permalink)
    back in my corporate days, we had a service come by every two weeks. picked up all the knives(i think like a couple dozen), and had replacements ready. only charged 20-40 dollars a month. freshly sharpened were real nice, but by the time the two weeks were up, you sure could tell it was time.
    i looked all over, here in savannah for a stone, or any type of sharpener for a long time to no avail. one day, i found one at the restaurant, been there the whole time! it got knocked behind the freezer, or sinks, or something. anyway, it is the long round rod type with a handle. after a few attempts, i can do o.k. with it.

    havent seen a posting from 'scallion' in a long time...he still around?
    #27
    V960
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    RE: Sharpening Knives 2006/03/22 14:10:03 (permalink)
    Chow Jim,,
    The water carries away the metal as the brick cuts it away. Generally Europeans and Americans usee oil stones and Orientals use water stones.

    Brick works a bunch better than you would have thought it didn't it. I still use a Japanese water stone on my super expensive Aritsugu knives but almost everything else gets the brick.
    #28
    prisonchef
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    RE: Sharpening Knives 2006/03/22 17:52:29 (permalink)
    bassrocker,
    under the fridge?????
    musta been from the "early days" huh???
    #29
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