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Knife Sharpening

Knife Sharpening
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  • Post #61 - December 28th, 2006, 3:02 pm
    Post #61 - December 28th, 2006, 3:02 pm Post #61 - December 28th, 2006, 3:02 pm
    eatchicago wrote:
    it is important to note that a very sharp knife is much safer than a dull one.



    Having cut myself way more times on new or newly sharpened knives than with dull knives, (I can't even remember one time,) I don't buy into this canard at all.
  • Post #62 - December 28th, 2006, 3:10 pm
    Post #62 - December 28th, 2006, 3:10 pm Post #62 - December 28th, 2006, 3:10 pm
    imsscott wrote:
    eatchicago wrote:
    it is important to note that a very sharp knife is much safer than a dull one.



    Having cut myself way more times on new or newly sharpened knives than with dull knives, (I can't even remember one time,) I don't buy into this canard at all.


    Hi,

    What EatChicago advised is true, though I can understand your dubiousness.

    The duller the knife, the more pressure/energy you use to compensate for the dullness. A newly sharpened knife, especially if they were allowed to get really dull, causes the nasty cuts because you are exerting more energy than is really required. Once you are used to the newly sharpened knife, and maintain it that way, then you use less personal energy. Ultimately a sharp knife is safer, it is those nasty transition periods that getcha every time.

    Regards,
    Cathy2

    "You'll be remembered long after you're dead if you make good gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuits." -- Nathalie Dupree
    Facebook, Twitter, Greater Midwest Foodways, Road Food 2012: Podcast
  • Post #63 - December 28th, 2006, 3:43 pm
    Post #63 - December 28th, 2006, 3:43 pm Post #63 - December 28th, 2006, 3:43 pm
    Perhaps another thing to note on this subject is the importance of steeling your knives very regularly. Sliding the knife at a 20 degree angle on a steel will keep the blade honed and remove small burrs. This is something that can be done with a little practice, while the actual sharpening can take some time to perfect.
    I love animals...they're delicious!
  • Post #64 - December 28th, 2006, 3:53 pm
    Post #64 - December 28th, 2006, 3:53 pm Post #64 - December 28th, 2006, 3:53 pm
    Cathy2 wrote:
    imsscott wrote:
    eatchicago wrote:
    it is important to note that a very sharp knife is much safer than a dull one.



    Having cut myself way more times on new or newly sharpened knives than with dull knives, (I can't even remember one time,) I don't buy into this canard at all.


    What EatChicago advised is true, though I can understand your dubiousness.

    The duller the knife, the more pressure/energy you use to compensate for the dullness. A newly sharpened knife, especially if they were allowed to get really dull, causes the nasty cuts because you are exerting more energy than is really required. Once you are used to the newly sharpened knife, and maintain it that way, then you use less personal energy. Ultimately a sharp knife is safer, it is those nasty transition periods that getcha every time.


    Yep, but it's not just the force that you're putting into it, but the combination of that force and the likelihood of slipping the knife off of the food you're chopping.

    If you're chopping onions with a dull knife, you're pushing down hard (as Cathy said) and if your effort gets shifted ever so slightly off of the slick onion surface that knife is going to slide in some other direction other than straight down.

    A nice sharp well maintained knife does the cutting for you. It moves smoothly through food and goes where you tell it to go with minimal effort.

    If you're consistently cutting yourself on sharp knives, (and I do not mean this in a mean or chiding way) I would highly suggest taking a knife skills course. I know they offer a good one at The Chopping Block.

    Best,
    Michael
  • Post #65 - December 28th, 2006, 5:37 pm
    Post #65 - December 28th, 2006, 5:37 pm Post #65 - December 28th, 2006, 5:37 pm
    eatchicago wrote:
    Cathy2 wrote:
    imsscott wrote:
    eatchicago wrote:
    it is important to note that a very sharp knife is much safer than a dull one.



    Having cut myself way more times on new or newly sharpened knives than with dull knives, (I can't even remember one time,) I don't buy into this canard at all.


    What EatChicago advised is true, though I can understand your dubiousness.

    The duller the knife, the more pressure/energy you use to compensate for the dullness. A newly sharpened knife, especially if they were allowed to get really dull, causes the nasty cuts because you are exerting more energy than is really required. Once you are used to the newly sharpened knife, and maintain it that way, then you use less personal energy. Ultimately a sharp knife is safer, it is those nasty transition periods that getcha every time.


    Yep, but it's not just the force that you're putting into it, but the combination of that force and the likelihood of slipping the knife off of the food you're chopping.

    If you're chopping onions with a dull knife, you're pushing down hard (as Cathy said) and if your effort gets shifted ever so slightly off of the slick onion surface that knife is going to slide in some other direction other than straight down.

    A nice sharp well maintained knife does the cutting for you. It moves smoothly through food and goes where you tell it to go with minimal effort.

    If you're consistently cutting yourself on sharp knives, (and I do not mean this in a mean or chiding way) I would highly suggest taking a knife skills course. I know they offer a good one at The Chopping Block.

    Best,
    Michael


    I certainly agree that a sharp knife is best, but I have never had the experience where I am balancing a dull knife on top of a vegetable and have it slide down and cut me. If I'm using a knife that's so dull it won't start the cut, I'll either switch knives or be extra careful with it. In the case of an onion, I'll lay it on it's side and start the cut diagonally down.

    The only incidents where I've cut myself have nothing to do with knife skills. I can chop an onion faster than Rachel Ray. They mostly occur due to being distracted, or by inadvertent contact with a knife that was somewhere where I was fumbling around with my hand looking for something. And in those situations a dull knife would have saved me.
  • Post #66 - January 2nd, 2007, 11:09 pm
    Post #66 - January 2nd, 2007, 11:09 pm Post #66 - January 2nd, 2007, 11:09 pm
    Michael[/quote]
    The only incidents where I've cut myself have nothing to do with knife skills. I can chop an onion faster than Rachel Ray. They mostly occur due to being distracted, or by inadvertent contact with a knife that was somewhere where I was fumbling around with my hand looking for something. And in those situations a dull knife would have saved me.[/quote]

    I was scanning this thread because I haven't sharpened my Globals in awhile (NWC!) and I have to agree that more knife cuts are caused by carelessness/distraction than by incorrect pressure, skills.

    However, that's no reason to keep using a dull knife.
  • Post #67 - January 2nd, 2007, 11:54 pm
    Post #67 - January 2nd, 2007, 11:54 pm Post #67 - January 2nd, 2007, 11:54 pm
    HI,

    Just before Christmas I posted a link to a DIY knife sharpening tutorial. One of the methods suggested was using 600 grit automotive sand paper, which is very fine. You place the paper on a mouse pad (in my case I used the soft bottom facing up), then swipe the blade back and forth like a barber sharpening a blade. I was able to tweak the edges enough to make them sharp enough for my short term purposes.

    My knives still need to visit NW Cutlery for reshaping bent tips and a few other follies. However this tutorial provides a lot of maintenance advice you can use to maintain their sharpness.

    As for knife skills, I learned mine from Mrs. Fritchie's home economics class in 7th and 8th grade. This was in the era when boys went to shop class and girls to home ec. I would have liked both classes, though what I learned in home ec class I still use daily.

    Regards,
    Cathy2

    "You'll be remembered long after you're dead if you make good gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuits." -- Nathalie Dupree
    Facebook, Twitter, Greater Midwest Foodways, Road Food 2012: Podcast
  • Post #68 - January 3rd, 2007, 1:08 pm
    Post #68 - January 3rd, 2007, 1:08 pm Post #68 - January 3rd, 2007, 1:08 pm
    I seem to recall that japanese knives like my Globals are made differently than the German knives like Wusthof and Henckels. For this reason, they need to be sharpened differently - using a whetstone instead of a sharpening steel.

    Can Northwest cutlery or the DIY method properly sharpen my knives?
  • Post #69 - January 3rd, 2007, 1:16 pm
    Post #69 - January 3rd, 2007, 1:16 pm Post #69 - January 3rd, 2007, 1:16 pm
    october271986 wrote:I seem to recall that japanese knives like my Globals are made differently than the German knives like Wusthof and Henckels. For this reason, they need to be sharpened differently - using a whetstone instead of a sharpening steel.

    Can Northwest cutlery or the DIY method properly sharpen my knives?


    I bring my two of my most frequently used knives to NW Cultery for sharpening---a Wusthof and a Global. They're both sharpened in the same manner and they come out great.

    Best,
    Michael
  • Post #70 - January 4th, 2007, 2:53 pm
    Post #70 - January 4th, 2007, 2:53 pm Post #70 - January 4th, 2007, 2:53 pm
    october271986 wrote:I seem to recall that japanese knives like my Globals are made differently than the German knives like Wusthof and Henckels. For this reason, they need to be sharpened differently - using a whetstone instead of a sharpening steel.

    Can Northwest cutlery or the DIY method properly sharpen my knives?


    What you are probably referring to is that many/most Japanese knives have a 15 degree blade angle, where as many/most German knives have a 20 degree angle.

    I just took my 4 MAC Knives (Japanese) and 1 Henkels (German) to NWC and I can say they all came back ridiculously sharp. As in so sharp that when breaking down a cauliflower into florets, I cut a stem in two and picked the piece up to break it into smaller florets while still holding my 6" utility knife, and proceeded to put the back edge of the blade into my thumb.

    I tend to hone my knives between each usage and also use the MAC recommended sharpening wheel to touch them up a bit every few months. So in general they are pretty sharp, and their condition has often brought comments from friends of how they need to get their own knives sharpened after they use one. Well, after getting them back from NWC, I swear they are 5x as sharp as they were before a brought them and twice as sharp as they were when I got them new. They are so sharp I was able to butterfly a piece of paper ;)

    It was also only $11.40 to sharpen a 9.5" chef, 8" chef, 6.5" santoku, 3.5" pairing and 6" utility.

    Jamie
  • Post #71 - April 2nd, 2007, 6:26 pm
    Post #71 - April 2nd, 2007, 6:26 pm Post #71 - April 2nd, 2007, 6:26 pm
    Jamieson22 wrote:
    I just took my 4 MAC Knives (Japanese) and 1 Henkels (German) to NWC and I can say they all came back ridiculously sharp. As in so sharp that when breaking down a cauliflower into florets, I cut a stem in two and picked the piece up to break it into smaller florets while still holding my 6" utility knife, and proceeded to put the back edge of the blade into my thumb.

    Jamie


    My point exactly. Those razor sharp knives are the ones that get ya!

    Not for the squimish: When I was in eighth grade I was interested in magic and did a trick for the class that I learned in a magic book where I would "swallow" a bunch of double-edged razor blades and some thread and then reach into my mouth and pull out all the razor blades tied at intervals to the thread. All the blades were dulled by a file, but eventually I started to use brand new razor blades, and just to gross out the girls I would put a wickedly sharp razor blade vertically in between my lips and pull it slowly out. It even gives me the willies! Yikes!
    "Good stuff, Maynard." Dobie Gillis
  • Post #72 - April 3rd, 2007, 9:55 am
    Post #72 - April 3rd, 2007, 9:55 am Post #72 - April 3rd, 2007, 9:55 am
    I'm confused-how can you cut yourself on the "back edge" of a blade?
    Anyway, another point-clean cuts made by sharp knives are easier to stitch than jagged ones, and heal faster.
    Also confused about the new razor blades in the lips- was that a trick or self-mutilation?
    I love animals...they're delicious!
  • Post #73 - April 3rd, 2007, 10:09 am
    Post #73 - April 3rd, 2007, 10:09 am Post #73 - April 3rd, 2007, 10:09 am
    BTW..

    I had a great experience with these guys. Dropped off 8 or so of my Henckels pro-s with them. Browsed around and about 30 minutes later had some super sharp knives.

    Free parking just to the west of the store helps as well.

    I continued by going over to Amerigas and getting a couple of propane tanks refilled ($13 cash!) and then hit peoria packing to load up on some ribs, burger, sausage etc for a giant meat fest we had later that week!
  • Post #74 - April 3rd, 2007, 9:12 pm
    Post #74 - April 3rd, 2007, 9:12 pm Post #74 - April 3rd, 2007, 9:12 pm
    stewed coot wrote:Anyway, another point-clean cuts made by sharp knives are easier to stitch than jagged ones, and heal faster.


    Yeah, but the dull knives usually don't cut at all.

    stewed coot wrote:Also confused about the new razor blades in the lips- was that a trick or self-mutilation?


    More like a way to gross out the girls.
    "Good stuff, Maynard." Dobie Gillis
  • Post #75 - April 3rd, 2007, 11:20 pm
    Post #75 - April 3rd, 2007, 11:20 pm Post #75 - April 3rd, 2007, 11:20 pm
    Jamieson22 wrote:
    october271986 wrote:I seem to recall that japanese knives like my Globals are made differently than the German knives like Wusthof and Henckels. For this reason, they need to be sharpened differently - using a whetstone instead of a sharpening steel.

    Can Northwest cutlery or the DIY method properly sharpen my knives?


    What you are probably referring to is that many/most Japanese knives have a 15 degree blade angle, where as many/most German knives have a 20 degree angle.


    Also, a lot of the old-style Japanese knives are only beveled on one side... the other is perfectly flat, or eeeeeever so slightly concave.
    Dominic Armato
    Dining Critic
    The Arizona Republic and azcentral.com
  • Post #76 - April 3rd, 2008, 5:36 pm
    Post #76 - April 3rd, 2008, 5:36 pm Post #76 - April 3rd, 2008, 5:36 pm
    Does anyone know of a place in Chicago that sharpens knives by whetstone, and not on giant grindstones?

    I get most of my knives sharpened at NW Cutlery Supply, but I have two that are very special to me which were custom made in Japan--given to me as a gift by a chef friend who lives there. Rightly or wrongly, I'm not comfortable with the idea of them going on the industrial grinders they use at NW. Basically, I'm looking to get special treatment for them, and know enough to know that I'd do more harm than good if I tried to use a sharpening stone myself.

    Back in NYC (where I used to live) there used to be a woman who did nothing but sharpen knives on a whetstone, and where I used to take these. I'm looking for something like that, if it exists out here.

    If anyone knows of a place, or knows enough about the differences between the two processes and can explain why my fears aren't well founded, I would appreciate it.
  • Post #77 - April 3rd, 2008, 5:52 pm
    Post #77 - April 3rd, 2008, 5:52 pm Post #77 - April 3rd, 2008, 5:52 pm
    Mr. B,

    If by NW Cutlery you mean Northwestern Cutlery, simply ask them to do the knives on whetstone only. Though the two grinding wheels they use hardly, at least in my mind, equates to the metal reducing fully automatic sharpeners used by commercial sharpeners.

    If still not comfortable with Northwestern Cutlery, another option is to send the knives to Korin in New York which offers a hand sharpening service. I've not had knives sharpened, but have purchased knives from Korin and been pleased at all my interactions with them.

    Enjoy,
    Gary

    Korin Japanese Trading
    http://www.korin.com/

    Northwestern Cutlery
    810 W Lake St
    Chicago
    312-421-3666
    One minute to Wapner.
    Raymond Babbitt

    Low & Slow
  • Post #78 - April 3rd, 2008, 6:06 pm
    Post #78 - April 3rd, 2008, 6:06 pm Post #78 - April 3rd, 2008, 6:06 pm
    I think NW Cutlery is the best of the limited options in Chicago. If you want to splurge, Dave at http://www.japaneseknifesharpening.com/ always provides impeccable service. His prices are fairly steep, but if you don't trust yourself to do it, I'd say that he's the best out there for Japanese knives.

    That said, you could always buy some waterstones and the sharpening DVD from Korin. Once you get the hang of it, you may even find it addictive :P
  • Post #79 - April 3rd, 2008, 6:12 pm
    Post #79 - April 3rd, 2008, 6:12 pm Post #79 - April 3rd, 2008, 6:12 pm
    Gary:

    Thanks for the tip. Korin is just what I was looking for!

    Northwestern Cutlery does a fantastic job and I definitely don't equate what they do with automatic knife sharpeners. The desire to go with an outfit like Korin comes from a (probably irrational) desire to give these knives special treatment given the emotional attachment I have to them.

    Thanks again.
  • Post #80 - March 26th, 2020, 1:02 pm
    Post #80 - March 26th, 2020, 1:02 pm Post #80 - March 26th, 2020, 1:02 pm
    Knife-Sharpening-No-No!

    A blade- any blade only needs a minor adjustment(s) made
    to the Steel-when sharpening.
    ImageOversharpened by R. Kramer, on Flickr

    Too aggressive a Sharpening-
    terribly alters the shape of the knife-
    in a way that cannot be fixed.

    ImageWhat happens when you don’t sharpen your own Knives > and Trusted a Cutlery Store in Chicago to grind-The-Shit-outta-one’s-Every-Day-Carry by R. Kramer, on Flickr

    I'd been a fan of Northwestern Cutlery for many years.
    Used them - back in The '80's when I ran a large Catering Area within The China Club Nightclub.
    Used them for everything from a Cusinart blade to personal knives for many years too.
    So- when I recently dropped off a pair of Vintage scissors for sharpening- I pulled out my "Every-Day-Carry" Swiss Army Knife- and when I was handed back my knife-
    I went ballistic.
    To remove that much metal- was unacceptable.
    Kindly- the CounterMan offered to get me a new knife.
    They used to sell these- no longer do as to the competitively wide distribution of
    Victorinox blades through stores like REI, Dicks Sporting Goods etc.

    Not sure- if I can trust anyone else with my knifes- and will
    learn-how-to "whetstone" as effectively as my Poppa used to.
  • Post #81 - March 26th, 2020, 1:07 pm
    Post #81 - March 26th, 2020, 1:07 pm Post #81 - March 26th, 2020, 1:07 pm
    Hombre de Acero wrote:Not sure- if I can trust anyone else with my knifes- and will
    learn-how-to "whetstone" as effectively as my Poppa used to.

    I agree. I'd been let down often enough by a few places in town that I decided to learn how to sharpen, and it's been going exceedingly well. There's a thread here that covers some basic elements and resources.

    =R=
    There are many things that are legal that are not a great idea --Nick Shabazz

    Every human interaction is an opportunity for disappointment --RS

    There's a horse loose in a hospital --JM

    That don't impress me much --Shania Twain

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