Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Sharpening Knives

I admit it, I am a klutz - with lousy eye sight and worse eye/hand coordination. So the perennial problem that a cook has, "How to sharpen knives and keep them sharp?"

I have tried a variety of methods:
Pay someone to do it ($5.00 per blade gets expensive)
Use an electric (e.g. Chef's Choice) sharpener
Use a hand / pull through sharpener
Use a whetstone
Something else?

For various reasons, none of the methods were particularly satisfactory. The best was to have a pro (e.g. Rolling Stone in the DFW area) do it, but at $5.00 per blade the prices was getting crazy - 8 knives, 2 x year. You do the math!
Most electric sharpeners are too "greedy" for my liking - i.e. they take too much metal off the blade. The hand/pull through sharpener didn't deliver great results.
I can't manage a consistent angle on the whetstone, so I went hunting for something easy to use and that did a great job..
On the Serious Eats web page, there was an advertisement for a home belt sharpener. Belt sharpeners are what most of the pros use, so I figured there was a sporting chance that I could make one of these work. The sharpener in question is the E5 from Work Sharp .
So, on a whim I bought one.
It's very effective (at least for my western angle blades). I didn't buy the Asian guides (yet...). Also only have one grade of grit for the sanding belts. But I dare say I will experiment with different grits as well.
The knives came out incredibly sharp. The tool was foolproof (well Chris Proof which requires an even higher degree of ease). I have a carbon steel Sabatier knife which is dark gray in color. So it is easy to see how much metal the sharpener has taken off. Very little! So it meets my don't be greedy criterion.
A nice (but rather short) ceramic honing rod came with it. I alternate between that and my conventional steel. The ceramic rod does a nice job, however.
All in all I am very happy with the sharpener. Finally found one that suits me.

Full disclosure: After I had bought it and used it, I was contacted by the company for a review. For the review, the company did give me an Amazon gift card. That card will be used for more belts

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