Knife sharpeners, as the name suggests, are tools used to sharpen and reshape the blades of knives. Aside from keeping the blade edges sharp, knife sharpeners are also used to smooth out irregularities that may appear on the surface of the blade. Using knife sharpeners is essential to improve and lengthen the functionality of knives.
Contrary to what some people believe, knife sharpeners can be used without lubricating the knife’s blade. Using knife sharpeners on dry knives is in fact even more ideal, because this would produce more friction and allow the blade to be sharpened and smoothed out more effectively.
Types of knife sharpeners
Knife sharpeners come in different types and designs. When shopping for knife sharpeners, one important thing to consider is the type of knives you have and the degree of sharpening or polishing you intend to achieve. Bench grinders are considered by many people as the most inexpensive and dependable type of knife sharpener. Bench grinders have wheels with coarse surfaces, which are used to grind against the knife blade. Knife sharpeners such as bench grinders are sold in hardware stores and kitchen supplies shops.
Grinding wheels are knife sharpeners in the form of abrasive stones that function by cutting away some of the blade’s material to produce a smoother surface and sharper edge. Different kinds of abrasive materials can be used in making knife sharpeners such as grinding wheels. These abrasive materials are classified and number-marked according to grit size. The lower the number, the more coarse the material is. The most commonly used material in making grinding wheels is aluminum oxide, because of its ability to sharpen hard materials such as steel, bronze or wrought iron.
An even more durable material which can be used in knife sharpeners is zircon alumina, a combination of zirconium oxide and aluminum. Next to aluminum oxide, zircon alumina is a popular choice of base material for knife sharpeners. A fairly new development in making knife sharpeners is the use of ceramic aluminum oxide.
Electric knife sharpeners
Electric knife sharpeners are ideal for those with knife collections and others who have to maintain a lot of knives. Many people prefer using electric knife sharpeners instead of manually operated ones because they are more convenient and easy to use. Most electric knife sharpeners also come in three-stage designs, wherein the first two knife slots are for sharpening (and re-sharpening) stages and the other for stropping. The downside to electric knife sharpeners is that they’re not very portable, making them ideal only for home use.