Enlarge ImageSharpen and care for your kitchen knives for safer, faster cooking. Chris Monroe/CNET Congrats on buying your brand new kitchen knife! You took the first step toward making cooking easier and more enjoyable.
A proper knife will help you chop and mince like a pro. But, dont stop there -- a good knife deserves careful maintenance, like sharpening and honing. After a few weeks of use, new knives will become dull, forcing you to apply more pressure to make cuts. That added resistance doesnt just mangle meats and veggies; its a potential hazard for your fingers.
Keep your knives feeling new and your fingers safe with this guide to sharpening and honing cutlery. Disclaimer time: Im stating the obvious, but knives can hurt you. Even if you dont plan on servicing your own blades, handle them with care. The smallest of paring knives can cause a big injury in a flash.
Always exercise extreme caution and be mindful when using these sharp implements -- for your sake and of those around you. Ill also focus on steel knives since ceramic blades typically require professional servicing.
Now playing: Watch this: Keep your kitchen knives sharper and safer 1:58 Honing and sharpening: Know the differenceThese two terms are often used interchangeably, but theyre actually different.
Honing refers to the act of straightening a blades existing edge. Over time, and through ordinary use, the edge of a knife blade will curve over slightly or bend out of its original position. HoningWhen you hone a knife, you coax its pointed surface slightly back into position. Its a gentle fix but when done often, can prevent more serious blade damage.
The most common way to hone a knife, is with a honing steel. These inexpensive tools ($10 to $30) are essentially steel rods with a handle. The surface of the rod is coarse, and scraping a blade across the rod (at the proper angle), on both sides nudges (hones) its edge back in place. SharpeningSharpening is the practice of aggressively polishing a knife to reform its edge.
Youll need to do this for very dull knives only. In the process, bits of metal are actually shaved away. Thats why sharpening a metal blade calls for material harder that steel --- stone or ceramic. Its also why you should hone often, but sharpen rarely. Enlarge ImageA honing steel is a tool used by many professional cooks to realign knife blades.