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The Importance Of Knife Sharpening

The Importance of a Good Knife Sharpener Cannot be Underestimated

Now, before we go any further on the topic of knife sharpeners, there is one important message that needs to be made. Knife sharpeners only work properly if you use them regularly. Now, the question you are probably asking yourself is “How often is ‘regularly?” The answer is quite simple. As often as is practically feasible, and if you use your knife regularly, then at least twice a week.

A knife sharpener is an indispensable tool for personal safety
Let’s take this one step further. Waiting until your knife is blunt before sharpening it is not the best way to look after a knife, and it is not particularly safe, either. Yes, you read that correctly, having a knife with a sharp blade is safer for you than having one with a blunt blade. Why? Because when a knife is blunt, it is still capable of inflicting personal harm, but to perform any task with it requires additional pressure that can often result in your hand slipping, or your having to hold an item in a less safe manner while you try and cut it with your blunt knife.

Did you know that one of the most common accidents in the kitchen is cutting yourself with a blunt knife? 3B’s Training for a Safer Environment lists blunt kitchen knives at the top of all causes of accidents in the kitchen, so you don’t just have to take our word for it! Were further proof needed, what is one of the most common sights you think of when you picture a professional chef. Yes, keeping their knife sharp with a sharpening steel as he or she flicks their hand back and forth with ease as the blade caresses the sides of a rod of diamond-coated hardened steel. Professional chefs probably do this half a dozen times a day.

The difference between a knife sharpener and a sharpening steel
However, here at Cyclaire Knives and Tools, we’re really going to frustrate you now as we know a thing or two about knife sharpening, and many of you would be forgiven for thinking that chef’s use a sharpening steel to sharpen their knives. They don’t.

“What?” we hear you moan. It’s another true fact though, albeit verging on semantics. You can’t actually sharpen a knife using a sharpening steel. That is not what it is designed for. The sharpening steel is used to maintain the sharpness of a knife, which is why chef’s use them so frequently. The sharpening steel will usually have an ultra-fine diamond coat that will shave nanometers off the edge of a knife – just enough to make a difference to the sharpness, but only a miniscule one.

The sharpening stone – man’s original knife sharpener, but with a modern twist

DMT W6F 6" Diamond Whetstone

So, what do chef’s use to sharpen their knives? A sharpening stone is the tool of choice, like our DMT W6F 6" Diamond Whetstone or our range of Ganzo Diamond Sharpening Stones which come in 200, 400 and 600 grit coarseness. Where original knives were sharpened against stone, or a grinding wheel, today’s sharpening stones are not made of stone, but are invariably a metal latticed surface coated with diamond powder. Their beauty is their effectiveness means you don’t have to use so much force, which enables you to guide the blade more accurately.

Draw-through knife sharpeners are fast and effective, but are not for every type of knife


Sharpal 206N Knife

One of the most common knife sharpeners found in kitchens is the draw-through knife sharpener, such as our Sharpal Knife And Scissors Sharpener which has the added bonus of sharpening scissors as well – yes, we may often think about sharpening our knives, but when was the last time you sharpened a pair of scissors? Probably never…

These are excellent for rapid results, but they are not suitable for a number of knives. If your knife has a bolster, then that will get in the way. If you have a one-sided knife blade, then a draw-through sharpener will simply damage the flat side rather than sharpen the blade.

Lastly, many Japanese knives have ultra-slim blades. The materials used on draw-through knife sharpeners tend to be highly abrasive, often rotating-wheel type designs, and these will likely chip and damage the blade as you draw it through the sharpener. Handy-sized Knife Sharpeners for when you choose to ‘go native’. 

One of the problems of knife sharpeners is that sometimes they are either too bulky or too heavy to want to take with you if you are heading off to go trekking or camping. Well there is a solution for that too, which comes in one of two forms – either a pocket-sized sharpening tool like the Pocket Pal, or the credit-card-sized DMT sharpener.

Check it out as we’ve got a massive range of knife sharpeners for you to choose from. However, if you’re not 100% sure what the best type of knife sharpener to choose is – especially as we often feel we need more than one type , but are not aware of all the options – then don’t be afraid to give us a call or drop us an email. We’re not just an online store full of faceless people, we do actually run Cyclare Knives and Tools just like a genuine shop, and we’re always happy to help.