Whether you're a home cook or a professional chef, you already know that kitchen knives are important for food preparation. You don't want the blade to get dull. Not only does using a dull blade defeat the purpose of buying that expensive, high-quality knife in the first place, it also slips more easily while cutting, which isn't safe. Take a look at the knife sharpeners at HSN. Various styles are available, including whetstones, sharpening steels, hand-held sharpeners, and electric knife sharpeners. Manual knife sharpeners are usually (but not always) more affordable than their electric cousins. The sharpening steel gets the job done and doesn't take up much room in the cupboard. Whetstones are more gentle on metal. Just keep in mind that a smaller grit value means the grit is more coarse. A hand-held sharpener has a fixed angle for the blade, which makes the task easier for beginners. Electric knife sharpeners make the task even more straightforward. A knife sharpener is essential for any kitchen. Pick one up for yourself or for the cooking enthusiast in your life. For more gift ideas, take a look at the knife sets and other kitchen items at HSN.
The fine grit is best-suited to those somewhat dull knives which simply need a quick clean-up. Again, I suggest jumping over to stage three and honing your blade afterward for a better, straighter edge. The honing stage can even be used on its own to clean up a warped edge or simply to maintain a straight edge. This sharpener’s long sharpening slots will work well to hold blades steady as they move through, effectively reducing the chances of producing a warped and wobbly edge.
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Grit choices should fall in line with the steel used to make the knives you plan to sharpen. If your knives are all European, relatively soft steel knives, then you could finish off your knives at the 1,000 – 2,000 grit level. There is a lengthy explanation regarding this topic but suffice it to say that at 2,000 grit, these knives can be made extremely sharp.
The more you use the sharpening stone; the edges of each particle within the stone tend to become slightly rounded over time. When you notice that it is taking much longer to hone blades and edges, it means you need to replace the stone with a new one. Sharpening stones come with decks that make it convenient to keep the tool in balance on the stone.
Diamond whetstones, like the DMT Diamond Whetstone, are made out of industrial type diamonds which create a long-lasting hard, coarse and flat surface. A diamond whetstone is an excellent choice for when you are outdoors as you can use it dry or with a lubricant. It can take some time getting used to and the larger sized stone may not be ideal for working with small knives or cutting tools.
Our test targets consisted of 5 pounds of tomatoes and sheets of regular 8½-by-11-inch paper from a writing pad. (The “paper cut” test is a universal standard among sharpening enthusiasts.) After we tested each knife against both objects in its dull state, we sharpened it according to the manufacturer’s instructions on one of the seven sharpeners. We then repeated the tests and noted the relative improvements in cutting performance. We also paid attention to an issue that’s common to virtually all manual and electric sharpeners: their inability to sharpen all the way to the heel of the blade, the part closest to the handle. While stones and jigs can sharpen the entire length of a blade, most manual and electric sharpeners have a slotlike structure around the sharpening element that prevents the last quarter-inch (best case) to inch (worst) of the edge from reaching the sharpening element.
The final Chef’s Choice sharpener on our list is the 316 Diamond Sharpener. Like the 15XV the 316 is at its best when used to sharpen Asian-style knives and it does so with unflinching effectiveness and speed. This is a compact, 2-stage electric sharpener that produces the 15 degree edge so favored in Asian cutlery. Ideal for the preparation of sashimi or sushi.
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This Linkyo’s suction cup feet will hold it still atop any counter. Its auto-stop function will turn the machine off if you press downward with the blade or if the blade itself is too heavy. This wonderful safety feature will keep the machine from jamming and ruining your knives. Also impressive is its special catch basin which makes cleanup much easier as it catches any metal shards or shavings that come off your blade.

J. Kenji López-Alt is the Chief Culinary Advisor of Serious Eats, and author of the James Beard Award-nominated column The Food Lab, where he unravels the science of home cooking. A restaurant-trained chef and former Editor at Cook's Illustrated magazine, his first book, The Food Lab: Better Home Cooking Through Science is a New York Times Best-Seller, the recipient of a James Beard Award, and was named Cookbook of the Year in 2015 by the International Association of Culinary Professionals.


With our sharpeners in hand, we went about putting them to work—meaning we needed a lot of dull knives. Those are in short supply in the Wirecutter test kitchen (Lesley keeps ’em sharp), so we borrowed some from coworkers and sacrificed a few of the test kitchen’s blades. To ensure truly, appallingly dull blades, we ground their edges repeatedly against a piece of concrete curbstone.
4. Start sharpening the first side of the blade. With your blade set at the prefect angle, you’re ready to start sharpening. Imagine you’re carving off a slim piece of the stone’s surface. Personally, I bring the blade into the stone. Other people stroke the blade away from the stone. Both ways work, so just use whatever technique you prefer. If the knife blade is curved or if it’s longer than the stone, you’ll need to sweep the blade sideways as you work, so the entire edge is sharpened evenly. Apply moderate pressure as you sharpen. No need to bear down hard on the blade. After you make one stroke, start back at the beginning and repeat. Do this about 6-12 times.
Lubricate the stone. Some stones specifically use oil or water, and if that's the case, ensure you're using the recommended lubricant. Most importantly, whichever lubricant you choose, do not change it after the first use. When using oils, only use those approved for sharpening stones. Food oils such as vegetable and olive oil should never be applied! Some options like diamond stones, and others, don't need any lubricant at all, so be sure to check the stone's instructions.
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