Archive for December 2015

I know what you’re thinking: impossible. How and why would any good housewife bring it upon herself to sharpen her precious stainless-steel blades with something as mundane and likely to scratch as sandpaper. You already have your sharpening stone oiled under your sink anyway, so what’s the point in looking any further for knife sharpening needs?

sandpaperWell it may benefit to tell you that there are many different ways to sharpen knives with sandpaper, and you can pick whichever one best suits you based on your very own preferences so, benefit number one, you actually get to make a decision about something for once.

Before you rush forward in excitement, you likely want to clean your knife of any dirt or food particles. Grab a brick or a block of wood from your back yard, cover it with sandpaper, and then run the blade of the knife (lying flat) across it in a circular motion. Remember, you want to spend an equal amount of time on both sides of the knife to ensure cutting equality. Make sure you give each side at least a few minutes.

Another method: if you keep the knife at about a 22-degree angle and stroke it across sandpaper, making sure the tip is also making contact, you can sharpen it that way too. To get a 22-degree angle, make sure the knife edge is against the sandpaper at a 90-degree angle, then a 45 degree angle, and then 22-ish will be right in the middle of that. You don’t need must pressure with this method, just make sure to move the knife away from you as you draw it across the sandpaper.

whetstone2You may be more familiar with methods involving whetstone, as most people are. Here’s the thing about wet stones: they’re non-disposable and require you to waste precious oil on them for preparation. They also are slippery and, considering you use them to sharpen knives with, not the best thing to be putting a pressured blade against. Finally, the surface can be corrupted by continuous knife sharpenings, making the wet stone less effective and potentially more dangerous (if the stone causes your knife to slip in different grooved paths, you may find yourself accidentally losing control of a very dangerous motion).

Sandpaper, on the other hand, is familiar to most and has great traction, meaning that you have that much more control over where it’s going and, as a result, where your knife is going. It’s also disposable, cheap, and comes in a variety of grains to better suit your particular knife sharpening project. If you want quick knife sharpening without the hastle of summoning your own elbow grease, you can even use a power sander on the blade of your knife to be chopping up even the toughest meat in seconds. Just be sure to wear goggles and non flammable clothing; sparks will fly!

Ok, hope this article helped you with all your knife sharpening needs and please tune in later for more appliance related advice!

When it comes to maintaining your emotional and financial well-being, the same tried and true phrase applies: little things can make a big difference.

What if every time something in your kitchen went wrong, instead of seeing a dent in your fun money, you saw a chance to experiment and better your understanding of physics and the world around you? With some basic knowledge of kitchen appliance repair and maintenance, you can make this optimistic perspective a reality.

whetstoneLet’s start off easy: keeping your knives sharpened. No matter how nice your knives are, they’ll dull eventually and if you buy inexpensive knives, they probably weren’t very sharp to begin with. If you want to amp up your blade game, you’re going to need to go out and buy something called a whetstone, preferably with one course and one fine side. The night before you’re planning on sharpening your knives, put the whetstone in a deep pan and cover it with household or light machine oil. Let it soak for at least eight hours then wipe any loose dirt off of it using a soft cloth soaked in mineral spirits (also called white spirit, mineral turpentine, petroleum spirits). Just so you know, when you’re not using the stone you can just keep it in a sealable plastic bag or a box with a lid.

So now the whetstone is prepared for use: oil its surface lightly and hold the knife you’re sharpening with the blade at a 30-degree angle to the stone. If your knife is very full, use the course side of the whetstone first. If it just needs a little tuning up, skip to the fine side.

Now it’s useful to discuss what a bevelled edge is. A bevelled edge refers to an edge of a structure that is not perpendicular to the faces of the piece.  A knife’s bevelled edge is its sharp edge.

bevelled edgeOk, you’ve got your knife and your prepared whetstone. Now you push the full length of the blade’s bevelled edge gentle but firmly away from you, at a diagonal across the stone. Turn the knife away from you and repeat the same motion at the same angle. Make sure to do the same number of strokes on each side. By alternating the strokes, you’re able to avoid allowing any tiny burrs to accumulate as you’re sharpening. Remove any debris on the knife with a soft cloth.

If you’re working with carving knives and other fine stainless steel blades, a fine-grit silicon carbide slipstone will be a better choice than whetstone. It’s also better to use smaller, circular motions to sharpen these kinds of knives. Again, make sure to sharpen both sides to keep them even.

Sharpening steel is great for touch ups; you can simply pull a knife’s cutting edge across a length of steel (make sure these sharpening motions are always in the opposite direction of your body!), stroking the entire length of the blade from handle to tip. Again, make sure to do this on both sides.

Scissors can benefit from a little maintenance as well; after all, dull scissors are really frustrating and practically useless. Instead of replacing them, sharpen the old pair on lightly oiled whetstone just like a set of dull knives. You probably can get away with just using the fine side of the whetstone. Make sure you only work them on their bevel edge; scissors sharp on both sides are pretty dangerous.