How many have their knives professionally sharpened?

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I would give children veggie peelers before I would turn them lose with knives under the age of 14.
There are a lot of food TV competition shows that feature children. Many children are capable of doing a lot more than adults give them credit for. Yes, these particular kids likely get special training, but I think it shows younger children can learn to use knives safely. I don't think there's a hard cut-off age.
I guess that means I should not have been preparing full meals for the family when I was 12? :erm:

FWIW, Goober was fascinated watching me cook from around age 3. The kids each had their own little step stool; he would pull his right up next to me and watch what I was doing. He was using a sharp enough knife by age 5 - while being supervised. I would give him foods that were easier to cut - like potatoes instead of carrots. He made it out of childhood with all his fingers intact and a great deal of kitchen skills. If only he had mastered pot and pan scrubbing...
I've never got it professionally sharpened before- I tend to just use a whetstone. Pretty handy to have one at home just in case you need it sharpened urgently and it doesn't take too long either.
I have to chime in here about the safety of sharp, vs. dull knives and cutting utensils, and about age level required for a child to be trained in using a knife properly and safely.

First, let's look at accidental cuts. These are caused by inattention, or distraction, by carelessness, and by slippage.

Carelessness is when you are using the pinch-grip on your chef's knife, and feeding the food by small increments under the knife blade, using knuckles against the side of the knife to guide the knife. Inadvertently, one would let the thumb protrude into the blade path, or lift the blade too high, bringing the cutting edge down on a knuckle.

Another examle of carelessness is found by the cutter using a mandolin, and not paying attention, or not using safety guard to protect finger ends. You can see where this is going. The user slides the item to be slice back and forth across the sharp blade, and lets a finger-tip or two contact the blade, removing skin. Of course there are other careless mistakes that can result in cuts.

As for cuts made by dull knives, these typically occur when a blade slips along an item to be cut, rather than finding purchase and slicing through the item. The cutting edge can then slide right onto a thumb, a knuckle, or finger, depending on what cutting stroke is used. This creates a cut that is not as straight, and clean, and that will take longer to heal than a cut made with a sharp blade. That being said, a sharp blade can cut deeper than a dull knife blade.

For those prone to cutting themselves, there are cut-resistant gloves made for the kitchen industry.

As for the right age to introduce children to sharp cutting tools, well, that really depends on your ability to teach, and the child's ability to learn and follow directions. For me, that age was about 6 years old for my children, and the same for my grandchildren. They were able to listen, understand the concepts I was teaching them, and follow directions. They were also calm enough to not get frustrated with simple mistakes. i made sure that the items they were given to cut were not complicated, or challenging to push a knife through. I also started their training before eer giving them a knife. When they were still forbidden to touch sharp knives, I taught them that knives weere tools, not toys. I never let them use a knife that was too large for them to wield properly. And I taught them safe cutting techniques.

In summary, those who say that dull knives cause accidents. Those who say that carelessness causes accidents, well you are correct as well. Some children are ready to be taught basic cutting skills as early as 6 ears of age. My own children are proof of that. Children who are headstrong, or who can't yet understand the concept of knife techniques, and safety, well you have to wait until they are mentally, and physically ready. I know adults who shooed never be given a sharp knife.

As for understanding that children can learn valuable lessons at an early age, when my children reached the age where they could just start learning to crawl, I taught them the meaning of the word - hot. I fired up my Webber Smokey Joe with a full load of charcoal. When the coals were fully ignited, I picked up the child, placed his or her hand in mine, and brought it close enough to the heat source to be uncomfortable. I then pulled both of our hands away and said - hot. I did it three times in success. Not one of them ever went near anything that I pointed to, and said hot.

My observations are based on what I have both seen, and experienced in my life, blended with a little physics, and a bit of common sense. I hope that I haven't stepped on anyone's toes, and invite all to express their own opinions.

Seeeeeya; Chief Longwind of the North
Good description Chief. I would like to point out another problem with the dull knife. Often, to make up for the lack of cutting ability of a dull knife, people use more pressure. Then, when the knife slips, it can hit a finger or other part of the hand much harder than it would, had the knife been sharp.
Which do you feel is the best edge shape for most kitchen knives? Chisel edges are made for a specific purpose, and so I don't include them here.

I prefer a convex edge, with a straight grind from the spice to the belly of the knife. My 2bd choice would be a compound edge with the final part of the belly ground at about 22 degrees, and the rest of the edge ground at 18 degrees or so. Both of these are stronger, and resist rolling edges better than a straight V grind. The convex edge is sharp enough when done properly, to lift the print from newspaper.

For me, a set of good wet stones, from 400 grit to 8000 grit is used to sharpen and polish the edge. Then, a leather strop with 800, and 8000 grit jewelers rouge is used to get the convex edge perfected. The initial convex shape is attained with the wet stones. It's more tedious of an edge to make, however, I think it's worth the extra effort.

That worksharp system I mentioned above creates a convex edge much faster. I'm still interested in that system.

Seeeeeya; Chief Longwind of the North
I don't care for convex edges for kitchen knives. I feel they kind of "swim" through the cut and leads to a lack of precision, especially when peeling or doing nice brunoise. For Western cuisine that most of us here probably cook I like a regular V edge. Asymmetry is okay but I don't really want a chisel edge like you'd have on a Yanigiba.
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