There are a number of options on the market for sharpening knives such as electric sharpeners, handheld sharpeners, and whetstones. The sharpener you choose depends on the knife you have. To extend the life of your knife you want to maintain your edge as long as possible through regular honing using a honing steel. It is very important to remember the difference between honing and sharpening. Honing maintains the edge you already have. Sharpening removes a small portion of steel to put a new edge on the knife. Thus, a knife can only be sharpened so many times in its lifetime.

When it comes to stamped knives, most restaurants will purchase these knives for community use. This also means that these knives will be heavy-use knives and will be subject to additional wear and tear. Stamped knives do not hold an edge as long as forged knives and will need to be sharpened more frequently. For these reasons, stamped knives have a shorter life span but are also less expensive. There are more options available for sharpening stamped knives. You can use more convenient sharpening tools on a stamped knife that you would not want to use on a forged knife. For example, a good option for a stamped knife would be a handheld Chef-Master sharpener. This type of sharpener utilizes two intersecting steel sharpening surfaces that form a “V” shape which are drawn across the edge of the knife a few times until the knife is sharp again. Chef-Master “V” sharpeners are safe, easy to use, and easily stow away in a utensil drawer.

In most cases, a chef or a line cook will invest in a set of forged knives for their own personal use and they are looking for the knives to last for several years, or ideally, for a lifetime. Therefore, they want to do everything they can to maintain the edge of their knife for as long as possible before it needs to be sharpened. When it comes time to sharpen a forged knife, you want to avoid sharpeners such as the handheld Chef-Master, or electric sharpeners, which would be too hard on the knife’s edge and remove too much of the steel from the knife. The best options for sharpening forged knives are either using a whetstone, diamond dust steel, or outsourcing to a professional sharpening service. There are advantages and disadvantages to all of these.



Using a whetstone to sharpen a knife is a skill that takes a little time and practice to develop. If you do take the time to develop those skills, you have the advantage of saving money by doing it yourself. Sharpening with a diamond dust steel is a great tool. Keep your edge with a Dexter-Russell DDS-12CP sharpening steel, it is fast and reliable without all the fuss, then follow up with a nice honing steel to detail the edge. Chefs with multiple sets for service lines may choose a professional sharpening service. Of course, you must take into consideration the cost of having your knives professionally sharpened. Many professional knife sharpening services offer package deals for sharpening sets of knives. When considering using a professional service, be sure to ask about their pricing and availability.

Knife sharpening is an important factor to consider. Proper honing and sharpening can make a huge difference in the life span of your knives. Commercial kitchen knives are an investment and they are the most important tools in a chef’s arsenal. If you are willing to invest the time and the money into the purchase and maintenance of your knives, you can expect the return of better performance (saving you time in the kitchen) and better longevity (saving you money in the long term) from your knives.

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