I sharpen an average of 50-60 knives a week and deliver to the customers.
When I visit customers, I notice that some people maintain the edge for surprisingly long time while the edges from some others are completely rounded and gone. Obviously, there is a very simple rule applies that the more you use the knife, the blunter it gets but some chefs who keep the edge I sharpened go through crazy amount of work.
I believe that there are 2 main factors to determine the durability of the edge.
1 is the quality of the knife, blade , materials and how they were made and 2 is how you use and care the blade.
Some knives made from cheap materials and not forged properly or not even forged wouldn’t get super sharp and edges of these knives wear out fairly quickly. In Japan, we call these knives “ Tofu slicer “ as you can’t use for anything harder than Tofu.
Finely sharpened edge is very delicate to handle. Sashimi knife , for instance, has the sharpest edge of all knives but is the most fragile thing at the same time. It will chip from hitting fish scales or little bone left on the loin while you are slicing.
Some of the tips to help keep the edge last long are:
-Put your knife on the bench, chopping board or magnet from back of the blade first then roll so the edge doesn’t hit hard objects first.
-Use your knives according to the purpose.
It is good to separate knives according to jobs you do. Use one with fine edge for delicate works or soft ingredients and then, thick blade for hard ingredients. Fibrous food like Lemmon Grass, Galangal, Nori sheet or bones and fish scales are edge destroyers.
-Always use chopping board and never cut against plates or benches. Many people think that chopping board has to be wood.
Yes, as long as natural wood, however, compressed wood is too hard and in that case, plastic board is easier for your knife.
-Do not put the knife in the sink with other utensils, plates or cutleries etc or store blade in drawers unwrapped. If the tip or edge of the knife hits other hard items, it gets blunt faster. Always wash and dry knives straightway and keep them in block, on magnet ( Put back first. ) or wrapped.
-Do not use steel too many times.
I see many chefs use steel to refresh the edge by hitting blade really fast and I admit that it looks very professional. In reality, I think that speed doesn’t matter but keeping proper angle all the way is very important. The strokes can be very slow and gentle or you will damage the edge.
-Never make the blade contact with flame or high heat. This will damage the tempering of forged knife and the edge become either soft or brittle. Hot tap water is fine for washing knife.
-Do not wash knife in dishwasher. The knife kept warm and moist before and after the cycle and even stainless steel can corrode if left moist for hours.
I believe that no one use the tip of knife to open tins…
If you pay attention and look after your tools, they will be loyal and work hard for decades.
Happy cooking with sharp knives!