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Other than Brewing => All Things Food => Topic started by: majorvices on June 16, 2012, 02:08:10 PM

Title: Knife sharpener
Post by: majorvices on June 16, 2012, 02:08:10 PM
Any suggestions on a good kitchen knife sharpener?
Title: Re: Knife sharpener
Post by: HydraulicSammich on June 16, 2012, 02:23:27 PM
Check out Henckels Knives website or Amazon.  Any of those are the best and very inexpensive.
Title: Re: Knife sharpener
Post by: denny on June 16, 2012, 02:57:21 PM
I use a Chef's Choice 440 manual sharperner.  It's inexpensive, not fancy, and very effective.  Just last week I cut the tip of my thumb off after I used it!
Title: Re: Knife sharpener
Post by: gmac on June 16, 2012, 03:07:38 PM
I use a Lansky sharpening kit.  It's not super fast but it produces the best edge of anything I've ever used.  Easily shaving sharp.  I've stopped sharpening knives for other people because they aren't careful enough and cut themselves.  It's happened twice, once quite badly because they didn't realize just how sharp a knife could be.
http://lansky.com/index.php/kitchen-blade/
Title: Re: Knife sharpener
Post by: nateo on June 16, 2012, 03:31:57 PM
My wife has a few knives from when she was a sous chef. They're really hard steel and 'normal' stones don't seem to work on them. What kind of stone would I need to sharpen it? They're the higher-end Shun, not the top-of-the-line but below that.

I've cut myself a bunch of times because my knives were dull, but have yet to cut myself because they're too sharp. If that lansky kit would work on the Shuns I might have to get one.
Title: Re: Knife sharpener
Post by: Pinski on June 16, 2012, 04:30:03 PM
I use a Lansky sharpening kit.  It's not super fast but it produces the best edge of anything I've ever used.  Easily shaving sharp.  I've stopped sharpening knives for other people because they aren't careful enough and cut themselves.  It's happened twice, once quite badly because they didn't realize just how sharp a knife could be.
http://lansky.com/index.php/kitchen-blade/
Which set you do have Gmac?
Title: Re: Knife sharpener
Post by: MDixon on June 16, 2012, 04:51:25 PM
I use Japanese Waterstones.
Title: Re: Knife sharpener
Post by: nateo on June 16, 2012, 05:06:58 PM
I use Japanese Waterstones.

I think that's what I'd need to do on the Shuns. How hard is it to free-hand the angle? How important is it for the angle to be precise? Are there any guides that are worth using?

I have these like clamp-on angle guides for my hand files for tuning ski edges, I wonder if there's something similar for knives.
Title: Re: Knife sharpener
Post by: euge on June 16, 2012, 05:36:07 PM
I use an aluminum oxide (2-sides) and a 1000/6000 grit Japanese waterstone. By hand baby. It depends a lot on the quality of the steel on how much force you need to use and how sharp they will get and keep their edges.

And you will need a steel to keep your knives honed if you don't already have one.
Title: Re: Knife sharpener
Post by: tumarkin on June 16, 2012, 06:00:37 PM
I use Japanese Waterstones.

I think that's what I'd need to do on the Shuns. How hard is it to free-hand the angle? How important is it for the angle to be precise? Are there any guides that are worth using?

I have these like clamp-on angle guides for my hand files for tuning ski edges, I wonder if there's something similar for knives.

+1 on the waterstones, though good synthetics or arkansas stones are also good. I'm not a fan of the automatic grinder sharpeners. some are ok, but others shorten the life of a knife considerably and never approach the edge you'll get with stones.

Hand held is the way to go, imho. however, there are guides available and some are quite good. in either case, with the shuns (or other japanese knives) keep in mind that the angle is shallower (about 15 degrees) vs 20-25 degrees on western knives. once you get used to the proper angle, it's not too hard to maintain. keeping it as consistent as possible is best, but a little variation isn't too terrible. ditto on the need to use a steel to maintain the edge. if you do so, your knife will seem sharper and will need actual sharpening much less frequently.
Title: Re: Knife sharpener
Post by: passlaku on June 16, 2012, 06:10:52 PM
America's test kitchen gave this their best buy, the one they liked $100 job.

(http://www.accusharp.com/products/001/001_AccuSharp_with_Serrated_Knife_m.jpg)

http://www.accusharp.com/products/001/index.html
Title: Re: Knife sharpener
Post by: euge on June 16, 2012, 06:24:25 PM
America's test kitchen gave this their best buy, the one they liked $100 job.

(http://www.accusharp.com/products/001/001_AccuSharp_with_Serrated_Knife_m.jpg)

http://www.accusharp.com/products/001/index.html

I have one of these. It provides a decent edge with very little effort, but it removes a lot of material. I wouldn't use one on an expensive knife.
Title: Re: Knife sharpener
Post by: nateo on June 16, 2012, 06:25:56 PM
I hone the edges every time I use the knives, but AFAIK honing just straightens the edge, and doesn't make it sharper. She always had the knives professionally sharpened when she was working, but it's been over a year since her last cooking gig, so they really need a proper sharpening.

I read on the higher-grit (3000+) waterstones, you're not supposed to soak them in water. Do you guys with combo stones only soak half the stone? How does that work?

I found this: http://www.seriouseats.com/2010/04/knife-skills-how-to-sharpen-a-knife.html Kenji is my go-to guy when I have cooking questions. He recommends an 800-ish and a 2000+ stone.

I was thinking of getting something like this: http://korin.com/Togiharu-1000-4000-Two-Sided-Stone?sc=7&category=17370 (http://korin.com/Togiharu-1000-4000-Two-Sided-Stone?sc=7&category=17370) but I'm wondering if I'd be better off getting two separate stones.
Title: Re: Knife sharpener
Post by: euge on June 16, 2012, 06:46:36 PM
That is interesting. My instructions state that the stone can be stored in water or soaked for 5 minutes before use.
Title: Re: Knife sharpener
Post by: nateo on June 16, 2012, 08:06:40 PM
As I was thinking about this, I remembered that my wife has a sharpening kit. She's out of town for the next month, and I have to do all my own cooking now, which is why I'm trying to get my knives up to snuff.

She has some Spyderco ceramic whet stones. They're just labeled "fine" and "extra fine." After some more googling, I found this: http://nihonzashi.com/SharpenGuide.htm#Grit. Apparently Japanese grits are different than US grits. The whet stones I have should be used dry. I guess I'll give them a whirl and see how they do.
Title: Re: Knife sharpener
Post by: tumarkin on June 16, 2012, 09:38:01 PM
I hone the edges every time I use the knives, but AFAIK honing just straightens the edge, and doesn't make it sharper.

That is correct, but honing with the steel will preserve the edge and you won't need to sharpen the knife as often. My understanding (and practice) is that japanese water stones need to be wet. Actually, you soak for 5 minutes or so to saturate them before use, and rinse them clean after use.
Title: Re: Knife sharpener
Post by: nateo on June 16, 2012, 09:51:53 PM
That is correct, but honing with the steel will preserve the edge and you won't need to sharpen the knife as often. My understanding (and practice) is that japanese water stones need to be wet. Actually, you soak for 5 minutes or so to saturate them before use, and rinse them clean after use.

Yeah, Kenji says to soak them for at least 45min, because if the stone dries out while sharpening you'll knick your blade. I've seen some western-style sharpening setups that recommend using some oil-type lubricant. I use oil when I cut threads and the like, but apparently oil is really bad for the water stones. I looked on the Spyderco website, and they specifically said not to use any oil or water when using their stones, so I don't know how those work. I'll give it a shot this afternoon on some of my crappy knives and see if I can get the hang of it.
Title: Re: Knife sharpener
Post by: euge on June 16, 2012, 10:08:24 PM
Look on youtube for some sharpening videos. There are various techniques. I sweep the blade across the stone away from and then towards myself. You'll get a feel for the angle. I do eight strokes on each grit and then hit it with the steel.
Title: Re: Knife sharpener
Post by: nateo on June 16, 2012, 10:57:09 PM
It went pretty well. I was pretty intimated by using the stones and free-handing it, but I managed to make all of the knives sharper than they were when I started. I did a cheapo cleaver, a cheapo chef's knife, a cheapo paring knife, the Shun santoku, and the Shun paring knife. The Shuns were the hardest to sharpen, I'm not sure if it was because of the shallow angle, or the hard steel. The cheap knives were all pretty easy to sharpen.

I kind of eyeballed each knife as I was sharpening, and tried to end up with the point of the blade in the center of the knife. All of the cheap knives easily cut a ripe tomato when I was done. The santoku wasn't evenly sharp, so one part was pretty good, but another portion wasn't great.

None of the knives got sharp enough to shave with, but they all (except the santoku) could easily cut through onions, and handled ripe tomatoes pretty well too. So you don't really need to do that good of a job for them to be "sharp enough."

I'm sure they'll get sharper as I get more practice. I can definitely see why people like the waterstones. After one or two knives, the ceramic stones would load up with metal shavings, and lost their bite until I washed them out.

EDIT: After I posted this, I read Euge's advice. I didn't know you're supposed to use the steel after you sharpen the knives. Once I hit them with the steel, they were all sharper, and the cheap paring knife was sharp enough to cut hair.
Title: Re: Knife sharpener
Post by: punatic on June 17, 2012, 01:00:35 AM
I've been using a Chef's Choice 110 on my Wusthof knives for 15 years.  It is an excellent sharpener.  I use a steel on my knives before each use.  The steel is not for sharpening.  It is for polishing out micro-fine nicks in the knife's cutting surfaces.
Title: Re: Knife sharpener
Post by: MDixon on June 17, 2012, 01:21:13 AM
Some stones need to be soaked, others just slightly wet.

Here are some Miyabi (Henckels)sharpening videos:
http://www.miyabi.eu/mov/playback.php?movie=1e.mov
http://www.miyabi.eu/mov/playback.php?movie=2e.mov
http://www.miyabi.eu/mov/playback.php?movie=3e.mov
http://www.miyabi.eu/mov/playback.php?movie=4e.mov
http://www.miyabi.eu/mov/playback.php?movie=5e.mov
http://www.miyabi.eu/mov/playback.php?movie=6e.mov
If they don't play you can find your way to them off the main site http://www.miyabi.eu/miyabi_fx.html
Title: Re: Knife sharpener
Post by: gmac on June 17, 2012, 04:15:06 AM
I use a Lansky sharpening kit.  It's not super fast but it produces the best edge of anything I've ever used.  Easily shaving sharp.  I've stopped sharpening knives for other people because they aren't careful enough and cut themselves.  It's happened twice, once quite badly because they didn't realize just how sharp a knife could be.
http://lansky.com/index.php/kitchen-blade/
Which set you do have Gmac?
Just the basic 3 stone set. I like the consistency of the angle. Not that you can't do it by hand but the gauge ensures you have it right each time.
Title: Re: Knife sharpener
Post by: majorvices on June 17, 2012, 02:16:24 PM
I use a Lansky sharpening kit.  It's not super fast but it produces the best edge of anything I've ever used.  Easily shaving sharp.  I've stopped sharpening knives for other people because they aren't careful enough and cut themselves.  It's happened twice, once quite badly because they didn't realize just how sharp a knife could be.
http://lansky.com/index.php/kitchen-blade/
Which set you do have Gmac?
Just the basic 3 stone set. I like the consistency of the angle. Not that you can't do it by hand but the gauge ensures you have it right each time.

cool. i think i may spring for this. thanks.
Title: Re: Knife sharpener
Post by: tygo on June 17, 2012, 05:41:21 PM
I get mine professionally sharpened every 18 months or so and use the steel in between to keep the edge.  Going to get them sharpened at the end of this month actually.
Title: Re: Knife sharpener
Post by: Pinski on June 17, 2012, 05:52:43 PM
I use a Lansky sharpening kit.  It's not super fast but it produces the best edge of anything I've ever used.  Easily shaving sharp.  I've stopped sharpening knives for other people because they aren't careful enough and cut themselves.  It's happened twice, once quite badly because they didn't realize just how sharp a knife could be.
http://lansky.com/index.php/kitchen-blade/
Which set you do have Gmac?
Just the basic 3 stone set. I like the consistency of the angle. Not that you can't do it by hand but the gauge ensures you have it right each time.

cool. i think i may spring for this. thanks.
I'm liking this set up too.I have a lot of sharpening to do. My GF is a chronic blade abuser.
Title: Re: Knife sharpener
Post by: nateo on June 17, 2012, 06:10:51 PM
My GF is a chronic blade abuser.

That's a good point. If you're like me, and your knife skills aren't great, your edge won't last long, whether you hone the knives or not. There is an episode or two on Good Eats that cover knife skills, and Kenji at Serious Eats has a whole series on knife skills.

I'm obviously still new at this, but that Lansky kit seems too coarse. The Spyderco stones I used were 1200 and 2000 US grit. The 1200 was plenty coarse to get a decent edge on the cheap knives in 15-20 strokes. I'm sure the Lansky kit will get your knives sharp, but I wonder if it'd take off more material than you really need to.
Title: Re: Knife sharpener
Post by: punatic on June 17, 2012, 06:50:42 PM
My GF is a chronic blade abuser.

That's a good point. If you're like me, and your knife skills aren't great, your edge won't last long, whether you hone the knives or not. There is an episode or two on Good Eats that cover knife skills, and Kenji at Serious Eats has a whole series on knife skills.

I'm obviously still new at this, but that Lansky kit seems too coarse. The Spyderco stones I used were 1200 and 2000 US grit. The 1200 was plenty coarse to get a decent edge on the cheap knives in 15-20 strokes. I'm sure the Lansky kit will get your knives sharp, but I wonder if it'd take off more material than you really need to.

That is all well and good, but the proof is in the cutting.  How do the knives perform when being put to work?  Do you want tools or toys?
Title: Knife sharpener
Post by: phillamb168 on June 17, 2012, 07:30:01 PM
Arkansas stone.


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk HD
Title: Re: Knife sharpener
Post by: nateo on June 17, 2012, 08:15:24 PM
That is all well and good, but the proof is in the cutting.  How do the knives perform when being put to work?  Do you want tools or toys?

I'm not sure what your point is. As I mentioned before, without knowing what I was doing, I got the knives from too dull to dice an onion well to sharp enough to easily slice a ripe tomato. I also got some nice, very thin radial slices of onion, something I was having trouble with before I sharpened the knives. What else would you want the knives to do? 
Title: Re: Knife sharpener
Post by: MDixon on June 17, 2012, 09:02:41 PM
If you can take a page out of a magazine, roll it to create a curve and take the knife (watch your hand) and take a slice out of the page to create a long skinny ellipse...your knife is sharp.
Title: Re: Knife sharpener
Post by: HydraulicSammich on June 17, 2012, 11:49:14 PM
Important in maintaining a sharp knife for a prolonged period of time, the use of a sharpening steel is critical.  You are not sharpening, or buffing any spots out, but aligning steel sheathes on the cutting edge vertical to the cutting surface of the blade.  Two or so strokes are sufficient.  The same principle is with the leather razor strop.  This whole process keeps us from grinding precious metal from the blade. 
Title: Re: Knife sharpener
Post by: gmac on June 18, 2012, 02:22:07 AM
My GF is a chronic blade abuser.

That's a good point. If you're like me, and your knife skills aren't great, your edge won't last long, whether you hone the knives or not. There is an episode or two on Good Eats that cover knife skills, and Kenji at Serious Eats has a whole series on knife skills.

I'm obviously still new at this, but that Lansky kit seems too coarse. The Spyderco stones I used were 1200 and 2000 US grit. The 1200 was plenty coarse to get a decent edge on the cheap knives in 15-20 strokes. I'm sure the Lansky kit will get your knives sharp, but I wonder if it'd take off more material than you really need to.

Could be.  But you don't need to use the coarse stone very often.  I only use it when I have to remove a nick or re-angle a blade.  I also think that there are differences between the way that stone grit is measured between different styles of stone but I'm no expert on this.  One thing I do know is if you go for japanese waterstones, you will need to lap them periodically on glass.  Not a big deal but you basically rub them on a piece of glass with diamond dust to ensure that they are perfectly flat.  Otherwise, after repeated use they will develop a divot where you use them a lot.
Title: Re: Knife sharpener
Post by: nateo on June 18, 2012, 03:40:01 AM
I asked my better half about this, because I'm a newbie as you know. I'm not saying she's an expert, but she was a pro cook and spent many, many hours doing prep work.

I'm paraphrasing here, but basically she said most knives don't even need to be sharp enough to cut tomatoes. There's no reason a knife needs to be sharper than necessary to complete the given task. She also said with a very fine edge, you're more likely to bend or knick the edge, and that, all other things being equal, a "less-sharp" edge is going to be stronger/more durable than a razor-fine edge.

I'm not arguing knives should be dull, but unless you're shaving with it, I don't think there's anything inherently better about having a razor-sharp knife.
Title: Re: Knife sharpener
Post by: MDixon on June 18, 2012, 10:57:24 AM
I often go to my parent's house. My mother is able to cut an astounding number of things using knives I wouldn't use as a screwdriver. Yes, I agree, you can cut a tomato with a fairly dull knife. That doesn't mean you SHOULD do it that way. (FWIW - Ma doesn't use a cutting board either)
Title: Re: Knife sharpener
Post by: gmac on June 20, 2012, 03:10:02 AM
I sharpen different knives at different angles. Filet knife is about 17 degrees because I want it razor sharp, paring knives at 20-25 and chef knives at 30 because it gives a tougher edge but I agree the wrong angle for the task will really cause problems because the edge will fail too easily.  A steel between uses is also a must and if you really care get a magnetic strip to store them on. 
Also glass cutting boards should be illegal!
Title: Re: Knife sharpener
Post by: MDixon on June 20, 2012, 12:11:26 PM
I store mine in a drawer knife tray similar to this one
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51U0zc3vdHL.jpg)

I've not noticed detriment to the blades since the drawer is soft close and I am careful putting the knives away and bringing them out.
Title: Re: Knife sharpener
Post by: euge on June 20, 2012, 03:31:00 PM
I use one of those magnetic strips. Have to be careful though. You want to be looking when you reach for a knife. ::)
Title: Re: Knife sharpener
Post by: morticaixavier on June 20, 2012, 03:34:02 PM
I store mine in a drawer knife tray similar to this one
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51U0zc3vdHL.jpg)

I've not noticed detriment to the blades since the drawer is soft close and I am careful putting the knives away and bringing them out.

I don't know that the knife blocks are bad for the blade or not, but I worry about what happens when a little dirt or moisture gets down in there. I have a 'block' attached to the side of a little kitchen cart, it is open on the bottom and is really just a wooden box with slits in the top so the knives are hanging with the blades open to the air but no edges are exposed for accidental cutting.
Title: Re: Knife sharpener
Post by: MDixon on June 20, 2012, 09:12:44 PM
Our house rule is if it comes out of the knife tray it is washed and dried before it is put away. We have some other knives in a plastic knife tray that get abused, but the good ones reside in the wooden tray ;)
Title: Re: Knife sharpener
Post by: 1vertical on June 24, 2012, 09:24:01 PM
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00004WFUL/ref=ord_cart_shr?ie=UTF8&m=ATVPDKIKX0DER

These!!!  large stones with a base and various gradients of grit.
Title: Re: Knife sharpener
Post by: punatic on June 24, 2012, 09:49:47 PM
My frontline kitchen knives and steel live in an undercabinet-mounted wooden block that pivots out of the way.  It's made by Wusthof.  Note the blades are not resting on their cutting edges:

(http://www.cookswarehouse.com/media/catalog/product/cache/1/image/9df78eab33525d08d6e5fb8d27136e95/6/6/665_4.jpg)
Title: Re: Knife sharpener
Post by: pinnah on June 25, 2012, 02:01:10 AM
  Note the blades are not resting on their cutting edges:

 :D, Cause that would most certainly render them dull and unusable. ;D ;)

I have the spyderco ceramic V.  I should use it more.
Magnet storage here as well.
Title: Re: Knife sharpener
Post by: MDixon on June 25, 2012, 02:54:26 PM
I like the neat look of the drawer insert (no knives visible) and haven't found them in the slots to be detrimental to the cutting ability. I checked all the knives and every chef's knife is sitting on the back of the handle and the heel at the bolster. I do have one utility knife which appears to be resting more along the entire length of the blade.