Each brand of knife that we sell comes with their own care, cleaning and sharpening instructions. Below are general guidelines on how to care and sharpen for your knives. It is always best to follow your brands specific instructions.
We also highly recommend to hand wash all knives, and to not put them in the dishwasher. Putting them in a dishwasher can blunt the edges quicker, due to rubbing against other objects. The heat and harsh chemicals in dishwashing tablets can also damage the steel of the blades.
General Knife Care and Cleaning:
– Don’t put them in the dishwasher. ALWAYS handwash. Putting your knifes in the dishwasher can cause them to blunt faster, due to rubbing against other objects. The harsh chemicals in dishwashing tablets, and the heat of the water can also damage the steel of the blade.
– Hand wash your blades in warm, mildly soapy water.
– Hand dry your blades to avoid rust spots forming.
– Chopping boards affect the rate at which your knife goes dull. For best results, use end grain wood. Glass chopping boards blunt them the fastest so try to avoid those if you can.
– Use the right knife for the right job. Don’t go using your utility or chef’s knife to cut through heavy bone, use a cleaver for that. Each knife has it’s own purpose, and utilising that will decrease prep time, and help your knives last longer.
– Store your knives correctly. If you have them loose in a draw with no covers, you risk the blades getting chipped and blunted. Always make sure that they are covered if in the draw, or stored in a block or magnetic wall strip.
Sharpening with a pull-through mechanism:
For Japanese and Damascus Steel Knives:
For the Japanese and Damascus steel knives that we stock at Sauvage Urbain, you need to make sure you’re using a ceramic wheel sharpener. These are set at the correct angle (17 degrees) for these types of knives. If you try and use a regular pull through (ones used for German styled knives seen below), it force a change of angle on your knives, and permanently damage them.
– Using ceramic wheel water sharpeners are easy, just follow these steps.
– You can get either a 2 wheel, or 3 wheel stage sharpener, the 3 wheel will give a longer lasting finish to your knives.
– First, remove the plastic cover to the wheels, and fill the dish with water. This will act as a lubricant as your blade runs over the ceramic wheel. The water also cleans the wheel, and avoids overheating the blade.
– Take your knife, and very gently run back and forth over the coarsest wheel 7 times.
– After the coarse wheel, move your knife to the second wheel (medium coarseness) and gently run back and forth 7 times.
– If using a three stage wheel, after using the middle wheel move your knife to the third and final wheel. Once again, gently run back and forth over the wheel 7 times.
– Once you’ve completed all the stages of the sharpener, dry your knife and you’re good to go!
For German steel knives:
For German steel knives, you can use either a wet sharpener as seen being used for Japanese knives, or a dry sharpener. For wet sharpener, follow the instructions seen above for Japanese knives.
– Dry sharpeners are super simple to use, and come in a single, double or three stage form.
– There’s not need to wet your blade, simply start by gently moving your blade back and forth for up to 10 times, on the coarsest stage of the sharpener.
– Repeat this for as many stages necessary, and thats it!
– When using a three stage sharpener as seen above, you don’t need to use all 3 stages each time.
– It is only necessary to use all 3 stages when your knives are completely blunt (approx. once every 12 months). You can use the coarse and fine option approx every 2 months, and the fine options every week.
Sharpening with a Steel:
– Make sure that the steel you are using is as long as the blade that you’re sharpening.
– Place the tip of the steel on a surface where it isn’t going to slip, and elevate the handle so that the rod is at a 45 degree angle to the table. It’s important to keep the rod steady throughout the whole process.
– Start by placing your knife flat against the rod, and tip it to an angle suited to your knife (Japanese steel should be 15 degrees, and German steel should be 20 degrees)
– Drag the knife down the steel from base to tip. Make sure to not rush this process, and to keep an even and consistent pressure on the blade.
– Do this dragging motion up to 10 times, then swap to the underside of the steel to sharpen the other side of the blade.
– Repeat the same process as above, ensuring the same angle on your knife as the first side.
– This process does take time to master! So if you’re first attempt isn’t perfect, keep going at it. You’ll be a master sharpener in no time!
Sharpening with a Stone:
– Start by submerging your whetstone in water. For ceramic whetstone you should submerge for 2-3 minutes, and for water whetstones 10-15 minutes, or until all the air bubbles disappear.
– To help with maintaining a consistent angle throughout this process, keep a firm grip on your knife.
– To begin, place your blade against the whetstone (if it’s double sided, start on the course side) at an angle that is right for your knife (Japanese steel should be at a 15 degree angle, and German steel should be at a 20 degree angle).
– Drag the knife up and down the whetstone from tip to base, to ensure that the blade is evenly sharpened. Repeat several times.
– Make sure to keep an eye on the wetness of your stone, if it starts to look a bit dry sprinkle a bit of water on it.
– Once one side is sharpened, flip the knife to sharpen the other side.
– Listen to the sound that is made when sharpening your knife, it should create a consistent, slightly gritty sound.