Being able to work comfortably in a kitchen, whether it is your own or at a restaurant, is one of the most important parts of being a chef. It is easy to think that once...
The fact is that no matter how good a knife is there will come a time that it will need to be sharpened. A dull knife is a dangerous one so if you own a set of knives it is important to have a tool to keep them in a top sharpened state.
The sharpening tool that is spoken about most often is the whetstone. While it is a classic tool that works great at sharpening any knife you are bound to use in the kitchen, there is another option.
An electric Sharpeners is an easy to use kitchen tool that can do the job of sharpening your knives just as well as a whetstone can. There are just a few variations on how to use an electric sharpener as well as take care of one so it lasts a while.
Getting to Know Your Electric Sharpener
First and foremost an electric sharpener is a machine and therefore has many moving parts that keep it operational. In order to fully understand all the parts and how each of them works together, you are going to want to take a good look at the instruction manual that comes with your Electric sharpener.
You should become acquainted with the page in the manual depicting a diagram of your Electric sharpener. This page will show you all the buttons and how they are used to ensure you are sharpening your knives correctly.
Become familiar with where the on/off button is and which direction you should place your knife in the machine. Some electric sharpeners have different levels with which to sharpen your knives. Usually, the settings are coarse, fine, and ultra-fine. Though some sharpeners make it simple by labeling the settings 1, 2, and 3, so it’s important for you to know what each setting means.
The first stage or the Coarse setting is where you will want to start when sharpening your knives. From just needing a little edging to the bluntest knife you own this setting will bring back the sharpness to your knives. Just be sure you don’t overdo it and hurt the edge of the blade.
The second stage or the honing setting acts much like that of a honing rod. Wherein you are only lightly sharpening the blade still and smoothing out any final micro imperfections. This setting will give the blade a sharper edge and tone.
The third stage or the extra fine setting is the final step in using your electric sharpener. Here you will polish your knife’s blade and clean up any micro-burrs that remain leaving only a razor-sharp knife. It is also suggested that this stage be used every three to four days to keep your knife in the best condition. It is great for quick use after you have finished using your knife in the kitchen.
Using the Electric Sharpener
Knowing these three stages of your electric sharpener will help you determine how blunt your blade is before beginning to sharpen. If your blade has only minor wear, then perhaps you only need to do stages two and three or even just three. If your blade is instead more weathered and the blade clearly blunt, then you will probably want to begin at stage one.
Once you have determined your knife’s level of bluntness, simply place your blade on the center of the grinder to the base of the hilt and the tip of the knife sticking out on the opposite end. Depending on the electric sharpener you should hear a grinding noise to indicate that the blade is positioned correctly.
When you know that the blade has been placed correctly all you will have to do is guide the knife through the grinder toward you. There is no need to rush or force the movement. Be sure to tilt the blade upwards as you pull it towards you to ensure it is sharpened all the way to the end.
The standard is to run the blade through the grinder twice on either side. Depending on the bluntness of the blade you made need to run it through more. The important thing to remember is that the knife should be run through an equal amount of times on either side.
After you are satisfied with the number of times you've run the knife through the grinder you will need to test the knife’s sharpness. You can do this by feeling for the burr that forms at the tip of the blade. If one still remains then a few more run-throughs on the third stage will probably need to be done.
Safety When Using Your Electronic Sharpener
While a whetstone calls for using water in order to sharpen your blade the exact opposite should happen when using your electric sharpener. It is extremely important that you do not use water when using your electric sharpener. Water and electronics do not mix no matter what the circumstances are, so be aware of that when using your electric sharpener, especially in the kitchen.
When performing the motion of pulling the knife through the grinder always make sure that the tip of the blade is pointed away from you. You should also always use smooth fluid movements to avoid any incidents while using your electric sharpener.
For extra protection, there are safety gloves that you can wear to ensure you keep your hands safe. These gloves are meant to be used when handling knives and can ensure that you take all the proper precautions when using your electric sharpener.
Cleaning Your Electronic Sharpener
It should be a given that you should only sharpen clean knives, however, there are some who sharpen knives that still have some food on them. Along with the metal debris that will build up from the actual sharpening, your electric sharpener is bound to need a good cleaning after you use it to sharpen your knives.
It is a good habit to always clean your electric sharpener after each use. You will want to clean away any debris build-up to ensure that there are no issues the next time you use your sharpener.
To do this you will want to use a brush with bristles so that it can clear out the grinders completely. You should be able to open your electric sharpener in order to get into the hard to reach areas. Again, you will want to check your manual for your specific sharpener before attempting to remove any of the pieces.
You won’t need to grease any of the moving parts. Just cleaning the grinders and wheels after each use will keep your electric sharpener running great for a long time. You should also never try sharpening your knives after applying any kind of lubricant such as knife oil. If you want to use knife oil, only apply after you have used your electric sharpener.
When it comes to using your electric sharpener the best thing you can do is to be willing and able to learn the ins and outs of your specific tool. In order to be safe and ensure that your Electric sharpener lasts as long as your knives do is to follow your instruction manual and keep your grinders clear of any debris.
Though electric sharpeners are a great asset in keeping your knives nice and sharp it is important to remember that they are still mechanical and will eventually need parts replaced or will break-down completely. So while it is nice to have an electric sharpener in your kitchen you should also consider having other options to keep your knives sharp. Such as a honing rod or whetstone. These are two vital tools that can and will compliment your electric sharpener.
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