Sharpening knives with ZWILLING: tips and products
Do you like sharp flavors and even sharper knives? That’s how it should be if you want to prep your meals properly and implement cutting techniques accurately. We’re here to help when it comes to keeping your knives sharp and we have two ways of doing so: top tips and great products.
Even ZWILLING knives have to be sharpened sometime
Even a good knife will lose its sharp cutting edge over time. Blades become blunt as every time they’re used, a little bit of material is removed, resulting in their sharpness decreasing as time goes on. This applies to even the hardest of steels and ZWILLING knives, or those from one of our other brands, also have to be sharpened at some time or other. Did you know that a sharp knife is actually safer than a blunt one? This is because you have to exert less pressure when cutting. The knife slides through food better, doesn’t slip off and your hand doesn’t tire as easily.
Why has my knife gone blunt? The 5 biggest no-goes:
Wrong type of food: food that’s too hard or tough can damage your knife
Using chopping boards that are too hard, e.g. made from glass, ceramic or stone
Incorrect grinding technique / holding the knife wrong during sharpening
Washing the knife in the dishwasher - aggressive chemicals and heat will damage the knife.
Storing your knife incorrectly, e.g. together with other cutlery in your cutlery drawer
Sharpening - what’s the right tool?
It never hurts to give your knife a fresh sharpen and the ZWILLING online store is stocked full of practical products specifically for this purpose, such as sharpening steels, whetstones and other knife sharpeners, so you can set up a knife grinding works in your very own kitchen, so to speak. But before you get down to business, it’s probably best to get clued up. Read on to find out about the main products ZWILLING has on offer to get your knife sharp.
What is the best knife sharpener?
Sharp kitchen knives are an absolute must. If you’re also a firm believer in this, you need a good knife sharpener. But which one to go for? There are several different ways you can sharpen a knife. There are stones, rods and - specially at ZWILLING - even self-sharpening knife blocks. Learn about the best methods in our overview and find a knife sharpener that’s right for you.
DIFFERENT KNIFE SHARPENERS
THE CLASSIC KNIFE SHARPENER
To keep your knife sharp, it’s important to use a good knife sharpener on a regular basis. ZWILLING has developed a range of easy-to-use manual knife sharpeners so even beginners can keep their knives sharp. They come with a pre-set sharpening angle and can be used to bring even the bluntest of knives back to life. A manual knife sharpener is the one for you if you want a reliable tool that’s very safe and easy to use. Also ideal for restoring very blunt knives to their former glory.
SHARPENING KNIVES WITH A SHARPENING STEEL
Whilst knife sharpeners serve to restore your knives to their former sharpness, sharpening steels are used to maintain sharpness instead. How does it work? The cutting edge, or also the “grind”, of your knife becomes ever so slightly deformed through use. In other words, the blade rounds off. A sharpening steel can be used to reverse this process and re-straighten the grind so that the sharpened edge can effortlessly slide through food once again.
SHARPENING STEEL FROM CHROME-PLATED STAINLESS STEEL
Our chrome-plated stainless sharpening steels set themselves apart as they remove relatively minimal amounts of material from the blade. As the surface of this sharpening steel features a subtle texture, it is primarily used for straightening purposes: the grooved structure and honing strokes serve to reset and straighten the grind. A textured sharpening steel is gentle when removing material and is suitable not only for straightening up the grind, but also for mild sharpening.
The ceramic sharpening steel
In contrast to the chrome-plated sharpening steel, the ceramic rod features a much rougher surface which removes more material. What’s more, ceramic is much harder than chrome or stainless steel and is also more suited for use with knives which have a higher hardness rating (60 Rockwell and upwards) than sharpening rods made from chrome-plated stainless steel. When pulled across the rod, the grind is not only straightened, but also gently sharpened. In principle, a ceramic rod can be used with all metal knives. To achieve optimal results, it’s best to polish the cutting edge afterwards, with leather for example.
DIAMOND SHARPENING STEEL
The diamond sharpening steel is used to sharpen knives with flat grinds as well as polish blades. A complex process is used to apply the fine diamond dust to the metal rod. This dust does come off with usage and time, meaning that diamond sharpening steels have a limited lifespan. To prevent the dusting wearing off too soon, it’s best to apply less pressure when using this tool.
TUNGSTEN CARBIDE SHARPENING STEEL
Tungsten carbide is a hard metal which contains ceramic and can reach a hardness virtually comparable to that of a diamond. As this material is extremely hard and finely grained, it is suitable for use with all metal knives and won’t cause any damage. Tungsten carbide straightens out the blade whilst sharpening it gently. The price point of these sharpening steels is usually a little higher than for standard steels due to the complex manufacturing process.
SHARPENING STEEL TOP TIPS
No matter which kind of sharpening rod you opt for, here are two important pieces of advice:
A sharpening steel should always be sharper than the knife it’s used on.
It is important to keep the grinding angle at around 15° to achieve the desired result. A sharpening steel is the right tool for you if you want to preserve the sharpness of your knife after every use. Browse our range to find your ideal sharpening steel to match the hardness rating of your knife.
STEP-BY-STEP GUIDE ON HOW TO USE A SHARPENING STEEL
Using a sharpening steel requires some practice. It is important to maintain an angle between 15-20 degrees and to drag the entire cutting edge along the sharpening steel, from the start of the handle to the tip of the knife. How fast you do this plays no part.
Step 1 - the grinding angle: place the sharpening steel top down on a flat surface. Position the blade on the sharpening steel as shown, creating an angle of around 15-20 degrees between blade and steel.
Step 2 - direction of movement: drag the knife downwards along the sharpening steel in a slight arching motion.
Step 3 - sharpen both sides: repeat this motion on the other side of the steel to sharpen the other side of the blade.
Step 4 - repeat: repeat steps 2 and 3 five to ten times, alternating between the front and back of the blade.
THE SHARPENING STONE
SHARPENING WITH A SHARPENING STONE
If you’d prefer using a stone rather than a steel, then look no further than our sharpening stones. Sharpening stones have been used on blades for hundreds of years. They’re used together with water to reduce the amount of friction, so only the optimum amounts of material are removed from the stone and knife.
WHAT IS A SHARPENING STONE MADE FROM?
Sharpening stones can be formed from various materials. Harz stone and granite are among the natural products used. ZWILLING and MIYABI sharpening stones are made from white aluminum oxide. The advantage of this material is, in contrast to natural materials, every stone is high in quality and precise in its grain size.
THE RIGHT GRAIN SIZE
Grain size indicates how rough a stone is. Our sharpening stones come in grain sizes from 250 to 10,000. 250 is the coarsest size, suitable for completely re-grinding very dull blades, whereas 10,000 is the finest and used for polishing. As a basic principle, a whetstone’s material should be chosen based on the knife’s condition. A grain size of 250 is coarse and ideal for resharpening very blunt knives in need of an all-new cutting edge, whereas grain sizes 800 or 1000 can be used for blades which have dulled only slightly. For optimal results: work the grind with a coarse stone, then use a stone with a finer grain to hone or polish. Using a sharpening stone requires skill and experience, but can obtain truly excellent results. This tool is also ideal for those who set great store by real handcraft.