A knife is one of the essential kitchen tools in preparing dishes. It's the tool that most chefs and cooks can't forget to have in their kitchen. Because, how are they going to slice all the ingredients and cut the meat, fish, or vegetables? It always takes a knife to get the slicing and cutting done.
However, food preparation can be inconvenient and dangerous when using a dull knife. Therefore, ensuring a sharp knife is the best way to have a safer and faster food preparation. But what if you're not aware that the blade you're using has become dull? How are you going to know if your knife needs some sharpening? Here are some of the tests that you can do to tell if your knife is still sharp or not.
How to Tell if You Need to Sharpen Your Knife?
Most of the time, chefs can quickly feel if their knives are getting dull, but for some, it can be hard to tell, especially if they can still use the knife to cut certain things. Therefore, if you're wondering whether your knife has become dull, you can try testing it using these simple tricks.
The Paper and Tomato Test
Cutting a piece of paper is one of the simplest ways to see if the knife is still sharp. Look for any paper and try slicing it from the top all the way through. If your knife does not cut smoothly, it needs to be sharpened.
On the other hand, if you have tomato in the kitchen, you can also test the knife by cutting one. If the blade can easily cut through the tomato skin, it's still sharp, but if it does not—then, you should consider sharpening it.
What are the types of knife sharpeners, and how to use them?
Depending on the type of knife sharpener used, there are numerous ways on how to sharpen a knife. Each type serves a specific purpose, so it is vital to understand them to hone the knife properly. Thus, whether you use a stone or steel sharpener, you'll be able to know how to use them. Here are the knife sharpeners that you can use to sharpen your knife:
Stone Knife Sharpener
The most common and proven way to hone a knife is using a smooth stone. Although it's not the fastest method, it's a very effective knife sharpening tool of all time. It hones the blade of the knife nice and smooth, giving the best cutting and slicing experience.
Stone knife sharpener has three types, including whetstones, diamond stones, and oil stones. Let's start with the most common stone sharpener, which is the whetstone. It's the type of stone sharpener usually soaked in water before you can use it to hone a knife.
Whetstone can make the blade sharp when the sharpening is executed correctly. However, it's not that durable as the other types. Alternatively, you can use diamond stone if you want a more durable stone sharpener.
Oil stones can also sharpen your knife effectively. However, the procedure can be messy since they need to be greased with oil before you can use them.
How to use Whetstone to Sharpen a Knife
The first step in using a whetstone to sharpen a knife is by soaking the stone in the water and leave it there for about ten minutes. After soaking, place the stone on a flat surface. Once the stone is ready, you can now flatten the blade of your knife against the stone while holding the other flat side of the blade.
Then, you can carefully sweep the knife across the stone for several minutes before turning the other side of the knife. Once you flip the knife, you can repeat the sweeping motion until you feel the blade sharpens. You can do the same procedure when using oil and diamond stone sharpeners.
Steel Knife Sharpener
A steel knife sharpener is your next option if you want to opt for a more robust and long-lasting tool. However, some steel sharpeners are not ideal for knives that are already dull. They are designed to give extra sharpness to blades that are already sharp enough.
But there is knife sharpening steel with features that can handle already dull knives, such as the 3 Stage Knife Sharpener. It's a perfect tool supporting sharpening for either fairly sharp or already dull knives and even scissors.
How to Use Steel Sharpeners
To hone the knife using the steel sharpener, you have to hold the rod in one hand and the knife in your other hand. Next, press the knife's blade against the steel rod and start sweeping the entire blade. Once you've felt that the knife is sharp enough, you can do a sharpness test.
Electric Knife Sharpeners
An electric knife sharpener can be your option if you like to sharpen the knife automatically without sweating. This type of sharpener can make the job done as seamlessly as possible. However, using this method will affect the knife's durability because of the motorized abrasives in an electric sharpener.
Alternative Ways to Sharpen a Knife
There are times that tools are not accessible to sharpen a knife, but alternative ways might come in handy, like using some household objects.
Using a Ceramic Mug
If you can't find your whetstone, a ceramic mug can help you sharpen your knife. All you have to do is to grind the knife's blade on the bottom of the mug gently. Afterward, you can get a leather belt and start honing the blade to remove excess ceramics. Although, the result might not be as good as when you use stone or steel knife sharpeners.
Using a Sandpaper
Sandpaper is also the best option to sharpen a knife if you have no access to knife sharpening tools. For example, you can sharpen a dull knife by using rough sandpaper, while fine-textured sandpaper is best for knives that are still fairly sharp.
However, to get the most out of using the sandpaper, it is recommended to stick the sandpaper on a flat surface using tape or something that would hold it still before grinding the knife's blade against it. Although, you have to remember that using this method will take a while before getting the result you want.
What if the Knife is too Dull and Knife Sharpeners don't Work?
If you have tried every tool that you have and every method you knew to sharpen the knife, but it's of no use—you might need a brand new knife. iMarku Chef Knife is one of the recommended knives for professionals and household cooks.