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Sharpening Your Butchery Knives

If you’re going to spend good money on quality knives, it makes sense to keep them in the best possible condition. Proper sharpening not only prolongs the life of your knives, but also makes every day-to-day duty that little bit easier.

So with this in mind, what follows is a brief overview of just a few basic tips for getting the job done properly:

Determine if your knife is sharp or dull

First up, if it isn’t glaringly obvious that your knife is in need of sharpening, you can give it a quick test using a small newspaper or magazine. If it goes through the paper with little to no effort, it’s probably still sharp enough for the time being.

Just for the record, we’re also fully aware of the popular ‘fingernail’ knife sharpness test, but in the interests of health and safety we won’t be recommending it to anyone right now!

How to sharpen a knife with a stone

Sharpening with a stone is tricky and takes plenty of practice to perfect. Start out by ensuring the stone you use is slightly lubricated with a little oil or water, before positioning the knife’s blade on the stone at an angle of 20-30 degrees. The blade can then simply be swiped across the surface of the stone, all the way to the tip. As always, be sure to swipe away from you at all times and invest in the best stone you can find – diamond-edged and ceramic stones delivering better performance.

How to sharpen a knife with a steel

If your knife set came complete with a steel, chances are this will have become your primary sharpening tool of choice. While sharpening with a stone is relatively harsh and should be done periodically, sharpening with a steel is gentler and should therefore be carried out more often.

One important thing to note is that strictly speaking, you cannot make a dull blade sharp using a steel. Instead, you can simply improve the sharpness of an already-sharp blade. On the plus side, steels are relatively easy to use and very difficult to damage your knives with.

Simply hold the steel by the handle facing downwards like a gearstick, with the tip on a hard surface. The blade can then be swiped across the steel in an arc motion as many times as necessary.

Knife sharpening using an electric knife sharpener

It’s hotly-debated as to whether you should use an electric sharpener at all, given the way in which they are the most likely of all tools to damage your knives. Particularly if working with high-quality professional knives, you might want to give the electric option a miss.

Ask the experts

Of course, if you really want to do what’s best for your knives and to protect your investment, there’s always the option of hiring the professionals to sharpen them for you. There are plenty of established mobile and fixed-location knife-sharpening specialists in business right now, with the tools and experience needed to have your knives as good as new in no time…if not better!