Cutlery Care

Eradicate the Dull !!!!

It has been said that a dull knife makes for a dull chef.  Let’s face it, no one wants to be considered “dull” in any way.  Most everyone agrees that they would rather enjoy a sharp knife rather than fight a dull one.

I believe knives are fine instruments that should be properly cared for.  There is no reason a good knife should not last you a lifetime.


Cleaning, Washing, and Storage — After use, wash knife thoroughly by hand, rinse it in warm water and carefully wipe dry.  Again, never place a knife in the dishwasher. Store in a dry place with the blades protected from possible banging on other utensils including other knives.

It is a good idea to protect a carbon steel blade with a thin coat of vegetable oil or mineral oil.

Cutting Boards — Use only wood or polyethylene cutting boards to protect the blade’s edge as well as your counter-tops.  Never use your fine cutlery to slice on glass, ceramic, porcelain, concrete, or steel.  Use of any of the latter will quickly dull and could possibly chip a knife’s edge.

Maintaining your Knife’s Edge with a Ceramic Rod —
Honing your knife’s edge with a ceramic rod will re-align the edge and maintain a keen edge for much longer than if you either ignore it or use any other honing tool.  The Ceramic will bring the edge back 10 to 15 times between sharpening.  I suggest that you do not use a standard Butcher’s steel as they are quite coarse and will actually remove steel from the blade’s edge, easily damaging your professional edge. 

Using a Ceramic — Stand the Ceramic vertically against the counter (tip down).  Starting at the heel of the knife and the top of the Ceramic, draw the knife toward you and let slide down the Ceramic.  Angle the blade away from the Ceramic a few degrees greater than it has been sharpened.  DO NOT USE PRESSURE.  Just let the edge lightly touch the Ceramic.  Because you are not using any pressure, the angle is not critical. 

Ceramic sharpening rods are commonly available from many suppliers.  An ideal Ceramic Rod is also available from Michael Keller.

Knife Handle Care — Handles are made of a myriad of products and they all begin looking dull with continued use and cleaning.  Handles made of wood, resin impregnated wood, Stag, bone or the like can be brought back to life by simply applying a thin coat of mineral oil.  Four to eight hours after applying the mineral oil, thoroughly wipe off the handle.  You will be pleased with its restored look!

A Few Practical Notes —

  • Don’t place anything in front of a knife’s edge that you do not intend to cut — think fingers!
  • Sharp knives are much safer than dull knives as dull knives require more pressure to use and are prone to slip.
  • When reaching for a knife, be fully present.  Do so with deliberation, reaching for the handle.
  • Never try to catch a falling knife.  Step back and let it drop.
  • A knife should never be used as a screwdriver, ice pick, chisel, etc., nor for prying apart frozen food.

Guidelines for Sharpening Angles

This information will give you a basic idea of what angle works best on different types of knives and knife uses.  This is only a general guide and it is taken from Edge Pro, Inc. (; makers of a darned good knife sharpener.

  • Very thin blades (blade bends easily) for delicate work (roast beef slicers) – 13°.  Modern bread knives can be as low a 7°.
  • Thin Kitchen Knives (light work)  This is the lowest angle you should use against a cutting board.  It cuts very easily but is delicate = 15°.
  • Most Kitchen Knives – Medium duty use = 17°. Kitchen Knives for Heavy Duty Use  (also a good angle for thinner pocket knives = 19°.
  • Typical Pocket knives and thinner Hunting Knives = 21°.
  • Hunting Knives, chopping knives, Heavy Folding Knives = 23°.  This is a good angle for hard foods such as winter squash and similar foods.
  • Very Thick Blades = 25°.

Cutlery Sharpening Prices
(Assuming a blade without damage – dull only.  Does not include ceramic knives.  Pricing is subject to change.)

Kitchen Knives, Hunting Knives and Folding Knives: $0.85 per blade inch (minimum charge is $4.50 per blade)

Serrated Knives: $1.25 per blade inch (each blade valley is sharpened individually). Minimum charge is $6.00 per blade.

Household and Sewing Scissors: $0.85 per inch of each cutting edge. (Pinking shears $1.25 per inch)

Salon and Barber Shears: $20.00

Other: – All other cutlery items are quoted based upon shapes and sizes.

Woodcarving Chisels and Gouges: $5.00 for most chisels and gouges excluding V tools and small veiners.

Whittling Knives: $4.50.  I guarantee that I can improve on any whittling knife you send me.  No matter how sharp it is, I can make it sharper.

V- Tools and small veiners: $7.50 for most.

Repairs and Modifications (broken tips, nicks, excessively dull, restore blade shape, etc): $2.50 – $5.00.  Excessively damaged will be quoted.  This is additional to the fee for sharpening.

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