Whenever I see professional chefs sharpen knives, they hold the steel vertically, then make a downward slicing motion with the knife, as if they were trying to cut a sliver off it. I've tried to imitate this, but it feels unnatural to me.

When I sharpen a knife I hold the steel horizontally in front of me. I put the blade against the steel close to the thumb guard making a wide, flat X, then drag the knife away along the blade. I repeat this, alternating sides. I can do it quite quickly; about as quickly as the pros do their movement. It seems to work; I get a nice edge to the blade fairly easily.

Is there any real difference between the pro's way and my way? If so, what is it?
Original Post
I don't know if there is a big difference, but I would think it is hard to keep the knife ~ 20* from the sharpening steel when doing it horizontally. I think you are supposed to also make a sweeping motion, not just pull the balde straight across the steel, but I could be wrong.

I'm sure someone more knowledgeable then myself will chime in.

Just an added note, a steel is used to re-align a turned knife blade. I get my knives professionally sharpened every other year or so at the local culinary store.
A steel is used to put a fine edge on an already sharpened knife. You need a stone, or rather a series of stones of decreasing grit, to sharpen a knife.
Sharp knives will burr or very sharp ones can have their edges roll with use (especially around bones), the steel removes those burrs (as does a leather 'strap'), it doesn't matter how you use it though maybe it's possible the pros get a more consistant angle holding the steel vertically. Sharpening a knife is, as Board-O says done with stones. Some people are very, very good at this, some of us suck. Roll Eyes
I learned more about knife maintenance and upkeep on a 30 minute "Good Eats" show with Alton Brown. It was great because he went through proper techniques for sharpening and honing, but also explained why they're necessary and what it's actually accomplishing (as he always does).

In fact, he recommended against sharpening your own knives. He does recommend, though, that one use a steel before every use to bring the blade back "true." Man, I love the Food Network!
There are many types of "sharpeners." There are steels for honing and steels for sharpening. They're like sandpaper. For honing the steel is rougher to get more of an edge. For sharpening the steel is finer. The best I have is a diamond steel. I have a Kershaw that can split paper the hard way.
There are many more wrong ways to sharpen a knife that right ways. Unfortunately it takes years of practice to do it correctly.

I would never send a knife out to have it sharpened by someone else. You are likely to get back somthing machine sharpened and possibly ruined.

I use a tri-hone with three different grits, the final being fine arkansas. I only use a steel lightly for a quick refreshing of a properly honed knife.

Depending upon the knife use and blade material, the angle of the edge is also different.

I do sharpen by a cutting motion into the stone and not by dragging away from the edge. Dragging away from the edge is a worthless, wrong method and can't produce a real edge.
quote:
Originally posted by Flubis:
That guy needs to cut his nails or he will cut one off !!!


Eek Confused these are my hands, and i like the nails as they are, i cut my nails just bevor taken the pictures Confused Eek

stevie,

that is a windmühlenmesser serie 1922 carbonsteel one of the best serial-production knifes i know.

here some more foto sessions:

cutting half a lamb with that small knife

my grinding - stones and stuff

most of my knifes

my knife-making future Wink

grinding of a yanagiba (trad. sashimi knife)

using it and prepare a sashimi meal for one


any questions?

@ dave,
don´t appologise! nobody kan know everything Smile
quote:
Originally posted by Pauly:
I use this Furi system. It's not as fine a result as some other systems, but it is quick and easy to use for the non-professional.

Yaeh, I saw that at a small show in San Jose recently. It looked nice and gave a very sharp edge, but the hassle of switching out the fingers put me off, plus the $100 price tag. As far as I'm concerned if the knife is sharp - sorry, debluntified - enough to slice ripe tomatoes without squashing them, that's good enough. I don't plan to shave with it.
I use a Global chefs knife and I find that the 2-stone water sharpener available for about $30 keeps it as sharp as I need. Plus it's dead easy to use. Probably not as sharp as some would like, but, like Dave Tong, if it can slice a ripe tomato into paper thin slices it's sharp enough for me.
quote:
Originally posted by Dave Tong:
Yaeh, I saw that at a small show in San Jose recently. It looked nice and gave a very sharp edge, but the hassle of switching out the fingers put me off, plus the $100 price tag. As far as I'm concerned if the knife is sharp - sorry, debluntified - enough to slice ripe tomatoes without squashing them, that's good enough. I don't plan to shave with it.


I just use 2 different sets of fingers (diamond and honing), rather than swap the fingers around. Furi are very good about supplying replacement parts, so I just bought an extra handle to hold the extra fingers.

For home use you can get away with just the diamond fingers and honing fingers, and get the blades reground professionally every few years or so. Much easier to learn to use than a steel.
Last edited by pauly
To answer the original question. Yes, there are 2 wrong ways to sharpen a knife- run it over with your car or put it into a blender. Razz Eek
I was sharpening my knives on the weekend. A wrong thing to do is to wipe the blade clean on your trousers, not the towel you had got out of the cupboard specifically for the job.

End result 3" gash in the trousers and my thigh. At least I know my knife is sharp.
quote:
Originally posted by Pauly:
I was sharpening my knives on the weekend. A wrong thing to do is to wipe the blade clean on your trousers, not the towel you had got out of the cupboard specifically for the job.

End result 3" gash in the trousers and my thigh. At least I know my knife is sharp.
I think you are self-nominated for the Bella Award!

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