When kitchen knives are to be sharpened, three types of blade shapes may come into question. Straight or curved single blades, serrated blades or a wavy shape in the grind. A sharpening rod can be used to sharpen straight and wavy grinds. Grinding stones are ideal for single blades. Saw teeth are a special case.
Three typical types of blades
There are usually three types of blade shapes in a normal kitchen knife kit. The small work knives and some large utility and chef’s knives have simple blade grinds in straight or curved shapes. In principle, they can be finished with any sharpening tool.
Wavy grinds are usually found on bread knives. With them, the individual waves must be ground, which becomes difficult with a flat whetstone. There are special hand sharpening stones in triangular shape or mounted points that resemble files. The third type of blades are saw teeth. These knives, often referred to as bread knives, are also good as meat and bone knives due to their ripping cutting and penetrating power.
Determining sharpness levels
It is not always a good idea to sharpen all the knives you have as sharp as possible. Small knives for peeling fruit or other somewhat coarser uses are often more user-friendly if they do not have razor sharpness. Ideally, the existing knives are divided into an optimally sharpened group and an ordinarily sharpened group. This also benefits children, for example, who should not be given razor-sharp blades if possible.
The “normal” sharpening of the duller fraction can be done properly with a sharpening rod made of metal. It resharpening without reaching the optimum degree of sharpness of the blade. The same applies to grinders, which usually have troughs through which the blades can be pulled. Here, too, the grinding force is limited.
Optimum sharpening of smooth blades
To obtain razor-sharp blades, Japanese or Chinese water stones are best suited. They create the level of sharpness that literally glides like butter through all types of cutting materials. Five steps are common. The rough preliminary grind, in which damage is repaired, is followed by the main grind with a grit in the range between 800 and 1500. 3000 grit or more is used in the subsequent main grind. The grinding burr is removed with a final grinding stroke and is completely removed by honing or discing.
Optimum sharpening of serrated blades
For sharpening the shafts, the use of diamond needle files is recommended. They are usually offered in sets, in which a selection of file head shapes is available. With them, each shaft must be processed individually according to the course of the grind. Alternatively, ceramic files can also be used. Grinding and sharpening is a work to be done in stages by free hand.
Optimal sharpening of serrated knife blades
The saw blades have rounded troughs in the grind between the individual teeth. The width of the individual trough is between six and ten millimeters, depending on the size of the knife. A ceramic grinding rod selected with the appropriate diameter allows each individual hollow to be sharpened with the adjacent teeth.