Sharpening knives

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I'm a guy with no clue as to how to easily sharpen pocket knives, kitchen knives, etc. Are there easy to acquire inexpensive "widgets" to make sharpening duck soup simple? What would you recommend?
Thanks in advance
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A double sided stone. Medium side and fine the other. Mandatory to keep them sharp is a 'steel' and use it regularly.
Harry K
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Purists will tell you a set of stones is the only way. A chef's Choice electric seems to get high ratings though. About $100 and up http://www.knife-depot.com/electric-knife-sharpeners/?brandd8
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I have this one: http://www.knife-depot.com/knife-47957.html and am very happy with it. Use the sharpener once on your knives, then the steel and hone before every use to keep them VERY sharp.
It was cheaper on Amazon the last time I looked.
-- Doug
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On 9/27/2011 2:47 PM, Douglas Johnson wrote:

Looks similar to the diamond sharpener that I had. It was failing because two of the diamond impregnated parts were falling off and I could not figure any way to fix them back on. All three of the stages had these. It did do a good job for the half dozen or so years that I had it.
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I used to make knives, and although I no longer do that, I maintain them for ourselves, family, and friends. There a number of gadget that are called sharpeners. Most are pure junk, and a couple can just about ruin a knife. I'd stay away from them.
Start with a good quality knife. You can sharpen cheap knives, but they quickly dull.
For a well maintained knife that is just moderately dull, a high quality stone (I recommend Arkansas Stone as the best). You need two, a fast cutting stone and a hard stone for putting on the best edge. You will need to practice using them, keeping the same original bevel / angle.
For a very dull knife, I use a one inch wide belt sander with 200 - 250 grit. You can get a blade relatively sharp with this, and then go to the stone.
A steel does not put an edge on a knife, it repairs the edge though. Using a good sharp knife will cause the edge to roll or bend slightly. This is called a 'wire edge'. A steel will help repair this condition. It should be used after cutting into bones, or onto a wooden cutting board. There is a type of steel that does put on an edge to some degree, but I don't recommend them.
Always use a wooden cutting board - definitely not plastic, stone, etc.
That's about it, There is no quick, easy, cheap, duck soup solution like you seem to be asking for. If you are going to go easy, your best bet is to buy a bench mounted belt sander, with a 1" X 30" belt, cost about $30 at Harbor Freight. But stay away from the gadgets.
Bob-tx
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On Tue, 27 Sep 2011 05:06:43 -0500, "Bob-tx" <No Spam no contact> wrote:>Always use a wooden cutting board - definitely not plastic, stone, etc.
Why not plastic?
--
croy

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Some plastics will dull the knives. They can also become unsanitary when scratched up over time
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On Thu, 29 Sep 2011 08:25:50 +0200, "Ed Pawlowski"

Some woods will dull the knives, too. And get unsanitary when scratched up (and not properly cleaned).
--
croy

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Woods that will dull knives should not be used in a cutting board. That is one reason maple is so effective. Red oak should never we used because it will wick the moisture.
Wood also has some natural bacteria killing ability. Wood can easily be touched up if scratched a lot.
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On Fri, 30 Sep 2011 08:23:51 +0200, "Ed Pawlowski"

Hmmm. Call me slow, but I'm unclear if you are saying that maple is effective at dulling knives, or it is effective at being a good candidate for a cutting board material.

Hmmm again. I've seen some small amount of data about the strength and wieght of some woods (Machinery's Handbook), but I've never given any thought or seen any references to the wickability of various woods. Have you ever found such? I would suspect that a general rule might be that the softer the wood, the more wickable--but I have nothing what-so-ever to back that up.

But wouldn't this tend to lessen with age?

I"ve sanded by polyethylene cutting board once--it seemed to make it like new. But I don't think the jury is out yet on the wisdom of using various plastics around food--especially at elevated temperatures. But I do know that, generally speaking, polyethylene is pretty inert stuff at room temperature.
I'm not trying to be argumentative--just curious about all this wood vs. plastic cutting boards. Seems a somewhat charged subject.
--
croy

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Maple is good cutting board material-

Not necessarily- toss some cedar and some red oak in a pond and the oak will sink long before the cedar. Seems like it might have been Wooden Boat magazine that i saw a chart once.

Doesn't seem to. That's why a wooden knife rack is worth the counter space - IMO.
-snip-

Unlike the Birch John discussions of the 60's- this one has some science behind it. The birch vs plastic toilet seat discussions were about aesthetics.
Jim
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Here's some results from actual testing of wood versus plastic.
http://faculty.vetmed.ucdavis.edu/faculty/docliver/Research/cuttingboard.htm
It is quite surprising as I think most of us would think that plastic boards would be less likely to harbor bacteria. Seems like new plastic boards and wood are about the same. But they say used plastic boards that are scratched up are nearly impossible to get the bacteris off.
As for wooden or any kind of knife rack, I think that is a whole different problem. With all the ones that I've seen, there is no way to clean inside them. I use one, but I bet if you went inside you'd find stuff that has accumulated over time that harbors bacteria.

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snipped-for-privacy@optonline.net wrote:

You run your knives through an autoclave before using them :)
--

dadiOH
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<snip>
Since oak is many times more dense (weighs more) than cedar it is no surprise that it would sink first. It would need to absorb a lot less water than cedar.
Harry K

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Density is not the factor though. Red oak is like a series of straws bundled together and it will take on water faster than many other woods. While oak is what is used for barrels and is more solid.
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As with anything, you have facts, opinions, and preferences.
Some people have to see it on Oprah before they will believe it, and then Oprah's wrong, but they never air that episode. Or they will read an article, and each article is slanted towards the writer's preferences.
Yes, wood can harbor bacteria, but that's if you don't wash it and take care of it. Duh. So can plastics.
So, what's the difference between two cutting boards that are PROPERLY cared for? Nothing except their texture, their hardness that affects knife wear, and personal preference. A scuffed up plastic board harbors as much stuff as a scuffed up wood one. And we see a lot of glass cutting boards, one of the worst things you can use because of the wear on knives, yet probably one of the most hygienic because it can be washed at high temperatures in the dishwasher. Yet, their users are clueless about it.
Some people are just anal about their cutting boards. Take my daughter. She will use nothing but plastics, yet it sit out for hours after cutting chicken. Then come to my house and lecture me about my wood that I wash after cutting chicken, and then go over with Clorox impregnated tissues. And, in her kitchen, you will find those dishwasher hand scrubbers with the replaceable heads, yet she will use one until it is ragged and nasty. And same about the sponges. They're so cheap, you could almost toss them every few days. Talk about germs.
Everything within reason, and whatever you use, if it is properly cared for, cleaned, and proper kitchen practices followed, one shouldn't have any problems. But it is so easy to blame a case of food poisoning on a cutting board when you leave cut chicken on the counter for six hours.
Steve
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On 10/2/2011 11:15 AM, Steve B wrote:

Reason and rationality have nothing to do with. There is always a mound of towels behind the bathroom door at work, from people afraid to touch the handle. I've seen people do that, and then press the elevator button ten feet away without a second thought, right behind the previous bathroom and elevator user (also on their way to lunch), who didn't even bother to wash their hands.
Trying to achieve operating room or clean room conditions in daily life is pointless and often counter-productive. You end up with people with weak immune systems, and microbes that evolve faster and stronger. Throw in the over-use of antibiotics (including how they load up in food chain), and the potential for a super-bug pandemic grows ever stronger.
Sure, you should keep sanitary conditions and observe basic housekeeping. But don't get ridiculous about it.
--
aem sends...

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I am 62 going on 63. I have never had a case of diagnosed food poisoning. Well, there was those couple of times when I drank a case of beer, then ate a cheeseburger that made me sick. And the times when I ate the local tacos from a street vender stand at a bullfight in Mexico. But never the uncontrollably sick state where you have to go to the hospital. Bad food? Bad prep? Bad ingredients? Dirty cutting board? My own dirty hands? I'll never know. I just know that I have far too many things to think about so I just do a good job at what I'm working at, and know that the job or subject could be taken to the nth degree if one wanted to.
Everyone dies from something. That is pure fact.
And wouldn't it be nice if we could look back and see that it was touching that 7th floor elevator button that gave us that odd quirky rare virus? Or that whiff of strange smelling stuff on the busy city street that day 30 years ago that gave us incurable cancer. Nah. Dead is dead.
Steve
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aemeijers wrote:

When I moved to Mexico I was in a hotel for a couple of weeks finding an apartment etc. before my wife arrived.
Everyone has heard horror stories of Mexican water so I was scrupulous in only drinking - and brushing my teeth with - water from the jug that the nice room cleaning ladies filled everyday from a larger jug of bottled water.
Then one day I was in the room when they were cleaning and watched them wash out *MY* jug with tap water before refilling it with bottled water. From then on, I brushed my teeth with tap water. Didn't swallow, though :)
--

dadiOH
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