In typical families the daunting task of keeping the fleet of knives sharp fall on the guy. We are not different. My wife constantly requires me to sharpen her (enormous) collection of knives in tip-top condition. To be blunt, I’ m not looking forward to sharpening the tools at home. However, it’s as inevitable as the death. Sooner or later the day will come. And we have to be prepared.
The truth is that a dull knives is VERY frustrating to use. It is much more dangerous as well because you have to use excessive power to cut. A sharp knife is less likely to skip than a dull one.
My wife spends a lot of time in the kitchen. I noticed the pure joy on her face when she uses the sharpened knives. I help her from time to time and I too enjoy using the sharp knives. We do however have a this Smith’s manual sharpener from here but it is buried deep in the drawer and she uses it from time to time when I am not at home to sharpen the knives but the effect of good sharpening is much better.
Indeed a nicely sharpened blade makes preparing the food much easier, the food looks much more attractive and it is quicker as well.
Some backstory and how my father did it
My father was really hands on tool man. I don’t remember anything he was not able to fix or repair. Since I was 4 I was helping him with those small fixes around the house and in the garage. I loved spending the weekends as his tiny assistant in everything. This man taught me a lot of skills. Before I turned 10 I was able to polish my shoes to a high shine, to change tires as needed, to change light bulbs, and to sharpen knives. Sadly, he passed away 6 years ago. I still have all those skills however. I fell internal gratitude every time I do something he taught me. I still remember his quiet gently voice telling me what we were going to do and how to do it. He never minded me help me even though I was slow and clumsy at times.
I loved watching him sharpen the knives at home. He would pull a chair on the porch outsides, would take a sharpening stone, would wet it (it was a water stone) and would meticulously stroke the blade across the stone again and again. Slowly. When he believed the knife is ready he would gently touch it with his thumb to check whether it is sharp enough. If it is, he would simply show me that he would easily shave off few hairs off his arm. Then he would proceed with cutting some old newspaper in half.
Yes, the knives were SO sharp.
Sometimes when the sharpening has to be done quickly, he would just flip a ceramic plate upside down and run the blade across the bottom. He would do it first on the one side and then again on the other. Just a few passes and you are done. Quick, easy, cheap.
Two tips I learned for sharpening
First and foremost, always keep your fingers always from the blade. So in case it slips, your fingers won’t get cut.
Second, find the right sharpening angle and keep it the same. Maintaining the angle isn’t hard. It just requires some practice. Once you’ve sharpened enough blades you will be able to tell by the sound and the feel of the edge whether the angle is correct.
One bonus tip: Use a coarse and a medium stone if the knife is very dull and use a medium stone if it only needs some touching. Test. Repeat with medium stone if needed. Test again.
That’s it. Now try it yourself!