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Martin, Engineer
Category: General
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Experience:  i'm 41 and i never stopped studying and experimenting
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Does anyone know how to put a razor sharp edge

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Does anyone know how to put a razor sharp edge on a knife without having to use stones and other kits? I have seen those knife sharpeners that have the 45 degree angle built in that you lay the blade in and swipe across: but was told that they remove too much metal from the blade. Are those ok to use or can they damage knives? Thank you for your assistance.

Hello and welcome.

The really best way is to get a whetstone with one side coarse and one side finer. If you do it often you can start right away on the fine side, if the knife is really dull then you have to start with the coarse side. At that point the knife have plenty of microscopic teeth and those can roll over with use and make the blade dull again. To prevent that you have to use a finishing strap (usually in leather) to remove those micro teeth and have an uniform blade. The trick is too not wait to have a dull blade.

Both the stone and strap are faster and easier to use if they are longer.

If you have a hardened steal rod (like you often see chef using) you can use it from time to time as it will reduce the frequency needed to use the whetstone. Note that the rod does not sharpen, it just make the blade more straight again. You also have to use it properly as it can do more bad than good if not well handled.

The mechanical one (like often found on the back of some electrical can opener) indeed usually remove too much metal (they act like a file). They also don't remove the micro teeth i talked about and will become dull faster. I won't say they damage knife, i sometime use them on the $1 knife i use to peel potatoes because of the sand i don't bother to sharpen them properly, but i would never use that on my good knifes as it will reduce their useful life and they would not be as sharp in the first place.

A good whetstone and strap will last many generation. As this is not the kind of thing one buy each months, it is worth it to pay for good quality.
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