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Confused Over Knife Sharpener's Stages 2 and 3

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Confused Over Knife Sharpener's Stages 2 and 3

pgreen | Jan 5, 2010 03:00 AM

Tired of suffering with dull knives, I heeded the review in Cooks Illustrated and bought the Chef’sChoice Model 130 knife sharpener. I pretty well understand when to use Stage 1—only when a knife is pretty dull. What befuddles me is when to use Stage 2 (the steel) or Stage 3 (the strop and polisher). The instructions seem to say that Stage 2 creates a “microscopically serrated (steeled) edge, the type preferred by professionals for more fibrous foods.” For Stage 3, it says it is for “hair-splitting sharpness, perfect for preparing decorative platters and for precision slicing of more delicate foods.” So, if I just want to sharpen my knives (and keep them sharp), do I use Stage 2 or 3? I am looking for someone with some wisdom and experience to guide this poor neophyte in the ways of knife sharpening.

Oh, and should I get a pair of those Kevlar gloves before I slice off one of my fingers? I've grown very fond of all ten of them (my fingers, that is).

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