Should I Sharpen A New Knife?

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When you are in the market for a new knife, it is common to ponder over the question of whether or not to sharpen the new knife.

It is no secret that a dull knife is a potential hazard.

A sharp knife will make cutting, chopping, slicing, and dicing effortlessly easy.

So, should a newly bought knife be sharpened?

Whichever new blade you settle for, you should hone the edge before you start cutting with it.

Sharp knives are ready to use right from the box. On the other hand, a dull blade will require you to sharpen and straighten its edge first.

The decision on whether you should grind a new blade will be determined by the condition of the cutting edge.

Most high-end brands are known to be ultra-sharp while new and thus ready to use right away.

However, some brands sell their blades fairly dull.

As such, you will need to grind these blades before you can use them for any cutting tasks.

Restoring the edge does not cause any damage whatsoever to the cutting edge.

This is because you only remove tiny metallic bits from the edge, thereby reinforcing its sharpness.

Related: Knife sharpener types you should know about

How Do You Know When Your Knife Needs Sharpening?

The easiest and best way of knowing whether your new blade requires grinding is by feeling the cutting edge.

Gently run your thumb on in an up-down to feel the edge.

Avoid applying too much pressure as this can result in cuts especially if the edge is sharp.

You can also test the sharpness of a new blade by cutting a piece of paper with it.

Check the ease with which it cuts the paper.

If you notice that you have to exert more force to make the cut, then you will most likely need to be resharpened.

Once you notice that your new blade will need grinding, the next thing you should do is grind the blade to restore its edge.

Sharpening Considerations

Before you grind a new blade, there are several considerations you need to make.

For starters, you should choose the ideal sharpener for your blade.

The common sharpeners to choose from include sharpening steel, sharpening stone, electric sharpeners, and ceramic plate sharpeners.

Electric grinders are the best as they are easy to use and equally efficient.

Sharpening steel and stones are affordable, easy to use but require manual input.

Ceramic plates on the other hand are a perfect choice for ceramic blades.

Before you grind your new blade, choose the right angle depending on the type of blade, degree of dullness and sharpener of choice.

Grind both sides evenly for uniform sharpness.

Since most new blades are not extremely dull, you do not need to sharpen them extensively.

Hone It

Most professional chefs rely on honing steel to polish the edge of their blades after grinding.

Honing reinforces the sharpness by straightening the cutting edge.

When honing your new blade, start at the heel and finish at its tip.

Place the knife at a 15-20 degree angle against the honing steel and run the cutter down the steel while ensuring that you only apply light pressure.

Maintain a constant angle for uniformity.

When you are done with one side, proceed to the other side and repeat the same process.

A Bonus Tip

Honing cannot restore the sharpness of an extremely dull blade.

Therefore, when you realize that your new knife is dull, it is recommendable to sharpen it first then hone it.

However, for a sharp new blade, you can simply hone it before use to restore the sharpness of the cutting edge.

How to Keep It Sharp In The Long Run

Grinding a blade is a task that not only takes time but also effort.

As such, once you have sharpened and honed your new knife, the next thing you should do is care for the blade.

This helps in retaining the sharpness for a long.

Here are a few tips on keeping the blade sharp:

  1. Do not wash the blade in a dishwasher- It is advisable that you only hand wash your blades.
  2. Tossing them in a dishwasher leads to collision with other utensils.
  3. This, in turn, can potentially damage the blade.
  4. Always cut on a chopping board- Cutting on a hard surface such as a glass or marble countertop can potentially cause dents on the cutting edge.
  5. Hard surfaces can potentially dull the blade quickly.
  6. Instead, always use a wooden cutting board when using the knife.
  7. Store your knife appropriately- Tossing your blade with other utensils will cause significant damages to the cutting edge and even the handle.
  8. To prevent this eventuality, store the blades appropriately in a wooden block or on a magnetic knife strip.

Conclusion

Investing in a new knife is one of the best ways of guaranteeing that food preparation becomes a breeze.

However, these blades require the best care and maintenance to remain in pristine condition for the best cutting experience.

Shop around for the best brands that will give you reliable performance throughout their life.

Last Updated on October 11, 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.