Cookware 14

Home knife sharpening tools

David Kahn | Apr 9, 2008 04:02 PM

I guess I can understand why a professional chef working 12 hours a day, six or seven days a week, wouldn't want to sharpen his or her own knives, particularly if he or she is using a relatively inexpensive stainless steel blade that gets lots of use and is probably replaced every couple of years. In my experience, however, the guys who are using really good, expensive, handmade blades always sharpen them themselves. (I haven't asked him, but I can pretty much guarantee that Chef Urasawa isn't letting anyone else touch, let alone sharpen, any of his beautiful handmade chef's knives.)

Maybe it's just me, but I think knowing how to maintain your tools is an important part of knowing how to use them. Putting a great edge on your own kitchen knives is not difficult, it just takes a little practice, patience, and some time. A set of good ceramic sharpening sticks (like these: http://www.lanskysharpeners.com/LCSGM... or these: http://spyderco.com/catalog/details.p... ) work reasonably well, aren't too expensive, and, unlike the electric grinders that many "professionals" use, there is virtually no possibility that they will ruin your knives by over grinding them or drawing their temper. Or, invest in a set of Japanese waterstones (http://www.japanwoodworker.com/dept.a... ) and learn how to use them. I am willing to bet that you can get a finer, longer lasting edge this way than you'll ever see from somebody you pay to sharpen your knives.

Just my 2¢. I'll get off my soap box now.

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