Don’t touch…

August 6, 2011

Equipment


The Husband thinks I am obsessive about my knives…to the point of boarding on being a whack job.  What can I say my knives are an extension of my arm if they are not in top form “accidents” happen, accidents I don’t want to be a part of… you know the kind with blood spurting all over and parts that should still be attached to one’s body lying around.  There is nothing more dangerous in the kitchen than a dull knife.  I finally had to go to desperate means to keep him from loping off an appendage from using “my” knives.  I kept telling both him and The Daughter that MY knives were scary sharp, to not mess with them, that if I had left one on the counter to just leave it and I would come back and take care of it.   But alas it was not to be, he decided to help out by cleaning it for me after dinner one night and learned the lesson of “don’t touch.”  The Husband ended up slicing though the sponge he was using to clean said knife and though his finger so deep that he really should have gotten stitches.  He semi-jokingly says now he is afraid of my scary sharp knives and will not touch them now. How did I fix the problem?  I got him his own kept separate from mine.  So far no more blood-letting…

So if dull knives are a danger to life and limb how do you keep your knives in top shape?  All it takes is a bit of care and some planning.

First~ and foremost don’t store them loose in a drawer to get banged around every time the drawer is opened, use a wooden drawer knife organizer or better yet invest in a knife block, they can be had fairly cheaply. I am partial to the Shun’s horizontal knife block as the sharp edge of the blade is not the portion the weight of the knife is resting on.  But that is just my preference/picky-ness.  By using a knife block you also protect fingers from sharp edges when hunting though drawers looking for other cooking utensils.

Second~Purchase and USE a honing steel, notice I did not say a sharpening steel as that is not the function of that cool looking pointed hunk of metal.  The honing steel does not actually sharpen a knife per say its more like it realigns the edge of the blade.   Think of it this way, as you use your knife the constant hitting of the cutting surface starts the edge to curling over on itself like curl on this “r“.  This then causes you to cut on a dull portion of the knife’s edge instead of the sharpened edge.  By using a honing steel you are able to knock that slight curl back in line before your knife gets to the point of actually needing professional sharpening,  I hone my knife every time I pull it out of the block to use it.  The hardness of the metal your knife is made from will determine now often you will need to send your knives out for sharpening.  You can test how sharp your knife is by attempting to slice a piece of paper with the knife.  Just hold the paper on one end and with your knife attempt to slice though the paper while you are holding it up in the air, if you can’t get it to cut or it is difficult the its time to get professional help….for you knives. Using a dull knife causes you to apply more pressure on the blade so that when it does slip, and it will, you run a higher risk of a more sever wound.

Third~NEVER and I do mean NEVER use a glass cutting board!  If you go to the cost of purchasing good quality knives you don’t want to throw away your money by using such a hard surface for cutting board.  The edge of a knife is far to delicate and soft to handle that kind of abuse.  This also goes for granite or stone cutting boards and counter tops.  Find a good Poly cutting board or a good wooden cutting board.  Bamboo is fantastic, its a hardy grass that will handle a fairly good amount of knife abuse and will not dull your knife like glass or stone.  A long grain wooden cutting board works wonderfully as well.  If you are leaning toward an end cut wooden board I would look towards Boos they are thick enough to not allow warping like a fairly good amount of end cut wooden boards that can be had today. My personal favorite that I use the most is a poly cutting board by OXO I like this board because I don’t have to pamper it like a wooden board.  I also like the size it gives me plenty of area to work.  I found myself with an interesting experience last week as I was able to compare wooden boards to poly boards side by side, I never really noticed the drag a wooden board gave to my knife, the knife seemed to “bite” into the wooden board much more than in my Poly board. Still haven’t decided of I like that or not.

Fourth~ When transporting use a knife safe.  Not only does it protect you it also protects the blade from dings and nicks.  You don’t have to spend big bucks on a knife safe, the one I use (see link) cost me less than $10.  It has little black rubber grippers to keep the knife from banging around inside the knife safe as well.  If you don’t have a knife safe use a thick hand towel wrapped around your blade, an old cork on the tip is a good thing as well.

Fifth~ Cleaning your knife leads to a goodly number of cuts as The Husband found out,  so what should you do.  Don’t put them in the dishwasher the dishwasher soap is far to harsh on the metal of the blade. Clean it by hand with a stiff bristled scrub brush.  Lay it sharp side aimed down and up against the side of the sink with the brush clean side number one then repeat on side two. To dry lay the knife flat on a towel and swipe down going from the spine of the knife to the sharp edge.

Hopefully these few tips will keep your knives in top shape and your fingers attached to your hands.

Now go play with your food.

WikiJan

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