Welcome! Log In Create A New Profile

Advanced

Do Home Kitchen Knives Need To Be Sharp?

Posted by jasonstone20 
This forum is currently read only. You can not log in or make any changes. This is a temporary situation.
Do Home Kitchen Knives Need To Be Sharp?
June 19, 2020 06:04PM
These are three of my thinnest paring/utility knives, two were gifts (thank you Roman Landes and Luis!):

E. Pires paring knife
Herder paring knife
Kiwi Utility/Steak knife



You can see that these knives have very thin bevels, along with being thin behind the edge. You can also see that the edges of all three knives are reflecting light along the whole edge, with the worst of it at the tip. Sorry about the quality of those images, capturing the edge on view of a knife is difficult for me with my current equipment. These knives are technically dull in every way except the one that counts. These knives still cut. Not optimally, but good enough to get the job done, and slice tomatoes and onions without making tears come from your eyes.

I remember talking to Roman Landes a year or two ago about how for a home kitchen knife, especially with non-knife people in the house, it can be preferable to use very thin behind the edge grind, with a medium angle edge like 15° < for durability, and that has no apex because it will still cut, yet will not cut hands and fingers upon contact. Maintaining a knife to have a sharp apex in a kitchen were the knives get left in water, slammed around with pots, pans, dishes, and silverware. Forget about running it through the dishwasher. The dishwasher absolutely kills edges. I had just sharpened a knife at my parents house, and even though it was clean, it got put in the dishwasher for a load. It came out completely dull. This is why I think a knife that is thinner behind the edge would work better for most household kitchen knives. Next time you have a chance, inspect one of your friends and families knifes, and see how sharp the edges are.

So, I think if you have a thin grind behind the edge, and a ceramic rod or ridged steel for maintenance, you can keep people with usable knifes that are not super dangerous for them, as the knives still cut. I think a relief bevel on most knives will help a lot of production knives out. One of the most dangerous combinations is a dull apex and a thick behind the edge grind. Personally, I would want for people to improve their blade handling and knife cutting skills, but most people are not interested in doing this, in my experience.






























"I am still discussing issues of steels and performance at this stage." -- Cliff Stamp, May his memory be a blessing
"Life is GOOD", -- Stefan_Wolf, May His Memory Be A Blessing
WordPress YouTube Facebook Patreon Locals Instagram Twitter



Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 06/19/2020 06:26PM by jasonstone20.
Re: Do Home Kitchen Knives Need To Be Sharp?
June 19, 2020 08:34PM
As an interesting question would I prefer :

-a knife ground really well but blunt

-a knife over thick, improperly balanced but sharp

Nice question, maybe the former, depending on what I am doing, peeling a potato for example is very sharp sensitive, slicing a turnip, not so much. For meats and such, you need high sharpness.

But for people who are rough, I grind them very thin, apply a decent edge angle, and yeah - it is almost the same conclusion, they can use them for much longer due to the high cutting ability.
Re: Do Home Kitchen Knives Need To Be Sharp?
June 19, 2020 09:10PM
Cliff,
Thanks. I always wondered why people measured and valued edge retention vs cutting ability. Yes, some foods are more sensitive to sharpness than others. I think it is good for every kitchen to have a go to sharp knife, maybe serrated, that is always put back in the same place and is cared for. Hopefully it has a blade cover/sheath/saya or wood block to be stored in. I like magnetic racks myself. At my house, I am the one on 'knife patrol', keeping the knives out of the sink and dish tubs, making sure they get washed and two towel wiped, Japanese style, before being put away.

"I am still discussing issues of steels and performance at this stage." -- Cliff Stamp, May his memory be a blessing
"Life is GOOD", -- Stefan_Wolf, May His Memory Be A Blessing
WordPress YouTube Facebook Patreon Locals Instagram Twitter
Re: Do Home Kitchen Knives Need To Be Sharp?
June 19, 2020 10:25PM
I have given up trying to keep knives out of the sink and dishwasher. I just resharpen them when they come out of the dishwasher/sink. I also have a special drawer where I keep my own knives and everyone else is forbidden to use them.
When I use them, I wash and dry them after use and put them back in the drawer.
This system works pretty well until we have guests and I am not watching. They feel free to use my knives without asking.
Re: Do Home Kitchen Knives Need To Be Sharp?
June 19, 2020 10:29PM
curmudgeon,
I also have a drawer of knives that no one else uses. I don't even think anyone knows what is in that drawer. I use old paper towel tubes as blade guards, otherwise in a drawer blades can get beat up.

"I am still discussing issues of steels and performance at this stage." -- Cliff Stamp, May his memory be a blessing
"Life is GOOD", -- Stefan_Wolf, May His Memory Be A Blessing
WordPress YouTube Facebook Patreon Locals Instagram Twitter
Re: Do Home Kitchen Knives Need To Be Sharp?
June 19, 2020 10:37PM
I have Victorinox Blade Safes on the best (my favorite) ones. Some I have in their original box. The others I try to store edge down.

[www.amazon.com]
me2
Re: Do Home Kitchen Knives Need To Be Sharp?
June 20, 2020 02:20AM
I tried once an edge on my Tojiro petty that was sharpened to a Spyderco fine ceramic and then made 3 or 4 light cuts into my 4000 King stone. There was a flat that was barely visible and it would still slice paper. No one complained. I've pulled that knife out for a polish and new handle now though.
Re: Do Home Kitchen Knives Need To Be Sharp?
June 20, 2020 02:13PM
I don't really use proper kitchen knives, almost all my kitchen work is done with my Tar River from Jeremy. Then again, I am weird. That is usually kept to a fairly high standard of sharpness as it isn't ground super thin like the aformentioned examples.

The only kitchen knives I really have experience working on are my parent's cheapo Victorinox knives, which are usually completely blunt by the time I get to them. That said, they are ground lean enough to still do the work.

I did give my mother a Tojiro utility knife for Christmas, happily they are listening to me and taking care of it.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Bill22252 on YouTube. "See you space cowboy"

Resident Emerson Fanboi

Folding knives are fun, fixed blades are important.
Re: Do Home Kitchen Knives Need To Be Sharp?
July 01, 2020 07:41PM
Quote
curmudgeon
I have given up trying to keep knives out of the sink and dishwasher. I just resharpen them when they come out of the dishwasher/sink. I also have a special drawer where I keep my own knives and everyone else is forbidden to use them.
When I use them, I wash and dry them after use and put them back in the drawer.
This system works pretty well until we have guests and I am not watching. They feel free to use my knives without asking.

This is pretty much the situation in my house too, pretty standard for us knife nerds I imagine. I bought my wife a couple custom kitchen knives made by my good friend who is a bladesmith. But aside from those which are kept carefully separated, she rolls her eyes at me about knife maintenance and it's not uncommon to find every knife from the knife block in the dishwasher at the same time.

I've resorted to catching them out of the sink and hand washing them myself wherever possible, and otherwise just accepting it as an excuse to get some sharpening time in as I re-edge a complete set of steak and paring knives at the same time grinning smiley

-----

-Jay
cKc
Re: Do Home Kitchen Knives Need To Be Sharp?
July 02, 2020 05:45AM
knives are treated poorly in general for the simple reason that we actually don't need them much. with utility scissors being very common in Korean kitchens for example, and knives can be as dull as butter knives..

with so much food that is often needing sharp knives pre cut etc...

knives are treated like screwdrivers because people just don't rely on them anymore.

in the "knife age" when most people were lucky to even afford a steel knife, you can guarantee it was treated very well to ensure it was sharp when needed.

the simple answer to dealing with people that use dull knives and pull out a worn serrated knife for "sharp" stuff is... don't.. that's what they want and if they wanted better they'd have it.

also. just don't give them your own knives to use.

----------------------------------------------------------------------
It's not Cliff, its Dr Stamp
#kebabstickcut, it's a thing - make it happen
Re: Do Home Kitchen Knives Need To Be Sharp?
July 02, 2020 02:41PM
cKc,
That is exactly the situation I find in most kitchens, and in fact, me a 'knife guy', found my self in more than 15 years ago. The only sharp knife I had was a worn, cheap serrated knife that I used to cut tomatoes, because that was the only thing I needed a sharp knife for. I read an article in a knife magazine how us 'knife guys' had dull kitchen knives most of the time. That made me change how I thought about and used kitchen knives, and I started sharpening them and caring for them.

"I am still discussing issues of steels and performance at this stage." -- Cliff Stamp, May his memory be a blessing
"Life is GOOD", -- Stefan_Wolf, May His Memory Be A Blessing
WordPress YouTube Facebook Patreon Locals Instagram Twitter