Your knives are an investment, so follow these easy steps to take care of them.
- Don't throw your knives in a drawer. Banging around against one another will dull their blades. Use either a knife block or a magnetic strip to keep them separate. If space is an issue and you must put your knives in a drawer, buy blade guards to protect them.
- Never put a knife away wet; it'll corrode the blade. Let it air-dry, or dry it with a kitchen towel. And don't put knives in the dishwasher; it will dull its blade.
- Use a sharpening steel regularly, preferably one made of high-carbon steel. A steel doesn't sharpen the blade but instead straightens its edge. Regular use of a steel will keep a knife in relatively good shape.
- Your knife will inevitably dull, though, and be in need of a proper sharpening. To do that:
- Use a sharpening stone: "wet stones" need to be moistened with water or oil; dry stones don't. Most commercially sold stones require water. Carefully pull the knife across the stone at a 10- to 20-degree angle. Keep your fingers spread out on the blade, applying even, gentle pressure, while dragging the knife from the tip to the handle. Use the same number of strokes on each side of the knife.
- Use a pull-through sharpener. These are easier to use than sharpening stones, but tend to be less precise.
- Take your knives to a professional sharpener. Check your local kitchen store for a recommendation.
- It's worth your while to keep your knife sharp — dull knives are more dangerous than sharp ones as they require more pressure and can slip easier.