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
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.
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
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
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
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
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.
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.
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
I'm not trying to be argumentative--just curious about all
this wood vs. plastic cutting boards. Seems a somewhat
Here's some results from actual testing of wood
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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 :)
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