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View Full Version : Any Tips for Maintaining and Caring for Knife?



Gavin
05-25-2013, 04:45 AM
Hi, this is my first post here :happymug:

I've seen this forum brought up while doing research a few times, so I figured the people here must know what they're talking about. I used to use a cutco chefs knife which came in a set. I didn't purchase it, nor do I know much about it. I do know, that after sharpening, it would not get very sharp, and it did not do a good job at maintaining whatever sharpness it gained. Usually, it felt about as sharp as a spoon. I recently purchased a 7" Shun Santoku Hollow Ground Knife. It's an amazing knife, and I really don't want to mess it up. I have a lot of questions, and I was hoping if you guys would be able to answer them.

How often do I need to hone the blade? From what I've found, you are supposed to use a steel to maintain the blade, and then have it actually sharpened with a stone once in awhile. How often should I use the Steel? Are there any high quality/low quality steels? Does it matter? I have already have a steel, but it's my parents (I'm 19), and I, and I'm sure they, know nothing about it. So if the steel does matter, and It would be best to get a new steel to get optimal results, do you guys have any recommendations?(preferably as cheap as possible.) As far as actual sharpening goes, I bought this at a chef store, and they offer sharpening services there, so I will just get it done there. I do have a stone, but I'd prefer to have this professionally done, since the guy in the shun video I watched said he get's his professionally sharpened once a year while maintaining it with the steel, and if he doesn't sharpen his own knives, I'm definitely not qualified to sharpen my own.

Secondly, I read that cutting on hard surfaces such as glass, tile, etc will dull the blade. I use a thin flexible cutting board and a hard countertop (not sure what material the counter is made of), but I'm worried that since the countertop is hard, and my cutting board is very thin, that this could possibly be bad for my knife. Is that the case? Should I purchase a wooden cutting board to ensure I'm not damaging or dulling my blade to quickly?

Thirdly, the box that the knife came in said not to reuse the blade cover. I have no where else to safely put it, so I've been putting it back in the cardboard knife cover anyway. Why does it say not to reuse the cardboard cover? Can it in anyway damage the blade? I don't want to purchase a knife block for one knife, plus there isn't really the countertop space for one anyway. Is there any other solution to store this? I was thinking of maybe some sort of pouch or cover for it, but I haven't been able to find one, and even if I did, I wouldn't know if it was good for the knife or possibly could dull it in some way. I heard a lot of the times knives are dulled more by improper storage, rather than actual use.

Lastly, this is a short one. I usually smash my garlic by turning my knife sideways and banging it with my hand. I've seen plenty of people do it on the internet, so I'm pretty sure you guys know of the technique I'm talking about. Anyways, I was about to do that for the first time with my new knife, when I thought to myself "Wait a minute...this is probably a bad idea", so I didn't do it. The question is, was that a good decision? Is it safe to smash garlic with the side of the knife, or could that some how damage the blade? It's pretty thin, doesn't feel as tough as my old knife and I heard by some' people that it's brittle. I'm just thrown off by how little it weighs and don't want to do anything stupid.


Thanks to everyone who stopped by to read this. It feels a little inappropriate for me to come to a forum and have a block of text with questions as my first post, and not really have any way of contributing myself. I just don't want to mess up this knife, and I plan on using it forever. I want to make sure it is used properly from the start. A few of these questions are odd and specific and it's not easy to find answers to them, let alone from credible resources. Which is why I came here. I hope this wasn't a bother, and I appreciate any response that I get in this thread. Thanks again.

zitangy
05-25-2013, 05:46 AM
[QUOTE=Gavin;210521]Hi, this is my first post here :happymug:


How often do I need to hone the blade? From what I've found, you are supposed to use a steel to maintain the blade, and then have it actually sharpened with a stone once in awhile. How often should I use the Steel? Are there any high quality/low quality steels? Does it matter? I have already have a steel, but it's my parents (I'm 19), and I, and I'm sure they, know nothing about it. So if the steel does matter, and It would be best to get a new steel to get optimal results, do you guys have any recommendations?(preferably as cheap as possible.) As far as actual sharpening goes, I bought this at a chef store, and they offer sharpening services there, so I will just get it done there. I do have a stone, but I'd prefer to have this professionally done, since the guy in the shun video I watched said he get's his professionally sharpened once a year while maintaining it with the steel, and if he doesn't sharpen his own knives, I'm definitely not qualified to sharpen my own.

Z> Steel rod. IT smoothens over time adn that is OK with me as it depends how much steel you are removing. AS for honing.. it is just breaking the fold/burr which happens when you cut things. Either you unfold it .. Spine leading or Cut it of.. Edge leading on teh rod. Say after 10-20 times.. as the edge recedes towards the spine, it becomes too thick for sharpness that we like adn we need to go to teh stone.

The grit of the rod determines the final edge adn thus I prefer 1,000 + grit rods..

Sharpening is basically steel removal to make two angles meet and the edge must be thin. Honing is just removing the curl/fold.

Logically, I prefer harder steel rods in HRC terms but as we are only removing the curl/fold or burr..as it is a weak metal and extremely thin at teh edge, I suppose it can be done. Still after the fold/ burr is cut off, a few additional strokes wld be required to make it pointy again. I wld spend a few dollars more and go for a hard steel rod!

FInally on this point.. if the present rod can refine the edge to your satisfaction then it will still be useful.

GAVIN> Secondly, I read that cutting on hard surfaces such as glass, tile, etc will dull the blade. I use a thin flexible cutting board and a hard countertop (not sure what material the counter is made of), but I'm worried that since the countertop is hard, and my cutting board is very thin, that this could possibly be bad for my knife. Is that the case? Should I purchase a wooden cutting board to ensure I'm not damaging or dulling my blade to quickly?

Z> IF the surface is harder than the edge.. then the edge will go. I suppose if it is light cutting and does not go thru thin flexible cutting board you shld be ok. But if you are banging/ chopping. I assume that it cannot absorb the impact.

GAvin> Thirdly, the box that the knife came in said not to reuse the blade cover.

Z> ONly reason that I cant hink of it it it has some chemicals. IF you wash it each time before use. SHld be OK. I wld suggest edge guards which shld be easily available. Otehr than that I see no reason it sjld be used as a cover.

Gavin> Lastly, this is a short one. I usually smash my garlic by turning my knife sideways and banging it with my hand.

Z> I have that habit too. The knife shld not be too thin and it having some weight helps. My preference is for knives ard 200 grams. IF it is too thin it can possibly go out of shape wehn you are applying pressure. Heavier knives you can simply bang on it and its done.

Z> they cld be otehr views... do what works for you within the parameters of logic / common sense ,have fun adn stay sharp..

xuz
05-25-2013, 07:11 AM
Here's what I do with my shun.

1) I hone blade every time I feel it's getting dull. If honing doesn't get it sharp to my satisfaction, I take it to the stone.

2) There are many board smiths here so I'm sure they'll chime in.

3) Cardboard and papers in general contain fiberclay and other hardening agents to hold the matrix.
Clays and silicates are abrasives that dull knives.
When knife makers ship knives in cardboard, they are careful not to have the edge contact the cardboard.
If you can do the same, then there is no problem. But frequent insertion/extraction will often result in contact.
I just leave my 2 or 3 user knives resting on the counter top. Drys fast, and it doesn't dull.

4) I push/gently smash a garlic clove on the side of my shun.
I try to keep the garlic near the center or slightly toward the spine.
I wouldn't go crazy with it and try to smash a whole head or anything.
If you need to peel the garlic cloves, and you are smashing to accomplish this,
there are better ways to do them in one go. Like this.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OcAJ8yMB4XA
No Martha didn't invent that. That's been around for a long while I think.

Thanks and good luck!

77kath
05-25-2013, 08:02 AM
Shun still offers its free sharpening service, I think. When it gets dull, find a coupon online and send the knife in.

Have a great time with your knife. That was my first one, too, and I felt exactly the same way!

Colorado_cutter
05-27-2013, 01:26 PM
Unless the steel you have is really smooth, it probably is a bit too rough for your Shun. A smooth ceramic one, like the Idahone, might be in order. Yes, you should plan on a new cutting board at some point. Any kind of wood is better than what you've got going now. Don't worry about the garlic smashing, shouldn't hurt a thing as long as you're hanging the handle off the edge of the cutting surface so as not the stress the handle-blade interface.

Re sharpening. Lots of reputed experts say to just send your knife out to get it sharpened. But just because they don't know how to freehand sharpen doesn't mean that you wouldn't benefit from learning. After a bit of practice, you'll do a better job than most services, and you can sharpen you knives whenever is convenient.