How do you keep your kitchen knife sharp?

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Poppy

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I use my stainless chef's knife for just about everything in the kitchen.

I bought a Lansky kit.

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It takes too much time for me to set it up and use it. I have only used it a few times.

Generally, I use a stainless honing rod to keep it sharp, but it doesn't make it razor sharp, and sometimes when I am done, it isn't much better than when I started.

I decided to try some green stainless steel polishing compound I got at Harbor Freight, and instead of lapping it with a leather strap, I use paper spackling tape as a strap.

So after using the honing rod, I lie the tape on a flat surface, rub some compound onto it, and then stroke the blade across it. It only takes a little bit of work before the green polish is black and the blade is sharp.

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vicv

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I use bench stones for the sharpening but only occasionally when needed. Usually use a smooth steel. Can keep my knives razor sharp for about a year before needing the stones. It’s all about technique, not equipment.
I also have the lansky. Was my first sharpening equipment many years ago. I’ve never liked it
 

Modernflame

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First, hats off to you for keeping your kitchen knife sharp. Most people buy a set of knives, blunt them, then tolerate the situation for years until they buy a new set.

Stropping generally gets better results than honing on a steel rod, but it must be done frequently. I have a leather strop mounted to my workbench and loaded with a one micron diamond solution. For most kitchen knives, the green compound works wonders, though. You can get a lifetime supply for very little coin. Leather strops are also inexpensive and easy to improvise. I like your solution, too.

The lansky is a good system, but yes, very time consuming. It also has limitations on blade length. Once you get your knife sharp on the lansky, your strop should do the trick for a good long time.

Personally, I use a wicked edge to keep blades sharp. It's quick, repeatable, versatile and also stupid expensive. I don't recommend that purchase to anyone except to other stupid insane people like me.
 

vicv

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Those wicked edge are neat. I’ve never used one but have used an edge pro before. When I’m doing any serious shopping I go to my belt grinder. Now that is fast. But I generally only use that if I have a lot of material to remove. It’s amazing how quickly you can grind and edge on a knife with a course bench down. One of my favourites is a medium Norton Crystolon. Super fast But you can get a razor sharp edge off it as well. My king 300 Japanese Waterstone Is very quick as well
I will also say congratulations though. As said, most people don’t even know what a sharp knife feels like and it’s a real shame.
 

chip100t

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A honing steel does not sharpen as such a knife because it does not remove any steel. What it does do is straighten the edge, resetting where the edge has rolled. This makes a big difference in how well a knife will slice. But it will eventually dull and will need sharpening (create a new edge by removing steel) for that I use a lansky masters edge on my kitchen knives and a lansky turnbox for my pocket knives.

These are excellent at keeping your knives sharp but would be slow at sharpening a knife that was allowed to blunt.
 

vicv

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A honing steel does not sharpen as such a knife because it does not remove any steel. What it does do is straighten the edge, resetting where the edge has rolled. This makes a big difference in how well a knife will slice. But it will eventually dull and will need sharpening (create a new edge by removing steel) for that I use a lansky masters edge on my kitchen knives and a lansky turnbox for my pocket knives.

These are excellent at keeping your knives sharp but would be slow at sharpening a knife that was allowed to blunt.
That's not quite true. A steel does remove some material and it does create a new edge, basically a new microbevel. A steel just re-aligning an edge is a persistent myth on the internet.
Here is a great article which goes in depth into the process. https://www.google.com/amp/s/scienceofsharp.com/2018/08/22/what-does-steeling-do-part-1/amp/

I've found with stropping, it can help but generally rounds the edge. No matter how good you are and how light a touch, stropping rounds an edge. That's why it makes a shave smoother.
That "bite" an edge has into food, is due to a very fine and straight apex (not rounded) which a strip can remove.
Now I would never use a ribbed steel on my nice, hard, Japanese knives. But for my wustoffs and sabatiers, keeps them sharp a long time
 

Modernflame

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Stropping is weird science. You can definitely round over an apex, but you can mitigate that in most cases by backing off of the sharpening angle a bit. I know the OP was asking a practical question, but I love to geek out on this stuff. Dr. Vadim Kraichuck has done some fascinating work with controlled angle honing on harder steels. His YouTube channel is Knife Grinders Australia. He's also written a book called "Knife Deburring," which touches on the subject.

TL;DR. The steel in most kitchen knives is a simple recipe with a low carbide volume and a relatively low rockwell hardness. It's forgiving of the stropping angle as long as you work a little shy of the sharpening angle.
 

ledbetter

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No one except maybe a sushi chef needs a razor edge in the kitchen, and it will just dull that much quicker. A decent working edge, done quickly, is achievable with a diamond rod and a little practice. But watch out, diamond rods are highly aggressive and can alter bevels and scratch blades if you are careless with them. And they don’t last forever. But for speed and utility they’re hard to beat, but they don’t replace good stones for overall sharpening.
 
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Modernflame

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Edge geometry is a better predictor of edge longevity than final sharpness is. All knives will lose that bleeding edge sharpness relatively quickly, but starting with a razor edge does not mean you won't get a long lasting working edge after that. There's lots of edge testing videos on YT. Channels like Cedric and Ada Outdoors and Super Steel Steve have plenty of supporting data.
 

Poppy

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I really appreciate all the intellectual discussion thus far.
So here is another question.

From what I have read, most instructions for sharpening with a stone, is to slice into it.
Yet the sanding belt type sharpeners, sharpen in the direction... away from the blade.

It seems to me that in both cases sharpening away from the blade is better.

Thoughts?
 

vicv

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The western style of sharpening is like you described. The Japanese style is more edge trailing. That’s my preference. I push the blade both ways but mostly push the spine away. Watch a couple videos from Peter Nowlan. Has a YouTube Chanel and actually knows what he’s doing
 

xxo

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I have tried many different methods and have settled, for the most part, on the Spyderco Sharpmaker. The Sharpmaker is quick and easy to use plus it works great for serrated edges and scissors. I like to get all of my knives tp slicing sharp at least once to be sure I have a good edge, though I often call it good after the gray (coarse) stones for a toothier slicing edge on some of my kitchen knives. I use the back of a note pad to gently strop just enough to take off the wire edge while sharpening (soft stainless steels require more frequent stoping throughout the sharpening process than harder steels). \

Once you get used to working with a sharp knife, you will never want to go back to using a dull one.
 

Modernflame

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I really appreciate all the intellectual discussion thus far.
So here is another question.

From what I have read, most instructions for sharpening with a stone, is to slice into it.
Yet the sanding belt type sharpeners, sharpen in the direction... away from the blade.

It seems to me that in both cases sharpening away from the blade is better.

Thoughts?
The main difference between edge leading and edge trailing strokes is that the latter produces a larger burr. The larger the burr, the easier it is to detect but the harder it is to remove. You can get good results either way, but it's best to at least finish with edge leading strokes before moving up to a higher grit. By the time you get to your finishing grit, any remaining burr root will be small, weak and easy to remove with strops.
 

Olumin

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I was never good at sharpening. And stroping I could never get right, always ends up duller then before. I can fix a bent hair spring & turn a new balance staff for a ladys wrist watch but sharpening knives is just too fiddly for me. I can touch up a knife on a sharpmaker, that has to be good enough for me.
 

chip100t

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I bought a few Japanese water stones and practiced and got quite good. But much prefer the convenience of sharpening rods. All my knives (pocket and fairly expensive kitchen knives) are always kept super sharp. And keep a tenacious in the kitchen for any non food related tasks.

My sister treats her knives as consumables, buying a cheap set then replaces them with another cheap set when they are blunt. Which does not take long as she uses glass chopping boards and I don’t know what else she does with them because it’s not uncommon to find one of her knives bent or missing it’s tip.
 

FastTurtle

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I use an inexpensive Sharpening tool with a pair of Carbide and Ceramic rods. Works quite well though the only issue is short blades and yes it's one of those Harbor Freight finds.
 

sonomajoe

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I use my stainless chef's knife for just about everything in the kitchen.

I bought a Lansky kit.

lkcpr-z-jpg.18299

It takes too much time for me to set it up and use it. I have only used it a few times.

Generally, I use a stainless honing rod to keep it sharp, but it doesn't make it razor sharp, and sometimes when I am done, it isn't much better than when I started.

I decided to try some green stainless steel polishing compound I got at Harbor Freight, and instead of lapping it with a leather strap, I use paper spackling tape as a strap.

So after using the honing rod, I lie the tape on a flat surface, rub some compound onto it, and then stroke the blade across it. It only takes a little bit of work before the green polish is black and the blade is sharp.

View attachment 18300
There is straightening abd sharpening . One uses a steel to straighten the microscopic burr on the edge of the blade . The angle changes depending upon what knife you use - I use Japanese knives and I try to straighten at a 19 degree angle - German knives are thicker snd there is more of an angle. One does this every day .

You sharpen a knife maybe once every 2 years of you are a pro chef since you are arraigning and using the knife every day . Every time you sharpen it you less part of the knife.

I had my knives sharpened once after 8 years of use - you can tell when you need to sharpen them when you can’t slice a piece e if paper after straightening it .
 

Gemster

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I they are smooth then a stone unless they get in need of extreme work then an electric sharpener. Axes are good to practice on with the stone because they have a lot of extra material to allow fixing boo boos.
 

Agent Orange Peel

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Guided sharpening systems are great but the setup time is just too long. I only use mine in rare occasions.

These days I use Shapton Glass or Dan's Arkansas stones. Depends on the knife and my mood. The results are fantastic and the setup/breakdown time is quick.

In between sharpening I will use a leather strop with Bark River White compound to maintain the edge. I can do that 2-3 times before I feel like sharpening again. I can really strop more before sharpening again but I enjoy sharpening.
 

SWF

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+1 on the Spyderco Sharpmaker. I have an Edge Pro for when I feel like spending some time on the job.
 

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