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Bradshaws Blog

Knife Sharpening 101

Knife sharpening skills
When you purchase a high quality knife from the Kitchen Department at Bradshaws, you are purchasing an impeccable blade that will truly last a lifetime - AS LONG AS you take the time to care for it properly!

We are proud to carry the most sought after knife brands in the world such as Zwilling Henckels, Wüsthof, Global, Miyabi, Mac Knife and more. These companies carefully craft their knives with unbelievable precision and technology. Our job is to get that knife into your hands with the proper knowledge so you are able to care for your knives and make them an integral part of your cooking experience!

Zwilling J.A. Henckels

Let's get started!

Step 1. The Edge of the Blade

The edge of your blade under a microscope
The blade on your knife tapers down to a thin edge. But even a few minutes of chopping can cause the edge of the knife to roll over and cause the blade to feel slightly dull . At this point, sharpening the blade with a sharpening steel (rod) will remove the curled edge and restore sharpness. However, once the blade has completely lost its’ edge, it becomes rounded and very dull. At this point, the knife’s edge can only be restored by sharpening the blade with an electric or manual pull through sharpener.      

Step 2. Tune up!

Sharpening Steel and Ceramic Rod

There’s a difference between tuning up a relatively sharp knife and sharpening a dull knife. A sharpening steel, the metal rod sold with most knife sets, doesn’t sharpen at all. It’s a tune-up device. As you cut with a sharp knife, the thin cutting edge of the blade can actually turn to the side, making your blade seem duller than it is. Running the knife blade over the steel, as most professional chefs do each time they’re about to use a knife, simply realigns that edge and makes it straight again. It can not reshape a truly dull blade that’s rounded and worn down. Look for a steel shaft on your honing steel if you are using German knives, and a Ceramic rod if you are using Japanese knives. You can find both types on our website here.

Step 3. Make it Sharp - at home!

Various pull-through knife sharpeners available at Bradshaws
Now you will need a pull-through sharpener (shown above) or whetstone that can cut away metal and restore the standard 20 degree edge (if it's a German knife) of your blade. These easy-to-use sharpeners are angled specifically to either 20 degrees for German knives or roughly 9 -15 degrees for Japanese kinives. These sharpeners will restore the correct angle of the blade by microscopically removing tiny amounts of steel on the blade edge. Shop for quality knives and sharpeners here on our website

Using a pull-through knife sharpener is easy. The sharpening stones meet to form a V-shaped slot with the correct edge angle. Simply rest the sharpener on a flat surface, and pull your knife through the sharpener in one smooth motion, flat against the sharpening stone. You should not need more than a few passes to sharpen the blade. Keep in mind if you are using German knives, the sharpener may use either steel or ceramic wheels. If you are using a Japanese knife, ceramic wheels are necessary as they are a little less aggressive.

Global Whetstone

Some prefer to use a whetstone to sharpen their knives. This is an excellent way to put an edge back on your knives, but is a bit more challenging to use as you will need to be able to hold the knive at the correct angle at all times while sharpening. Bradshaws carries whetstones from Zwilling Henckels, Wüsthof, Mac and Global. Be sure to watch some videos by Master Bladesmith Bob Kramer here for some amazing knife sharpening pointers. 

Step 4. Cleaning & Storage

A few of the many knife blocks available at our store...

Please, PLEASE do not put your knives through the dishwasher! The combination of dishwashing detergent and high heat can damage the handles of your knives. Simply wash in the sink with soap and water and dry immediately - this is especially important when you own Japanese knives as moisture on the blade can cause corrosion. Once you have dried the blade thoroughly, make sure you either store your knife in a sheath before you put it away in a drawer, or better yet, store your knives in either an in-drawer knife block or counter knife block. So many styles and designs to choose from and these are all available at our store! 

Complete Book of Knife Skills

Good knife skills also allow you to cut ingredients uniformly and efficiently, allowing everything to cook at the same rate and create the best presentation in the meal. Check out Henckels Complete Book of Knife Skills to learn more. 

To thank you for checking out our blog, please print this voucher for ONE FREE KNIFE SHARPENING at our store.* 
Enjoy one FREE knife sharpening on us!!!
*Retail value $5, see store for details.