How to Test Knife Sharpness Quickly and AccuratelyGreg
A knife needs to be sharp in order to cut, but do you know how to test knife sharpness? For some people, as long as the knife cuts, it means it is sharp. However, professionals know better.
Not all knives that can cut are actually sharp. There are different methods to know whether the knife you hold has that sharp edge it needs to cut effortlessly or not.
Even if you don’t have amazing knife skills as most skilled chefs do, owning a good and well-sharpened knife can make every cutting experience better. So, how do you know whether it is time to sharpen your knife or not? Read on to find out.
Reasons Knife Sharpening Is Important
Promotes Safe Use
The most important reason you need to use a sharp knife lies in safety. Some people think that the sharper a knife is, the more dangerous it becomes.
However, a dull or blunt knife actually poses more of a threat. When you use a dull knife, you must exert more pressure to cut the things you want. This pressure may cause an injury. Some dull blades also slip through when cutting and increase the chance of slicing your fingers instead.
Let’s face it; a sharp knife cuts way better than a dull blade. You do not need to use as much force with a sharp knife, which equates to less damage to the food you are cutting.
Cutting meat, for example, requires a sharp knife to get that clean cutting edge. Using a dull knife when cutting meat only results in rough and ugly edges, which doesn’t look good for your food presentation.
Simultaneously, delicate ingredients such as herbs need to be cut cleanly and not crushed. So, a sharp knife is the best option for this.
Gives You More Control
If you know how to test knife sharpness, you should also know about control. A sharp knife makes it easy to control. Sharp knives have a stronger grip on the thing you wish to cut regardless of its thickness or texture. As you cut through the food, you’ll have more control since the knife blade moves through the food more effortlessly.
How to Test Knife Sharpness Safely
To know whether you need to sharpen your knife or not, you need to know how to test knife sharpness first. Clueless? Don’t worry! Follow our simple knife testing tips below:
The paper test is probably the most basic yet the ultimate test you can use to test knife sharpness. A piece of paper may be thin, but a dull knife can never cut it smoothly.
To do the paper test, get a piece of white paper and hold it at the top. Hold the knife perpendicularly to the edge of the paper and try cutting through it downwards. If it requires minimal effort and cuts cleanly through the paper, then your knife is still sharp. However, if you need to cut it using force or a sawing motion, it indicates the knife is dull.
Shaving your arm hair with a knife seems dangerous, but some people, in reality, do this to test the sharpness of their knife. This test is a great indication of the knife’s level of sharpness.
A dull knife, or even a modestly sharp knife, will not cut your arm hairs, indicating that the knife is not up for any cutting job. A sharp knife can cut most, if not all, the small hairs on your arm. Just be careful though, you do not want any unwanted cuts on your skin.
Another test that you can perform to check for sharpness is the fingernail test. This also requires careful execution as minor slip-up may lead to injury. A fingernail contains keratin, which makes it hard. So, it’s a good way to test the sharpness of a knife.
In doing a fingernail test, you have to take the knife and tap the edge across a fingernail. A sharp knife will scratch the nail and won’t move. No pressure is needed for the knife to successfully catch onto your nail. If you are giving it some pressure or slides around, then the knife is dull.
Start the test from the blade closest to the knife handle and work your way up to see which sections need sharpening. Again, this is dangerous, so if you choose to do this, exercise extreme caution.
A safer test requires the use of a Sharpie instead of your fingernail. All you have to do is follow the instructions as set out in the fingernail test. Hold the Sharpie at a 45° angle and tap the edge of the knife against its body. Check if the knife bites onto the Sharpie or not. If it sticks, then you know the knife is sharp.
How to test knife sharpness using an onion? This trick is very simple. Since onions have thin and slippery skin, a dull knife will only slide through them. Meanwhile, a sharp knife will cut through it seamlessly, even without much pressure on your part.
Typically, a tomato test is great for testing kitchen knives. However, it works well with any other knife too. You can even use the tomato test when testing the sharpness of breaking and skinning knives.
Put the tomato on a flat surface. Place the knife on top of the tomato. Do not apply any extra pressure. Then, pull the knife towards you. A sharp knife will slide through the tomato without you applying any downward pressure onto it; otherwise, it is dull.
If you have good eyesight, then a visual inspection can help you determine whether a knife is sharp or blunt. All you have to do is look at the knife’s edge.
Hold the knife at eye level. Tilt the knife left and right and look for spots where the light is reflecting. The part of the blade where the light reflects is a dull area and needs to be sharpened.
Tips for Keeping Your Knife Sharp
Knives need regular maintenance. Unfortunately, they are often treated as dispensable tools that are often replaced when they no longer serve their purpose. But why toss your knives when you can still make them work?
Learning a few tips on the proper way to care for and store your kitchen knives can help you maintain the knife’s sharp edge. Follow some of our helpful tips below to keep your knife sharp and useful for a long time.
Use a Magnetic Knife Strip
Storing knives may be tricky, but using a knife strip provides a cool knife holder that you can easily hang onto a wall. The magnetic strip holds all of your knives securely and is best suited for people who want to clear their countertops of any unnecessary clutter.
Store in a Knife Block
The more traditional way of storing knives is in a knife block. This wooden storage option is equipped with different slots that can store various knife sizes safely and securely while keeping them easily accessible.
Protect with a Knife Guard
One of the best ways to protect a knife from going dull is by using a knife guard. A knife guard slides through the blade and protects the knife’s edge from scratching surfaces. It also protects you from getting cut accidentally, especially when knives don’t have a permanent storage area like a knife block.
Various tools to sharpen knives are available for your convenience. You can purchase these sharpening tools so that you can sharpen knives in the comfort of your own home quickly and easily. Though it may be hard at first, you can get the hang of self-sharpening the knives by following the manufacturer’s instruction guide.
Use the Right Cutting Board
A chopping or cutting board is there for a reason. Cutting something on a plate or a countertop makes them dull in the long run. Make sure that you use a chopping board made from wood like maple or plastic material. Cutting boards have a consistent hardness that allows the knife to maintain the sharpness of its edges.
Bamboo is a popular choice for a cutting board too. However, this wood often has soft spots, which leads to an inconsistent surface. A bamboo cutting board is something you should stay away from if you want to maintain your knife’s sharp edge.
Should You Sharpen Your Own Knife?
Testing your knife for sharpness is only the first step. You have to sharpen it when the test results in the dullness. Now you must decide if you will sharpen your own knife or let a professional handle it.
Some people tend to sharpen the knives themselves by using the best knife sharpeners in the market today. If you do not trust your ability to do it on your own, then you can always rely on professionals to sharpen the knives for you.
Knowing how to test knife sharpness is necessary for people who are using knives – either in the kitchen or hunting or camping. Whatever you utilize a knife for, having a sharp knife is always convenient. It poses less threat of injuries and allows you to get your cutting job done efficiently in no time.