A dull or unsharpened knife is a recipe for disaster. It is not only inefficient but can easily lead to an injury, which is why it is important to ensure that your knives are always sharp. A well-sharpened knife will not only give you easy and even slices in the kitchen but will also save you a trip to the hospital for a few stitches. A sharp knife makes you faster, more efficient, and is safer while cutting things whether in the kitchen or while camping outdoors. In this article, we look at different types of the best knife sharpeners and the importance of keeping your knives well-honed at all times.
Why Sharpen Knives?
Whether you are a camper cutting stuff in the great outdoors or a chef slicing through veggies in the kitchen, you need a sharp knife for greater efficiency and safety. A sharp knife slices through food and other soft materials cleanly and effortlessly while a dull knife will demand more effort or force which could potentially make you lose grip and cut your hand or finger. If you are always struggling to saw through a piece of beef tenderloin then it’s time you considered investing in one of those easy to use manual or electric knife sharpeners.
A sharp knife is always efficient in all cutting tasks from dicing slices of carrots for your salad and slicing potatoes for fries to any outdoor cutting task that requires easy precise cuts. Clean cuts in the kitchen give you better tasting and better-looking food. It is therefore important to always ensure that your knife is properly sharpened before you attempt to do any cutting. Keep a good knife sharpener in your kitchen at all times.
Different Types of Knife Sharpeners
Just like the name suggests, a knife sharpener is a tool that helps you to create and maintain a sharp edge on the blade of your knife. There are many types and styles of knife sharpeners including manual knife sharpeners, electric sharpeners, sharpening stones, handheld knife sharpeners, and sharpening steels. Some types of sharpeners such as sharpening stones, handheld sharpeners, and electric sharpeners are designed to give your knife a new edge while others such the sharpening steel are used for honing the sharpness of your knife’s blade to make it sharper.
Let’s take a quick look at some of the most common types and styles of knife sharpeners.
Handheld Manual Knife Sharpeners
Handheld knife sharpeners are designed to give you an easy almost effortless sharpening process. They are conveniently portable which makes it possible to carry the knife sharpener on camping trips. They come in a small compact design and in different types of sharpening styles. For instance, you can place the sharpener on a flat surface and draw the knife through slots in the sharpener or you can hold the knife spine-down on a countertop or table and draw the sharpener along the length of the blade. Handheld knife sharpeners are perfect for sharpening an extremely dull knife. However, most of them have few sharpening slots, which limit their efficiency when sharpening longer knives.
Electric Knife Sharpeners
Electric knife sharpeners provide the most efficient knife sharpening solution for indoor use. They can be used for three sharpening purposes – creating a sharp blade on a dull knife, sharpening, and in honing the edge of the blade. When creating a sharp edge on an extremely dull blade, the electric sharpener uses a coarse grit and a fine grit when sharpening and honing an already sharp blade.
The electric model has a motor that spins the sharpening stones when you turn it on. All you need to do is to carefully draw the knife through the slots to sharpen the blade. Electric sharpeners also come with guides and user manuals that show you the perfect sharpening angle and other knife sharpening techniques. The only downside with this type of knife sharpener is the fact that you cannot use it in outdoor settings where you don’t have access to electricity.
Knife Sharpening and Honing Steels
Unlike what their name suggests, a majority of sharpening steels don’t really sharpen knives but actually hone the knife blade. They can, however, do minor sharpening tasks using specific cuts or styles. There are four common cuts or styles namely the regular cut, the diamond cut, combination cut, and the ceramic cut. Regular cut steels are made of steel and are the most common while the diamond honing steel comes with a coating of hard diamond-shaped abrasives. Combination cut features a smooth surface for honing purposes and a rough surface for minor sharpening tasks. The ceramic cut is made of ceramic. You can use it for minor sharpening and blade aligning tasks.
Knife Sharpening Stones
There are several types of sharpening stones but the most common ones are aluminum oxide (India), Novaculite (Arkansas), and silicon carbide (Crystolon). Novaculite or Arkansas is a naturally occurring stone while the other two are man-made knife sharpening stones. Arkansas stones have different coarse and grit levels for sharpening really blunt knives. India stones are ideal for fine sharpening while Crystolon stones provide perfect initial coarse sharpening for new unsharpened knives or extremely blunt ones. To give your knife an optimal cutting edge, some stones come with diamond abrasives mixed on the sharpening side.
Serrated Knife Sharpeners
It’s quite difficult to sharpen serrated knives on most sharpeners because of the shape of the knives’ blades. In fact, trying to sharpen a serrated knife on both manual and electric sharpeners will damage the knife’s blade. Fortunately, there are special sharpeners designed to work on serrated blades. It is therefore important to check if the sharpener you intend to buy can work on a serrated blade before you purchase one. Most manufacturers of knife sharpeners indicate this information on the product label.
The Ceramic Blade Sharpener Hack
What if your knives are seriously blunt and you don’t have a stone or steel sharpener around? Well, there is a clever hack that you can use to sharpen the knives using the rough section at the back of a ceramic plate. You don’t even need to break your precious plate but just secure the plate on a firm surface upside down and use the rough section to sharpen your knife just as you would with a stone sharpener. The rough area at the bottom of a ceramic coffee mug will also work if you don’t have a plate.
There are different types of knife sharpening products on the market today but the most important factor to consider before you buy one are the types of knives you have. If you have serrated knives, make sure to get a sharpener that will work on both plain and serrated blades. Alternatively, you can seek the services of a professional knife sharpening specialist, especially if you own a set of knives with unique blades. We offer easy to use knife sharpeners, we our self use it at https://selfdefenseknives.co/ to keep good care and sharp of our knives.