Know your Knife:
The first thing to know about your knife is its composition. Most manufacturers use a steel blend equivalent known as 440a. It is formulated for stain and wear resistance rather than holding a high performance edge.
Now that might not sound as bad a trade off. However the heat treatment these knives undergo leaves the steel softer than it should be. This does however mean than sharpening your knives at home is slightly easier, BUT it doesn't allow one to get that super sharp edge.
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.
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 60-62. That difference means its more difficult to get a keen edge in the first place, but that edge will be ALOT sharper than when using the softer steel compound.
By 'Edge' we are talking about the sharpened bit. The side opposite to the spine on the blade. Most 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 knive 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. Glass, Ceramic, Marble and Steel. No!
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!
5. Dont store knives loose in the drawer. Use a knife block, magnetic strip and edge gaurds. 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.