This is going to be a different type of entry. If anyone read this site, this entry would almost certainly cause controversy in the world of sharpening a knife. If you have a different opinion, please feel free to share it in the comments. There is a lot to this subject, and this is only the first in what is going to become a series of thoughts on sharp things and how to keep them sharp, and/or make them sharp again.
We have been extensively reading and experimenting on sharpening knives. These experiments have been conducted over a 10-15 year period. This article does not capture all of this work and neither will any follow on articles capture this work in a temporal order. Instead, the lessons learned might come first, followed by the some poor decisions in the past that lead to a new understanding of sharpening something.
If one starts researching online, there is a considerable amount of discussion on sharpening a knife. Almost everyone has a knife, yet there is a wide variety of opinions on how to keep them sharp, and what is even important about the knife. There are discussions on the angle of the sharp blade of the knife, the type of material used to sharpen the knife and even if the knife should be sharpened using water, oil or maybe even nothing. This is all great stuff, and the alphageek loves his gadgets more than most people. However there seems to be a lack of discussing one distinct thing above all others.
The knife has to be sharp enough to cut something safely and easily.
In this daunting subject there is a distinct lack of focusing on the goal of a sharp instrument. The discussion seems to keep centering on the proper angle to use to sharpen. Is 15 degrees okay for a Santoku or does the Santoku need 20 degrees? How would one really know? What happens if the Santoku is sharpened to the wrong angle? Do the knife police show up and arrest you? Do the knife police seize your knife or do they make you sharpen it again?
Use whatever technique returns the results you need to do the job. The job is getting a knife that is sharp to cut something safely and easily.
Rather than turn this post into a long article, we are going to leave you wanting more. Sharpening a knife for use in the kitchen is not that hard, and we are going to have a series of posts in the future. We simply use a diamond sharpener to maintain the edge. Sometimes, some tungsten carbide might be necessary for a more aggressive approach after a knife is slightly damaged. You can read about all of the approaches we tried right here over the next few months. Well, maybe years at the rate things are going on this site.