Do you have a ceramic knife and worry about it getting blunt over time?
Or are you considering purchasing a ceramic knife and want to know how to properly keep its blade sharp?
Read this guide to learn more!
One of the major advantages of ceramic knives is their extreme sharpness, which is beneficial for precision cutting fruits and vegetables.
However, a common misconception is that ceramic knives never need to be sharpened and (almost) never get dull. The main advantage that ceramic knives have over steel knives is that they don’t need to be sharpened as often.
When a ceramic knife’s blade does start to dull, it is imperative to sharpen them properly.
You will learn in this guide:
- Why should you own a Ceramic Knife
- What are the advantages of properly sharpening your Ceramic Knife
- What are the different tools to effectively sharpen your Ceramic Knife
- And much more!
What's in this Guide?
Why should you own a Ceramic Knife?
There are a few reasons why ceramic knives are becoming more and more popular in the kitchen. Beautifully designed and typically offered in a range of hues, they are aesthetically pleasing to have in the kitchen.
Ceramic knives are made out of zirconium oxide, a material that makes the knife harder and more durable than other materials such as stainless steel or carbon steel.
Ceramic knives are also extremely sharp and lightweight. In fact, ceramic knives weigh about half as much as steel knives, making them easy to handle.
The blades are extremely thin, making ceramic knives excellent at precision cutting and thin slicing for fruits and vegetables.
Also, its material is highly resistant to acidic substances, giving the blade the advantage of never rusting or absorbing odors. They are also 100% stainless, making them an ideal choice for cutting foods that have risk of stainage (such as pomegranates).
While ceramic knives are extremely sharp and usually remain that way for a long time, they do eventually dull and it’s important to sharpen them properly.
However, there are some disadvantages of using a ceramic knife. Given its fragile nature, it is susceptible to breaking if you mistakenly drop it on the floor. It is also ideally used to cut softer materials.
However, its advantages of being lightweight and easy to handle make it a popular and easy choice to use in the kitchen.
What are the advantages of properly sharpening your Ceramic Knives?
Ceramic knives are highly valued for their incredible sharpness and are often believed to never go dull.
Contrary to popular belief, they usually can hold their sharpness for months or even years depending on usage, but eventually they do start wearing down and require sharpening.
Sharpening a ceramic knife is trickier than sharpening a regular steel knife. This is because while ceramic knives have impressive hardness, they are very delicate and brittle.
When it comes to sharpening a ceramic knife, it is imperative to not apply too much pressure on the blade laterally. Much like glass, ceramic knives have no give or spring, so without cautious handling you risk the blade snapping or shattering.
Applying a proper method of sharpening should restore the sharpness of your ceramic knife.
What you need to know about sharpening Ceramic Knives
Sharpening ceramic knives can be a little tricky, but it’s a relatively simple operation. The technique applied and how you place your hands on the knife are crucial in achieving the best result when sharpening.
If you put one hand on the blade and the other on the sharpener, there is high risk that the ceramic knife will end up breaking because you won’t be able to regulate the pressure exerted on it.
When sharpening, the safest way to handle a ceramic knife is to place both hands on the blade. Apply gentle force consistently with both fingers, while supporting the blade.
Be sure to not bend the blade as this will result in breakage. You can also run your fingers along the direction of the knife’s blade, but be careful not to cut yourself.
Make nice, smooth movements with gentle pressure, and your blade will get sharp. Positioning your hands in this way allows for more control — You should be able to monitor the blade speed, as well as the force applied.
Unlike when sharpening a steel knife, no burr will be formed when sharpening your ceramic knife since ceramic is not a ductile material. Burr is metal waste that forms at the edge of a steel knife.
Supplies you’ll need in sharpening ceramic knives
Ceramic has a hardness of 9.5 (whereas steel has a hardness of 6.5). Diamond is an effective material to sharpen ceramic because it has a higher level of hardness at 10.
While technically you can use other types of knife sharpeners, I would highly recommend sticking with diamond sharpeners such as diamond stones to be safe.
Additionally, because diamond is a harder material than ceramic, it will require far less work and be more efficient. Using other sharpeners will require more force and puts your ceramic knife more at risk of breakage.
Ditch the sharpening rods and triangle sharpeners. If you are curious, there are some electric sharpeners that can be compatible with ceramic knives, but not all.
Lower-end sharpeners often use ceramic or tungsten carbide abrasives, which are simply not sufficiently sharp to handle ceramic and can degrade your knife. You can, however, use an electric diamond sharpener.
Honing rods made of ceramic are meant to sharpen softer metals and are not compatible with ceramic. I highly recommend sticking with diamond sharpeners.
Generally, sharpening of ceramic knives require two necessary supplies:
- Ceramic knife
- A Diamond Stone
How to sharpen Ceramic Knives
Now that you know the tools and techniques to use in sharpening ceramic knives, let’s talk about how to sharpen your ceramic knife at home yourself.
It is best to maintain proper technique and achieve a better result.
Proper hand positioning is essential to getting a properly sharpened knife.
Using a Diamond Stone
Step 1: Place the diamond stone on a flat surface
Step 2: With the knife tip facing the top part of the stone, hold your ceramic knife with both hands
Step 3: Gently, with minimum pressure, slide the blade against the diamond stone
Step 4: With the consistent application of light force, continuously repeat this process until your knife is sharp!
As an alternative, you can also sharpen your ceramic knife with a diamond file.
Check out this video below to learn how to safely do so — place your knife on top of the file rest and apply pressure from the file, moving back and forth from the knife heel to the knife tip.
Using a Diamond Electric Knife Sharpener:
- Step 1: Hold the knife in one hand and hold the sharpener with the other hand.
- Step 2: Position the knife in the grinding slot provided. The heel of the knife should be pressed down as far as possible
- Step 3: As gently as possible, slide the knife backward against the grindstone
- Step 4: Repeat the cycle about four times to get a better result
- Step 5: Rinse the knife and dry
Precautions to take before sharpening Ceramic knives
Although sharpening a ceramic knife is a very straightforward procedure, there are some precautions to note before you begin sharpening your knife. These include:
- Always wear cut-resistant gloves to protect yourself from slippage and cutting yourself
- Do not apply too much pressure on your ceramic knife laterally. Although Ceramic is hard, it is also brittle and will snap if too much pressure is applied
- NEVER sharpen Ceramic knives if you’re in haste. Sharpening Ceramic knives requires patience, and they will break if sharpened at a fast speed
- If you choose not to wear gloves, definitely do not sharpen ceramic knives with wet hands. It might seem like an obvious thing to say, but this is to avoid any unfortunate slippage. It would be terrible for your ceramic knife to slip out of your hands after sharpening and smash to the ground, rendering your efforts in vain!
My Final thoughts on how to sharpen Ceramic Knives
Sharpening your ceramic knife is essential as they can get blunt with usage, and using a method that gives the best result is most important.
The use of sharpeners with abrasives with a lower hardness than ceramic will risk your ceramic knife to break, which is why I recommend using a diamond sharpener. Be sure to keep even pressure throughout the length of the blade when sharpening to prevent breakage.
Ceramic knives require adequate maintenance to keep serving you.
Don’t toss out a perfect ceramic knife just because it’s blunt. Follow these simple tips and your ceramic knife will be sharp as new!