If you want to succeed in the kitchen everyone knows that it is a must to have sharp knives.
I have a farming friend who keeps all his knives so sharp that you can cut paper on the sidewith them. He uses a plain straight forward sharpening steel. If you were to give me one of his sharp knives and the same sharpening steel I would make it blunt in about 5 seconds!!
The idea is to draw the blade of the knife across the steel at an angle. You draw the knife once on one side and then once on the other side and continue doing this until the knife is completely sharp.
There is definitely an art to using a steel and that’s what all professional chefs use.
So the way to be proficient in using a steel is to go and have lessons.
Electric Knife Sharpener
These usually consist of two sets of vibrating sharpening stones set in a vee shape. By switching the sharpener on the stones vibrate and then you draw the knife through the vee slowly and steadily. They usually have suction feet so that they do not move around the countertop.
While I think they do a good job they don’t get the knife quite as sharp as the steel.
Crossed Steel Hand Held Sharpener
These will consist of two very small steels(about an inch in length) which are crossed and attached to a handle. You the draw the knife through the crossed steels.
One major drawback with this type of sharpener is that it is hand held. So if your hand slipped there is a danger that you might cut your hand. Some models do have handguards making them safer to use.
Again they are quite effective but still not as good as a steel.
Given that I can’t use the sharpening steel my favored option is the Samurai Pro.
This sharpener has two very small sharpening stones in the shape of a vee. One of the blades is moveable so that you can adjust the size of the vee according to what size of blade you want sharpened. It also has a suction stand so that you can fix it to the countertop and therefore you do not have to hold it thus making it safer to use.
Again you draw the knife through the vee two or three times.
I find the Samurai Pro to be very effective.
One final point. Sharp knives can be very dangerous so be very careful when handling them and keep them out of the reach of children.