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  1. #1
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    Nov 2012
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    Default How often do you sharpen your knives

    I notice that it has been somewhat a yearly ritual for me to sharpen all my knives just before Christmas. I'll take them all down to the garage and grind them properly on my tormek. I'll probably do the whole set plus all the loose knives that I collected over the years. But during the year, it's up to whoever is doing the cooking to hone it on a bit of honing steel or to choose another knife that's still sharp.

    I wonder how often you sharpen your knives and what do you use to sharpen them? I am referring kitchen knives, but feel free to include hunting knives, swords, etc.

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  3. #2
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    Feb 2006
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    I do most of the cooking at out place so I have direct experience of when a kitchen knife needs a touch up and usually sharpen a knife when it starts to struggle to cut a ripe tomato. In time this varies from about a few weeks to a few months. I touch them up using a Multitool linisher attached to a bench grinder using a well used 120 grit belt. Takes about 5 seconds per side.

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
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    McBride BC Canada
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    All sharpening and shaping are freehand. I was taught well and decided that it was a skill worth learning.

    I keep tungsten carbides and stone rods in the kitchen. Usually a few swipes to start as the blades are clean and dry.
    Having several of each sort of edge ( 3 small cleavers, etc) means I won't have to stop. They all might go to 800 grit.

    I carve very soft western red cedar so I'm honing every 30 minutes or so on CrOx/AlOx on card stock on a smooth surface.

    Any and all really banged up edges get started at 600. Might back down to 80 grit & oil if necessary.
    It's faster to climb through a series of grits than it is to jump a few.

  5. #4
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    Feb 2007
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    blue mountains
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    Our knife block has these interlocking steel fingers that you drag the knife through to hone. After a while however they need some better attention so I keep a diamond card in the kitchen. I also use the ripe tomato standard of sharpness.
    Regards
    John

  6. #5
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    Mar 2015
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    Melbourne, Vic, Australia
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    Probably every 2 months or so for me. Freehand on waterstones - 1000 to 13000 and hard leather strop. Shaving sharp is my test.

    Cheers, Dom

  7. #6
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    Feb 2016
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    Canberra
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    Every. Single. Use.

    I've handmade japanese knives. Quite a few.

    After washing them, I give them 5 movements per area, moving along its length, both sides, with a 4000 stone. On two of them they demand the 6000 stone to get a great edge.

    If they are used at a BBQ, or hacking up something naughty (frozen chicken!) then I will start the routine on the 1000 (the stone is a combo 1000/4000).

    I do have 8000 and 12000, but they are utterly unnecessary. The 6000 gives me an edge you could shave with.

    The process takes all of one minute after use. Dry with a paper towel, lay them sideways in the cupboard. No knife block!!!!

  8. #7
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    Perth
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    We have 6 knives that I/we regularly use for cooking.

    I say we/I because I do all the grocery shopping and prepare most of the day to day meals. SWMBO bakes, and prepares the food we take along to other peoples places or on the rare occasion when we invite people over for a meal. According to SWMBO my cooking can be classified mainly as "Goop". Despite numerous attempts to make it even goopier, over spice it, or burn things this does not seem to make a difference and SWMBO continues to accept what a put in front of her. I burn 2 / 3 non stick fry pans a year and SWMBO just keeps preparing them

    Whoever doesn't cook normally does the clean up but when I cook I fill the dishwasher as I go, so it all go in the dishwasher even the knives However as you will see the knives themselves are not much chop (Ha!) to begin with. They are stored in a knife block and get treated like the other cutlery. This thus all matches my limited culinary repertoire and output.

    The oldest cooking knife we have is some 25 years old, purchased for next to nothing from a Japanese supermarket in Tokyo. The wooden handle is well bleached and threatening to come apart. The carbon steel blade will rust if water sits on it for too long. It is capable of supporting a very fine edge but I don't see the point as long as it can cut a very ripe tomato. Provided it is not abused and does not rust it can do this for some time. If it rusts it becomes the bluntest of all 6 knives.

    The second Japanese knife is one of those all metal CROMA molybdenum/vanadium stainless steel knives and was a gift from our son who thought we could do with a decent knife. In terms of sharpness its nearly as good as the carbon steel one but can take a greater degree of abuse. As long as cuts a ripe tomato I happy enough with the edge.

    The next sharpest knife we have is an ICEL Portuguese knife that says "high carbon no stain" on the blade. I don't recall it being that expensive. It has a broken handle that I repaired with a home made rivet. It generates a reasonable "ripe tomato cutting edge" and the edge seems be able to take abuse

    My favourite knife is a large, well used (obviously sharpened many times), SS fishing knife I found by the river a couple of years ago. it has no brand name and has a chipped plastic handle. It doesn't seem to be able to develop a ripe tomato cutting edge - not that I would expect it to, but what edge it develops it seems to retain for weeks. It is an out and out POS but then again I can treat it as such and it's no loss either way.

    The last one is also and unbranded Chinese SS thing we bought at a country hardware store when we went camping without a kitchen knife.
    It's similar in quality to the no brand fishing knife described above. It was too long to fit in the van cutlery drawer so it gets used in the kitchen.

  9. #8
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    Mar 2008
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    Townsville, Nth Qld
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    We have three Furi knives and a fish filleting knife my wife uses a lot for cooking, and when I see them in the kitchen draining board of a morning while making a cuppa, I sharpen them on a Wusthof ( German) butchers steel we have had for many years. Each one is done at least once a week that way.

    Something I enjoy doing, making the very sharp edge. Tried one of them on a Tormek once, made a mess of it with the angle on the curve, never again. Also tried it on an Arkansas white stone, probably a bit too soft, and you need lots of practice to get it right along the length of the knife. Just happy with the steel result
    regards,

    Dengy

  10. #9
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    Nov 2012
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    I have some ceramic knives from Japan which stay sharp for a lot longer than steel knives. They can't be sharpened except with a diamond stone. They are my go-to knives when the others are a bit blunt. They will always cut tomatoes with no problem. However, they are never as sharp as a freshly honed steel knife. My favourite knife is a stainless steel Santoku knife that only has a single bevel. It's great for slicing like making butterfly steak. The rest of the family dislike using it because it feels unbalanced to them. That's the reason it always stays sharp, and it's my go-to knife.
    Each member of the family tends to have their favourite knives.
    I put all my knives in the dishwashers. One time a knife fell on the heating element inside, and its plastic handle was partially burnt off.
    I used to use a knife sharpening machine, but the cutting edges of knives got chewed up and turned into a "banana" shape like the sharpener had taken a bite out of each blade. I no longer use the sharpening machine. I'm more than happy with the results that I get from Tormek with a CBN wheel. It's perfect every time because the pool of water in front of the edge provides a good guide how well the edge is touching the surface of the stone.

  11. #10
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
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    McBride BC Canada
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    Find a copy of Leonard Lee's book. A Practical Guide to Sharpening.
    Study the scanning electron microscope pictures of various sharpened steel edges.
    1. Steel is plastic, it cannot be sharpened to a molecular level like a first strike flint knife.
    2. It is a waste of your time and resources to go beyond 1,500 grit and then hone with CrOx/AlOx.

    That's it. See for yourselves. I'm using 3M fine automotive wet&dry finishing sandpapers
    from Lee Valley as the defined nominal grit particle sizes are included in the catalog.

  12. #11
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
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    Nth Est Victoria, Australia
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    Once you have your knife shaped and sharpened to your satisfaction, use a stubby (as in a glass beer bottle) to hone your knife on, before use. Use the neck. (You can also use the rim of a crown seal bottle to sharpen your scissors). You'll find that you lose far less steel using this method.
    As an aside, the best knife for slicing a tomato is the humble bread knife. It doesn't matter whether the bread knife is sharp or not.
    Ps I probably mentioned this a couple of years ago, sorry about that.

  13. #12
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    Nov 2018
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    Newcastle
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    Quote Originally Posted by Robson Valley View Post
    Find a copy of Leonard Lee's book. A Practical Guide to Sharpening.
    Study the scanning electron microscope pictures of various sharpened steel edges.
    .
    Great book - thanks for the heads up!

  14. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by HUON View Post
    As an aside, the best knife for slicing a tomato is the humble bread knife. It doesn't matter whether the bread knife is sharp or not.
    .
    Strongly disagree here . Slicing tomatoes with a bread knife is horrible IMO. I don't even like slicing bread with a bread knife. A sharp non-serated knife feels magic by comparison.

    Cheers, Dom

  15. #14
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    About a 600-grit "tooth" will slice any tomatoes I need.
    It's bold enough that the edge won't crumple very quickly.

    Porsche recommends a 4K water stone for their knives.
    No reason to go there for a kitchen.

    There are bread knives and then there are bread knives.
    Rip saws and cross cuts.

  16. #15
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    Dom, afraid you and I will have to agree to disagree, I've been using my bread knife for years without it being sharpened and it falls through a tomato like a hot knife through butter.
    As Robson says "there are bread knives and there are bread knives.

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