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Old 03-09-2013, 06:35 AM   #1
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Sharpening Wusthof Knives

Hi Everyone,

I recently brought two Wusthof Classic knives (6" Chef & Paring) as my first forray into better kitchen equipment. Over the past three months they have been really nice to use which is hardly suprising considering the knives I used to use.

I recently went into a cookery shop to buy a sharpening steel however I was advised to buy a pull through sharpener as I have never used a steel before on the premise that I would actually damage the edge of the knife by sharpening the knife at the wrong angle.

I really want to keep the knives sharp but I am unsure how I can achieve this?

I have heard a lot of people talking about the lansky system, would you guys recommend this?

Many thanks in advance for your help,

Lewis.

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Old 03-09-2013, 08:43 AM   #2
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A steel is for honing, not sharpening. It should be used after every time you use the knives to keep the edge in good shape. Depending on how much use the knives get, they will need sharpening once or twice a year.

The Lansky system is very good. I use it on my good knives.
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Old 03-09-2013, 10:55 AM   #3
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Generally I would advise you to avoid the pull-through "sharpeners", especially any of the carbide ones. Very hard on your knives. The exception to rule is the Edgemaker Pro- this product works very well with minimal removal of steel. They can be found at hardware stores as well as online.

A honing rod is very useful to maintain your edge between sharpenings. I prefer a ceramic one for most purposes. The Lansky is a good sharpener, the Edge Pro Apex is even better.
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Old 03-09-2013, 12:59 PM   #4
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As Andy said - Lansky - it is absolutely the best thing for any knife.
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Old 03-10-2013, 04:41 AM   #5
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Thanks for all of your replies, very reassuring to know you guys recommend the Lansky system, i'll have to invest and see how I get on. My mum has a really dull set of Sebatier knives so ill practice on those before I sharpen my own.

Also really great to know I only need to sharpen 1-2 times a year, that was going to be my next question..

Would it also be worth getting a steel to hone the edge or would I damage the knives by improper use?

Thanks everyone...
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Old 03-10-2013, 04:43 AM   #6
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Also, which Lansky system would be the best for me? I've just looked at the website and there are quite a few systems?

Thanks!
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Old 03-10-2013, 10:09 AM   #7
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A steel is essential in the maintenance of good knives. the edge of a sharp knife tapers to a very thin piece of steel. When you use a knife the edge curls over from repeatedly hitting the cutting board. This is not preventable, but it's fixable with a steel. The steel re-straightens the fine edge. That's how you maintain sharpness between sharpenings.

I recommend this Lansky system.

Deluxe 5-Stone System | Precision Knife Sharpening System

With the coarser stones, your mom's Sabatier knives. Then she'll have good sharp knives as well.
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Old 03-10-2013, 10:30 AM   #8
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As you use a knife the microscopic edge begins to fold over. Dragging across a steel will stand it back up. To do this, hold the knife, edge first at a 90 degree angle to the steel, turn the knife anitclockwise to 45 degrees, then half that again, which will be approximately 23 degrees, which is the angle at which most western manufactured knives are sharpened. Drag it across the steel, reverse sides by either moving the knife to the back side of the steel or turning it 180 degrees, and repeat. 5 or 6 swipes on each side of the knife should do the trick nicely.

Seeing you only have two good knives, ask your butcher who sharpenes his knives. Most butchers sharpen their own knives, on a whetstone, and if you are a valued customer, he just might offer to do yours free-fer-nuthin!
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Old 03-11-2013, 05:20 AM   #9
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Thanks for your help everyone, I will pickup a steel to hone the edge and then buy the Lansky system in 2/3 months as by that point I would of have the knives for 6 months.

Would someone such as myself be okay using a steel without damaging the knives? When I have watched tutorials it looks relatively straight forward and I'm sure with some practice I would pick it up...

Thanks again everyone!
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Old 03-11-2013, 06:02 AM   #10
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I doubt if any of you remember when the knife sharpener would come around your neighborhood pushing his two wheel stones and sharpen your knives for you. Well, I do. I also remember the ice man and putting a card in the window telling him what size you needed.

I have one of those stones from an old knife sharpener. In a sense I guess you could call it a whet stone. It has a rough part and a very smooth part. I just wish I knew how to use it properly. It has a large hole right down the middle where it sat of the peg to the wheel handle. He would turn the handle with one hand while holding the knife with the other against the stone. Sometimes I will use this round stone. And it does a great job. Just a couple of swipes against the edge and I am back in business. I found it in a cellar that my son was cleaning out and I was helping him. We also found some ice tongs. He kept them.
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Old 03-11-2013, 08:49 AM   #11
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A word of caution concerning steels. You want a smooth steel, the smoother the better. The typical ribbed ones remove metal. Rob's choice of a ceramic is a good one. There are also smooth steel steels to be found. I use old F Dick commercial grade which I rehandle. They are always available at reasonable prices on Ebay.
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Old 03-11-2013, 08:56 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by Addie View Post
I doubt if any of you remember when the knife sharpener would come around your neighborhood pushing his two wheel stones and sharpen your knives for you. Well, I do. I also remember the ice man and putting a card in the window telling him what size you needed. ...

I remember the knife sharpener coming around in his truck, the ice man and the chicken guy. The chicken guy came around in a truck filled with cages of live chickens. He had stops in the neighborhood where little old ladies (that's what they looked like to me as a pre-teen) would come out and select a chicken. The chicken guy would then dispatch it by breaking the chicken's neck. The little old lady would disappear into the house the make dinner.
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Old 03-11-2013, 09:25 AM   #13
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Yes, believe it or not, when I lived in Florida, a mere 15 years or so ago, there was still a man who would sharpen your knives. In this case, I worked for a vet, and she'd have him sharpen her tools. If we knew when he was coming, us employees would bring in our knives.

Mine, now, are Wustoffs, and for the 12 years since we moved here, my husband has been honing them. But they were more and more losing their edge. I was at a local greenhouse and saw an ad for a man who truly sharpened knives. He picks them up once a week, drops them off once a week, and he'll sharpen anything (that is to say, in the spring I'll bring some gardening tools that need help). It would have been cheap at twice the price (I think, depending on the knife, I paid an average of $5 per. Seems like my Gerber meat carving knife cost more because it is so fine and thin that he had to really worry about breaking it). I felt like I had a new set of knives when I got through the set (they weren't a set; four individual knives, chefs, boning, and two smaller), plus the Gerber meat carving knife. You have to understand that it isn't unusual for me to be asked to do knife work when I visit, and if I know it is coming, with the exception of my mother's kitchen, I wrap and stick a knife in my purse.
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Old 03-11-2013, 09:46 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Andy M. View Post
I remember the knife sharpener coming around in his truck, the ice man and the chicken guy. The chicken guy came around in a truck filled with cages of live chickens. He had stops in the neighborhood where little old ladies (that's what they looked like to me as a pre-teen) would come out and select a chicken. The chicken guy would then dispatch it by breaking the chicken's neck. The little old lady would disappear into the house the make dinner.
I forgot about the chicken guy. And don't forget the pushcart man with the fresh veggies. You are after my own heart of memories. Our chicken guy was from Phillips Chicken House down in Maverick Square. That building stunk to high heavens. You would go down there, pick out your chicken and they would take care of the rest for you. You could have the head chopped off or not. Your choice. They were the ones who sent out the Chicken Guy during the war and the 50's.

My mother had polio as a child. We lived on the second floor and stairs were difficult for her. So I was always the one to go downstairs to whoever was selling their wares. It was one of the ways I learned how to shop for bargains. And I learned how to haggle with the seller on price. Somtimes my mother would sit in the window and do the haggling herself.
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Old 03-12-2013, 05:12 AM   #15
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Sadly as a UK resident I don't have any memories of people delivering food apart from the ice cream van that came around on the very rare sunny days.

Thanks everyone, I'll take a look at smooth / ceramic steels and ill let you know how I get on...
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Old 03-12-2013, 09:00 AM   #16
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Good luck lewis. I'm sure you'll enjoy your Wusthofs and keeping them sharp.
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Old 03-12-2013, 04:50 PM   #17
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I have 3 Wusthof classics, and I use a Chef's Choice 3 stage electric when they need actual sharpening. Most of the time I just hit them with the hone. What you use for honing isn't as important as doing it right.

The owner of the place where we hang out most is really good with a knife (he makes fresh conch salad several times a day), and he uses the big steel spoon which he mixes and serves the salad with for a sharpening steel. I've also seen him use an old broken knife that he keeps at his fish filleting stand to hone his filleting knife.
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Old 03-13-2013, 05:46 AM   #18
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Hi guys,

Thanks for all of your informative replies, I've been researching ceramic steels and the fine (1200 grit) Idahone ceramic steel seems to be getting a lot of good reviews, would this be suitable for my Wusthofs?

Alternatively the Mac ceramic black honing rod seems to be getting a lot of good publicity, which of the two would you guys recommend?

Thanks!
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Old 03-13-2013, 07:26 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lewismalpas View Post
Thanks for your help everyone, I will pickup a steel to hone the edge and then buy the Lansky system in 2/3 months as by that point I would of have the knives for 6 months.

Would someone such as myself be okay using a steel without damaging the knives? When I have watched tutorials it looks relatively straight forward and I'm sure with some practice I would pick it up...

Thanks again everyone!
There is a way to damage a knife edge with a steel. If you try to steel teh knife quickly, as most of us eventually do, you might slap teh knife edge against the steel. you must take care to gently place the edge against the steel rod before swiping it. Hitting the steel with the knife edge can cause it to chip, or warp.

Between sharpenings, I also find that the occasional back-steel technique helps restore a keen edge to the blade.

Explanation: Normal steeling is done by pushing the knife edge forward, as if trying to cut into the steel. This eliminates the metal burr that can result from sharpening. Back-steeling is just what it sounds like, running the knife edge along the steel with the spine of the knife moving forward. This will remove a minute amount of metal, not nearly so much as a stone, but a little. because back stealing can create a burr, the knife must be steeled normally to straighten the edge again.

When picking a steel, choose one that is hard, and has very small ridges on it, not the large ridges. Also, be willing to spend a bit more. I have seen cheep steels that are so soft, your knife blade will cut into them, dulling them terribly. I use a Chicago Cutlery steel that I purchased 30+ years back. It works great.

There are more expensive steels, and probably better ones. But mine works well for my needs.

Rob Babcock is a knife sharpening guru around here, and takes his sharpening to, for most of us, a ridiculous degree. I'm sure he could split hairs with his knives. I just want mine to easily slice through food. My point is, he knows what he's talking about.

I hand sharpen all of my knives, as I prefer a convex edge shape. Electric knife sharpeners give a V-grind, for the most part.

As you use your knives, it will become apparent to you how to steel your knife, and you will be able to do it quickly, and without even having to think about it.

Seeeeeya; Chief Longwind of the North
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Old 03-13-2013, 07:45 AM   #20
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Thanks CLOTN, really appreciate the in-depth reply, ill take a look at how to back-steel when I get a little more experienced with using a steel.

Glad to hear I won't do any major damage if I am careful, before posting this thread I was a little put off buying a steel altogether based on what the shop assistant had told me.

Thanks!
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