Knife Care and Sharpening

Kitchen knives are your best friend when it comes to cooking, so taking good care of them is key if you want them to last a lifetime. Here is our guide and advice on the measures that you can put in place to increase longevity.

Storage

There are a number of options for storing knives, suiting every kitchen design and home cook in the UK. Knife blades are extremely sharp, so it is key to have storage which safely keeps those blades in place. Discover options that allow you to have your knives to hand, with easy accessibility, ready to serve when you need them.  

Cleaning

If you value your Wusthof tools, we recommend washing your knives with warm, soapy water after each use. Rinse carefully and dry with a towel. Wusthof knives can be used in the dishwasher (except with wooden handles), however it is not recommended. The life of your knife will be reduced with this process. There are few reasons why we do not recommend washing your kitchen knives in the dishwasher:

 1) Many dishwashers have a basket which knives, cutlery and other utensils are placed into. With both the loading and unloading of the basket, as well as the force of the water pressure, there is a danger that the blades will hit against one another and result in damage.

2) With dishwashers that have a cutlery drawer, the loading and unloading process may damage not only the knife blades, but also the covering of the cutlery drawer, so the coating will no longer provide the protection for which it was designed, causing rust to set in - this can lead to foreign rust deposits on the blade.

3) If the dishwasher is not used for a number of days, and the knives are not cleaned directly after use, the effect of the caustic food particles, such as pickles, spicy sauces, citrus fruits and vegetables that remain on the blade can lead to unsightly spots and corrosion. For added protection, we recommend routinely polishing your knives to remove any unsightly stains.

Sharpen Your Knife

It's important to care for your knives. A dull blade edge can be dangerous, greater force is required, resulting in more accidents to occur. It can be difficult to know where to start with sharpening your knives, selecting the right method simply depends upon what you are most comfortable with. There are a few different methods that you can choose from and our step by step guide is here to help you!

First, you need to differentiate between honing and sharpening your knives. Honing is a method used to polish the edge of your knife, it does not remove any material. Honing allows you to maintain a smooth blade edge, reducing friction when in use. Whereas, sharpening is a method used when your knife is dull, this technique removes material from the blade edge. We would advise always honing your knife after you have sharpened it, so that you have the sharpest but smoothest blade possible.

Another main difference between these two is that you should only need to sharpen your knives maybe once or twice a year, depending upon how often you use it. However, we would advise honing your knife regularly to maintain that sharp, smooth edge. If you sharpen your knives too often, you can damage the edge of your blade. Removing too much material will alter the shape of the blade. 

The Pull-Through Sharpener

One of the easiest ways in which to hone and sharpen your knife is to use a pull-through sharpener. There is always two different sides to a pull-through, one which includes a notch with tungsten steel, used to sharpen and the other includes a ceramic notch, used to hone and polish. Each notch has been specially placed at the perfect Wusthof angle of 15°.

This method is simple, ensure the sharpener is on a flat surface and hold the handle firmly. Apply very little pressure and draw the knife through the desired side, starting at the heel of the knife and finishing at the tip. Repeat this step 3-4 times, no matter which side you are using. If you are using the coarse side, always use the finer side to hone the knife afterwards. 

See our selection of pull-through sharpeners here

The Honing and Diamond Steel

A better option to use if you are more confident at maintaining the edge of your knives is the honing and diamond steel. Slightly different from the pull-through sharpener, as you don't have both methods in one. If you need to sharpen your knives, the diamond steel should be used first, followed by the honing steel, or if you are just polishing the edge, only use the honing steel. 

For safety and grip, we suggest placing a tea towel on a flat surface and holding your steel at a 90° angle downwards (as shown in the illustration). Take your knife in the opposite hand and hold it at a 15° angle from the steel, this is the perfect Wusthof angle. Then, guide the blade with light pressure across the steel, do this in a pendulum motion, keeping your arm at a 90° angle, bringing it back and forth. Ensure you alternating the sides that you are stroking the blade over the steel - on the right side, then the left, right, then left. We suggest doing this 3-4 times on either side of the steel. 

See our selection of honing and diamond steels here

The Whetstone

The final alternative is to use a whetstone, this method consists of high quality, abrasive grits. Each whetstone is split in half, containing two different grits, one of which is coarse and the other fine. You have probably guessed by now, but the coarse side is for sharpening and the fine side used for honing. Each whetstone has a number on either side, representing the grit grade of the stone. The lower the number, the more coarse it is. 

Submerge the stone in water for 5-10 minutes before you begin to sharpen, this process creates a paste which allows the knife and stone to work together smoothly. Place the stone on a slip-resistant service or in a whetstone holder. If you are sharpening your knife, use the coarse side first. Hold your knife at a 15° angle, 11° for Japanese style blades, then brush your knife gently over the stone, using a back and forth technique (like the illustration). We suggest holding the handle of the knife with one hand, then place your other hand on the surface of the blade, guiding it over the stone. Start at the heel of the blade and finish at the tip, ensuring you stay at the same angle, otherwise the tip of the knife can become distorted and damaged. Repeat the same process on the other side of the blade.

See our selection of whetstones here

For any further help or guidance regarding your knife care and sharpening, just contact us, we are more than happy to help! Stay sharp!