How to Sharpen Your Chef’s Knife

Last updated on August 9th, 2023 at 05:18 pm

Every chef knows that a sharp knife is a safe knife!

A sharp knife is an essential tool that every food service operation needs to function at their best. Commercial kitchen knives don’t stay sharp forever, or even very long after moderate usage.

Every chef knows that a sharp knife is a safe knife.

Dexter Russell Sofgrip 10" Chef's Knife

Sharp knives require significantly less pressure to be applied to properly function. Dull knives require more force, making them more likely to slip and cause injury. Chefs also know that a sharp knife is also an efficient knife that will help you improve your cooking and make your job in the kitchen a lot easier.

Cutting jobs go much smoother and faster with properly sharpened knives. Sharp commercial cutlery will also enable you to create more uniform cuts, which will aid in more even cooking and improve the taste of your great tasting dishes.

How often should you be sharpening your kit?

The first question that a lot of chefs have when it comes to knife sharpening is “how often should I sharpen my blade?”. The answer to this question will vary for every knife. When determining how often to sharpen your blades, you must first consider how often you use the knife.

  • If used with regularity, you should sharpen your blades about every two months, especially the most used ones.
  • Four months is a good refresh for knives that are used commonly but not as frequently.
  • While you should sharpen your blade depending on the usage of it, it is still recommended that all blades get sharpened as least twice a year.

The best way to sharpen a chef’s knife.

The best way to sharpen a chef’s knife is with a whetstone. There are other, quicker methods to sharpening knives, especially electric sharpening machines but they are typically more expensive than other options and tend to grind away too much of the blade’s surface. This leads to a huge reduction in the knife’s typical lifespan. Whetstone has a gentle grit that not only sharpens kitchen chef knives but also extends the duration of their usage.

Honing vs. Sharpening

Winco K-14S 14" Sharpening Steel

If you have a higher quality set of knives, you may have honing steel. That’s the long, abrasive steel rod with a handle that you see TV chefs running their knives across. The honing steel is a tool made to maintain the edge of blade, to keep it smooth and straight. The Winco K-14S honing steel is an excellent choice.

It isn’t for sharpening and shouldn’t be used as a substitute for sharpening.

Use it once every few cutting jobs to maintain the quality of the cutting edge. Although honing steel doesn’t actually sharpen your blade, it is still recommended to hone your blade after sharpening it to keep your blade aligned. It is best to use a commercial knife sharpener such as a sharpening block to get your knives sharpened.

What are sharpening blocks made of?

Sharpening blocks are made of incredibly tough materials, such as novaculite, aluminum oxide, silicon carbide, and whetstone.

Winco SS-1211 12" x 2" Sharpening Stone

Whetstone is a fine textured stone, mostly used for sharpening cutlery. These awesome sharpening devices are made of quartz, promising to prolong the lifespan and improve the quality of your heavily used commercial kitchen knives. Sharpening your chef’s knife with an electric sharpener may be easier and less time consuming, however it is much pricier and doesn’t maintain blades as well as a sharpening block. A whetstone sharpener is the best option for long term sharpening of chef knives because they provide superior results and a longer lifespan for your kitchen knives.

At Burkett, we offer many different styles of sharpening stones. The Winco SS-1211 provides chefs with 2 fine, medium grain stone sides ideal for sharpening. Meanwhile, the Dexter Russell EDGE-15 stone has a combination of three different stones for your sharpening needs. A heavy-duty base with non-slip bottom is sure to give accurate results.

How to sharpen a knife with stone.

Learning how to sharpen a knife with a stone will improve the quality of your knives. With the correct tools and proper care, you can easily maintain the quality of your chef’s knife for years to come.

Chef sharpening knife with whetstone
  1. When sharpening a chef’s knife with a whetstone, first grab a damp towel and a cutting board and place them under your sharpening stone.
  2. Next, find the signature 22-degree sharpening angle by holding the blade at a 90-degree angle, then halfway to a 45-degree angle, and finally half that to get a 22-and-a-half-degree angle. That 22-degree angle is the most important step in learning how to sharpen a knife with a whetstone.
  3. After you find that 22-degree angle, pull the chef knife from heel to toe. After running the blade from heel to toe about 4-10 times, flip the knife over and do the same thing on the other side.
  4. Now run the blade toe to heel 4-10 times while maintaining that proper 22-degree angle, flip the knife and repeat on the other side when finished.
  5. Finally, wipe down the chef’s knife with a damp towel to remove the small metal shavings and you’re ready to chop, slice, dice, and cut any ingredient that comes your way!

How to store and hold your sharpened knives.

Once you’ve gone through the trouble to sharpen and hone your knives, make sure you store them so that they stay in pristine condition. From knife blocks to wall mounted knife cases, we have the appropriate equipment to ensure your sharpening efforts aren’t for naught.

Putting sharpened knives away after use is not just good for kitchen safety, but also knife blade safety. Exposed blades can be knock off counters or caught on pans leading to chipping or dulling. Using knife blocks and cases can help your chef’s keep their blades sharper for longer.

In conclusion, its pretty easy to keep your knives sharp and secure. It just takes a little effort from your kitchen staff. At Burkett, we have everything you need in our one-stop-shop. Check out our kitchen cutlery section for all your needs.

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