Common Questions About Kitchen Knives

Explore our comprehensive FAQ page for insights on kitchen knives. From choosing the right type for your needs to care and maintenance tips, we cover everything to help you make informed decisions.

Kitchen Knife FAQ

If you have questions about kitchen knives, you're not alone. Knowing which knives to buy, how to care for them, and when to replace them can be a bit confusing for many people. The good news is that with a little knowledge, proper maintenance and use, you can ensure your kitchen knives stay in great shape for a very long time. Here are some common questions we are asked regularly.  We are always here if you have more questions. Drop us a line anytime! Contact Us

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If you could only have one knife, what should it be?

A Chef Knife or Gyuto is the answer, hands down. It is the most versatile shape. It can handle almost any task, from fish, meat and veggies.

How long will a knife stay sharp?

In a home setting, if you cook a lot, a knife will stay sharp for 3 to 6 months. There are variables to consider. It's recommended not to cut on plates, glass, marble, or other very hard surfaces. Try not to scrape the blade to move food products. In a professional kitchen, it is recommended that knives be sharpened every 1 to 3 days. At this frequency, it's more maintenance than sharpening.

Is a sharp knife safer than a dull one?

Absolutely! A sharp knife will "bite" into food products, cutting through instead of smashing them. When a knife is dull, the user tends to push harder. A dull knife might slip off the food and has the potential to cut your finger. A cut from a dull knife takes longer to heal.

Are there right and left-handed knives?

Single-bevel knives are hand specific. Double bevel knives are ambidextrous. Some manufacturers put traditional "teardrop" handles on double-bevel knives, rendering them hand specific.

Will a dishwasher harm my knives?

100% absolutely yes! The conditions of a dishwashing machine are too adverse. High heat, high-pressure jetting, and corrosive concentrated detergents will wreak havoc on handles, connection points and possibly cause rusting, even on stainless steel. It's always best to wash your knives with warm soapy water, rinse them, then dry them before putting them away.

How should I hold a knife?

For most knives, it's always a good idea to use a pinch grip. This means that you will choke up on the handle somewhat and pinch the blade between your thumb and forefinger. This allows for a light grip offering good control and preventing your hand and arm from fatigue. Always make sure to use the claw method with your other hand that is controlling the food.

Which is better, high-carbon or stainless steel?

It comes down to what is better for the user. There are pros and cons for both. High-carbon steels take a keener edge, sharpen easier (if maintained on a stone regularly), and have impeccable edge retention. But, the blade surface is very reactive to anything with an acidic pH. It takes a higher level of care and maintenance. Stainless steel knives don't require as much attention because they are resistant to rust and tarnishing. They do require sharpening more frequently.

Can chipped blades and broken tips be fixed?

Yes, chipped and broken tipped knives can be fixed. Typically the blades will be ground, reprofiled, then sharpened.

Which are better, Japanese or German knives?

Once again, it is what is best for the user. Japanese knives are thinner, lighter, and harder. This means better edge retention but more fragile. German knives tend to be thicker, weightier, and have softer steels. This means more versatility, and the steel is more forgiving with very hard food products.

What is the difference between sharpening and honing?

Sharpening is removing material from the blade, creating an edge or bevel. This creates burrs, and sharpness is all about the burrs. What's a burr, you ask? Put simply, it is "a rough edge or ridge left on an object (especially of metal) by the action of a tool or machine." They are created at the apex of a knife's edge when sharpened, then refined and ultimately lined up. The burrs then act as tiny little serrations and help a knife cut through food products easily. They are so tiny that you can't see them with the naked eye. Once the knife is used after sharpening, the blade's cutting edge makes contact with food products and cutting surfaces. This affects the burrs by bending them out of alignment. This is where honing comes into play. Honing realigns the burrs, which makes the knife sharp again.

If I sharpen my own knives, what do I need?

There are different tools and implements to sharpen knives. A good pass-through sharpener can keep a nice sharpness regularly. It's important when using these to not put your body weight into them and only use about a pound of downward pressure. Sharpening stones yield fantastic results but must be used properly. It takes a lot of patience, persistence, and practice to learn how to sharpen by hand on sharpening stones.

Is a heavier knife better?

Weight is not an indication of the quality of a knife. A heavy kitchen knife will be great for cutting large, tough vegetables, so you may want to have one weighty blade in your set. It is important that you handle a large selection of knives when you are considering your purchase. Choose the one that has the right amount of weight behind it to suit the way that you cook.

How long will a knife last?

If treated correctly, any well-crafted knife will last a lifetime and can be handed down as an heirloom. What this means is never put knives in the dish washing machine. Simply use the knife, wash the knife with warm, soapy water and then dry it before putting it away. Also, never use a knife like a screwdriver or a hammer. Don't mistreat the knife and use it for things that it's not intended for, like cracking open coconuts or hacking at can lids.

Are ceramic knives any good?

Ceramic knives are 50% harder than steel and have half the weight. They stay sharp for a long time and are corrosion free. Hard translates to brittle, so be careful not to drop a ceramic knife.