Knife maintenance and honing tips
STOP washing your knives in the dishwasher
We all know how important it is to have a well sharpened knife in your kitchen. A well sharpened knife makes not only chopping and dicing easier. It is also safer to have sharp knife. In most professional kitchens knives are sent out to be sharpened on weekly or bi-weekly basis. In your own home, you will probably only need to have your knives sharpened once a year, depending on how often you use them. So, what do you do in the meantime to maintain your knives.
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The first thing is to STOP putting your chef knife in the dishwasher. It take you 30 seconds to wash, dry and put your knife away. In the dishwasher, the knife is bouncing around , banging into your dishes and pan, and who knows what. Also, by hand washing and drying you will avoid any rust spot that would develop in the dishwasher.
Secondly, don’t keep your knives in a drawer without protective sleeves. If you have the drawer space, you can get a knife holder that fits in the drawer and keeps the knives in their proper place.
The other option, and this is what I use, is a magnetic knife holder. There is some debate on if the magnets are good for your blades. Some people think that the holder will bend and warp your knives. I’ve used mine for quite a few years and have not noticed this at all. Mine is completely metal so I am especially careful when I place my knives on it. They now have wooden magnetic holders. I would recommend a wooden one so there is no metal to metal contact.
Magnetic holder are reasonably inexpensive. I’ve seen them for as little as $10 all the way up to $80. Find one that will look good in your kitchen. It’s a great way to show off your knives. When shopping for a magnetic holder make sure it is long enough to accommodate all your knifes. Once, I got mine I ended up buy a few more knives and it is starting to be a tight fit. I may upgrade to a longer one. Lastly, you should hone your knife every time you use it. Honing keeps the blade straight in between sharpenings. It takes only a few second and is really easy once you get the hang of it. You’ll need to buy a ceramic or steel knife honer.
How to Hone Your Knife
To start, I would recommend, holding the honer tip against a cutting board. Once you get the hang of honing your blades, you may hold it up in the air. But to start place it against a cutting board. Then take your chef knife and place the heel of the knife at a 12-15 degree angle. Now, using good pressure drag your knife down the honer while pulling the knife to the tip of the blade. This way you get the whole blade in one clean movement. Now repeat on the other side of the blade. Alternate each side a few time until you think your knife has been properly straightened.
A note of caution: I have seen many people including professional chefs honing blades towards them. Please be careful. You can easily cut your self. I’ve seen people with twenty year experience seriously cut themselves doing it this way. Here is a video showing the proper way to hone a knife .
How to Hone a Knife, Good Housekeeping Published on Mar 28, 2012
Master bladesmith Bob Kramer explains this technique