Experienced cooks know that a sharp knife not only makes prep work easier and the final product more attractive, but is much safer, too. A dull blade requires more pressure to cut into food, which can easily cause your knife to slip and cut your hand.
Home cooks should sharpen their knives at least twice a year, and much more frequently if they use them every day. But when do you know it's time, and how do you do it?
The first step is understanding how knives get dull, which can happen one of two ways. Either your blade gets pushed out of alignment (meaning it looks more like a wavy line than a straight edge) or the edge simply wears down with regular use.
One of these things will happen to your knives eventually, but you can prolong the inevitable by practicing good habits.
1. Never use your knives on glass or marble cutting boards. Unlike wood or plastic, these materials grind down your blade, causing it to dull more quickly.
2. Avoid scraping your knife across your cutting board to move food around. Dragging your blade from side to side can throw it out of alignment and dull the knife.
3. Hand-wash and fully dry your knives after each use. Putting them in the dishwasher, leaving them in the sink, or storing them wet can cause rust and scratches, leading to a dull blade.
4. Always store your knives in a countertop knife block or an in-drawer organizer. If they're kept loose in a drawer, they'll bang up against other tools, getting nicked and dinged in the process.
The second key to lasting knives is knowing what to do when they finally get dull. If your blade is out of alignment, you can simply run your knife over a honing rod to straighten the edge. If it's worn down, though, you'll need to actually sharpen it, which you can do several ways.
Sending your knives out to a professional can be expensive, and they typically use grinding stones, which take more material than necessary from your blade. Doing it yourself with a sharpening stone is cheaper and more effective, but, while whetstones remove less material than grinding stones, they take a lot of know-how to use correctly, and the process is extremely labor-intensive.
For a fail-safe way to sharpen knives, savvy cooks turn to Work Sharp Culinary. With a passion for elevating the home-chef experience, the company offers knife-sharpening systems that use the same technology as manufacturers, but in a convenient countertop design. By allowing you to sharpen your knives the same way they're made, Work Sharp Culinary sets itself apart from other sharpening systems, which often use harsh grinding wheels or carbide rippers. The company's proven technology, backed by more than 40 years of innovation, makes the sharpening process fast, rewarding, and even fun (!), ensuring you'll actually use it to keep your knives cutting like new.
Work Sharp Culinary's premier system, the E5 sharpener, uses a flexible belt that's long-lasting, gentle on knives, and designed to sharpen even the most high-tech steels. The One Touch Programming feature eliminates guesswork with pre-programmed, timed sharpening cycles, and Work Sharp Culinary's exclusive MicroForge technology creates a durable, more controlled edge on any knife. Leather-lined sharpening guides ensure consistent edge geometry along the entire blade, and a ceramic honing rod keeps your knife in top shape long after sharpening. Extremely user-friendly, the E5 will help you keep your knives sharp all the time, ensuring clean and effortless cuts no matter what you're making.
Work Sharp Culinary also offers the manual M3 sharpening system. Along with the same MicroForge technology and sharpening guides featured in the E5, the M3 comes with interchangeable diamond and ceramic rods, which allow you to shape, sharpen, and hone in one package. Repair your knife's blade with the 320-grit diamond rod, then follow with the dual-surface ceramic honing rod to create a razor-sharp edge. The entire system can be stored in your knife block, or pulled apart and kept in a drawer, ensuring easy access when it's time to sharpen.
Whichever system works best for your cooking chops, one thing's for sure—use Work Sharp Culinary and dull knives will never slow down your cooking again.