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Caring for good cutlery

ImprovoloneImprovolone Registered User regular
edited July 2008 in Help / Advice Forum
I bought a set of Chicago Cutlery knifes a year ago. It''s the Insignia Steel set, which is supposedly a high carbon stainless. I don't trust myself sharpening them by hand because I don't want to royaly fuck the blade by doing it at the wrong angle. Are there any good pull through sharpeners out there that I should look at?
Also, unfortunatly, my knifes have develoepd rust spots. How can I get my knives looking great again?

Note: I only wash them by hand. I do know that much.

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    dlinfinitidlinfiniti Registered User regular
    edited July 2008
    I bought a set of Chicago Cutlery knifes a year ago. It''s the Insignia Steel set, which is supposedly a high carbon stainless. I don't trust myself sharpening them by hand because I don't want to royaly fuck the blade by doing it at the wrong angle. Are there any good pull through sharpeners out there that I should look at?
    Also, unfortunatly, my knifes have develoepd rust spots. How can I get my knives looking great again?

    Note: I only wash them by hand. I do know that much.

    you sharpen them on the flesh of the undead

    or if they're expensive knives, the company usually has a policy where you can send them in to get resharpened for no/minimal fee

    dlinfiniti on
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    embrikembrik Registered User regular
    edited July 2008
    I have a Chef's Choice 310 Diamond Hone Electric Sharpener. Amazon Link

    It works quite well, and makes the job easy. Just a warning though, the noise it makes will scare the everloving crap out of you if you're not expecting it :)

    embrik on
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    Bewildered_RoninBewildered_Ronin Registered User regular
    edited July 2008
    Well, if you insist on getting a pull through sharpener, get a good one. Anything from CuisineArt or any recognizable food industry name is good. However, if you really want a well sharpened knife, you should really learn how to use a sharpening wand. It's actually not very hard to use and you'd be surprised how many people (especially cooks and even some chefs) don't know how to do it properly.

    How to use a sharpening wand
    Do not do like you see on TV and in cartoons. These often show the wand pointed horizontally with the blade being pulled outwards (away from you). You can do this, but you will most likely create odd grooves and mess up the angle. It's poor form and improper.

    What you want to do is hold the wand vertically, pointed towards the ceiling. A slight angle is fine. Bring the blade against the wand and pull down, just like you would do as if cutting something. You will notice that the wand has a little hand guard on it, that's in case you get carried away. However, you should never have to worry about hitting the guard. The wand should be long enough to use comfortably with any size blade.

    Caring for your blade
    You did correct by not running it through the dishwasher. Some detergents and soaps are caustic to soft metals and will cause minor to serious corrosion. This actually applies to some non-dishwasher soaps as well. I, personally, do not use soap of any kind. I use steaming hot water and a clean dish rag. Submerge the blade in the hot water, wipe clean, wipe dry. To be clear, the water I use is extremely hot. Like scalding McDonalds lawsuit kind of hot.

    You mentioned rust spots. These are a pain and can be quite an embarrassment to some. There is no way to rid these and have your blade look just like it did. You can try, but good luck. The best thing is to simply take some steel wool and buff the spots out. Unfortunately, they will most likely come back within a few months.

    The best way to avoid this happening again is to change your habits. This typically happens when people leave knives in their sink or piled in with other metals utensils. As someone who cleans-as-they-go, when I am done with my knife and have wiped it clean and dry, it is immediately put back into its holder. Even so, rust may still continue to appear. This can happen on knives that use a thin rust resistant metal coating over cheaper metal.

    This isn't even getting into sushi knives, which rust is a natural occurrence and there's really nothing that can be done. (primarily because sushi knives must be continually dipped into water and let the water bead run upon the edge in order to not tear the nori)

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    MushiwulfMushiwulf Registered User regular
    edited July 2008
    Just remember that a sharpening steel doesn't actually sharpen, it hones.

    Mushiwulf on
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    NewtonNewton Registered User regular
    edited July 2008
    Edge Pro

    This is the best way to sharpen knives at home, and is really easy to use. There is almost no way to mess up the angle. I don't like the electric sharpeners. They can take a lot more of the metal off the knife than you want if you aren't careful. If you aren't going to have a professional sharpen your blades, this is the best alternative.

    And like Mushiwulf said, your steel only hones the blade, it doesn't actually sharpen it. As you use the knife, the edge gets folded over. It is still sharp, you just aren't cutting with the edge anymore. Honing straightens it back out. Over time, though, the edge flattens out. This is a dull blade and no amount of honing will bring back the edge. Honing is good practice and will extend the life of your blade, but it is no replacement for a real sharpening.

    Newton on
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    RUNN1NGMANRUNN1NGMAN Registered User regular
    edited July 2008
    Take them to a culinary supply store, they will sharpen them for you. Most places charge a couple bucks depending on the blade. They'll do 100 times better job than anything you could do. I don't think any pros sharpen their own knives.

    If there is a Sur La Table around you they will do it on certain days.

    RUNN1NGMAN on
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    ImprovoloneImprovolone Registered User regular
    edited July 2008
    Well, if you insist on getting a pull through sharpener, get a good one. Anything from CuisineArt or any recognizable food industry name is good. However, if you really want a well sharpened knife, you should really learn how to use a sharpening wand. It's actually not very hard to use and you'd be surprised how many people (especially cooks and even some chefs) don't know how to do it properly.

    How to use a sharpening wand
    Do not do like you see on TV and in cartoons. These often show the wand pointed horizontally with the blade being pulled outwards (away from you). You can do this, but you will most likely create odd grooves and mess up the angle. It's poor form and improper.

    What you want to do is hold the wand vertically, pointed towards the ceiling. A slight angle is fine. Bring the blade against the wand and pull down, just like you would do as if cutting something. You will notice that the wand has a little hand guard on it, that's in case you get carried away. However, you should never have to worry about hitting the guard. The wand should be long enough to use comfortably with any size blade.

    Caring for your blade
    You did correct by not running it through the dishwasher. Some detergents and soaps are caustic to soft metals and will cause minor to serious corrosion. This actually applies to some non-dishwasher soaps as well. I, personally, do not use soap of any kind. I use steaming hot water and a clean dish rag. Submerge the blade in the hot water, wipe clean, wipe dry. To be clear, the water I use is extremely hot. Like scalding McDonalds lawsuit kind of hot.

    You mentioned rust spots. These are a pain and can be quite an embarrassment to some. There is no way to rid these and have your blade look just like it did. You can try, but good luck. The best thing is to simply take some steel wool and buff the spots out. Unfortunately, they will most likely come back within a few months.

    The best way to avoid this happening again is to change your habits. This typically happens when people leave knives in their sink or piled in with other metals utensils. As someone who cleans-as-they-go, when I am done with my knife and have wiped it clean and dry, it is immediately put back into its holder. Even so, rust may still continue to appear. This can happen on knives that use a thin rust resistant metal coating over cheaper metal.

    This isn't even getting into sushi knives, which rust is a natural occurrence and there's really nothing that can be done. (primarily because sushi knives must be continually dipped into water and let the water bead run upon the edge in order to not tear the nori)
    My sink can't generate that kind of hot water, and I doubt many can. Do you boil up a pot of water and use that?

    Improvolone on
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    Bewildered_RoninBewildered_Ronin Registered User regular
    edited July 2008
    Nope. The water at work would always be near scalding at their hottest. Like you said, most homes don't quite get to that temp, and that's okay. When at home, I use it as hot as it gets. Typically, you want it to be just hot enough that it will be uncomfortable if your skin is under prolonged exposure. I was exaggerating a bit on the scalding part, but that varies to some. I can stand high temp water much better than my mom or sisters can. Don't douse your hands, just the blade, wipe it with a wet rag, run back under hot water and then dry. I have known some to splash a small amount of white vinegar on a rag and then rub that against their blade after drying. That may be superstition, I don't really know.

    Mushiwulf brought up a good point. A wand won't bring a knife back from the dead. But neither will most automatic sharpeners. The only thing that can bring back a truly flattened or dented edge is a good run on a grinding wheel. You might need to have a blade run against a grinding wheel every few years. Then again, I have never had to take my Shun knives to be grinded in the 8 years I've owned them and I know others that have whittled their Wusthof knives to unusable through years and years of simple wand sharpening.

    And make sure to wipe your blade after sharpening. It seems like common sense, but I've seen many people over the years that will wand their blades and then start cutting, forgetting that there is/was a fine coat of metallic dust residue that is now being rubbed off on the food.

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    DevoutlyApatheticDevoutlyApathetic Registered User regular
    edited July 2008
    If you're serious about getting your knives properly sharpened ask your local restaurants who sharpens their knives. They should have the name and number of a professional.

    As for the honing steel, that's a good idea if you learn to use it properly. It won't help a dull blade but blades edges get folded over during normal use and the steel will straighten it out.

    Automated knife sharpeners aren't generally worth much.

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