Essential Skills: How to Sharpen your Knives

This is a follow-up post to my first Essential Skills post, “How to Buy a Knife“. Now that you know what to look for in a high-quality knife you need to know how to keep that knife sharp. While there are many different methods and products for maintaining and sharpening your knife’s edge on the market, I’m going to cover 3 basic tools: honing rods, manual sharpeners, and electric sharpeners. Before I get into explaining those tools to you, lets first cover exactly what makes a knife sharp (or dull!).

What makes a knife’s edge sharp?
The next few lines may sound overly complicated or scientific but bear with me… knowing this information will help you to understand how, when, and how often to sharpen your knives for the best results. And believe me, if I can figure this stuff out, you definitely can!

The cutting edge of a kitchen knife is thin and V-shaped. Exactly how thin the edge is will be defined by the blade’s angle. The more narrow the angle of this V-shaped edge, the sharper (but also weaker) the knife will be. For example, most European-style cooking knifes have an angle between 20-22 degrees (measured from the vertical) whereas Japanese-style knives often have smaller angles, 10-16 degrees. Why is this important to know? Because every method of maintaining or sharpening will not be successful unless you utilize the angle of your knife in the process.

  • For example, if you have a European knife with a 20 degree angle, you must hold your knife at a 20 degree angle when honing (see below for more info). Maintaining a correct and consistent angle during honing and sharpening ensures the sharpest possible edge. 

Another technical term I think is important to know is microserrations, or teeth. These are serrations so teeny tiny at the cutting edge of the blade that our eyes cannot detect them. As the microserrations degrade with time they need to be corrected (or realigned) to maintain the sharpness of the edge. This is done with a honing steel. After a longer period of time the serrations may degrade beyond maintenance and must be repaired with a knife sharpener, which actually grinds metal away to restore the perfect V shape and angle.

How to evaluate a knife’s sharpness: use these tricks to see if your knife needs to be sharpened or to test how efficient your honing steel or sharpener is.

  • Slice a tomato or lemon – the knife should glide through with ease and a clean cut
  • Cut a sheet of paper – this is my favorite way (its the most fun!). Hold a sheet of paper in the air and carefully pull your knife blade down through the paper from the top. It should cut easily and evenly into the paper and create a slight curve.

What makes a knife’s edge dull?
By now you may be wondering how exactly those microserrations degrade over time or how that expensive knife you bought that was once perfectly sharp is now painfully dull.  Your cutting board dulls your knife, not cutting through food. The more forcefully the blade hits the cutting board after each down-stroke, the faster your knife will dull. If you feel your blade is dulling too fast, pay attention to your chopping. Are you taking out your daily frustrations by hacking up a poor onion? See if you can ease up your chopping style to keep your knife sharp.

How to maintain a sharp edge:
While not mangling your vegetables like a mad-man may help to prevent your blade from dulling, the best way to keep your knife sharp is through proper maintenance. In my last post I compared shopping for a knife to shopping for a car in that you need to test drive it to see if it suits you. Similarly, your knife require routine honing like your car requires routine oil changes. Before I began working at Sur la Table I had no clue how to properly maintain my knives. When I eventually learned that you are supposed to hone your knives weekly, if not after every use, I was shocked. That seemed excessive (and inconvenient). Then I learned about angles and microserrations and it all started to make sense. If you want your knives to be high-quality, they will require high-quality care. Getting into the habit of honing your knives regularly is like getting into the habit of flossing your teeth daily: you’ll no doubt forget or forgo sometimes which won’t ruin your teeth instantly, but consistent abuse will definitely take its toll and you might need to visit a dentist (or in this case, a professional knife sharpener).

What is a honing steel?
A honing steel (or sharpening rod) is a long, circular or oval shaped piece of hard material (such as tungsten, diamond or ceramic) that maintains a knife’s edge when properly used. Lately more companies have been referring to honing steels as “sharpening steels” which can be misleading in some cases. Steels repair those microserrations after your knife has been used but will not remove metal from the blade. Honing steels will maintain your knife’s edge but don’t sharpen it. Knife sharpeners will re-create the microserrations and remove metal off the edge of your blade (which I’ll cover in detail below).

  • Advantages: quick, inexpensive, makes necessary repairs to microserrations
  • Disadvantages: will not make a dull knife sharp, requires frequent use (depending on the type of steel)

Types of honing steels:

  • round vs. oval: while these two styles are fairly comparable, I find that oval steels are easier to use and more efficient. The best way to see what style you prefer is to try each out.
  • steel vs. diamond & ceramic: the material of the honing rod provides different advantages and disadvantages. Diamond and ceramic, which have become more popular and widely available, are much harder than steel and actually have the ability to abrade metal from the edge. Because of this ability, diamond and ceramic honing rods require less frequent honing (monthly instead of daily or weekly) which makes them preferable (to me at least).

How to use a honing steel:
A knife should be honed ideally after each use (depending on the type of steel you have, see above) or at least weekly. If you’ve never used a honing steel before remember to focus on your angle, not speed and keep your wrist straight.

  1. Grasp the honing steel by its grip and set it vertically upright so the tip, or anchor, is resting on a non-skid surface.
  2. Take your knife and hold it at a 20 degree angle (or whatever the angle of your knife is) against the steel. If you are unsure of what a 20 degree angle is, hold your knife out perpendicular at a 90 degree angle against the steel then cut that in half to 45 degrees then cut in half again to find 22.5 degrees. From there move a smidgen inward to achieve 20 degrees. Some steels have guards on the handle to guide you at a 20 degree angle.
  3. Keeping your angle in mind, pull the blade toward you and downwards, applying slight pressure. Repeat the stroke on the other side of the blade without changing hands. Repeat 10 more times, alternating sides and loosening pressure gradually. At first it might feel like a bizarre movement but the more you practice the more comfortable it will feel.

Here is a great video from Fine Cooking illustrating everything I’ve covered up to this point.

A review*: Edgeware Oval 9″ Ceramic Sharpening Rod

Brand: Edgeware by Smith’s (since 1886)
Price: $14.99 (very affordable!)
Appearance: Simple, straightforward. The pure white ceramic part of the tool does become marked with use (similar to how some receipts look when scratched with your fingernail or a coin). This doesn’t bother me, however.
Pros: Since it is ceramic it hones and realigns the blade edge, lightweight, easy to grip, non-slip tip, doesn’t require as frequent use as honing rods made from steel, oval shape makes it easier to use and more efficient
Cons: only 9″ long but since my longest straight-edge knife is 8″, this doesn’t affect me.
Overall impression: I really like the characteristics of this sharpening rod, much more than the steel one I previously owned. It requires less use and when you do use it, its super easy and effective. However, this product cannot turn a super dull knife sharp (unlike the next 2 products).

What is a manual sharpener?
For this post when I refer to manual sharpeners I will be speaking of pull-through sharpeners. These are handheld tools that have a set of abrasive materials that make a small V which you pull your knife through. Some sharpeners may have multiple stages of different abrasives, offering more customization to your knife sharpening needs. Depending on the type of sharpener, some may sharpen scissors, serrated, or santoku knives in addition to straight edge knives. Unfortunately most manual sharpeners only perform on straight edge knives and require additional sharpeners for other knife styles.

  • Advantages: quick, easy to use, requires no skill, most have built in angles
  • Disadvantages: may not perform well on severely dull blades

How to use a manual sharpener:

Using a manual sharpener is very simple and easy. Since every pull-through manual sharpener is different and has different features, it is best to follow the directions that come with the product.

A review*: Edgeware Diamond Elite Pull-Thru Sharpener

Brand: Edgeware by Smith’s (since 1886)
Price: $29.99
Appearance: small, thin, pleasing design
Pros: SUPER versatile (will sharpen santoku, standard, and serrated knives), abrasive stones are reversible and replaceable, 2 stages (coarse – diamond & fine – ceramic), easy to use, quick, lightweight, easy to store, has a guard so you won’t get confused on which area to pull your knife through, non-skid base. This sharpener performed on my VERY dull chef’s knife. Before sharpening it wouldn’t come close to slicing a piece of paper and now it makes a straight cut.
Cons: None, really. The abrasives themselves require care (removal for cleaning) but there is no way around that.
Overall impression: I really like the small size of this sharpener and how quickly and easily you can whip through sharpening your entire set of knives. I think this product would work very well with a honing steel to keep your knives nice and sharp without having to visit a professional knife sharpener.

What is an electric sharpener?
An electric sharpener is a device you plug into the wall and once turned on has spinning abrasive disks that sharpen the edge of your knife when drawn against. Some electric sharpeners have the ability to sharpen Santoku knives, scissors, and/or serrated knives. Others offer either customizable or fixed angle settings. Varying styles of electric sharpeners offer different stages with different abrasives for different purposes. A sharpener with multiple stages may offer more options and may be better equipped to sharpen an extremely dull knife. Like with honing steels, I prefer a sharpener that includes a ceramic abrasive because although they grind more slowly, they finish a finer edge. In my experience, most electric knife sharpeners from reputable companies do an excellent job of sharpening your knife.

  • Advantages: easy, quick, most effective, can sharpen extremely dull knives
  • Disadvantages: more expensive, heavy, bulky, noisy

How to use an electric sharpener:
As with the manual sharpener, many electric sharpeners have different features and settings so its best to follow the manufacturer’s instructions.

A review: Edgeware Ceramic Gourmet Electric Knife & Scissor Sharpener

Brand: Edgeware by Smith’s (since 1886)
Price: $149.99
Appearance: Clean colors and lines, rounded design, slightly bulky
Pros: This product sharpened my knife like nothing I’ve used before! VERY effective, easy, and straightforward. Unlike electric sharpeners I’ve used before, this one sharpens both sides of the blades simultaneously making it quicker and easier. The steps and materials allow for different sharpening situations (light touch-ups to dull knives desperately in need of sharpening). It also sharpens scissors and serrated knives, something that the sharpeners I’ve used before could not do. While the manual sharpener took my super dull chef’s knife and sharpened it enough to make a small cut in a piece of paper, this electric sharpener made the edge sharp enough to feel (carefully!) a difference and sliced a huge, clean, sightly curved cut into a piece of paper.

Cons: This product is a little on the bulky side. Also, the sound of your knife sharpening under the electric slot isn’t the most pleasant but actually isn’t as bad as the ear-piercing noises of other electric sharpeners I’ve used. Also, this one is much more expensive than the other products I’ve reviewed.
Overall impression: When I first opened the package containing this sharpener I was a little apprehensive simply because it looks different than other electric sharpeners I’ve used (mostly Chef’s Choice and Wusthof). But as it turns out this is one of the easiest knife sharpening products I’ve used and produced pretty amazing results. I was sure that my poor chef’s knife would have to be retired after years of abuse but this sharpener saved it.

Since I was so impressed with the Edgeware Ceramic Electric Knife Sharpener I’ve decided to… GIVE ONE AWAY! :)

Giveaway!! (entry now closed)

The winner of this giveaway will win one Edgeware Ceramic Electric Knife Sharpener to use and love in their kitchen. Here are the details:

How to enter:

  • Leave a comment on this post describing why you would like to win the electric knife sharpener. You MUST include an email so I can contact you if you win.
  • Deadline: Friday, October 1st 11:59pm Mountain Standard Time. Comments submitted past this time will not be considered for entry.

Extra Entries:

  • Follow me on twitter @handleheat. Leave an additional comment saying you’re a follower.
  • Mention @handleheat with this link (http://bit.ly/b1Lm1u) to the giveaway on twitter. Leave an additional comment saying you posted something on twitter.
  • Subscribe to my RSS Feed. Leave an additional comment saying you’re a subscriber.

You can complete one, none, or all of the extra entries, the choice is yours.

Fine print: U.S. and Canada residents only. No purchase necessary. Winner will be selected by Handle the Heat at random using random.org. All entries must be received by the deadline and meet the listed requirements. Dishonest entries will be removed from consideration. Winner will be notified via email and announced on Handle the Heat. If the winner does not respond within 48 hours, a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway has been sponsored by Edgeware Products

*Disclaimer: Edgeware contacted me about sending their products at no cost to me for the purpose of reviewing them and giving one away. All thoughts and comments are entirely my own without bias as I strive to maintain an honest and open environment on my blog.

   

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86 Responses to “Essential Skills: How to Sharpen your Knives”

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    Jordy — September 22, 2010 at 5:41 pm

    My beau just received a new set of quality knives for his birthday and a housewarming of our new apartment. However, I've already seen him use them incorrectly, trying to chop things w/ the wrong blade or saw through bone. I think the knife sharpener might make him more aware, and make sharpening them a fun task!

    jmprice22 at gmail dot com!!

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    susitravl — September 22, 2010 at 5:48 pm

    I don't have a sharp knife in my house. It's either a knife sharpener or all new knives!

    susitravl at gmail dot com

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    Bill — September 22, 2010 at 6:06 pm

    Thanks Tessa, well written and great information for the home chef.

    One other way I've seen people using knives that can dull them rather quickly is to use the cutting edge to scrape chopped vegetables and the like from their cutting boards. I always flip the knife and use the thick side. Any thoughts?

    And I was also wondering if you have any experience or knowledge about hard plastic cutting boards vs. wood as contributing to dull knives?

    Thanks and will be adding your blog to my favorites.

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    Lindsey — September 22, 2010 at 6:34 pm

    I just found your blog looking for a nutella cupcake recipe – yours looks great! And for the knife sharpener giveaway, I have a “September resolution” to start cooking more and my knives really could use a sharpening to help me get going on this.

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    Pretty. Good. Food. — September 22, 2010 at 6:51 pm

    My husband bought me some new knives for my birthday but he didn't get a honing steel with it. I don't want to ruin my new beautifully sharp knives!

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    Nikki — September 22, 2010 at 7:23 pm

    Hi! I found this entry pretty helpful because I know very little about sharpening knives and really about cooking in general, but I've made it my goal for the year to learn how to cook more than just pre-made dinners from the supermarket and I think that a knife sharpener would be a big help in accomplishing this goal!
    My email is nel233@nyu.edu

    I love your blog and I'll be making the oreo cheesecake cupcakes you posted a while back for my birthday this weekend!

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    Kadee — September 22, 2010 at 11:33 pm

    I also know very little about sharpening knives but I know many of mine need it! And I totally cannot afford a new set of knives anytime soon.

    kadee.spangler at gmail dot com. :)

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    Maria — September 23, 2010 at 1:48 am

    Very informative post! Thanks for sharing. I would love to win the knife sharpener to keep my knives in tip top shape!

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    Ms. Lollipop — September 23, 2010 at 3:27 am

    I've been searching for a knife sharpener! I could definitely use one since I have a drawer of dull knives.

    catharine.ellie at gmail dot com

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    Dwayne — September 23, 2010 at 3:39 am

    I could use a nice sharpener.
    I haven't sharpen my knives in a while.

    dwaynesmith@mindspring.com

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    Katie — September 23, 2010 at 3:42 am

    Nice post. My husband and I were just talking about sharpening our knives. I had no idea there was so much to know. Could definitely use this :)

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    Anonymous — September 23, 2010 at 4:01 am

    Now that I'm armed with the best knife sharpening info it's time to break out my gift set of chef's knives and get to practicing my knife skills. I've kept them boxed up till I had the knowledge to keep them in proper condition (they were just too nice to ruin with my novice skills). There are a many veggies to prep :) I think I have use for a great sharpener.

    GoldenboyX35@aol.com

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    Anonymous — September 23, 2010 at 4:38 am

    I just discovered you through Foodgawker!

    I'd love to win the electric knife sharpener. I always cast a covetous look in their direction at Sur La Table, and I'm growing to loathe my honing steel–knife maintenance is my least favorite part of cooking…

    radiii at hotmail dot com

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    Jes — September 23, 2010 at 5:09 am

    I will admit that I absolutly love cooking, so it's almost ironic that I am so inept at sharpening my beloved knives. Thanks for such an informative post!

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    monkey-kebab — September 23, 2010 at 5:15 am

    This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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    monkey-kebab — September 23, 2010 at 5:19 am

    Hehehe… I forgot to include my e-mail address.

    baked-bananas at monkeylogik dot com

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    Bertha — September 23, 2010 at 5:49 am

    Nothing frustrates me more working in the kitchen than using a dull knife and all of the knives in my kitchen have never been sharpened before. I've been dreaming a perfect knife to work with and this would be a great addition to the kitchen

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    ursula — September 23, 2010 at 6:04 am

    This was super informative! Reading this made me realise how little I knew about sharpening knives. Thanks!

  19. #
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    Elizabeth — September 23, 2010 at 7:18 am

    I don't have a knife sharpener but desperately am needing one.

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    Jesse — September 23, 2010 at 7:31 am

    I've fallen in love with food blogs over the past year and for my birthday, my friends all chipped in and bought me a really nice (and rather expensive) chef's knife. I've loved being able to chop through onions like on TV, but my poor knife is starting to dull and my efforts with my steel only go so far. Winning would make my year!

  21. #
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    Jesse — September 23, 2010 at 7:32 am

    I'm now following you on Twitter! (PinDrop89)!

  22. #
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    Jesse — September 23, 2010 at 7:33 am

    I posted about the giveaway on Twitter :)

  23. #
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    Todd and Alan — September 23, 2010 at 11:05 am

    Because because because because because! Because of the wunnerful things I does!

  24. #
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    squirrelbread — September 23, 2010 at 12:23 pm

    great post, very informative. we have a chintzy $5 pull-through sharpener from ikea. i think that should be sufficient reasoning for why we'd like the electric sharpener. ha.

    cheers,

    *heather*

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    Brilynn — September 23, 2010 at 12:26 pm

    I need this for my parent's kitchen. Every time I go to visit their knives are so dull as to be practically useless, they couldn't bruise a peach. My Dad might actually be able to keep them sharp with this.

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    Anonymous — September 23, 2010 at 12:46 pm

    Oh gosh, I have a honing steel and 2 manual sharpeners (1 for regular knives, the other for santokus) and nothing seems to work. So I'd love to try an electric sharpener. Thanks for the giveaway opportunity!

    siu00001@gmail.com

  27. #
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    Erin — September 23, 2010 at 1:01 pm

    I would love to win the knife sharpener, because my fiance and I have been doing a lot of cooking together, and he's in charge of chopping. He would love to have sharper knives.

  28. #
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    Sarah Brittany — September 23, 2010 at 1:32 pm

    I would LOOOOOOVEEEEE to win because we just got a brand new nice set of Wusthof knives for a wedding gift! :) I was actually wondering about all these things the other day – even if I don't win, I'm still considering buying a couple of these things!

    sbjmorgan at gmail dot com :)

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    Sarah Brittany — September 23, 2010 at 1:34 pm

    Oh, reread the entries part! I follow you on Google Reader — is that a subscription?

    If not, I'm also following you on Twitter now :)

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    Kerry — September 23, 2010 at 1:38 pm

    I could really use a knife sharpener. My knives are nice but I haven't had them sharpened in a long time! This has been on the to do list for a while.
    Thanks
    kerrykenny at hotmail dot com

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    Anonymous — September 23, 2010 at 1:40 pm

    Diane
    I would love to win a knife sharpener! See my dad owns a deli and he still sharpens his knives the old fashioned way, and sometimes he has an accident. So I would love to win for for him!

    lilaznjewel@yahoo.com

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    Anonymous — September 23, 2010 at 1:40 pm

    Diane

    I have subscribed.

    lilaznjewel@yahoo.com

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    Jen — September 23, 2010 at 2:02 pm

    I would love a knife sharpener… I have to admit, I've used my honing steel about 5x in the year since I've gotten my knives so I'm sure they need sharpened. I was afraid of doing more damage since I didnt know what I was doing.

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    One Food Guy — September 23, 2010 at 2:04 pm

    I have Wusthoff Classic knives and use a Global Mino water sharpener to sharpen them. Designed for Global knives with a grind angle of 10-15 degrees compared to the factory grind on my Wusthoffs of about 22 degrees, I have had no problems with the sharpener. It has worked very well for me. I do hone my knives before each use to keep the edge neat.

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    Anonymous — September 23, 2010 at 2:21 pm

    My wonderful gf loves having a variety quality knives around the kitchen in our new house (first time home-buyers!), but we don't have a sharpener to make sure they're safe and effective. regardless of whether we get the prize, thanks for such an informative section on knife sharpening–it'll be really helpful once we get the tools to do the job!

    doubledown14 at gmail dot com

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    Anonymous — September 23, 2010 at 2:21 pm

    I love my kitchen but i need a good knife sharpner.

  37. #
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    Anonymous — September 23, 2010 at 2:23 pm

    i'm a subscriber as well!

    doubledown14 at gmail dot com

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    Dan — September 23, 2010 at 2:47 pm

    Thanks for the great knife sharpening tips. Would love to own that great electric sharpener. I cook daily, but, I am negligent on sharpening and honing.
    daraq@comcast.net

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    Lindsay C — September 23, 2010 at 3:20 pm

    Thanks for the review of knife sharpening. I have bought some nice knives but do not care for them as often as I should. The electric knife sharpener would be a great addition to my kitchen tools!

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    sandy — September 23, 2010 at 3:30 pm

    Help! It's almost time to go to my parent's for the annual Menudo-making fest and they don't have a sharp knife in the house. Cutting all the tripe with something no better than a table knife SUCKS! We need this sharpener por favor!!thanks!

    rednoise@cox.net

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    Sarah — September 23, 2010 at 3:34 pm

    I need a knife sharpener because all the knives in my kitchen are D.U.L.L!

    sarahelizabethellsworth at g mail dot com

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    mark guncheon — September 23, 2010 at 4:04 pm

    I grew up in a home where our jokes at the table were sharper than any knife in the kitchen. The only thing duller than our knives was the annual game of charades we played every New Year's Eve until we were old enough to go to parties. When we couldn't find a screwdriver, we'd use the paring knife in our mother's knife drawer.

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    ssomerville — September 23, 2010 at 4:12 pm

    Wow. Great post. Very informative!

    I would love to win this knife sharpener, as hubby has bought me a new Global knife which I just love, and I would love to keep it sharp!

  44. #
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    Anonymous — September 23, 2010 at 5:04 pm

    I have a good knife set, it would wonderful to be able to sharpen them and extend their life in my home.

    inks4fun@cox.net

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    Nive — September 23, 2010 at 5:06 pm

    This is a great giveaway..I have a pull-thru sharpener in which I'm not satisfied that much and would like to try the electric sharpener…thanks..

    ramvinayak_81@rediffmail.com

  46. #
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    Nive — September 23, 2010 at 5:08 pm

    I subscribe by feed…

    ramvinayak_81@rediffmail.com

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    Amy Kelly — September 23, 2010 at 5:36 pm

    I have a honing steel but I'm never confident I'm using it correctly and am afraid I'll do more harm than good to my knives, so I don't use it as frequently as I should. I'd really love an easy to use knife sharpener so I could feel confident that my knives were sharp and well maintained.

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    Luke — September 23, 2010 at 5:39 pm

    my poor poor knives would LOVE this!

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    clinton — September 23, 2010 at 5:53 pm

    I really truly do need an easy-to-use knife sharpener. I currently do not own a knife sharpener because I have nightmares of bloody knife-sharpening accidents. So now I have a drawerful of dull knives because I buy new knife each time my old one gets dull.

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    Megg — September 23, 2010 at 5:55 pm

    Thanks for a great explanation & giveaway!

    I cook a LOT and so does my BF, and we have nothing but a honing steel. We need a sharpener like you wouldn't believe. I've always wanted an electric one!

  51. #
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    Megg — September 23, 2010 at 5:57 pm

    Following you on Twitter!

  52. #
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    Megg — September 23, 2010 at 5:57 pm

    Retweeted your post on Twitter. (@PopArtichoke)

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    Megg — September 23, 2010 at 5:57 pm

    AND subscribed to your RSS feed. :)

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    Adair — September 23, 2010 at 7:02 pm

    I just got married and we registered for a knife sharpener to go along with the knives we wanted. We got the knives but no sharpener! I would love to surprise my husband with one since he always cooks amazing meals for me.

    aderd03 at yahoo dot com

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    Evaleri — September 23, 2010 at 7:58 pm

    This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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    Evaleri — September 23, 2010 at 7:59 pm

    I would love to win this knife sharpener because right now a dear friend of mine sharpens my dull knives for me using his electric sharpener. I love my friend and appreciate his generosity, but winning this knife sharpener would relieve him of knife duties on my behalf. Therefore, a win for me is really a win for the two of us. In my opinion, this is a great and easy way to double the good fortune of the giveaway.
    evaleri512@yahoo.com

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    aila823 — September 23, 2010 at 8:43 pm

    i just love how sharp knives can make those oh-so-clean cuts. and the efficiency! gotta love those sharp knives!

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    aila823 — September 23, 2010 at 8:45 pm

    oh, been following you on twitter for quite some time now :)

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    aila823 — September 23, 2010 at 8:47 pm

    tweeted about this contest :)

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    Jan — September 23, 2010 at 8:52 pm

    I use a honing steel and a manual sharpener, but I would love to have an electric sharpener for those times when my knives are very dull.
    jaminator8@earthlink.net

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    Katy — September 23, 2010 at 8:52 pm

    my husband and I got a full set of shun cutlery as a wedding present 4 years ago. Now I'm having trouble finding something appropriate to maintain them. I would LOVE this sharpener heading into hearty veggie season.

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    Rachel — September 23, 2010 at 8:55 pm

    This was a great post!

    I use my knives every day and would love to maintain them better – I could really use the sharpener!

    rdhammons@gmail.com

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    Katy — September 23, 2010 at 9:10 pm

    I'm also now following you on twitter.

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    Sisyphus — September 23, 2010 at 10:02 pm

    I need a knife sharpener in the house, though I do have sharpening stones, they are difficult to use and make a mess. Love the post, recommended it on my facebook page Full Circle Farm to our members.

    gabriela@fullcirclefarm.com

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    Jenni — September 24, 2010 at 12:38 am

    Oh wow, you've really got me considering buying a sharpener! (The handheld manual, I can't afford the electric… unless I won it hah) My knives are all so dull, and with all that information is makes sense to me now why I couldn't get it sharp again with the honing tool one set came with. Thanks for one of those “A-ha” moments :)

    Very informative! You may have saved some of my knives! :D

    (zinger_17@hotmail.com)

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    whozyerdanny — September 24, 2010 at 5:03 am

    This comment has been removed by the author.

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    whozyerdanny — September 24, 2010 at 5:07 am

    I received a great set of knives 2 years ago. My family pitched in and bought them for my birthday so I could begin my culinary journey. Believe it or not, that gift was the best inspiration I could have ever imagined. Unfortunately, I was afraid to sharpen them my self and professional sharpening is too expensive so they have gone completely dull since they have been used everyday for 2 years in my home. I need to be inspired…I need sharp knives again! Great blog, very informative.

    whozyerdanny@yahoo.ca

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    whozyerdanny — September 24, 2010 at 5:15 am

    subscribed to posts…look forward to seeing more.

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    Indigo — September 24, 2010 at 9:11 am

    Needless to say I've just bookmarked this page-! I grew up in a house whose sharpest knife couldn't cut butter. I definitely need a sharpener… mostly because it never actually occurred to me to sharpen my knives (and I wouldn't have had a clue how to go about it anyway). I did wonder why my attempts to recreate Jamie Oliver's super-fast chopping skills did not look quite the same (ahem, nothing to do with the knife skills themselves of course… definitely the tools!) Thank you for this post!

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    Indigo — September 24, 2010 at 9:13 am

    Also, following you on Twitter =]

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    Sharon — September 24, 2010 at 9:55 am

    Well, I've thought for a long time now I should get a sharpener and get my dull knives sharpened, and this would be wonderful to own!

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    Anonymous — September 24, 2010 at 2:59 pm

    haha, I'm so ghetto. I sharpen my knives on the bottom of a ceramic mug. I'd love the electric sharpener to give my knives a better sharpened edge.

    -TC
    counting_shipwrecks at yahoo dot com

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    Lindsey — September 24, 2010 at 6:25 pm

    Great post–I love my knives, and this is motivating me to sharpen them! I need this sharpener because I use my knives daily, but have never sharpened them in the 3.5 years I've had them–I'm too afraid of using the rod incorrectly! (or the noise it'll make).

    Keep the informative posts coming! :)

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    Lindsey — September 24, 2010 at 6:28 pm

    I'm already subscribed to your RSS feed–but I'm usually too shy to comment. :)

    lindseyandnate@gmail.com

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    stellula — September 25, 2010 at 3:15 pm

    Thanks for the tutorial! I know what I'll be doing later today.

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    Meryl — September 25, 2010 at 8:16 pm

    I really need a good knife sharpener!

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    Sarah — September 26, 2010 at 3:00 am

    email: ewaniews at trinity dot com. My beautiful knife set is starting to get dull, and I was just about to start shopping for knife sharpeners when I found your blog post. This sounds fabulous! I'd love to win so that I can get my knives back to their sharp selves.

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    Sarah — September 26, 2010 at 3:08 am

    And I just followed you on twitter (@ESarahW)

    Email again is: ewaniews at trinity dot edu

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    Vanessa — September 29, 2010 at 4:59 pm

    I'd love to win because I'm just about to give my bf a Shun Ken Onion for his birthday and I know he'll want to take very good care of it!

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    monkey-kebab — October 1, 2010 at 6:05 am

    This would be fantastic, as sharp knives have become a rare commodity in our household! :)

    baked-bananas at monkeylogik dot com

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    Lisa@The Cutting Edge of Ordinary — October 1, 2010 at 5:17 pm

    Hi, Just found your blog via Foodgawker…love it! I'm adding you to my reader. So happy I stumbled upon this giveway too! I'd love to win this cause, well, I have a house full of beautiful knives that need a sharp edge! Thanks for the chance!

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    lemurking — October 6, 2010 at 10:50 pm

    Great knife sharpener review, Tessa! I had always thought that the only way to get a great edge was to find a professional or do it by hand myself. The sharpener my folks had during my formative years was a dog.

    This is quickly becoming one of my favorite blogs. Keep up the great work!

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    anita menon — January 28, 2013 at 6:29 am

    this was one of the most informative posts I have read in a long time!! Thanks for sharing

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    Michael Hilliker — April 3, 2013 at 6:00 am

    You did a great job of explaining how to maintain knives. I applaud your efforts. I would like to add that another way of getting the correct angle to sharpen knives is to make a wedge with a 3:1 slope. 3 units horizontal to 1 unit vertical. this will give you an ~18º angle. My father was a butcher for most of his life and trained my brother and I on knife skills and meat preparation. I hope you continue your blog, as I have some recipes to send to you.

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    Andrei Armstrong — May 15, 2013 at 8:29 am

    Fantastic post! Good job that you explain it to us very clear and has no difficulty in understanding the tip on how to maintain the sharp of a knife. Hands up for your effort and dedication in sharing this article!

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    Hi there this is kind of of off topic but I was wondering if blogs use WYSIWYG editors or if
    you have to manually code with HTML. I’m starting a blog soon but have no coding experience so I wanted to get advice from someone with experience. Any help would be enormously appreciated!

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