How to Keep Your Knives in Tip Top Shape
Published July 20, 2012
Investing in a good, quality knife is always a good idea. This utensil is used on a daily basis and if kept in good shape should last a lifetime. If you would like to extend the lifespan of your knives, try the following tips from the experts at Park Royal’s House of Knives.
1. Only use your knives for their intended purpose.
Your $100 carving knife is not a screwdriver, chisel or something to pry the lid off a jar. It is also not recommended to use the back or side of your knife as a hammering instrument unless it is specifically designed to handle that task. Doing so may cause the pins, springs, or handle to loosen or break. Manufacturer’s warranties cover defects in materials or workmanship providing the product has not been mis-used or abused. Any of the above alternative uses will void your warranty.
2. Safe Storage
It’s never a good idea to store your knives in a loose drawer without any edge protection. This will increase the chance of being cut when reaching into the drawer and will also increase the likelihood of the edges being dulled as the blades constantly bang into each other. Rather, store your knives in a proper knife block that will protect your knives and will complement your kitchen décor. When storing knives in a block, make sure that the edges face upward to prevent dulling. Another alternative is a knife drawer. These specially designed drawers allow you to store and organize your knives safely out of reach. Magnetic bars are another good choice. Available in wood, synthetic material or aluminum these two extra strong magnet segments provide a safe and visible space-saving option.
3. Cutting Surfaces
Avoid glass, marble or granite surfaces for cutting, as they will dull your knives very quickly. Wood cutting boards are ideal as well as polyethylene plastic cutting surfaces.
4. Cleaning Your Cutlery
Most knives are dishwasher safe but House of Knives strongly recommends hand washing them in warm, soapy water and toweling them off. Maintenance steels are slightly magnetic and can be wiped vertically from handle base to the tip with a vinegar-dampened cloth to remove grease build-up and steel particles.
5. Sharp Knives are Safe Knives
Always use a maintenance device such as steel or a pull through sharpener to preserve a keen edge. A properly maintained knife is a sharp one. A dull knife can be dangerous because you will apply more pressure than you would with a sharp knife and there is a higher probability of your hand slipping while slicing.
Sharpening steels are highly recommended for sharpening your knives. A knife’s edge is very delicate and with use, its miniature teeth will curl over. A honing steel will re-align the edge and also bring to the surface the carbon molecules that provide most of the cutting action. Ideally, you want to use your steel every time you use your knife. For most home chefs a regular-cut steel is preferred. If you learn to understand the mechanics of using the steel you will soon master the technique. There are many ways to hold the steel but the easiest way for a beginner is to hold it vertically with the point down resting securely on a towel. Be sure to work the full length of the edge and at an angle of approximately 22.5 degrees. Start with the heel of the blade contacting the steel as close to the handle as possible with the tip pointing straight out away from you. Begin by pulling the blade back towards you and down the shaft of the steel. This motion should end with the tip of the blade in contact with the steel towards the bottom of the shaft. Switch sides and repeat on other side.
For more information contact House of Knives, Park Royal North.