Keeping your knives and tools sharp is more than just about getting the job done. It’s about safety, efficiency, and taking care of the tools that help us in our daily tasks. In fact, using a dull knife in the kitchen is one of the most dangerous things you can do in the home.
Sharp tools do their job with less effort and more precision. Using sharp tools is also much more pleasant since there is less frustration from the tools not working as intended. In this article, we will go over several ways to make sure that your tools are sharp.
1 – Choose the right sharpening tools
The first step in ensuring our knives and tools remain sharp is selecting the right sharpening tool. For instance, kitchen knives are best sharpened with a sharpening stone, also called a whetstone.
Whetstones are flat stones that come in different grits. A coarser grit is great for reshaping a dull edge, while a finer grit is used to refine and polish the edge. Usually you’ll also see chefs use a steel rod called a honing steel but these don’t sharpen the knife. The point of using one is to keep the edge straight, but it must already be sharp.
For those who have woodworking tools or tools used in crafting, the method and tools for sharpening will be slightly different. A chisel, for example, might need a specific angle and technique when compared to a kitchen knife.
It’s essential to know what type of tool you’re dealing with and choose a sharpening method that aligns with its design and purpose. In some cases, specialized tools like diamond plates or strops might come in handy.
2 – Safety first
Working with sharp objects always carries some risks, but by following some basic precautions, we can ensure a safe sharpening experience.
Always start by securing your sharpening tool. If you’re using a whetstone, placing a wet cloth or a rubber mat beneath it helps prevent any unwanted movement. This keeps the stone stable, allowing for smoother strokes and minimizing any chance of accidents.
Make sure that the area where you plan to do the sharpening is well-lit. Proper lighting ensures you can clearly see the edge you’re working on, allowing for more precision and reducing the chances of mishaps.
3 – Keep them maintained
One of the keys to keeping your knives and tools sharp is regular maintenance. Proper care can go a long way in keeping your tools working for a long time to come. For starters, always clean your tools and knives after use. This prevents rust and other forms of wear and tear that can dull your blade.
Honing is another routine task that helps maintain sharpness. If you’ve been using a knife heavily, run it along a honing rod to straighten the edge. This doesn’t replace sharpening but helps maintain the edge between sharpening sessions. If you find you’re having to hone too often, it’s probably time to give your knife a proper sharpening.