Something to be careful of is the angle of the edge wrt the face. I have
read that different types of knives have different angles and using a
sharpener that tries to put a different angle on the edge than what is
already there can be trouble.
If your knives are not very good quality, I'd recommend considering a
new set. You can get a 7 piece set of Henckels 4 star, 5 star, pro s or
Wόsthof classic or grand prix on Amazon for around $200. I got mine
there for $140 because someone else had returned it. You could probably
do the same after christmas. The 7 piece sets only have 4 knives, but
that really is enough for most cooking. The only thing I've added is a
bread knife. If you use the sharpening steel once in awhile, the knives
stay very sharp. It only took me a couple tries to figure out how to use
it, and it takes just a few seconds. I have had my set more than a year
and use one knife in particular almost daily. It's still very sharp.
A lot of sharpeners can cost as much as a set of nice knives, so I think
buying new is good option for lots of people.
My other suggestion would be checking your local grocery stores.
Sometimes their butcher departments will sharpen your knives cheap or
free. One near me even advertises free knife sharpening on the radio.
You want knife edges to be "hollow ground" i.e slightly concave to give a
thin sharp edge. To do this you sharpen with the edge of a grinding wheel,
nit the flat or the circumference. Commercial knife grinders do this and
hold the knife at the proper angle. I've got one that belonged to my
grandparents back in the 50s. Not commercial, but it does the job for
everything but my cleaver.
If you can't be bothered with this, ask your local butcher where they take
their knives for sharpening, and do so once a year or so. Our local Sears
Hardware store has a professional sharpener come in about once a month.
Year old Henckels aren't even broken in. Mine are now 23 years old, and
still in brand new condition, except for minor grainyness on the handles. If
you can afford them go with either the 4 or 5 star. The knives are
identical, only the handles differ. 4 star was all they had back when I
bought mine. Commercial grade full tang heavy duty stuff, but with treated
wooden handles. If you're running a restaraunt, and have to runthe knives
through a commercial dishwasher, go with the 5 star plastic handles. THat
will prevent the minor degridation I've seen on the handles.
Minimal set: 8" chef, 6" utility, 4" paring, steel. I've also got an 8" thin
slicing knife, a 7" bread knife, both a boning and fileting knife, a tomato
knife, and a cleaver. And the matching fork.
IMHO fancy steak knives are a waste of money. I wish we hadn't bought the
set we did, as we NEVER use them. If I can't cut a piece of meat with a
regular table knife, I don't want to eat it or serve it to guests!
While holiday gift shopping, I discovered that Henckels now has a lower
grade made in Spain that appear to be almost the same quality as the regular
stuff, but much less expensive. I can't yet comment on the quality. I'd be
VERY cautious of any knives from Japan or China...
Bob Kaplow NAR # 18L TRA # "Impeach the TRA BoD"
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kaplow email@example.com.TRABoD (Bob Kaplow) wrote in message
I remeber when I was a kid, the Sharpener used to drive through the
neighborhood periodically, ringing his bell... We took our Henkels to
Chef Central for sharpening and they charged $20+ for sharpening that
was IMO not very well done.
I think I saw these too. The handles were a very cheap plastic and
they did not feel very solid. Felt like something you would buy from
a TV ad. Now maybe they cut very well and hold an edge great, but
frankly I was suprised that Henckel would put their name on something
firstname.lastname@example.org (Chris) wrote in message
The BEST sharpener I've ever owned and still own is a $8 item which
have a "V" groove made of some sort of hardened steel that you draw
over the knife.
Here you go, I found it
I have sharpened knives which barely could slice through butter to a
point where they glide through a soft tomato.
I recommend you go to www.lansky.com. Lansky makes reasonably priced
knife sharpening systems that work great with no learning curve
involved. I am not affiliated with them but I am a very satisfied
customer. I think I bought mine through Amazon. I sharpened all of my
kitchen knifes in a little over an hour after years of putting up with
I'd suggest taking them to a professional to get a really good edge on
them then keeping up with them by using a sraight steel (The rough
rods that come with most knife sets).
I know you don't want to do it manually, but...
If you have good knives and they start sharp, maintaining the edge is
nothing more that running the steel over them every time you wash
them. This will keep a good edge for about a year, when you can bring
them back to the sharpener for a tune-up.
Before you hand dry them, run them over the steel 10 times,
alternating sides and maintaining an eyeball 20 degree angle. Speed
If you have average knives, they sell these hand sharpeners that have
overlapping wheels that take care of the angle for you. Just start at
the handle and draw backwards, keeping the knife at perpendicular. The
good ones have two wheels, usually a brown, coarser whell, and a white
Thanks everyone for the good information.
I just wanted some advice about the automatic sharpeners, such as the
Chef's Choice. Several responded as such and I thank you.
Many others responded (as I predicted) about other methods, such as
the Lansky System, and I curse you. I wanted a simple method, but as
usually is the case, I found the best method might not be the simplest
method and I usually opt for best over simplest (that's MY curse).
Seems like the Lansky might be best for me since I am not very good
with just a plain stone (can't seem to keep the dang angle consistant
- same reason I have a jig for "scary sharp."
I am also going to check out rec-metalworking.sharpening (or whatever
the group was) for a little more info.
I really just wanted sharp knives - I didn't want to become an expert
I use the 3 stage Chef's Choice for my large kitchen knives only because it
leaves about 1/2 inch at the heel of the blade unsharpened. For the smaller
knives and pocket knives I use the short "Ultimate Edge" fine grit diamond
sharpening steel. It is quick, and removes metal faster than a hard Arkansas
stone but is not too aggressive.
I too have been a carpenter and wood worker for over 40 years. I do not
whet and strop kitchen cutlery. A fine edge is not appreciated by SWMBO
when she hacks at something still a bit frozen or uses it instead of a
screwdriver, or tries to pry the lid off whatever. I think after this many
years she is unteachable about these things, but, bless her heart, she means
well and I will probably keep her.
I went looking for a picture of the one I like and googled my way right to
and found the one I like here:
Keep the whole world singing. . . .
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