Using a sharpening gun is relatively easy. Find out how by reading this article.
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Sharpening with a manual knife sharpener
The manual knife sharpener is the simplest sharpening tool out there. It is found in many kitchens, it is also mainly used to sharpen kitchen knives. Knives with thicker blades, such as cleavers, axes, wood chisels, and other items where only one side of the blade is sharp, such as scissors, cannot be sharpened with a manual sharpener. This is also the case with very hard steel knives. Some manual sharpeners need to be filled with water, others can be used dry.
Which knife sharpener can you achieve the best results with? To get the answer, we tested some of the most popular models. Find out which sharpener won the test with flying colors!
The great advantage of a manual sharpener is that the angle is predetermined. We therefore always sharpen with a correct angle. Or at least: we always sharpen at the same angle. This also means that it is not possible to restore its original edge to a Japanese chef’s knife, originally sharpened at a 15 degree angle, using a sharpener with an angle of 20 degrees for example.
Besides the fact that a manual knife sharpener is very easy to use – you just have to pull the knife from the heel to the tip through the slits – the sharpening is also quite fast. There are sharpeners with a single slot, but most have two or three, for example with two ceramic stones of increasing grain size and a diamond stone to start. Pass them through each slot (of increasing grain size) about ten times and your knife is ready for use again. However, it will almost never be as sharp as it is with a whetstone or even a whetstone. He only sharpens the wire and cannot rework the entire blade of a knife.
This movie shows how a Skerper Basic knife sharpener works
Sharpen with a file
A file is mainly used for coarser sharpening jobs, where precision is somewhat less important. They are used, for example, for the first step in sharpening dull axes or lawn mower blades. Other sturdy garden tools, such as (electric) hedge trimmers and pruning shears, are also regularly sharpened with a file.
It is important to know that there are different types of files. Some are triangular, useful, among other things, for sharpening saw teeth. With a triangular file, you can reach the hollow of the serrated blades. Flat files, on the other hand, are best suited for sharpening lawn mower axes and blades. And the semi-circular file is perfect for removing the burr.
Sharpening with a guided sharpening system
Guided sharpening systems – often referred to simply as sharpening systems – are usually advanced sharpening instruments in which one attaches one’s knife. Some systems use sharpening rods or whetstones attached to guided rods, which are then moved along the blade in a controlled motion. For other systems, the sharpening rods are fixed and all you have to do is pass the knife along the rods.
As the knife is fixed and the angle is usually preset, sharpening systems allow sharpening with precision. The sharpening angle is almost always constant from sharpening to sharpening. This makes it possible to sharpen the knives each time with the same precision. This is an advantage over, for example, a whetstone or a sharpening gun, where the sharpening angle is never certain.
As each brand has its own theory of how best to work, it is impossible to say much more about sharpening systems. New mechanisms are frequently developed and introduced to the market. The most famous and reputable sharpening systems come from the United States. Where do the big brands like Edge Pro , Lansky , Spyderco and Wicked Edge come from ? An intruder in this list is the Russian brand TSProf , which has developed a sharpening system that is both very robust and extremely sophisticated.
Sharpening with an electric sharpener
Just like guided sharpening systems, there are electric sharpeners of all kinds and sizes. Some can be compared to a manual sharpener except that they are driven by electricity. Chef’s Choice is the great specialist in this type of appliance. Nothing sharpens as quickly and simply as these machines. In the same vein, we find the devices of the Culinary range of Work Sharp.
Other electric sharpeners look more like a grindstone or band sharpener. Like for example the Work Sharp Multi Sharpener and the Knife & Tool Sharpener from the same American brand. These devices are used by holding them in the hand while the knife is fixed in a jaw. Unlike Chef’s Choice machines, where the knife is in motion during sharpening.
Electric sharpeners are used primarily to sharpen knives. Models with slits are particularly suitable for this. Some electric sharpeners, like the Work Sharp Culinary E5, also sharpen scissors. Larger devices like band sharpeners can also be used to sharpen larger and heavier tools, such as axes, wood chisels and lawn mower blades. In general, this is faster than with sharpening stones, which have the advantage of being able to achieve precision sharpening. In both cases: a little practice is necessary.
Testing sharpening machines
Taste of Home, the largest food magazine in the United States, has tested several models of famous sharpening machines. The results are based on ease of use, sharpness achieved and value for money.
There are many different sharpening methods. One is specifically focused on sharpening knives, while the other allows you to sharpen almost any sharp tool. If we stick to the knives, the goal you aim for is decisive in the choice of sharpening equipment.
Want to give your knives the ultimate edge and are you ready to spend the time on them? Then opt for sharpening on sharpening stones or possibly a sharpening system . If, on the contrary, speed matters more than the smoothness of the result, an electric sharpener (with slots) is the fastest option. Or are you looking for a sharpener for the daily maintenance of your kitchen knives, without spending a fortune? Then choose a manual sharpener or a sharpening gun .
If you still have any questions, comments or suggestions after reading this article, please let us know! Although we have gained a lot of experience in sharpening after many years, every tip is welcome. And of course, we’ll be happy to help you choose the best sharpening tool for your needs!