Keeping your knives sharp is one of the most important things you can do to keep your kitchen safe.
It’s also one of the best things you can do to extend the life of your knives.
While you can sharpen your knives by hand, electric knife sharpeners have gotten a lot better and more effective recently.
If you’re looking for an easier way to sharpen your knives, using an electric sharpener is a good option.
The Chef’s Choice knife sharpeners in particular have a good reputation for putting a better than factory finish on your knives without stripping away too much metal or damaging your knives.
Of course, you need to know how to use your knife sharpener properly to make sure you’ve got a good finish. I’ll cover everything you need to know to make the most of your Chef’s Choice electric sharpener.
In this guide you’ll learn:
- Why you need to keep your knives sharp
- How to use your Chef’s Choice sharpener
- And Much More!
What's in this Guide?
What Are The Benefits of Using a Chef’s Choice Knife Sharpener?
Keeping your knives sharp is incredibly important. Sharp knives are much easier to use and significantly more versatile. Sharp knives are also much safer.
That’s not to mention that keeping your knives sharp can actually help them last longer. As you use your knives a small amount of the metal can fold over or break off, creating nicks and bends in the blade.
That process is completely normal and natural for even the best knifes. That’s why chefs keep honing steel in their kitchens and use them regularly. However, if you leave those nicks and folds on the edge of your knife it’ll break down that much faster.
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Using a knife sharpener regularly will help correct those nicks and and folds, especially if you use it in combination with a honing steel.
There are a lot of reasons to keep your knives sharp, but better safety in your kitchen and longer-lasting knives are two of the biggest reasons I recommend keeping your knives as sharp as possible.
What You Need To Know About Sharpening Your Knives with a Chef’s Choice Knife Sharpener
Sharpening Removes Some Steel
One of the biggest misconceptions about sharpening your knives is that sharpening doesn’t remove any material.
Honing can be done without removing material since honing steel are designed to flatten and correct folds in the edge of your blade. But true sharpening always involves removing a tiny amount of steel to re-finish the blade.
Why is it important to know that you’re removing steel?
So that you can decide how often you need to sharpen your knives. Sharpening your knives more often can help keep them easier and more effective to use, but sharpening too many times will wear out your knives faster.
Try to strike a balance between sharpening and honing your knife. Honing your knife can be done as often as every day, but you probably shouldn’t sharpen your knives more than once a week.
The Factory Edge Doesn’t Last Long
Another common, but unfortunately wrong, idea is that the factory edge on your blade is both the sharpest your knife will ever be, and the longest-lasting edge your blade can have.
Neither of those ideas is true.
The truth is that most knives come with a servicable edge, but there aren’t many manufacturers who are looking to put an amazing edge on their knives before they go in the box.
Part of that is because the knives have to travel to get to you. Travel is hard on a great edge, and can lead to more damage and defects in the box, even with soft padding and good packaging.
Unfortunately even packing paper can dull edges, so there isn’t a perfect packing solution that will protect your knife’s edge.
Your factory edge probably isn’t as sharp as a good electric sharpener or some sharpening stones could get it. It’s also likely that the factory edge will only be pristine for the first few times you use the knife.
If you cook regularly you’ll probably have dulled your knife’s factory edge within a week.
That doesn’t necessarily mean that you need to sharpen it right away, it’s just that you’ll start to notice declining performance until you do sharpen your knife. If the knife you’re using is the most important knife in your kitchen, then you’ll probably want to sharpen it fairly quickly.
If we’re talking about a knife that you’ve only used occasionally you may not need to sharpen it right away.
Here are some additional sharpening tips that can help you keep a better edge of your knives and help them last longer.
Three Stage Sharpening System
The Chef’s Choice sharpening system is a three stage electric sharpener. That means a lot of control over the kind of edge you get while sharpening, and it also means that you can control how much steel is removed.
For instance, if you want a fine edge on your pairing knife you can use all three sharpening stages. That will mean a little more steel lost during the sharpening process, but it will also give you a much sharper edge.
On the other hand you can use the first two stages for a sharp but slightly more durable edge on knives that are going to be doing more heavy lifting like cutting through tough vegetables or de-boning a chicken.
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You may end up using all three stages of the knife sharpener on all of your knives, or only a few. It’s just a matter of your personal preferences and what works best in your kitchen.
What Are The Different Ways to Sharpen Knives?
There are a few options when it comes to sharpening your knives. I’m not going to include honing in this guide since it isn’t technically a way to sharpen your knives.
There is good news though, I do talk about how to hone your knives in my article How to Sharpen Japanese Knives (detailed steps are in sharpening method 2, toward the bottom of the article).
To truly sharpen your knives there are four different methods. Using an electric or hand sharpening tools, using whetstones, using a grinder sharpening tool, or sending your knives off to be professional sharpened.
Of these, I don’t really recommend using a grinder to sharpen your knives unless you already have some experience and skill sharpening tools this way. Grinders can take off a lot more material and work a lot faster than most other sharpening methods, making it easier to make a mistake that could ruin your knives.
Grinders are what most professionals use because they are the fastest and most efficient way to sharpen a knife. But they also require the most skill, making them less ideal for home use.
Not to mention that grinders take up a lot of space.
Whetstones are a little more forgiving, and are often considered the best way to get a beautiful edge on your knives. However, it also takes practice and skill to get used to whetstones and the process can be time consuming.
Whetstones are great for a sharpening hobby, or as a supplement to other sharpening tools. Unfortunately, they’re just too time consuming for most people to use regularly.
Electric and hand sharpening tools both work well and are relatively quick. Hand tools that you glide the knife through are the easiest to use, but they take a little more time than electric models. Hand tools are also usually less customizable than electric versions since they only use 1 pre-set angle for sharpening.
Electric sharpeners, like the Chef’s Choice knife sharpener, are usually the easiest and fastest for regular home use. Some models are even customizable for the angle and style of knife you want to sharpen.
How To Use a Chef’s Choice Knife Sharpener?
Chef’s Choice knife sharpeners are relatively simple to use, but it’s important to know how to do it properly to make sure you’re getting good results from the process.
Here’s how you do it.
Step 1: Make Sure Your Chef’s Choice Knife Sharpener is Clean and Plugged In
This might sound simple, but it’s incredibly important to make sure your Chef’s Choice Knife Sharpener is clean before you get started. Check all three sharpening areas for any debris that might be caught inside, and gently remove any dust.
Once you’re sure the sharpener is clean, go ahead and plug it in.
Step 2: Gather Your Knives for Sharpening
You could sharpen your knives one at a time, but it’s better to try and sharpen several knives at once. Not only is sharpening this way more efficient, sharpening multiple knives at once makes it easier to keep a good edge on your kitchen knives.
I like to lay out my knives on a towel next to the sharpener. I also check to make sure my knives are all clean and completely dry before I start sharpening.
Step 3: Sharpen Your Knives
Sharpening your knives is simple. Turn on the Chef’s Choice Knife Sharpener if you have a model that doesn’t turn on automatically when you plug it in.
Most models won’t start sharpening until a knife is in the first sharpening slot, and will only move the diamond sharpening wheel for the slot you’re currently using.
Grab your first knife and place it in the first stage of the sharpener (usually the furthest to the left), at the heel of the blade (the area closest to the handle). Pull the knife gently and slowly through the sharpener, all the way through to the tip of the blade. Try to keep steady gentle pressure on the blade the whole time through.
The first stage of knife sharpening removes more metal than any other stage, so it’s important to be consistent the first time through so you don’t have to repeat this stage.
Once you’ve pulled the knife through once, move to the next sharpening slot to the right. This stage will hone the edge and give you a sharper blade. It doesn’t remove as much metal, but this stage is critical for creating an edge that doesn’t fold or nick easily.
Use the same process, drawing the blade through the sharpener slowly from heel to tip, maintaining gentle pressure the whole time.
For the sharpest blades (assuming you have a three stage sharpener) you’ll repeat the process one more time with the third sharpening slot.
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Step 4: Inspect the Edge
Once you’ve completed the process it’s important to check the quality of the edge on your knife. I usually just do a visual inspection because the main problems that can happen with electric sharpeners are fairly easy to spot.
Look for any obvious nicks in the blade. The edge should look smooth to the naked eye.
If it passes that test, turn the knife so that the blade is directly facing a light source. A properly sharpened edge shouldn’t catch the light, it should be dark all the way down. If there are any sections that catch the light, chances are that the metal is still folded slightly in those areas.
A couple of strokes with a honing steel should fix the problem, but if the knife has nicks you may need to sharpen it one more time.
If sharpening again still doesn’t work it might be time to send your knife to a professional sharpening service.
Step 5: Clean and Store Your Knives
The last step is to clean off all your knives and put them away.
Don’t skip rinsing your knives, you never know when small flakes of metal could still be attached to the blade and could make their way into your food the next time you use the knife.
Wipe everything off with a damp cloth at least, but it’s better to wash as normal with soap and water.
You should also wipe down your Chef’s Choice Knife Sharpener with a damp cloth (after you’ve unplugged it!) before you put it away.
That’s it, you’ve finished sharpening your knives!
Want to see how this process works? Take a look at this video demonstrating the Wusthof model of the Chef’s Choice Knife Sharpener.
This sharpener is a little more advanced than most Chef’s Choice Knife Sharpeners, which means that there are a few more steps to using this sharpener. It’s important to read the directions that came with your specific sharpener to make sure you’re following the right process.
My steps are guidelines based on the sharpeners most people use. But you may need to modify them slightly to get the best results from your sharpener.
My Final Thoughts on Using a Chef’s Choice Knife Sharpener
Using a Chef’s Choice sharpener is one of the easiest ways to keep your knives sharp. Having sharp knives isn’t just about making your kitchen easier to use. Sharp knives are also critical for kitchen safety.
Plus, for many cooks, sharp knives are a matter of pride.
Taking good care of your knives is one of the most important chores in your kitchen. Using an electric knife sharpener makes it a faster and easier chore too!
I’m sure you’ll be amazed how much of a difference having genuinely sharp knives can make!