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How to maintain sharp knives

post #1 of 23
Thread Starter 

Hello

Does anyone have any advice for keeping knives sharp? I have a ten inch and a seven and a half inch victorinox chef knife.  I have other knives but they are serrated.  I have had a hard job keeping them sharp over the years.

I think the first thing to remember is sharpen them the same every time don't change the angles.  I have been recommended to sharpen at a 20 degree angle as opposed to the more traditional 45 degrees.  The reason is that you want to sharpen the knife at the angle of the edge of the knife.

I think where I have been going wrong over the years is not sharpening before and after use.  Like a lot of chefs I wait for it to go a bit blunt but by then it is to late. A still doesn't grind a knife it smooths  it over.  So by waiting for it to go a bit blunt would be like trying to smooths a surface with smooth sandpaper. To maintain a knife it should be sharpened before and after use. Also if it does loose it's edge the shop that I bought them from can grind them down for me so that will help

So I think I have a relatively good idea but if anyone has any more advice that would be appreciated.

post #2 of 23

i am confused when you say above sharpen a knife like other chefs  Before and after use ? 

you should not sharpen that often unless you are only using it once a year lol 

but seriously 

do you mean honing it with a steel not sharpening before and after use ? 

 

I use a steel every day on my Mercer that i use for hard veggies and when working with chickens or anything that still has a bone in it i steal or is it steel on that every time because the blad is just crap 

but my good kknife like my shun sora that i have been using for about 4 months now 

the first time i ever took a steel or steal to it was a week ago 

i plan on sharpning it probably in a few months every 6 months 

post #3 of 23
Thread Starter 

Hello

I don't know what knife you have but if I sharpened my knife once  a year it would not cut through butter lol.  I don't know any chef who sharpens them once a year.

post #4 of 23

i was being smart a$$ when i said that 

basicaly im saying if your sharpening it before and after each use then i am hoping you only use it once a year 

because your wearing that blade down to fast 

 

and if your saying your using a steel or is it a steal to sharpen it then your mistaken because that does not sharpen a knife it only helps to bring the blad back to form 

post #5 of 23

okay…… there is a difference between honing (using a sharpening steel) and sharpening, using a waterstone or other tools.

you seem to mean the latter.

do a google search and lots of videos will come up how to do it.

or get the book by chad ward, an edge in the kitchen, which is all about knives and how to sharpen them.

techniques on types of knives, edges on various knife sizes and knife types, and much more.

 

how often your knife needs sharpening depends on how much you use it.

if you're in the trade like many of us here, then few  times a year won't be enough.

I am known  to sharpen my knifes every week but then mine get a lot of use through the mise en place where I work.

plus, I love to work with sharp knives.

 

learning to sharpen your own knives takes a bit of time, but it's really worth it compared to sending them out and having to pay every time for the (not even always top notch!) service.

 

we all use sharpening steels (steel or ceramic, depending on knife and preference of the owner working with them)  throughout our day jobs when we are doing the prep. 

helps only to a point…..when the knife has gone dull already, it needs sharpening rather than steeling.

post #6 of 23
Thread Starter 

Hello

I think it is the American and English words are getting us confused lol.  I did mean honing it.  In England we tend to say sharpen even if using a steal.  Even though as you said you are not sharpening it you are realigning it

post #7 of 23

ChrisBristol 

I know some chefs that keep a steel at there work station and hone the blade 

pariodicaly threw the day 

i don''t understand why they need to do that every day like that 

i don't see them using it that much i think just for show lol 

 

i also know some chefs that do it before each use 

 

me i use my steel once a week 

i have 4 knives i use and probably if i only had one knife i would do it more often 

post #8 of 23
Thread Starter 

I saw a Gordan Ramsey video and he said to sharpen before and after use that is why I do it.

post #9 of 23

I think Gordon Ramsey is a great chef, but watching him use a steel is flat out horrifying.  I wouldn't let him sharpen a pencil for me much less a knife.

"Excellence is an art won by training and habituation. We do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence, but we rather have those because we have acted rightly. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit." - Aristotle
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"Excellence is an art won by training and habituation. We do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence, but we rather have those because we have acted rightly. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit." - Aristotle
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post #10 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by ChrisBristol View Post
 

I saw a Gordan Ramsey video and he said to sharpen before and after use that is why I do it.

i just gota say this because you brought up gordan ramsey in here 


not realated to this topic at all for this what im saying is i don't like him 

i found out a few weeks ago 

the on hells kitchen 

they hand out scripts 

and they tell you your supposed to mess up this item so that Ramsey can then come in and yell and scream and get all pissy and play like hes fixing it but the problem is it was never broken problem to start with 

 

ok my piece has been said lol 

post #11 of 23

Wrestling isn't real either.......

post #12 of 23

I don't have much of an opinion on Ramsey.  The character he plays on TV is pretty extreme but that's probably mostly just for the cameras.  Probably is kind of a dick- that's a common trait in chefs!  Whatever one says about him he has had two restaurants with Michelin stars, and while that's not the be-all-end-all it's something.

 

Just going on what I've seen on TV though he just flails away with the knife and wails on the steel.  Totally pointless to actually straightening the edge.

"Excellence is an art won by training and habituation. We do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence, but we rather have those because we have acted rightly. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit." - Aristotle
Reply
"Excellence is an art won by training and habituation. We do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence, but we rather have those because we have acted rightly. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit." - Aristotle
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post #13 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by Phaedrus View Post
 

 Whatever one says about him he has had two restaurants with Michelin stars, and while that's not the be-all-end-all it's something.

Actually he has had 8 (7 currently) restaurants that have Michelin stars out of 25 restaurants currently open.

 

The most successful (Chelsea) has held 3 stars since 2001 - 13 years.

 

Add 6 different TV shows and merchandising, and speaking engagements no wonder he is the greatest earning 'Chef' around. 

 

 

---------

 

edit to add back on track - I also would certainly not let him anywhere near my knives!  (way to much TV showboating)


Edited by MichaelGA - 3/25/14 at 6:50am

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"Plus, this method makes you look like a complete lunatic. If you care about that sort of thing".  - Dave Arnold

 

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"Plus, this method makes you look like a complete lunatic. If you care about that sort of thing".  - Dave Arnold

 

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post #14 of 23

ChrisBristol - I use knifes similar to victorinox at my work , and honestly they are not great knifes so i can understand why you are having issues keeping them sharp. With mine I hone them in-between everything I do just to keep up on it and use a stone on them every 3 months (depending on the amount of abuse the other cooks have delt to them). With my good knifes I hone between cutting and I can honestly say I have never put a stone near my wustofs in 2 years.

If a steel isnt working for you, you might not be using enough pressure to straiten the blade and flatten burs . As well, if you find your knifes are dulling to fast it may be that they are to narrow or to sharp of an angle.

Do you sharpen yours by hand? or use a machine? 

post #15 of 23

I use my chef knife for well over 90% of my work and I put it on sharpening stones once a week. In between, I don't use a steel, sacrilege to some I'm sure, but the edge lasts a week and I can still thin slice a tomato no problem.

Wisdom comes with age, but sometimes age comes alone.
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Wisdom comes with age, but sometimes age comes alone.
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post #16 of 23
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mongilla View Post
 

ChrisBristol - I use knifes similar to victorinox at my work , and honestly they are not great knifes so i can understand why you are having issues keeping them sharp. With mine I hone them in-between everything I do just to keep up on it and use a stone on them every 3 months (depending on the amount of abuse the other cooks have delt to them). With my good knifes I hone between cutting and I can honestly say I have never put a stone near my wustofs in 2 years.

If a steel isnt working for you, you might not be using enough pressure to straiten the blade and flatten burs . As well, if you find your knifes are dulling to fast it may be that they are to narrow or to sharp of an angle.

Do you sharpen yours by hand? or use a machine? 

They've been fine so far.  I have sharpened them before and after use but I haven't needed to sharpen them in between. Like I said I think the blade was getting to blunt before I used the steel on it. Also I have been very careful to keep the angle the same.

Victorionox knives are made of a softer metal than some knives.  They are easy to maintain but they do go blunt quicker than some other knives.

post #17 of 23

I would suggest then getting a carbide sharpener, you'll up a quick edge on your knife BUT they literally strip the metal off the knifes. If you want I can post a pic of what a knife looks like when its over sharpened by these things.

post #18 of 23
Different knives have different needs. I have a solid japo collection, so as a rule I agree with cheflayne: sharpen once a week but I'd never touch my blades to a steel, ceramic or otherwise. BUT, victorinox and mercer (while great knifes) are German style knifes with generally softer metals and the three parts of a blade due to tapering thickness as opposed to Japanese knifes which are generally suited for specific tasks. This being said they are generally fractionally cheaper and -because of the softer alloy- can afford a sharpening BEFORE whatever task your doing (if you sharpen before and after than your sharpening/honing twice between cuts) and because they're so much cheaper it's okay to bitch em out a little more. IMHO
post #19 of 23

I am not a chef and I just skimmed this forum. I could be wrong (PLEAS LET ME KNOW IF I AM.) One way I know to maintain my chefs knife and my other knives is after day one our culinary class got our knives. After EVERY use I HONE my knife. I don't mean by switching veggies or veggies to meat., when my prep work that involves knife is done. Note that I hone my knife, over sharpening it will cause it to dull to much and to fast. I am also using Mercers equipment ( seeming that's what our class was given ). 

“The only real stumbling block is fear of failure. In cooking you've got to have a what-the-hell attitude.”- Julia Child 
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“The only real stumbling block is fear of failure. In cooking you've got to have a what-the-hell attitude.”- Julia Child 
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post #20 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by theculinarykid View Post
 

I am not a chef and I just skimmed this forum. I could be wrong (PLEAS LET ME KNOW IF I AM.) One way I know to maintain my chefs knife and my other knives is after day one our culinary class got our knives. After EVERY use I HONE my knife. I don't mean by switching veggies or veggies to meat., when my prep work that involves knife is done. Note that I hone my knife, over sharpening it will cause it to dull to much and to fast. I am also using Mercers equipment ( seeming that's what our class was given ). 


I dunno, I think that's unnecessary.  Just steel it when it needs it, every few times.  That works for me.

"Excellence is an art won by training and habituation. We do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence, but we rather have those because we have acted rightly. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit." - Aristotle
Reply
"Excellence is an art won by training and habituation. We do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence, but we rather have those because we have acted rightly. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit." - Aristotle
Reply
post #21 of 23

What it comes down to in terms of honing or not honing is the steepness of you edge and the hardness of the steel.  Soft steel with a steep edge will require frequent truing between sharpenings.  Given other criteria your mileage will vary.

 

Rick

post #22 of 23

Since we're on the subject, I've got one of these at work, which I use to core tomatoes:

 

http://www.cutleryandmore.com/wusthof-pro/chefs-knife-p126427?gclid=CNHQhqjftL0CFZJj7AodmUIAbw

 

The metal on it is thin, which is alright with me, but the edge gets worn down quick.  I have applied the steel to it, personally, about 64-70 times since mid-December.  I would imagine that my chef, based on my observations, just about mirrors this.  The steel now seems to have no effect. 

 

I don't know if I should run it through that horrid, pull-thru, carbide shaver thing, or bring it home and give it a whetstone treatment.

 

Anyone worked with this knife before?

post #23 of 23

Steel on those knives is likely softer than the so-called "forged" Wusties.  Go home, get a protractor and poster board and cut yourself a wedge about 18-20deg to stick under your knife as it sits on the stone so you will see what that angle looks like, and put on a nice new edge.  Coat the wedge with superglue and it will be nice and stable and waterproof.  You might look into getting a Beston 500 stone from CKTG so you can do some thinning as you knife can likely benefit from it by now.  Maybe a 12" Idahone fine while you are at it, but take care not to smash it at work as they can break.

 

Rick

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