Sharp knives are always a joy to work with. They cut easily and quickly through food with clean, straight cuts that do not fray the meat or vegetables. This is particularly evident when working with food with crusts and skin, such as bread, crispy crackling, peppers and tomatoes. The joy of working with sharp knives cannot be underestimated.
But how often should you hone or sharpen your knives to keep them sharp – and what’s the difference?
You hone the knives with a honing steel and sharpen them with a knife sharpener. Over time, your knife edges will become dented and uneven, causing them to lose some of their sharpness. A honing steel corrects the knife’s edge, eliminating the dents and deformations – but it doesn’t sharpen the knives or make them sharper than they were before. That’s what you need a knife sharpener for. The knife sharpener makes your blunt knives sharp again by removing a small amount of metal.
For regular use, you should sharpen your knives 3-4 times a month. When to hone your knives is a little trickier. This depends on the quality and type of steel they are made from – the harder the steel, the less you need to hone them. And of course then it depends on how often you use the knife and for what. A good rule of thumb is to hone your knives once a month and to sharpen them more frequently (3-4 times a month as mentioned above).
This is just one of our honing steels. See all products in the knife sharpening category.
It takes practice to be good at handling a honing steel and to sharpen your knives at the right angle. If you need training, here are some instructions on how to use a honing steel.
Start by picking a honing steel that is at least as long as the knife you are honing. Place the knife at a right angle to the honing steel. If you put your thumb on the back of the knife and tilt the knife towards the steel, it should correspond to approx. 15 degrees when your finger just touches the steel. Run the knife easily and carefully towards your finger, starting at the tip of the steel. Sharpen your knife 4-5 times on each side – on the right and then the left.
The movement should be slow and careful, not fast and skimming. Avoid knocking the knife against the steel, unlike you see chefs do on TV. Instead, take care and control the sharpening.
A knife sharpener is easy for everyone to use. SCANPAN's Classic series contains a 3-step knife sharpener with three different sharpening wheels of tungsten, diamond and ceramic.
To sharpen completely blunt knives (12 months or more since the last sharpening), use all three sharpening wheels. If you sharpen them more frequently (every 2-3 months) use the diamond and ceramic sharpeners. For everyday use or minimum once a week, use the ceramic sharpener.
With both a steel and knife sharpener, you will give your knives a new lease of life and the joy of working in the kitchen will become even greater.