The importance of a sharp knife cannot be understated. A sharp kitchen knife will perform graciously and effortlessly; cutting, slicing and dicing with ease.
However not all knives come out of the box sharp, or for that matter stay sharp for long. A blunt knife is a dangerous knife.
Why? Because if you are struggling to cut through something, you will start putting in more strength to compensate and if the knife slips it can be very dangerous.
That is why it is important to choose a fine quality kitchen knife or knife set to begin with, and then regularly maintain them via honing (to keep the edge inline) and sharpening (sharpening rods, wheels, whetstones, etc).
But the burning question on everyone’s mind is…can kitchen knives be TOO SHARP?
The Ultimate Test
There are a number of simple ways to test if your knife is razor-sharp. These include…
- Slicing a piece of paper while holding it with the other hand
- Slicing through a tomato that is resting on a benchtop (without holding it)
- Cutting off the hairs on your arm by sliding the knife along the skin
However, having the sharpest knife in the world isn’t the be-all, end-all. What is really important is that the kitchen knife is sharp enough for the task at hand.
If you are using a chef knife for example. and feel like it is requiring a lot of effort to push (rather than slice) through vegetables or meats, then the blade is most likely too blunt.
If you are using a serrated bread knife to cut through a tomato, and you are squashing and not slicing through, then again your knife is probably too dull.
So we have established that a sharp knife for the right task is imperative.
Should I make them razor-sharp then?
The sharper the blade means the finer its edge is. An extremely fine edge will be razor-sharp and will cut through anything like butter, however, it will only remain that sharp briefly and will quickly lose its edge.
It’s a double-edged sword. The fineness of the blade edge defines how sharp it is, but also makes it more fragile, brittle and easily deformed.
Each time the blade is sharpened to retain its edge, metal is removed from the sides of the blades at angles to produce an edge.
Broken chopping board by u/wily_fox on Reddit
In a nutshell…
Sharper edge -> finer edge -> more fragile and goes dull quickly -> requires frequent sharpening -> durability of the knife drops dramatically
Having a dull bladed kitchen knife is dangerous as the knife may slip and additional effort by the user is required when cutting. And razor blade sharpness may be overkill as it compromises the durability of the knife and may end up damaging your chopping board in the process.
The key is to choose the right knife and degree of sharpness for the task at hand, whilst keeping the blade dull enough to be durable.
To view our range of premium quality knives, knife sets and knife sharpeners from the world’s best brands, click here.