How Often Should I Have My Knives Sharpened

“How often should I get my knives sharpened?”

This is easily the most asked question that I get from my customers.

My response every time is:   It depends.

  1. It depends on the quality of the knife (the steel used, the heat treat/hardness, the grind that was put on the knife)
  2. It depends on how often you use your knives
  3. It depends on how you use your knives – what you are cutting
  4. It depends on what kind of cutting board you are using
  5. It depends on how you maintain your knives
  6. It depends on how you clean your knives
  7. It depends on how you store your knives
  8. It depends on your knife technique.  For example, do you use the cutting edge to sweep food from the cutting board?
  9. And, it depends on what YOU consider sharp.
    For example, I have a low tolerance for a dull edge. All my knives need to be razor sharp at all times.

There may be other factors… but you get the picture.
I enjoy repeat business because it means my customers trust my work, but my goal is for you to enjoy using your tools.  So let’s talk about how to maximize the performance of your knives and tools.

The question is not “how often” but “how they are treated

A knife that gets hard use is going to need more maintenance.  Meanwhile, that beautiful $600 Masamoto KS in white steel that you are afraid to use is still as sharp as it ever was after 3 years of being on display in the block.  It’s not a factor of time.  It’s about how they are treated.  The answer to that question depends on the following variables.

  • The quality of the knife
    I’ve already demonstrated that I can sharpen a cheap cafeteria butter knife to the point that it will shave the hair on your arm. The difference between a good knife and a great knife is how long they stay sharp.
  • Cutting surfaces
    Only use the following as cutting board surfaces:  wood, bamboo, and HDE (high density polyethylene).  HDE is basically a soft (usually white) polymer.  Anything else will dull or damage your knives.
  • How often and how you use your knives
    If your knife edge is hitting bone with any frequency, that may be hard use and you’ll see some nicks and rolling of the edge as a result.
  • How you store your knives
    (Stored loosely in a drawer = dull knives)
    Always store knives in a way that they are separated.
    Suggestions:  Magnetic strip, a block, or a drawer divider where each knife has its own slot.
  • How you clean your knives
    (Dishwasher = Bad;  Very very bad)
    Wash by hand and dry.  Don’t leave a knife in the sink or drying try. It just keeps moisture next to the knife.

I only have 3 knives in my kitchen that I use; a chef’s knife, a utility/carving knife, and a paring knife.  And 90% of the time I am using my chef’s knife & paring knife.  We cook every single day and those knives get used all the time.  I can go 6 – 12 months without needing to sharpen because I clean & store them right, and I use a strop & honing steel to maintain the edge.

When you pick up your knives from me, I will teach you how to do the same.

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