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A Sharp Knife is a Safe Knife With Global BC Noon Hour News

We all know that a sharp knife is a safe knife. They’re easier to control, and the sharp blade helps to keep all the moisture and juices intact, in every slice, of whatever you’re cooking this holiday season. It doesn’t matter if it’s a real turkey or tofurkey. But how do you know if a knife is dull before you risk tearing up the Christmas turkey? And most importantly, what do you do if you discover that the carving knife really is duller than a bowling ball?

That’s why on Global BC Noon Hour News yesterday, House of Knives president, Andre Eng, tackled this topic with a series of tips, techniques, and tools that will keep your knives sharp for as long as possible. Check out the video below, hosted by Global BC’s Samantha Falk.

How Do You Know If Your Knife is Sharp?

If you use a knife regularly, you might be able to tell, by feel, if it’s starting to lose its performance. If you use a honing steel regularly, you can keep that sharp edge at tip top performance for quite some time. You can check out the video above for some tips on how to select one.

For those taking out that carving knife for the first time since last year, it might not be clear if a honing steel is enough to bring back the sharpness. Well, not until you end up tearing up a glorious prime rib you’ve spent hours preparing. We can already see the slow motion looks of horror from people at the dinner table, as the knife saws and tears at that poor Christmas ham!

While people have gauged sharpness by slicing paper, or shaving off their own arm hair, Andre shows us a more hygienic method that involves a simple Sharpie felt. By simply placing your knife blade on the barrel at an angle, and seeing if the blade will stay or slip off, with moderate pressure, you can tell if it needs a touch up or a sharpening. If it’s no longer able to make any bite into the plastic barrel of the Sharpie, then it’s probably time to look at sharpening that knife. This method also ensures that no hair or paper will make it into your festive feasts.

Quality of Edge vs Speed of Edge 

As Andre mentioned, sharpening devices will always be a balance of quality of edge and ease of use. Another consideration is how long it takes to create a new edge. If you want a hair popping sharp edge, you’ll definitely want to use whetstones. The sharpening quality will be high, but the speed will be low, and ease of use will also be low. It takes quite a bit of practice to really become proficient and consistently good at it. You can even purchase sharpening guides that keep your blade lined up and more consistent with each stroke. The video below goes through a simple method for getting started.

Pull through sharpeners are probably where most people go when picking up their first sharpener. They come in many varieties, but one of our favourites is the EdgeLogix multi-stage sharpener, which was featured in the news segment today. While they are the ultimate in ease of use, and are extremely quick to use, they don’t give the best quality edge overall. But it will give you a working edge that is sharp and safe, when used correctly. The video below gives you some tips on how to make the best use of one.

Other devices that are similarly as easy to use, but give a little bit better performance are devices like the Work Sharp guided field sharpeners. But these are typically meant for sporting knives or knives with blades that fall between the 17 – 20 degree angle. This is useful for many outdoor knives as well like machetes, and might include American kitchen knives, or some older European ones. They also represent moderate ease of use and speed.

Can You Get a Good Quality Edge Quickly and Easily?

One of the devices that we’re pretty excited about are the Work Sharp Culinary electric sharpeners. While they aren’t the first to market with an electric sharpener, they do use abrasive belts, which is similar to technology that knife factories use. They also remove the minimum amount of material in the process, which prolongs the life of your knife.

The new Work Sharp Culinary E3 ($220 CAD) and E5 ($275 CAD – featured in the segment) sharpeners can also be setup to sharpen Japanese knives like the ones from Shun, Global and Miyabi. An upgrade kit, that includes guides for sharpening at those steep 15 degree angles, and belts that are engineered to deal with the harder steels used in their construction, are included. The kit also works with higher end European knives that are adopting more acute 15 and 16 degree edge angles.

If you tuned in live, at the end of the segment, with just a few quick swipes through the Work Sharp Culinary E5 electric sharpener, Global BC Noon Hour New host, Samantha Falk, was able to slice right through a whole ripe tomato in a single stroke. These sharpeners do command a premium, and probably aren’t for that once a year turkey carving. However, if you do use your knives on a very regular basis, don’t have a lot of time, and want the sharpening method to be easy too, it’s hard to argue with the results that the new Work Sharp Culinary products can provide. They are also relatively quiet.

If you want a good edge, quickly and easily, but don’t want to spend a premium, the Chef’sChoice 220 ($60.00 CAD), which is well suited to sharpening anything from thicker American style kitchen knives to hunting and outdoor knifes, and the Chef’sChoice 315XV Pro Diamond Hone ($160.00 CAD), which is perfect for Japanese chef knives, and newer European knives, are great choices. They employ abrasive disks, coated with diamond, that remove material, with other stages that are less abrasive, for honing and maintaining your edge.

Still Confused About Sharpening? Come See Us!

If you’re still in the woods on sharpening, make sure you come see us at one of our stores in BC or Alberta. Our staff are both experts and enthusiasts, and will walk you through everything you need to ensure you have a sharp knife. Whether it’s selecting the right honing steel, pull through sharpener, or electric sharpener. Or you can take advantage of our professional sharpening services if you want the best combination of ease, speed, and performance.

Not near a store? Then check out our library of videos on our YouTube channel. We add new videos on a regular basis and its a great way to learn new tips and find out about new products.

What are your biggest challenges when it comes to sharpening and knife maintenance? Let us know in the comments below!

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