Knife sharpening tools: a simple and quick way to make the blade sharp
Buying an expensive Swiss knife is not a guarantee that it will never be blunted. Any manufacturer will not give a guarantee for factory sharpening for more than a year, so the question of restoring sharpness will arise sooner or later. Knife sharpening devices are used not only to restore the blade of an ordinary kitchen appliance, but they can also be used to make a meat grinder or plane knife sharper. The main thing is to choose the most convenient device.
How to sharpen knives: description of the main stages and rules
Any knife, even the highest quality, will sooner or later become blunt, and this does not mean that it was used very often. Corrosion that occurs due to humidity or temperature changes will still do its job. If the device is used daily, then it should be sharpened at least once a week. It all depends on the features and frequency of application. At the same time, it is not necessary to underestimate the properties of some materials. So, ordinary dense cardboard is able to double blunt the knife even after several cuts.
Useful information! Many people worry that knife sharpening devices can make the device too sharp, as this can cause injury. At the same time, experts recommend taking into account the fact that the probability of injury due to a blunt knife jumping off the surface is twice as high as the possibility of a cut from a too sharp blade.
To achieve the best result, the knife sharpening process should consist of several stages, and each stage, depending on the quality of the device, may include the use of separate devices and tools. So, the process of overfilling consists in changing the sharpening angle or in eliminating severe mechanical damage on the edge of the blade. In this process, a substantial layer of steel is removed until the surface becomes perfectly smooth. For overfilling, hard and coarse abrasives are most often used.
To restore the condition of the cutting surface of the blade, a sharpening process is carried out, in which medium- and high-grained abrasive materials are used. In some cases, knife sharpening tools can leave deep micro-scratches on the surface, which will cause too sharp places on the blade. In order to get rid of them, another stage is carried out called “finishing” or “finishing polishing”.
After this process, even minimal scratches are eliminated, and the blade acquires a mirror shine. Cutting abilities in this case are slightly lower, but after finishing, the sharpness will remain for a longer period.
Separately, we can mention the editing stage, which is used when the blade is slightly turned to the side, which significantly reduces the cutting properties. At this stage, there is no sharpening, namely, the alignment of the side surfaces of the edge so that they take their original position. It is important that in the process of carrying out this work, the steel is not removed from the surface of the knife.
Electric knife sharpeners: design and usage features
All devices for sharpening knives can be divided into several groups:
- depending on the type of abrasive used – bars and grindstones;
- based on the features of the design – manual and electric;
- according to the features of use – for domestic and professional use.
To understand the name of a knife sharpener of one type or another, you should know the basic principles of their work. For example, electric knife sharpeners differ not only in the type of electric drive, but also in size.
These can be impressive-sized structures with large disks or neat compact devices designed even for use in small rooms. For example, such devices can often be seen in restaurants or cafes: they are necessary in order to maintain kitchen equipment in a constant order. At the same time, such knife sharpeners are designed for permanent use and can fix even severely damaged blades made of durable alloys.
The design of the electric sharpening itself consists of several grooves through which a blunted blade is passed. Inside each recess there are discs of different materials arranged perpendicular to the knife. After turning on the device, the sharpening of the blade begins, at which it passes through each groove 2-3 times. This type of sharpener allows you to choose the optimal angle of sharpening the knife and adjust it depending on the type of surface to be sharpened, which makes it universal for various knives.
Useful advice! Despite the high cost of electric devices for sharpening knives, they are in great demand due to the fact that they allow you to quickly and reliably sharpen any device. Another advantage is considered to be absolute safety of use, because direct human contact with blades or discs is excluded here.
Household electric grinders are not as large in comparison with professional ones, but at the same time they are no less functional. They also provide the possibility of fixing the sharpening angles for various types of knives and other cutting devices, for example, for scissors, screwdrivers or chisels.
Mechanical and manual knife sharpeners with adjustable sharpening angle
Traditional mechanical grinding machines have been popular for a long time, because their use does not require connection to the electrical network, especially since a simple design rarely breaks or lets the owner down. In most cases, mechanical grinding machines are stationary structures with a large number of advantages, among which one can distinguish:
- the presence of a knife sharpening angle holder;
- the ability to select the desired abrasive stone;
- fixing the blade or grindstone in the desired position.
Mechanical devices are considered professional and allow you to carry out all the necessary stages of sharpening with a knife. Many people note that before using the device independently, you should get a certain skill and experience. In some cases, you will need to undergo a little training. Having gained some experience, it will turn out in a short time to learn how to quickly sharpen any knife devices.
The simplest version of a manual knife sharpener is a bar or a whetstone, which is an abrasive tool used to sharpen the blades of not only kitchen, but also locksmith tools. The whetstone is also considered an excellent tool for sharpening plane knives and other carpentry equipment.
It’s interesting! Sharpening a knife on a bar was used many centuries ago by ancient people. The result of the work here will depend on the skill of the user. Also, the stone is considered a universal sharpener, which allows you to increase the sharpness of even the most blunted knife.
The main types of abrasives used for sharpening knives
In general, 4 main types of abrasive are used for the manufacture of mechanical or manual knife sharpening machines:
Polishing pastes are often used to bring the blade to a mirror shine. The main purpose of using the paste is to fine–tune the cutting base, eliminate scratches. The composition includes abrasive powder (diamond or ceramic), astringent (it can be paraffin, petroleum jelly or water), as well as active additives, the main task of which is to clean and polish the surface to obtain a high–quality result of work. Most often in our country, GOI paste is used for polishing, pre-applied to a soft felt or fabric base, although more modern means have been developed for this.
When choosing an abrasive, one should not forget about such a concept as granularity, which is considered a determining factor in the effectiveness of the grinding device.
Interesting information! To date, there is no single system that makes it possible to compare different types of abrasives, because there are several different designation systems. In the case of sharpening knives with a bar made of natural stone, the definition of granularity does not bear relevance at all due to the heterogeneous structure.
The universal designation of grit is considered to be GRIT, according to which the indicator is calculated based on the smallest number of holes per square inch of the sieve. The basic concept here is that the higher the GRIT value, the lower the grain size of the material.
In general, the grain itself affects the quality and purity of sharpening. To carry out full-fledged work on sharpening the tool, several materials of different granularity should be used. The finer the grain of the abrasive, the thinner the processing will be and the less the metal layer will be cleaned off. Abrasives with larger grains are needed in order to carry out the initial rough sharpening, when it is necessary to return the blade to its ideal appearance and get rid of chips or irregularities.
The table contains information about what the grit of the abrasive is necessary for carrying out different stages of sharpening:
|Grit, Grit||Average grain size, microns||Type of work||Effect|
|80-600||180-20||Stripping||Correction of the thickness or shape of the cutting blade|
|600-3000||20-4||Preparatory||The first stage of sharpening and removal of traces of stripping|
|3000-6000||4-2||Semi-finishing, finishing, grinding||Finishing of the cutting edge|
|6000 and more||2-1||Finish line||Bringing the blade to perfect cleanliness|
When working with a grinding stone, the features of the abrasive should also be taken into account. So, the surface of ceramics with the same grain gives a more delicate effect than a diamond base. The best sharpeners for knives are those in which there are several types of abrasive surfaces. The greater the difference in grain size, the more versatile the model is and the more types of blade processing can be carried out. Of course, the presence of a variety of abrasive surfaces will also affect the final cost of the device for sharpening.
Musats and other common household appliances for sharpening knives
Externally, musat is a knife sharpener in the form of a file with a round or oval cross-section. The convenience of working with the rod is provided by a convenient handle, which is securely fixed in the hand. The use of musat allows you to align the cutting blade of the knife and make it sharper, and any housewife without experience can carry out the work.
According to the principle of operation, the musat is similar to a sharpening rod, but if the sharpening removes part of the steel coating, then the musat only cleans the surface from the metal fringe formed during operation. The result of the work is the leveling of the surface with minimal metal stripping along the edge of the blade.
Useful advice! If a high-quality knife is purchased and at the same time it is properly operated, then musat is quite enough to maintain its normal sharpness. Do not forget that with each sharpening, a small layer of metal is removed. This causes the blade to shorten and shrink.
In most cases, musat is made of metal. The length of the rod does not exceed 20-35 cm. The best devices are those characterized by a shiny, smooth or even mirror surface of the rod. Another advantage of the device is the presence of a magnetized tip, which serves to attract metal chips cleaned from the knife during sharpening. Basically , musats can have this form:
- circle or oval;
- flat with a faceted rod;
According to the material of manufacture, metal, diamond and mixed rods are distinguished. The most effective is considered to be a ceramic-coated musat, which can be used as a device for sharpening plane knives, chisels and ordinary kitchen knives.
In addition to musat, other types of sharpeners are often used in everyday life, for example, folding versions of the “balisong” type, which got their name from the name of the area in the Philippines where they were first developed. The device is a folding device with a convenient handle, opening in the form of a fan at 180 °. A special type of opening, resembling the flapping of butterfly wings, gave the sharpening a second name – a butterfly sharpener. The convenient shape allows you to use the device for sharpening chisels, scissors or other tools that need sharpness. There are such types of sharpeners:
- awl – shaped;
Belt grinder: a simple device for grinding and sharpening
Scope of use. Advantages and disadvantages. Types of grinders. Design and principle of operation. Recommendations for selection and application.
The small size, ease of use and efficient operation of the sharpener allowed the device to become widespread not only in domestic use, but also for use in hiking or traveling.
The most mobile and compact are considered to be sharpeners, key rings, models of which are widely represented in retail outlets. There is a choice of different shapes, sizes and original appearance. Often, in addition to a knife sharpener, a hiking nail file can be included, which further adds useful qualities to the device.
Types of blades and the correct angle of sharpening knives: what it should be
Knives are made of different materials, but different types of steel are considered the main ones. Regardless of the material or shape of the product, in any case, it will need sharpening over time, because working with a blunt device poses a danger to the user. The following materials are mainly used for the production of knives:
It is possible to determine that the blade has become blunt, not only when working with the device, but also by eye. Proper sharpening is needed to return the outlines of the cutting edge of the blade. The main difficulty of the sharpening process is to maintain the desired angle of inclination, and special devices for the knife sharpening angle will help in this.
Useful information! The smaller the sharpening angle of the blade, the easier it is to cut the necessary material, which is especially important when working with soft products. A knife with a small sharpening angle is blunted several times faster relative to devices with a large angle.
To navigate in the angles of inclination, standard values are mainly used. For example, a 45-55° angle is enough for hairdressing scissors, 75-85° for metal scissors. But a more delicate device, such as a surgical scalpel, requires 10-15 ° for sharpening. The sharpening angle of a hunting knife should not exceed 25-30 °.
Why are kitchen knives blunt quickly, the sharpening angle depends on the purpose
A sharp kitchen knife is the key to fast and efficient work in the kitchen, but the use of various cutting boards does not have a positive effect on the sharpness of the blade, because they round the cutting base of the device. You also need to know that cutting on a wooden board has less effect on the deformation of the knife blade than working on a plastic board. Other reasons why kitchen knives are blunt:
When working with a kitchen knife, you need to know that even poorly cleaned soft vegetables and fruits, on which sand or lumps of dirt remain, can worsen its sharpness. Therefore, before cutting, all products should be washed qualitatively.
There are no special rules for sharpening kitchen knives, but still experts recommend observing different angles of inclination for devices with different purposes, which is shown in the table:
|Type of knife||Application Features||Sharpening angle, degrees|
|Canteen||For chopping food on a plate, it is blunt mainly due to the constant contact of the cutting part with the dishes||55-60|
|Ordinary kitchen||Cutting and slicing food on a board||25-35|
|Professional chef||For cutting meat and fish||20-25|
|Cook ‘s||For vegetables and fruits||35|
|Boning (cutting)||Separation of meat from bones and tendons||20-30|
|Tourist||For mixed use||30-45|
How to sharpen a knife yourself with a bar at home
The bar is considered an excellent device for sharpening meat grinder knives, ordinary cooking appliances and even carpentry tools. When using, it is necessary to adhere to the basic rules:
- observe the correct sharpening angle based on the scope of the knife;
- maintain the position of the blade in relation to the surface of the stone throughout the entire sharpening period;
- avoid abrupt and jerky actions, all movements should be smooth and sliding;
- before carrying out the work, moisten the bar liberally with detergent, soapy water or oil;
- carefully inspect and rinse the knife blade.
Because the full sharpening cycle consists of several stages, it is recommended to purchase a set of bars with different grain sizes at once. When using a bar, you should adhere to the optimal sharpening angle for a particular device. To make it easier to hold the correct angle, it is necessary to use paper or wood clamps. During the entire sharpening process, the bar is held with one hand, and the knife blade itself is held with the other. In some cases, it is easier to fix the bar in one position and hold the knife with two hands. Sharpening is carried out alternately on each plane.
How to sharpen a knife with an electric grinder
During the use of electric powered grinders, the requirements for the performance of work remain almost the same as when working with a bar or a grindstone. The only point is that when using a knife sharpening device, it is not the abrasive surface that is wetted on the emery, but the blade of the knife, because water will not be retained on a constantly rotating circle. Other sharpening rules:
If a small home grinding machine is used, then it is necessary to maintain the optimal work interval and choose the correct grit of the emery, because most often the angle is fixed automatically.
Retail outlets offer a wide selection of devices for sharpening knives and other tools that need to maintain sharpness. Different designs for their intended purpose have different equipment and, accordingly, cost. When choosing a model, it is necessary to take into account the design features of the knife, as well as the material from which the device is made. Also, do not forget about the simplest sharpeners, which any housewife can use independently.