Can You Over Sharpen A Knife?

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Keeping your trusty knives sharp is one of the most important tasks for any chef, cook, or outdoorsman.

But if you’ve just started getting into the world of knives and sharpening, you’ve probably already asked yourself the question, “can you over sharpen a knife?”

The answer to this is yes, you CAN over sharpen a knife!

Whenever you sharpen a blade, you remove some of the material that makes up the edge, and if you do this too much the blade will get too thin and its lifespan will be significantly reduced.

Obviously, this isn’t something you would want to do, especially if you really care for your blades.

That’s why in this article, we’ve created a basic guide that you can follow so you won’t end up over-sharpening your knives.

Read on to learn more.

How Do You Over Sharpen A Knife?

Sharpening a blade involves grinding away some of the material using an abrasive substrate to restore its edge.

If done properly, this will result in a very sharp blade with a new cutting edge that can glide through a wide variety of ingredients and materials.

However, if it is done wrong or done too much, you might risk grinding away too much metal which can drastically decrease the lifespan of your blade.

To avoid this, most chefs will only sharpen their knives one to two times a year, depending on the wear and tear of the blade.

And to keep their blades sharp without having to grind some metal away, chefs usually hone their blades, which is a way of straightening the edge of a knife so that it gets restored to its original state.

This needs to be done because every time you use your knife, regardless of technique and the material you’re slicing, you will end up misaligning the edge, and honing will straighten it and restore the edge in a matter of minutes.

However, if you notice that honing the blade doesn’t restore its sharpness anymore, that could be an indication that you need to sharpen it.

Why Should I Sharpen My Knife?

The first reason that one should sharpen their blades is that sharp knives are safer than dull ones.

Dull blades require more force to cut through ingredients and this increases the likelihood of the knife slipping, and if your fingers get in the way of that, it can spell some seriously bad news.

On top of that, since they require more pressure to use, this will mean more strain on your wrist, hand, arms, and back.

Efficiency is very important in the kitchen, and it simply takes much more time to cut, slice, and prep ingredients if you only have a dull knife to use.

Because of that, it’s very important that you hone your knives before every use and have them sharpened or sharpen them yourself at least twice a year.

Essential Tools To Maintain Your Blade

Honing Steel

This might be the most important tool you need to maintain the edge on your blades.

It a long metal rod that you brush your knife against to straighten the edge.

Tiny imperfections on the knife will be removed by the steel, and it will result in you having a much smoother cutting and slicing experience in the kitchen.

You’ll need to hone your knife before every use to ensure that you always have a straight and sharp blade.

Whetstone

This is the main tool that professionals use to sharpen their knives.

It is simply an abrasive stone that is used to grind away some of the metal on your blade to restore its edge.

To use a whetstone, you need to learn the proper techniques and get the right angle and pressure when sharpening, else you might actually risk dulling your blade.

It’s for this reason that it isn’t recommended to use this tool if you aren’t familiar with how to use it.

So if you aren’t keen on learning the right techniques but still want a sharp edge, then it’s best to send your knives over to a professional for sharpening.

Sharpener

This is a great alternative to the whetstone as all you need to do to use it is pull the blade through the sharpener.

It is very easy to do and doesn’t require specific techniques to get right.

But that being said, these tools have a reputation for shaving off too much metal, which can drastically reduce the lifespan of your blades.

So to avoid that, make sure not to use this tool too much and if you can, have them sharpened by a professional with a whetstone instead.

Conclusion

So there you have it, your quick guide to honing and maintaining your blade.

Just remember, over-sharpening can lead to you greatly reducing the lifespan of your blade, and if you’re using a whetstone, make sure to use the proper techniques to avoid doing some serious damage to your blades.

And if you keep these in mind when maintaining your kitchen cutlery, you will surely have blades that are sharp and will last you years upon years!

Last Updated on July 22, 2021

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My name is Andy Wang, and I'm a retired chef. I used to work at the City Vineyard restaurant in NYC. I also had a culinary degree from the Institute of Culinary Education in New York. And this blog is where I share my love for knives and cooking with people like you.