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Old 02-03-2009, 01:35 PM   #1
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Should I sharpen this knife?

Newb here! My daughter gave me a cheap chefs knive from Walmart for Christmas. Already threw the packing and label away . The knive seems dull. Do I need to sharpen are put a edge on this new knive before I use it? It is a Chicago Cutlery brand knive if I remember right. If so, where do I buy a sharpener or stone, steel, etc.? My set of Miricale Blades are sharper then this knive. Thanks, Dave.

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Old 02-03-2009, 01:55 PM   #2
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When I had cheap knives, I used a cheap hand sharpener that I bought at a grocery store. I sharpened them frequently, a couple times a month to keep them sharp. I now have two good knives that I take to a knife shop to get sharpened, about every 6-8 months.
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Old 02-04-2009, 02:40 AM   #3
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Check on Amazon.com and search for knife sharpeners. You can spend a little or a lot.

I wouldn't buy a very expensive one just to sharpen that one Chicago Cutlery chef's knife, but if you do get more into cooking you'll probably want to pick up a couple of good knives, in which case I would suggest getting a decent sharpener of some sort.

At least on Amazon there are user reviews to help guide you a bit, although you have to use a little common sense in wading through them. Some people don't know what the heck they're talking about, others have an axe to grind, but most seem to be pretty straight forward.

There are several threads on knife sharpening on Discuss Cooking, but take the comments with a grain of salt as some posters are really into the subject and have hundreds if not thousands of dollars invested in their knives, and they have very elaborate sharpeners and routines to care for them. The average cook would probably be happy with something a lot simpler and cheaper, especially if they have less expensive cutlery.
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Old 02-04-2009, 06:30 AM   #4
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There are several threads on knife sharpening on Discuss Cooking, but take the comments with a grain of salt as some posters are really into the subject and have hundreds if not thousands of dollars invested in their knives, and they have very elaborate sharpeners and routines to care for them. The average cook would probably be happy with something a lot simpler and cheaper, especially if they have less expensive cutlery.
So you're advising to take with a grain of salt the knowledge that comes from those who actually know what they're talking about? Sounds like bad advice to me. Even inexpensive knives with relatively poor steel can be made very sharp with a couple of water stones. Ask my neighbors.
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Old 02-04-2009, 06:42 AM   #5
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Scotch just means if you are the average chef you do not need to go as all out as some on this thread do. Knives are a hobby for some here and they do more elaborate things than the average person.
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Old 02-04-2009, 09:14 AM   #6
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Hi, I thought I heard somebody say, "Chicago Cutlery." I use them, almost exclusively. Buy them in thrift stores for pennies on the dollar and clean 'em up. The older knives are made in the US and are better steel than the new ones. Better crafted blades, too, at least the stamped ones. Yes, they are cheap. I should add that I am not a working chef, or even a cook. I prepare my own meals and cook for and with friends. Make breakfast once a week at the local homeless shelter. I sharpen my CC with a whetstone the first time, and thereafter with a ceramic stick, and finish with a CC steel. Once they are sharp, the edge is easy to maintain, using the steel more often, the ceramic less often. They are light, well balanced, affordable and work well for most home users. You may eventually want a more expensive knife, but a CC chef's knife is a good place to start. I use my CC 8" chef's daily, and have no complaints.
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Old 02-04-2009, 09:29 AM   #7
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I second gadzooks opine. ( no grain of salt required)
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Old 02-04-2009, 09:31 AM   #8
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Saphellae your right I'm not going to go all out. I do not cook for a living. I'm just trying to improve my cooking in my own kitchen. I should have paid better attention before my mom passed away and I would have learned something about cooking.
Scotch, thanks for your advice about Amazon.com, I'll look in to that. This is the second time you have helped me out with advice. Your advice
seems to come from common sense for my level of cooking. I appreciate it very much. Do you cook for a living or just hobby/enjoyment? You seem to have allot of knowledge on cooking. Thanks for taking the time to respond guys, like I said I appreciate it very much! Dave Lange
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Old 02-04-2009, 09:42 AM   #9
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So you're advising to take with a grain of salt the knowledge that comes from those who actually know what they're talking about? Sounds like bad advice to me. Even inexpensive knives with relatively poor steel can be made very sharp with a couple of water stones. Ask my neighbors.
I think grain of salt was maybe not exactly what he meant. What I took from his comment, and I agree, is that some of the information given by our knife experts, while completely accurate and very helpful, is way above the heads and wants of many typical users. People who use knives just to cook, but don't really have a love affair with their blade will not care that they can get an actual razors edge. Somewhat sharp will be sharp enough for them. They generally want and easy quick cost effective solution to having their blades work for what they need in the kitchen.

While the advice given by many of our experts is excellent advice, it is often way more than what some people are looking for. For those people, sometime a chefs choice electric sharpener is exactly what will make them happy. You would never consider running your nice Japanese blade through one, but for the person who does not even know what kind of knife they have and probably would not have much of a problem replacing them after 5 or 10 years if they are too beat up then learning to use a stone is not going to be an attractive proposition.
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Old 02-04-2009, 09:45 AM   #10
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I might add that a dull knife, no matter what its pedigree, is a PITA to use, and a really sharp knife, even from a thrift store, can be a joy in the kitchen. The craftsman who has the final word in how well your knife cuts is you.
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Old 02-04-2009, 09:48 AM   #11
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Gadzooks, good advice, I have several consignment shops near me. I think I might look there for a wetstone. I remember my buddy sharpening his filet knive on a wetstone. If I remember right he would squirt some 3n1 oil on it first, and then sharpen each side. It sounds like the CC knive is all I need for my purposes. And Justplainbill, I like allot of salt , it is just not good for my health. Thanks again, you guy's are all very nice and Helpful! Dave
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Old 02-04-2009, 09:50 AM   #12
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IMO a brand new knife should not be dull.

I'd take it back.
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Old 02-04-2009, 09:51 AM   #13
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I don't disagree with that, GB. Tell me though, don't you get greater pleasure food prepping now that you know how to use your EdgePro and have learned to make an edge truly sharp?
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Old 02-04-2009, 09:58 AM   #14
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I absolutely do Buzz. No doubt about it. It has also made me want to get better knives, not that I dislike the ones I have now, but I see the potential for how much better they can be.

Measure me up against my mother though. She has decent knives. She stores them loose in a drawer (cringe) and uses them to open cans if she feels like it. She has no problem throwing them into the sink when it is full of other stuff and having them bang around. She would never in a million years have the want to use something like an EdgePro. For her it would be way too much money, but more importantly way too much effort to get a result that she does not need. Dad sharpens her knives with a stone, but if it happens ones every 2 or 3 years then that is a lot. She has no issues at all and is perfectly happy with how they perform. That does not mean that they can not perform better or that she would not appreciate a sharper knife, but what it does mean is that it is not a necessity or even a top priority for her. When she uses her knives she does not think that they are not performing well. Once I sharpened some of her knives with the EdgePro she loved how sharp they were, but when I asked if she wanted me to do the other knives she was indifferent.
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Old 02-04-2009, 10:05 AM   #15
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IMO a brand new knife should not be dull.

I'd take it back.
I know that I am much more fussy with my knives than most of you. With that said I will tell you that what feels sharp out of the box really isn't. Even Japanese knives only come with a 1 or 2k grit edge. This is only a starting point. After studying lots of new knives under 20-30 power magnification I have learned to not even bother cutting with them until they have MY edge.

Although I realize that the majority could care less as long as they can saw their way through a tomato, a sushi chef wouldn't be caught dead without a razor in his or her hand. It's all about the quality of the cut.

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Old 02-04-2009, 10:36 AM   #16
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Mayor,

Saphellae and GB understood what I was saying. Some of the expert advice you will find here, while interesting and accurate, is simply on a different level from what mere mortals are seeking. It's a bit like asking a race driver for advice on buying an economy car.

I suspect that very few of the excellent cooks on this board would ever see a need to spent $160 on a Edgepro Apex Knife Sharpening System or a Chef's Choice 130 Professional Sharpening Station (the mere thought of which might cause the Edgepro crowd to have a seizure). It's simply overkill for most cooks as few want knives that are "scary sharp," to quote one post.

On Amazon, take a look at the AccuSharp 101. It was the top rated manual knife sharpener in the November 2006 review of 12 manual and 6 electric sharpeners in Cook's Illustrated (the review did not include the Edgepro). Only 3 manual and 2 electrics received a rating of "recommended" from Cook's: the AccuSharp 101 ($9.49 from Amazon), the Analon Universal 3-Stage Wet Stone ($30, but not available on Amazon), and the Chantry Knife Sharpener (now $55 from Amazon). Two Chef's Choice sharpeners, the 120 and the 130, were "recommended"; they run about $140 - $160.

One caution: Cook's points out that while the manual sharpeners are good for maintaining a sharp knife, aren't too good for sharpening a truly dull knife. For that they suggest either one of the top-rated electrics or a good sharpening stone, or that you send the dull knife to a professional to bring it back to life.

Anyway, for $9.49 from Amazon (no tax, free shipping if you buy $25 worth of stuff from them), the AccuSharp 101 should be worth a shot.
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Old 02-04-2009, 10:49 AM   #17
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...Scotch, thanks for your advice about Amazon.com, I'll look in to that. This is the second time you have helped me out with advice. Your advice
seems to come from common sense for my level of cooking. I appreciate it very much. Do you cook for a living or just hobby/enjoyment? You seem to have allot of knowledge on cooking. Thanks for taking the time to respond guys, like I said I appreciate it very much! Dave Lange
Thanks, and you're most welcome!

Not a professional, just someone who loves food and wine and who has been cooking for more than 50 years, since I was about 10 years old. I love the gadgets, but they're merely my tools, not my goal.

I'd rather be invited to GB's mom's house for dinner, despite the mundane, dull knives resting in her sink, than go to dinner at the home of some yuppie with a world-class set of blades but no understanding of cooking. And somehow I doubt that putting those scary sharp knives in Mrs. B's hands would improve her presumably fabulous cooking one bit.
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Old 02-04-2009, 11:08 AM   #18
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DG, Scotch, and Saphellae very well said. I am a mere mortal and allot of this stuff is over my head. But I'm starting to enjoy this site as much as my new found interest in cooking. You guy's might not realize it, but your teaching other people things just by having your conversations with each other. Example: GB, you said "She has no problem throwing them in the sink when it is full of other stuff and having them bang around." The bell went off on that one.! I put my chef knive right in the sink with all the other silverware. Duh! I'm learning! The more I read the more learn. All you guy's and this web site are AWESOME!! Dave
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Old 02-04-2009, 11:14 AM   #19
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I am glad you learned something new today Dave. It is a great day when that happens!
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Old 02-04-2009, 11:35 AM   #20
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I am by no means an expert on knives or, for that matter, cooking, but I will listen to those who have a far superior knowledge than mine. I have learned a lot from the knife guys (and chefs) on this forum, and followed some of their advice. My knives will never be as sharp as the starting point of some of the "pros" on this site. I keep an Edgemaker Pro in my kitchen, and sharpen my Forschners using this device. The learning curve is quick, and the results adequate for most users. The price is right. Sharpening on a whet or waterstone is an acquired skill. I recently purchased a few Japanese knives, once again based on the recommendations found here. They are a joy to use. but they will never be as sharp as they could be.
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