Honing or Sharpening: What does your knife need?

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It is common knowledge that a sharp knife not only makes your work easier but ensures your safety. Simply put, a sharp knife cuts through meat easily and quickly. But is there a thing such as over-sharp knife? Yes. You wouldn’t want to use an ‘over-sharp’ knife. An over sharp knife can be a potential safety hazard as well as might chunk away a few pieces of the bone along with the meat that you cut. This will contaminate your meat.

It is important to know that you need to maintain a perfect blade on your knife, which is neither dull nor too sharp. This can be achieved by the process of honing and sharpening of the blade.

However, many people often don’t know the difference between honing and sharpening the knife. Some people even use the terms interchangeably.

Well, there is a difference between both these things.

HONING

The blade of your knife can get dull in two possible ways. One, when the sharpness of its edge is reduced or lost. The other is when the position of the edge is not in the exact center.

Honing refers to realigning the blade of your knife to the central position. This ensures an effective knife performance. The process of honing ensures that the rod repositions the edge without having to shave a huge amount of the edge material. Honing has a minimal impact on the sharpness of the blade although it does give an illusion of the blade being sharper due to the realignment.

Honing can be done with a knife steel. Honing the knife from time to time ensures that your knife provides the best performance. Honing can be done regularly as a procedure for knife maintenance.

 

SHARPENING

Although this is a basic step, it is important to understand whether your knife really needs sharpening or not.

How do you check the sharpness of your knife using a simple method?

• Hold a piece of paper in front of you. It could be any printer paper to begin with. As you grow used to this process, you can switch to the thicker variants like newspaper or magazine papers.

• Slice the page from top to bottom whilst starting to cut at a point which is at a safe distance from your other hand and body.

• If the blade slices the paper with a little force or pressure, your knife is sharp. It shouldn’t cause a tear or snag on the paper.

Sharpening shaves away a layer of the blade in order to give your knife a sharper and pointier edge. As this process involves shaving off a part of your blade, you must do it only as much as required. Frequent sharpening can lead to loss of sufficient edge on the blade.

Sharpening your knife has never been easier. Using top quality tools like sharpening stones or electric knife sharpeners can sharpen away your knife within no time.

 

You need to maintain a balance between sharpening and honing, whilst knowing which is required when. If you know these basics of knife maintenance, your knives will be your companions in the kitchen for a long time!