Tuesday, July 24, 2007

hone your steel

Transform your dull kitchen knives into razor-sharp cooking katanas.

1. Straight Facts

According to John Carmona, founder of sharpeningsupplies.com, you've probably been "aligning" your cutlery rather than sharpening it. "Most people use the steel want that came in their knife set to sharpen their knives," he explains, "but that only makes the blade straight, no sharp." Instead, get a double-sided "diamond stone" with coarse grain to remove deep nicks and fine grain to iron out remaining imperfections.
2. Edged Out
Dab some water on the stone to carry away the swarf, or metal filings your steel will shed. Now place the heel of the knife on the edge of the coarse grain at 20 degrees; keeping a consistent angle is the key to sharpening the blade. With a smooth slicing motion, push the blade across the entire stone, sharpening from heel to knife point. Once you feel a burr or buildup of metal along the knife's edge, flip the knife over and repeat.
3. Fine Tuning
After four or five passes on either side of the blade, rub off the excess swarf and turn over the stone itself so that the fine side is up. Continue sharpening with the same motion and angle of attack, but this time flip the knife over after every pass. If you can steer clear of granite cutting boards and resist the urge to cut anything thicker than your wrists, your freshly sharpened knife will stay that way for six months, slashy.