You shouldn’t sharpen a knife as often as you may think
The first observation to make is that there is a significant difference between sharpening a knife and honing a knife. If you’ve not done so then read our article about honing and sharpening knives.
Hone your knife regularly and it will stay sharp. Just watch a butcher at work, you’ll see that he has a honing steel at hand and uses it much more frequently than you would ever imagine.
In fact honing your knife regularly, and doing it well, will both extend the life of your knife and extend the time that it will take before it needs to be sharpened.
In fact it may come as a surprise that even if you do a lot of cooking and usual kitchen knife regularly you should only need to sharpen it once or twice a year if you take good care of it.
Along with regular honing taking care of your kitchen knives is very important. Don’t put them in a drawer where they will bang around with all your other kitchen tools.
Treat your kitchen knives with respect.
Don’t use your kitchen knives to cut through bones. Don’t “lever” with your knife. Don’t cut onto hard surfaces like glass, stone or ceramic, all common chopping board materials.
Wash your knife carefully and don’t let it bang around in the sink. Don’t put it in the dishwasher.
Store your knife appropriately, use a dedicated (usually wooden) knife block or a magnetic strip mounted on the wall. Some people even use a dedicated plastic guard over the edge of their knife to help protect the edge.
And remember, we will say it again just to make sure you remember, honing your knife regularly reduces the amount of knife sharpening that you should need to do.
But eventually you will reach the stage where either your knife is obviously in need of sharpening, because the cutting edge is chipped for instance, or where honing no longer produces a good sharp edge.
In that case you need to decide whether you will sharpen the knife yourself or take it to a knife sharpening service.
And if you decide to sharpen it yourself you will need a good knife sharpener, in which case take a look at our knife sharpeners guide.
Choose a good knife sharpener and most importantly learn how to use it.
And remember, sharpening a knife takes metal away, so is slowly wearing away your knife. So treat your knife with respect, follow our simple knife care instructions and your knife will last for years and years.