How Often Should You Sharpen Knives Or Hone Them To Maintain Sharp Cutting Edge?

Is it time to resharpen your chef’s knife already? Do you want to make sure if sharpening it now is the best for it?

Every household owns at least one knife, that’s for sure. However, just like other tools, kitchen knives need maintenance. You need to learn basic knife care to make your knives last longer.

Unfortunately, not everyone knows when is the time to sharpen their knives. They have to wait until their kitchen knives are dull, inefficient and unsafe to use before they consider sharpening or honing them.

I know that just like the others, you also want to know if it’s already time to sharpen your knives. So, without further ado, let’s get into that!

Why Do You Need To Sharpen Your Knives

If you enjoy spending time in the kitchen or you want to be a better cook, then you should learn to sharpen your knives.

If you are aiming to be a chef, then it is more important that you learn some sharpening skills because chefs sharpen their knives often.

You need to sharpen your knife because knives get dull! You will know that it is already dull when (1) the sharp edge has been worn down and/or (2) The blade’s edge is no longer aligned properly.

As I mentioned earlier, your knife needs maintenance. Sharpening it is very important because it is a way to ensure that your knife will last and assure you of its effectiveness and safety.

Failing to sharpen your knives after years of using them will leave them dull. Once your knife is dull, it is ineffective and not safe for use. You will start to notice that it takes longer to cut the ingredients or it starts slipping when you slice something on your cutting board, which may put you at risk of cutting your finger.

A sharp knife works better because it needs less force to cut the ingredients. With less brute force, it means less damage to the food. For instance, delicate ingredients like herbs will look fresher if sliced with a sharp knife.

Cutting them with a dull knife can accelerate wilting and discoloration. Plus, using a dull knife makes the whole process of preparing your ingredients longer and less enjoyable.

Here are some benefits of using sharp knives.

  • They work better. You only need to exert less force to slice herbs, vegetables and other things.
  • They work fast. Sharp knives work well and make slicing easier and faster, so you will spend time
  • They are safer. A sharp blade is predictable. You know when or where it will strike. It is easier to control and safer to use.

When To Know It’s Time To Sharpen Your Knives

Many are confused about whether it is time to sharpen their knives or just hone them. Some even mistake the difference between the two.

But for your confidence and peace of mind, here are some hints when it’s time to sharpen your knife, according to kitchn.

1. Dull blades

When you feel that the blade of your knife feels different when you use them, then it’s probably dull. Gently run your fingertips off the edge of the blade and if it feels dull or rounded, you need to sharpen it.

2. Fails cut paper test

Test the sharpness of your knife by trying to cut a piece of paper. It is the fastest and easiest way to tell if your knife needs to be resharpened.

Hold the paper upright and hold the knife at the top edge and sliced the sheet downward. If the blade slides off and fails to cut the paper, it’s time to sharpen your knife.

3. Smashes tomatoes

Sharp blades will slice tomatoes in clean cuts, But if the knife pushes down the tomato or smashes it, then it is already dull and needs to be sharpened.

Fails onion test

Try to slice an onion and if your knife slips off then it is dull. A sharp knife moves straight through the onion’s skin and layers with ease.

4. Fails arm hair test

Some chef instructors recommend this test because it is easy to do. Just run the knife above your forearm, as if you are shaving the hair on your arm. A sharp knife will cut straight through the hairs, but if the hairs fold over from the touch of the knife, it has to be sharpened.

Learning to sharpen your knives is an essential kitchen skill. If you cook at home, you will surely agree that a sharp knife helps you enjoy cooking and slicing. Plus, it makes the task easier, smoother and faster. Not to mention, safer!

However, many mistook sharpening and honing as one. Remember this, you can’t sharpen your knife using a honing steel. So, if you are looking for a knife sharpening tool do not get honing steel because it is not the answer to your problem.


Honing vs Sharpening

What’s the difference between honing and sharpening? Honing a knife and sharpening a knife is not the same. So, if your goal is to have a sharp knife, do not count on honing steel to achieve it.

Sharpening is removing material from a knife edge by grinding it against a sharpening stone or grit stone. Some also use a water stone to achieve it.

Honing your knife is just maintaining the knife edge or cutting edge that is already sharp. A honing steel is used to push the knife blade back into alignment giving the blade a sharper feel.

You can think of it this way — Sharpening a blade means grinding away metal using an abrasive substrate and it completely removes a layer of the blade’s material to create a new cutting edge. But to maintain the cutting edge from day to day, you just need to hone it.

Honing is good enough maintenance, but if it no longer works for your knife, then you need to sharpen it.

If you are sharpening your knives too frequently, then you are most likely doing it unnecessarily by removing the material of the knife. When it comes to honing, you can do it frequently. Some hone their knives after every use, but you do not sharpen your knife that frequently.

How Often Should You Sharpen Your Kitchen Knives

I understand that at this point, you are already eager to know how frequently you can sharpen your chef knives for the best.

According to Nancy F. Nelson of Kitchen Decanted, there are three factors to determine when it is time to sharpen your knives. Here are some of the things you should look out for.

• Quality of your knife
• Frequency of usage
• Type of food you normally cut

It is very important to acknowledge the three factors to determine how long your knife remains sharp because it will help you decide how long you will wait to sharpen it.

To give you an idea, here’s an example. If you only use your knife to cut onions and garlic a few times a week, then you do not need to sharpen it more than a few times a year.

However, if you regularly use your knife to cut meat and poultry, then you will need to sharpen it a couple of times every month.

However, remember that honing and sharpening are not the same.

Honing can be done frequently even after every use. However, since sharpening includes removing a portion of the steel of the blade, you may only need to sharpen your knife once or twice a year. It is highly recommended that you have your knives professionally sharpened every 1 to 2 years.

Go Sharpening makes knife sharpening easier, more convenient and more accessible to you with its Mobile Sharpening Van. Boos us and we will pick up your knives and sharpen them in minutes while you wait at the convenience of your home.

Depending on your use, you may sharpen your knife every few months. But you can use honing steel even daily to keep your knife edge or blades straight.

How To Hone A Knife

Honing is used to use the correct technique. While you may feel that it is easy and you are doing it right, you unknowingly might have damaged the blade of your knife.

When honing a knife, you only have to hone each side of the blade six times at most per session. Also, make sure to hone correctly at a low angle. The blade should be around a 15 – 20 degree angle to the honing steel.

If you start honing at a higher angle then you risk damaging those microscopic teeth on the blade, folding them totally out of alignment, and potentially making the blade of your knife even worse!

Can You Hone A Knife Too Much?

As mentioned, you can hone your knife even after every use. If your honing steel is in good order and clean but you are still not satisfied with its performance, then you probably need to sharpen your knife’s blade or cutting edge.

Remember, no matter how much you hone the blade it can’t sharpen those little microscopic teeth. Frequent honing when it no longer works on your knife’s blade could only make things worse.


How Often To Sharpen With A Knife Sharpener

As mentioned, you need to learn how to sharpen your knife, it’s a skill that anyone who cooks in the kitchen needs to learn.

A knife sharpener is a quick-fix solution for a dull knife. You simply press the blade of the knife into the coarse side, pull it in towards you a few times, then move on to the fine side.

Yes, it’s easy to learn, but it’s not the best solution. Using a knife sharpener may not be great for your knife. It is recommended that you use whetstones for your fancy Japanese chef knives.

How often should you sharpen your knife with a whetstone

A whetstone, also known as water stone, is a popular knife sharpening stone. Despite its name, it is used dry while a water stone is soaked in water or oil before it is used to sharpen knives.

The water and oil help to hold the grit of the stone in place allowing knives to be sharpened faster. Most professional chefs sharpen their knives with a whetstone a couple of times every month.

However, if it is for home use, you can use a whetstone to sharpen your knives once a year and steel up to two times a month to ensure that it is sharp.

How often should you sharpen your WÜSTHOF Knives

WÜSTHOF knives are a high-end brand of kitchenware. They are popular for their excellent quality in comparison to other knife brands in the market. However, the manufacturer has warned customers to not over-sharpen it.

Every time you sharpen a knife, you will remove a small amount of steel from the blade or cutting edge. So, over-sharpening will make your knife lose the original shape of the blade.

It is recommended that you use steel with a higher Rockwell degree to sharpen a knife. The brand offers its own proprietary knife sharpener and they recommend it. See our guide for best steel for knives.

Can You Over-sharpen A Knife

Can a blade be too sharp? A knife can never be too sharp but it can be too sharp for a particular use. There’s a point at which a knife will be too sharp to cut certain materials.

In general, sharpening your knife will only need 5 or 10 minutes against a grit stone. But if you put off sharpening until the knife is truly dull, you will need to spend significantly more time.

When you oversharpen a knife, it means that you cut its lifetime because you remove a portion of it every time you sharpen it.


Conclusion

For perfect knife care, you should also hone your knives. Sharpening and honing your knife are among the things home users like you could do to take care of your knives. But although you can sharpen your knives using knife sharpening tools, it is still recommended that you have them sharpened professionally. You should not overdo the sharpening process, because it can change the shape of the blade of your kitchen knife and shorten its lifespan.

If you wish to learn more about knife sharpening, choosing the best knife for kitchen use and more, please visit our homepage.

References

  • kitchendecanted.com/how-of ten-to-sharpen-knives/#Which_is_the_best_method_to_sharpen_your_knife
  • epicurious.com/expert-advice/how-to-sharpen-a-knife-and-hone-it-the-right-way-article
  • chefsteps.com/activities/the-benefits-of-sharp-knives–2
  • thechoppingblock.com/blog/2015/03/sharpening-vs-honing-your-knife.html
  • kitchenknifeplanet.com/how-often-should-you-hone-a-knife/#Why_you_need_to_hone_your_knife
  • allrecipes.com/article/honing-vs-sharpening/
  • forbes.com/sites/katiebell/2019/05/08/expert-tips-on-knife-sharpening-and-more-from-wusthofs-executive-chef/?sh=28f725636aa5
  • cookinglight.com/cooking-101/techniques/how-to-sharpen-kitchen-knives
  • bladeforums.com/threads/lifetime-of-a-blade-and-over-sharpening.1247636/
  • survivalfreedom.com/can-you-sharpen-a-knife-too-much/
  • forum.spyderco.com/viewtopic.php?t=56845

Image Sources:

  • bbqguys.com
  • ph.news.yahoo.com
  • blog.metrokitchen.com
  • indianexpress.com
  • tastingtable.com