If you’re a regular cook, your knives are likely some of the most treasured cooking tools in the kitchen. Maybe you have a favorite knife or set of knives that get the job done better than any others. However, knives, like any other kitchen tool, experience wear and tear after regular use. As a blade dulls, it can become dangerous to use.
The dulling of kitchen knives may be inevitable, but there are tools you can purchase to solve this problem fast and easy. Having an electric knife sharpener easily accessible in your kitchen makes sharpening knives a breeze. These machines might appear intimidating at first glance, but once you know the few simple steps to sharpen a knife using an electric knife sharpener, you’ll see how easy they truly are. To make learning how to use these tools as straightforward as possible, we’ve made a step-by-step list of how to use an electric knife sharpener. Keep reading for everything you need to know about sharpening your knives.
Step-by-Step: How To Use An Electric Knife Sharpener
Did you know that dull knives are more dangerous than sharp knives? A dull knife requires more of your effort to cut through foods, which can often lead to poor slicing form, lack of control, and increase the risk of cutting yourself. These are the simple steps to follow when sharpening your knives.
Before you begin using your electric knife sharpener, it’s important to read the instruction manual and familiarize yourself with the features of your device. The on/off button will always be facing you. Most machines also have three different slots for the three different stages of sharpening. These slots are usually labeled as rough, fine, and extra fine. Over the course of the knife sharpening process, you’ll slide the blade through each of these slots.
Place Knife Blade in the Sharpener Slot
Turn on your electric knife sharpener. There should be a light humming or whirring sound coming from the machine. You should also make sure that your hands are dry when beginning to sharpen these knives.
Gently place the knife in the “rough” slot. With your hand firmly wrapped around the handle, press the knife down until it hits the interior grinding stone. You must make sure the knife is securely placed in the slot. You want to be certain the blade is connecting with the grinding stone fully. If it isn’t, you risk a blade that needs to be slid through the rough slot more than once which can damage the blade. You should also be careful not to press down too hard on the blade. This is another way to damage the knife. Simply let the blade sit securely within the electric knife sharpener without pressing down.
Slide Knife Through Slot
Slowly pull the knife toward you in a half-circle movement to ensure the tip of the knife is also sharpened. You should only need to do this one or two times per side. It’s important that each side of the knife is pulled through with equal pressure and the same number of times. You need both sides of the knife to be equally sharp. Too many swipes through the rough slot of your electric knife sharpener can damage the end of the blade. However, if the blade hasn’t been sharpened in several weeks and the blade is exceptionally dull, it might require two or three pulls through the first slot. You can be the judge of this.
Repeat on Finer Stones
As previously stated, most electric knife sharpeners have three slots of varying degrees of strength. After sliding your knife through the first slot one or two times, depending on the need of the blade. Move on to the second and third slots after completing the first. Go through the same movements on both sides of the knife, keeping an even sharpness throughout the entire process.
This step can be adjusted depending on the dullness of the knife. If the knife only needs a light sharpening, you can skip slot one and go directly to slot two or three. Another strategy is to use the third slot every three to four days. This will help increase the amount of time between needing to go through the entire sharpening process and help ensure your knives cut like new with each use.
Rinse and Dry Knife
Once you’ve sharpened your knife, it will be covered in filings that you don’t want sitting on the blade. Gently rinse the knife in warm water with soap. Make sure all the filings have been removed from the blade and hilt. Dry the blade thoroughly with a cloth dish or paper towel before use or storage.
Using these simple steps ensures sharpening your knives at home is effortless and safe. The entire process takes no more than a few minutes and leaves you with kitchen knives that look as good as new.
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How Often Should You Use an Electric Knife Sharpener?
How often you sharpen your knives depends on use. The more often you use them, the more likely it is that you’ll need to sharpen them sooner than later. On average, you should only need to sharpen your knives every few months. You should first perform a test to determine the dullness of the blade before sharpening the knife.
How Do You Know If Your Knife Needs to be Sharpened?
You can perform one of three tests to determine the sharpness of your kitchen knife. The first option includes folding a piece of paper in half and trying running the blade through the paper. If the knife easily slices through, it is sharp enough for use. If the knife struggles through slicing the paper, you should consider using your electric knife sharpener.
Secondly, you can try slicing a tomato with your knife. If the blade easily slices through the skin of the tomato, the blade is perfectly sharp. However, if the blade crushes the skin, leaving a mess of tomato juice on the cutting board, you know that the knife needs to be sharpened.
Finally, attempt cutting an onion with your knife. If the knife can easily cut through the outer casing of the onion, it’s in good shape. On the other hand, if the blade can’t cut through the outside of the onion or struggles to do so, it needs a good sharpening.
Are Electric Knife Sharpeners Bad for Knives?
You may have heard a rumor that electric knife sharpeners are bad for the quality and lifespan of kitchen knives. Several years ago this may have been the case. However, in recent years a new round of products have come to the market. These new electric knife sharpeners use new technology that includes 100-percent diamond abrasives and built-in precision angle sharpening guides. These features combined promote a safe and effective process of sharpening knives.
What Do You Do If the Electric Knife Sharpener is Sparking?
This is a rare occurrence, but if your electric knife sharpener begins sparking while you’re using it, you should stop immediately. The sparks indicate that the blade is being damaged and the grinding wheel is being overworked. The good news is that most current models of electric knife sharpeners don’t have this problem. Just make sure you read the instruction manual and use the knife sharpener according to it.
What Is the Difference Between Honing and Sharpening?
Two different ways that you can spruce up the blade on your knife are by honing and sharpening. Honing works on realigning the tiny teeth of the blade. It doesn’t remove any parts of the steel to create a new blade like sharpening using a traditional knife sharpener does. Honing can be used more frequently than sharpening, some people even hone their knives after each use.
Should You Get an Automatic or Manual Knife Sharpener?
Which style of knife sharpener you get depends on what you want from the tool. Manual knife sharpeners are traditionally less expensive and have the bonus of not requiring an outlet to function. The downside of manual knife sharpeners is they tend to be more technical to use. An electric knife sharpener is as simple as turning on the machine and sliding the blade through evenly on each side. Do this on all three slots, and your blade is ready for use. If you want a knife sharpener that is easy to use and you don’t plan on using it outside of the kitchen, an electric knife sharpener is a good option.
Can You Use an Electric Knife Sharpener to Sharpen Scissors?
Yes! You can absolutely use an electric knife sharpener to sharpen scissors. The process looks mostly the same as sharpening a knife. The only difference is you have two blades that need to be sharpened. You’ll need to go through the process twice, once for each side. Continue sliding the blade through the slot until it has reached an adequate sharpness.
What Are the Benefits of Using an Electric Knife Sharpener?
The best electric knife sharpeners are well worth the money. Here are a few reasons why you should consider purchasing an electric knife sharpener over a manual model.
Easy to Use
There is no guesswork with electric knife sharpeners. You simply slide the blade through the slot for each level of sharpness, and it equally sharpens both sides. You don’t have to consider the amount of pressure you’re using or the angle you’re moving the blade at. These are largely solved by the style of the electric knife sharpener.
Extend Knife Lifespan
Sharpening your kitchen knives when they dull helps extend their lifespan. Using an electric knife sharpener promises that just enough steel is removed from the blade to make it perfectly sharp again without damaging the blade.
One or two swipes through each slot, and you’re done. Using an electric knife sharpener is quick. When you sharpen a knife using one of these tools, you can rest assured that it’s calculated to only require that you move a knife through one or two times.
Once you master the art of sharpening knives using an electric knife sharpener, you’ll never have to worry about slicing and dicing food with a dull blade. Electric knife sharpeners are easy to use and offer a precision that manual knife sharpeners can’t achieve. With this information in mind, you can start sharpening your cooking knives like a pro.