Sharpen Like a Pro: Mastering Your Electric Knife Sharpener

Ah, the electric knife sharpener—a modern marvel for any kitchen enthusiast or professional chef! Gone are the days of tedious manual sharpening; with the flick of a switch, your knives can be back to their razor-sharp best. So, let’s dive in and explore how to use this handy gadget effectively.

This may not be necessary daily, depending on how often you cook, but it can help keep your knife sharp. Maintaining sharp blades may not require much more than a daily or semi-weekly manual sharpener pass.

In the realm of kitchen tools, knowing how to use an electric knife sharpener is akin to wielding a magic wand. Let’s dive into the steps and tips that transform dull blades into culinary precision instruments.

Understanding Your Knives: A Key Factor

Before you even touch the sharpener, understanding the types of knives you own is crucial. Different knives, from chef’s knives to paring knives, might require different sharpening approaches. For instance, Japanese knives often have a different blade angle than Western ones. This knowledge will guide you in selecting the right angle and slot in your sharpener.

Step-by-Step Guide on How to Use Your Electric Knife Sharpener

  1. Safety First: Always start by ensuring your electric knife sharpener is securely placed on a stable surface.
  2. Inspect Your Knife: Before sharpening, check your knife for any damage. A clean, intact blade is crucial for effective sharpening.
  3. The Sharpening Process: Some sharpeners use 100% diamond-coated disks in the first two rounds of sharpening, followed by a stropping, or polishing, disk in the third stage.
    • Coarse Slot: Start with the coarse slot if it is particularly a dull knife. Gently pull the knife through the slot a few times, applying even pressure.
    • Medium and Fine Slots: Move on to the medium slot for further refining, and finish with the fine slot for honing the edge.
  4. Technique Matters: Insert the knife at the base of the blade and pull it through towards the tip. Repeat this motion, ensuring you sharpen each side of the blade evenly.
  5. Consistency is key. Make sure to pull the knife through each slot an equal number of times to maintain balance and the blade’s sharpness.
  6. Final Touches: After sharpening, clean the knife to remove any metal filings and test its sharpness.

Setting Up Your Workspace: Safety and Efficiency

Find a solid, level spot for your electric knife sharpener. You definitely don’t want it to move while you’re getting your knives sharp. Plus, make sure the area’s well lit. Seeing everything clearly isn’t just about getting a good edge—it’s crucial for keeping things safe.

Here’s how to get ready:

  • Pick a sturdy surface that won’t let your sharpener dance around. A kitchen counter or a heavy table works great.
  • Light it up. Good lighting is a game-changer. It helps you see the blade’s edge better and keeps your fingers safe.
  • Make some room. You’ll need space to work comfortably without any clutter getting in the way.

The Angle Game: Getting It Just Right

The angle at which you sharpen is paramount. Most electric sharpeners are designed to handle this for you, but it’s good to be aware. The typical angle for sharpening most Western knives is around 20 degrees, while Japanese knives edge closer to 15 degrees. Check if your sharpener has settings or guides for different angles.

Western Knife
Image Source: Honeywell Sportsman Club

Frequency of Sharpening: Timing Is Everything

So, how often do you need to sharpen those blades? It’s kind of a “feel” thing. Your knife’s sharpness, how much you use it, what you’re cutting up, and knife quality all matter here. A neat little tip is to give your go-to knives a sharpening every 1-2 months. But, honestly, listen to your gut. If your knife makes a tomato smoosh instead of a clean cut, grab that electric knife sharpener. It’s time for a tune-up.

The Sound and the Fury: What to Listen For

Sharpening your knife isn’t just about feeling the blade glide; it’s about hearing it, too. When you’re using an electric knife sharpener, the sound is a big clue. As you pull the knife through the sharpener, aim for a smooth, steady noise. This sound is your friend, telling you you’re doing it right. A consistent sound equals consistent sharpening, giving your blade that even, sharp edge we all want.

Remember, every draw of the knife is a chance to get that edge perfect. If the noise keeps changing, your hand might be wobbling. Keep it steady. Aim for that uniform sound; it’s like music to your ears, literally. This isn’t just sharpening; it’s tuning your knife to perform at its best. So, next time you’re sharpening, let your ears lead the way to a beautifully honed blade.

Testing the Sharpness: The Moment of Truth

How do you tell if you’ve achieved the desired sharpness? The paper test is a classic—try slicing through a piece of paper. A sharp knife should cut through cleanly and easily. Another method is the tomato test; a sharp kitchen knife should slice through the tomato’s skin effortlessly.

Maintenance: Keep It Sharp

After you’ve got your knife’s edge back with your electric knife sharpener, it’s all about keeping that sharpness for as long as you can. Using a honing rod every now and then helps a lot. It straightens the edge, keeping things slicing smoothly without needing to sharpen again too soon. And hey, don’t just toss your knives in a drawer. A knife block or a magnetic strip on the wall? That’s where they should live. It’s like a cozy bed for your knives, keeping them safe, sound, and sharp.

Electric Knife Sharpener 1
Image Source: Chef’s Choice

In Conclusion: A Blend of Art and Science

Using a high-quality electric knife sharpener effectively is a blend of art and science. It requires understanding the tools—both the sharpener and the knives—and a bit of practice. But once you get the hang of it, you’ll not only ensure the longevity of your knives but also make your food preparation more enjoyable and efficient.

Understanding how to use an electric knife sharpener effectively is not just about following the steps; it’s about appreciating the process. It’s a blend of skill, care, and attention to detail. With these tips in mind, your journey to maintaining sharp, efficient knives will be as smooth as the blades you sharpen. is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for website owners to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon (.com,,.ca, etc.) and any other website that may be affiliated with the Amazon Service LLC Associates Program. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

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