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Great knives deserve to be looked after properly and Michelin Star chef Tom Aikens has given us his top tips for the very best knife care. Invest in a good knife sharpener and proper knife storage solution and follow these basic steps to keep your knives sharp and safe to use.
Daily use can cause a knife to lose its perfectly straight blade edge, making it less efficient at cutting. Somewhat contrary to its name, a sharpening steel is used for straightening or 'honing' a blade edge so it is kept in line. Chefs use sharpening steels every day to keep that perfectly straight profile and you can too. Holding the tip of the steel firmly to your work surface sweep the full length of the knife edge several times down the sharpening steel on each side at an angle to get a straight edge - the angle is 12 degrees for Japanese knives, 20 degrees for European style. Do this before each use or after cleaning to help keep your knives in good condition.
Tom recommends that the best way to sharpen your knives is with a traditional whetstone, which can be used with most kitchen knives. A combination whetstone has two grades of coarseness on each side, allowing you to sharpen and polish a blade edge. First soak your whetstone in water for 5-10 minutes, and then starting with the coarser grit, sweep your blade across the stone at an angle several times on each side to sharpen. Then, turn the whetstone over to the finer side and repeat for a honed, polished edge. You may need to resoak your whetstone during use.
Whilst it produces excellent results with practice, getting the correct angle for your knife blade can be a little tricky at first, so you can enlist the help of a whetstone guide to get that perfect 12 degrees angle for Japanese knives and 20 degrees for European blades. Simply slide the whetstone guide on to your blade and rest it on the whetstone as you sharpen.
For a simple way to keep knives sharp, a ceramic sharpening wheel is a good choice. The V shaped wheels create tiny micro-serrations on the blade to generate a fresh edge. A sharpening wheel is a good option for basic kitchen knives, but a whetstone is preferable for premium blades as it creates the perfectly smooth, sharp edge necessary for the best performance and proper maintenance.
Some chopping boards made from materials such as glass or marble can ruin a knife's cutting edge, so a far better choice is a wooden or nylon chopping board which allows some give when chopping.
Kitchen knives are used everyday and should be cleaned every time they are used. The worst thing you can do for your knives is put them in a dishwasher as the heat and detergents can corrode the blades.
This advice applies to wooden handled knives in particular as the wood can split or shrink. Simply rinse your knife blade in lukewarm water and use a gentle detergent and a soft cloth. Once washed dry your knife blade thoroughly before storage.
Knife storage is sometimes overlooked but can really make a difference to the longevity of your knives. Storing knives properly ensures blades are not dulled or damaged by knocking against each other and it keeps hands safe as blades are protected.
It's worth investing in good knife storage and there is a huge variety of styles and designs of knife storage to choose from including attractive countertop knife blocks, in-drawer storage, magnetic wall mounted knife racks and smart flexible knife cases that enable you to transport your knives safely. Tom's choice for his Damascus 67 knives is this stunning Walnut Knife Block which looks great out on display.
Optimised for exceptional quality and performance, our Damascus 67 knife range helps you achieve professional culinary results.