Some time ago, in order to have well-sharpened knives, you had to turn to an expert knife grinder who knew perfectly well how to satisfy us, but today thanks to the birth of some specific products, you can safely proceed on your own.
By now there are many fans of knives in circulation, in a nutshell, they are collectors who love to choose the most original and avant-garde models.
For this reason, it is essential to have a knife sharpener on hand to keep them sharp and functional at all times.
Knife Sharpener Buyer Guide
The knife grinder is a job that has disappeared completely or almost completely, but the knives continue to be used and periodically they need to be sharpened.
Given the lack of professionals, there is nothing left to do but equip yourself and reinvigorate the edge of our knives by using a good knife sharpener.
Various Types of Sharpening
The use of this type of appliance is usually very simple as well as fast since in about a minute it is possible to perform the sharpening of the knife.
The various models offered by the best brands offer different options depending on the type of blade, its thickness, the material in which it is made, and it’s level of wear.
In the case of a knife with many cutting operations on the shoulders, for example, it is necessary to start from the first stage, which performs the roughing of the blade and then proceeds to the second, which ensures the real sharpening.
Finally, the third and final stage is the one that guarantees the finishing of the operation and returns a perfect blade. For newer knives, you can skip the roughing and start directly from the second stage.
In choosing the knife sharpener, therefore, it favors a model that allows you to select the phase from which you want to start the process so that it can be used with all types of blades, possibly including those of scissors, the tips of screwdrivers and so on.
In principle, the power of the motor is not an essential discriminant in the choice and you can find appliances from a minimum of 20 watts to a maximum of 70 watts.
Our advice is not to look for power at all costs but to calibrate the choice based on the number of knives to be sharpened and the frequency of use.
Depending on the type of sharpening, this type of tool uses discs in different materials, more suitable for roughing, finishing, etc.
For example, there are those that integrate both discs and plates, others that have a grinding wheel, and others that are compatible with knives with serrated blades or made with particular steel.
Comparing the prices, the differences between the various models are determined precisely by the materials of the plates and grinding wheels, which can be ceramic, sapphire stone (cheaper), corundum, tungsten carbide, or diamond (more expensive).
The use of more expensive materials increases the effectiveness of the knife sharpener and its versatility but for non-professional use, you can get good results even with the cheaper models.
In the ranking of the aspects to be taken into account before choosing a knife sharpener, the dimensions are certainly not at the top but it is an aspect to consider, especially if you have a limited space to store it.
On the other hand, it is one of those objects that you will not always keep close at hand but that you will only use when needed.
In any case, there are really sharpeners of all sizes on the market: from the larger ones with different entrances to perform various levels of sharpening to the smaller ones, to even get to the portable ones, to always have on hand in case of need.
The expense for a product of this type, however, is justified only in the case of intense use of the knives, especially for your work.
Two levels of sharpening
The device allows you to perform very precise work and with appreciable results even on the most shabby knives. The first step is to rough the blade that needs to be put back into operation.
The operation is mechanized and the rotation of the grinding wheels takes place automatically. The device connects to the house current and works with precision and constancy to bring the blade back to a good level from which it can then obtain the perfectly sharp wire.
The second part of the work is done in the appropriate slot, here you work manually and act gently and precisely to avoid wearing out the blade too much. A knife that is sharpened too often and with little caution is likely to be damaged, sometimes just to get punctured.
The wheels used to operate the milling machines are inside the machine and cannot be seen. Yet they constitute the heart, the operating center capable of bringing to life new long-lived knives.
In this case, the grinding wheels present are of different grain depending on the type of work they have to carry out. But they are coated with a diamond to guarantee the necessary hardness and resistance to carry out their task.
The power of the machine is well proportioned to the type of work it has to do and therefore it is very intuitive to make good use of it and quickly become familiar with its operation.
How to Use a Knife Sharpener?
The Stages of Sharpening
A quick way to sharpen knives is to use an electric model. The results are more than appreciable and there is no effort to be made. Now, depending on the level of wear of the knife, you can proceed in stages.
Let’s imagine the case of a knife that has now completely lost its sharpening: roughing is carried out, after which you can move on to sharpening. It is not over because there is a final stage of finishing. In the case of new knives, the first stage can be skipped.
The inclination of the blade
Let’s imagine, instead, that we want to use a whetstone, which is a stone (but it can also be made with synthetic material) designed to perform this sharpening operation. The knife must be tilted according to an angle that should be identical to the original.
We are aware that it is almost never possible to know this data, therefore, the suggestion is to tilt the knife between 10 ° and 30 °. You can help yourself with a guide that serves to keep the angle of the blade constant.
The Lubrication of The Whetstone
If you use a water or oil whetstone, it must first be lubricated although the operation may not be necessary in the case of sharpening by hand because the speed and friction generated are not sufficient to overheat the stone excessively.
In general, the whetstone has a different grain on each side: this allows you to use one part for sharpening, the other for sharpening.
The Sharpening Steel
A blade can also be sharpened using steel, who knows how many times you have seen it used by your trusted butcher. It is important to know that steel is a tool for routine maintenance, in the sense that it is not suitable for very damaged knives.
It is important to support it correctly, that is, holding it with one hand by the handle and pushing it against a plane placed in a vertical position.
The blade should be placed at an angle close to 20 ° and slid along the steel. The procedure must also be repeated with the other side of the blade.
It is good practice to clean the blade with a cloth or absorbent paper so as to eliminate the metal residues produced by the sharpening.