We all have our favorite tools in the kitchen. When asked to name that one thing we “just can’t live without”, most of us might answer with the name of our favorite stand mixer or fancy espresso maker or those old cast iron skillets that are perfectly seasoned after years of use. The list is different for everyone but perhaps like me, other home cooks might neglect the importance of one set of tools we all use in the kitchen: our knives.
When window shopping for kitchen items, I would always gravitate towards the pots and pans, appliances and the latest kitchen gadget that I “have to have”. For many years I never paid attention to my knives. Thankfully, I have benefited from my husband’s fastidious nature about tools (all of his are in perfect working order) since he has taken charge of keeping my knives sharp at all times. I admit, it is something I used to take for granted until I began to notice the difference between my knives and those of others when asked to help with kitchen prep in other people’s homes. Dull knives are more difficult and, dare I say, dangerous to use.
Dull knives make hard work of slicing a loaf of bread, tomatoes or even cutting up pieces of meat. With the additional pressure that has to be exerted to cut through the food, the knife can slip and cut the user. It’s happened to me before. Without really being aware of it, our hands get used to the amount of pressure we use to cut food. So to be safe, each sharpening session is followed by a warning from my husband to apply a lighter touch whenever I use them again for the first time. For years he has switched between using a manual knife sharpener and an electric one. There was something that intimidated me about using the latter so I have always been content to let him do the work for me.
When the Edgeware company generously offered to send me one of their knife sharpeners, I quickly agreed. I liked the features of their Ceramic Edge Gourmet Knife and Scissors Sharpener, allowing the user to sharpen multiple blade types with the machine’s interlocking ceramic wheels. I would not only be able to sharpen my straight edge and serrated knives, I would be able to sharpen my scissors, too. Plus, it was a tool that I knew my husband would get excited about and I would be able to use his experience to help me evaluate it. I set aside my fear of sharpening my knives myself and committed to letting him teach me.
And what do you know…the process was easy (and my fears were completely unwarranted). After letting my husband give the sharpener a trial run, he let me have a go at it.
A couple of things to know about the Edgeware Ceramic Edge Gourmet Knife and Scissor sharpener: 1) It will sharpen knives made of alloy, carbon or stainless steel (not ceramic or single beveled knives); 2) Unlike traditional electric knife sharpeners, its interlocking ceramic wheels will easily sharpen both sides of the knife at the same time, producing a more consistent cutting edge. The interlocking wheels were also designed to be 17 1/2° on each side to be versatile enough to sharpen a wide variety of knives (I learned quite a bit about different knife styles in preparing for this review and this covers the knives most home cooks use).
For sharpening straight edge knives the Edgeware Ceramic Edge Gourmet sharpener employs a simple two-step process.
First, the initial cutting edge of the knife is set using the manual Carbide Sharpening slot (first of two v-shaped slots in picture below). In the second image above, I ran my knife from the heel (the back tip of the knife closest to the handle), applying slight pressure as I pulled through to the tip of the knife. Per my husband’s suggestion, I placed my fingers on the spine (top of the knife) to make sure I applied even, consistent pressure as I pulled the knife through the slot. This first step is repeated a few times but even after just a couple of runs through the carbide slot, I could tell that the edge on my knife was being reset (you can hear the difference), correcting the uneven work of our old electric knife sharpener. My tip: As expected, there will be a very small amount of metal particles from the blade so use the machine away from food.
Once the edge has been reset on my knife, I turned on the machine for final sharpening. I lowered my knife against the interlocking wheels (main slot) heel first. Once the blade made contact with the wheels it aligned itself as I pulled through the slot, again with slight pressure. Since I was tentative on the first few runs (you repeat the process about 10 times) I wasn’t sure if I was actually sharpening my knife. I needed some leverage so I put my right hand on the right edge of the sharpener as I pulled the knife through. This helped me to apply more consistent pressure on the knife. And, unlike me, you’re most likely right-handed so the rubber hand grip on the left side of the machine will come in handy. I found it very easy to use even as a south paw. My tip: Even though the interlocking wheels self align the edge of the knife, I helped it along by making sure the spine of the knife was centered between in the slot as I pulled through. Super easy.
For sharpening serrated knives, the manual serrated sharpening slot (located to the right of the carbide slot) made my dull bread knife work as new again. The triangular-shaped ceramic stones will sharpen all types of serrated knives.
For sharpening scissors, The Edgeware sharpener has a retractable manual sharpener that rotates for right-handed or left-handed scissors (yes, I’m left-handed but with certain things, sports and scissors, I use my right hand).
The Verdict? I am so happy with my Edgeware knife sharpener. Its ease of use eliminated my fears of sharpening my knives and more importantly, it works beautifully. My only minor critique is that the power cord is a bit on the short side. However, this wasn’t a problem for me since my kitchen counters are narrow and I have multiple outlets.
Now for the fun part. The Edgeware company has generously offered to give one of my readers an identical knife sharpener. Here are the rules to win your own Edgeware Ceramic Edge Gourmet Knife and Scissors sharpener (approximate retail value: $149.99)
***THIS GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED. THANK YOU FOR YOUR PARTICIPATION!***
REQUIRED TO ENTER:
- Let me know in the comments section if you sharpen your own knives, make someone else in your home sharpen them for you or if you sharpen them at all.
- Edgeware would appreciate your “likes” on their Facebook fan page so I hope you’ll use this additional chance to win.
- Follow Edgeware on Twitter
- The winner will be selected by a random number drawing.
- THE GIVEAWAY ENDS ON FRIDAY, MAY 11, 2012 (Midnight, PST)
- The contest is open to U.S. addresses only (my apologies to my international readers!)
- Legal: The Edgeware company provided the Ceramic Edge Gourmet Electric Knife and Scissors Sharpener for my review and will be providing a second one for this giveaway but my opinions about the product are strictly my own. If I do not wholeheartedly approve of a product, please know that I would not promote it on this blog.