Know your Knife:
The first thing to know about your knife is its composition. Most manufacturers use a steel blend. Stainless Steels, High Carbon, Low Carbon. It is formulated for stain and wear resistance as well as hardness and edge retention.
So depending on the composition, some knives are easier to sharpen (soft steels) than others, but some knives hold their edge better and stay sharper for longer (harder steels).
Carbon steel knives are generally a bit harder and stronger than stainless steel knives and produce a razor sharp edge. However in wet and acidic kitchen environments, Stainless Steel reigns supreme for its corrosion resistance.
We use the Rockwell Scale to grade the "hardness" of the steel. Cheaper Kitchen knives tend to be around 52-56 on the Rockwell C Scale. Our collection of Japanese Knives have a hardness of 60-65. That difference means its more difficult to get a keen edge in the first place, but once its there, that edge will be ALOT sharper than when using the softer steel compound.
By 'Edge' we are talking about the sharpened bit right at the apex. The side opposite to the spine on the blade. Many knives are "Flat Ground" which means the blade tapers directly from the spine to the edge. The most common type of edge is the V-Edge. Axes for example have a convex edge.
Chisel ground edges are commonly found on Sushi Knives. These knife edges can be EXTREMELY thin and sharp.
What is "Sharpness"?
Sharpness is not just a function of creating a super thin edge. It would be sharp but pretty useless. it would more than likely break while trying to cut a chicken bone.Similarly, a thick edge is great on an axe for splitting wood, but would be horrible when filleting salmon.
So we need to ask ourselves: "How do i get maximum performance from my knife under a set of conditions?"
A sharp knife can be defined as one that has a keen edge that can hold up in repeated usage while producing the desired results.
Steeling your Knife:
It is recommended to steel your knife regularly. This is the most critical maintenance to perform. Turn you knife with the edge pointing up. if you see small glimmers of light on the edge, it has turned over a bit and lost its true sharpness. It will still cut, but not as well as it did.
By Steeling your knife, you restore or realign the edge forcing the rolled spots back into line. We recommend using a ceramic or ultra fine diamond steel. The rods that come with most "sets" are coarse and can be extremely aggressive on your knife leaving small grooves along the knife edge.
1. Use wooden or composite plastic cutting boards only. We strongly recommend AGAINST Glass, Ceramic, Marble and Steel chopping surfaces!
2. Dont drop your knives in the sink. It can damage the tip and edge.
3. Dont put knives in the dish washer. Heat can damage handles.
4. Keep your knives clean and dry! Small things make a big difference such as dont let your knives drip dry, rather dry them off with a dish cloth.
5. Dont store knives loose in the drawer. Use a knife block, magnetic strip and edge guards. If using Magnetic strip, ensure its out of reach of children.
6. Dont use your knife as a can opener, screwdriver, crowbar or box cutter!