Does Cutting Ice Dull A Knife?

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Keeping your knives sharp is the goal for most knife enthusiasts and chefs out there, but this is something that is easier said than done.

There are a lot of things out there that can damage the edge of your blade, and while it might be tempting to use your favorite knives to cut and slice a whole range of different objects, you might risk damaging it if you cut the wrong things.

And while a lot of people believe cutting ice can be detrimental to your blades, it’s a bit more complicated than that.

Cutting ice can surely dull your blade, but cutting just about anything can cause your knife to lose its edge.

Regular use and time will naturally dull out a blade, which is why regular sharpening, honing, and proper maintenance are needed to keep your kitchen cutlery in tip-top shape.

However, if the ice that is being cut is very hard and dense, this can dull a blade significantly, especially if you don’t cut it properly.

That being said, there are certain ways you can still use a knife to cut it without causing too much damage, which is exactly what we’ll be discussing in this article.

Read on to learn more.

How Does Cutting Ice Dull Your Knives?

Yes, cutting ice can cause your knife to get dull, but this is something that is natural for all knives.

Slicing on a wooden cutting board, or even cutting through tougher foods can cause blades to lose their edge, so it isn’t something that you should worry about at all.

In fact, as long as you’re not trying to cut a block from a frozen pond, you might not even notice the damage that gets dealt to your blade.

Professional blade sharpeners say that while the material is harsh to a knife’s edge, the difference won’t be too noticeable unless you do it regularly.

Just about any material out there will cause your knife to get dull, simply because blade edges don’t last forever, no matter what steel it is made out of.

So while it may be best to avoid regularly using a knife to cut ice, if you’re using the right blade and technique, your blades should be fine.

Should I Use My Knife To Cut Ice?

There isn’t anything wrong with using a blade to cut ice.

In fact, bartenders do it all the time.

That being said, cold blades are more prone to chipping than a warm or room temperature one, so if you use too much pressure or the wrong technique, you risk doing some serious damage to the blade.

To avoid damaging your knives while doing this, make sure to use the proper technique, which we will be discussing in the next section.

How To Cut Ice Without Dulling Your Blade

1. Score It

This is the first and arguably most important step when cutting ice with a knife.

Simply put, scoring is the process of putting a slash in the ice so that it will be easier to cut and not too much pressure and stress on the blade.

It’s best to do this with a sturdy and long serrated blade.

Start by putting a slash that’s around 1/2 to 1” deep.

For larger blocks, you might need a deeper score, but for an average-sized block, a 1/2” score would work just fine.

2. Split The Block

Once you have scored it properly, it’s time to split it.

To do this, you’re going to need a long knife with a strong blade, so we recommend using a chef or slicing knife.

That being said, it isn’t recommended to use your most prized knives as this still does more damage than slicing through regular ingredients, so it’s best not to risk damaging your best chef knife to cut a block of ice.

Once you have the right blade, insert it into the score and give it a whack using either a rubber mallet or wooden muddler.

If done right, the block will split without damaging your blade as it isn’t the edge or tip that splits the block, it’s the pressure that does it.

From there, the ice should be just the right size for most of your needs, and if isn’t, simply break them into smaller cubes so that they can get whatever job you need to be done.

Conclusion

And that’s all you need to know cutting through the ice using a knife.

It will do some damage to the blade, and you will lose some sharpness, but this is something that happens no matter what ingredients you choose to cut.

Just make sure that you use the right techniques and not put too much pressure on your knives to avoid causing some irreparable damage.

And as long as you take good care of your tools by washing them and drying them after every use, honing them before every use, and sharpening them whenever needed, then you shouldn’t worry too much about cutting ice with your knives.

Last Updated on August 12, 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.