Anyone who has had to deal with a blunt blade while slicing (or more precisely, unintentional pureing) tomatoes and has no idea how to use a whetstone has always wanted a tool that stays razor sharp forever.
You have probably seen many products that were advertised as such.
And you have probably been tempted to go on Amazon ASAP and order it.
But like any incredibly remarkable news, this is just too good to be true.
The truth is that all knives with a straight edge must be sharpened. Some may not require this in a year or so because they have better edge retention. But these will also get boring at some point, especially when used for hard objects.
Let’s find out some of the amazing claims some make about certain products and highlight the truth:
Serrated Knives do not go boring
Made especially for bread and this type of knife has a skewed tooth-like edge instead of a straight one.
Some varieties are smaller and shorter and have a pointed tip that is used to cut tomatoes or to eat steak.
People claim that this does not get boring because the individual pointed tips on the saw blades will still cut through bread or other objects, just as a saw would on wood.
Toothed blades may not get dull as quickly as the others in your block because the teeth prevent the edge from touching the board.
But they still get boring after a while. You will notice this when more crumbs fall off the bread.
To get the edge back:
A special tool – a tapered rod that looks like a pencil cone cut, but longer – is pulled through each small arc of the knife.
Usually the other slope or side is flat (no toothing) so you can run this over a ridge a few times as if you wanted a regular knife.
Ceramic knives hold its edge forever
First manufactured and introduced in Japan in 1997, this has become a favorite among home cooks.
Half the truth:
Many of its fans point out the fact that this is made from Zirconia, a raw material that is only the second largest of Diamond in hardness, and therefore it is never blunted.
The actual facts:
These can be extremely sharp and have amazingly long edge retention, true. But the extreme hardness of the material makes it quite brittle.
It can also not be used in many cutting board tasks. If these are accidentally dropped, it can break in half.
And like everything, this will also break down. Again, it may not be that soon generic steel pieces. But it will.
Here’s how to cut it again:
In cases where constant and / or incorrect use has dulled it a bit, it is such a challenge to sharpen that you have to send it to a professional.
Knives treated with special metal ore
High-quality knives are often made with a hard core and then “packed” in several layers of steel – others go as high as a hundred layers.
Certain knives are treated with metals that are said to maintain the sharp quality for a long time.
Tungsten carbide is one of the materials that is said to help the knives stay sharp for a long time, so some companies have added this to their steel formula and get so many people to buy with this marketing requirement.
There is some truth in the claim. However, this makes steel brittle – even more so than those with high carbon content. And because this is made of metal like most conventional knives, it will blunt over time.
How to sharpen:
Apart from the possibility of chipping, you need a professional service to restore its edge.
It’s great to dream, but we all need to be realistic
Who wouldn’t love a knife that can perfectly cut through tomatoes forever?
Everyone would be happy to have it.
But right now, no technology has successfully solved that bit of difficult amateurs and professional chefs in the kitchen.
The best thing we can all do is accept that fact and learn to sharpen our knives.
You can start watching YouTube tutorials on how to use a breast. It may take a whole day to finish all your knives, but it’s worth it.
If you can not or will not spend too much time and effort on it, get an electric sander! It works too.
Mercer cutlery has a variety of grinding rods and brim.
They also have an electric variant with three groats, manual types and even a pocket style for camping.
Buy better brands next time
You can also get high quality products instead of cheaper ones because many of them offer grinding services, especially if you are no longer happy with their edges.
The German brand Wusthof and the Japanese Mac offer these services. Shun, another Japanese brand from Seki, actually offers this service for free!