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Obessive Compuslive Knife Sharpening Disorder

Chemicalkinetics Feb 10, 2010 11:53 AM

As the title suggested, I believe I have Obessive Compuslive Knife Sharpening Disorder (OCKSD). Most people do not send their knives out for professional sharpening more than once a year. I told myself that I should not sharpen my knives more than once every two months, but every time I find my knives slightly less sharp, I sharpened them, so I ended up sharpening my knives about once every two weeks if not more often. Sometime, I sharpened them just to put a new edge angle to try, like my Dexter Chinese chef's knife, which took me more than 2 hours.

My question to you is that: How often do you sharpen your knives? I don't mean honing or stropping. I mean sharpening. If you have OCKSD, are you seeking treatment? If so, where are you getting your help? I think we should have a OCKSD supporting group.

  1. r
    RGC1982 Feb 10, 2010 12:47 PM

    There is a support group already in existence. It's call Fred's Cutlery Forum. You should join, if you aren't already a member.

    6 Replies
    1. re: RGC1982
      Chemicalkinetics Feb 10, 2010 12:53 PM

      RGC,

      I thought the Fred's Cutley Forum and other knifeforum are only make me worse, not better. RGC, how often do you touch up your knives? I mean for a given knife. So if you touch up knife A this week and knife B next week and then knife C a week later, I won't count that as every week.

      1. re: Chemicalkinetics
        r
        RGC1982 Feb 10, 2010 06:40 PM

        It depends on which knife and what I am cutting. I am somewhat lazy with my carbon steel Sabatiers, and can keep those pretty sharp with a grooved steel because they are soft. I usually just use a ceramic rod on my Shuns, and the same grooved steel on my German knives. Not every time -- maybe every other time. Every now and then, I am in the mood to pull out my whetstones -- maybe once every other month. The smaller German knives are now much sharper than factory after using these (I think I have 1200/6000, from Korin, but I need to check), and the Shuns have only needed a light touch on these in the two years I have had them. I haven't yet had to send them out for sharpening.

        1. re: RGC1982
          Chemicalkinetics Feb 10, 2010 06:52 PM

          RGC,

          1200/6000 sounds right. Your sharpening schedule sounds a lot more healthy than mine. Hopefully, I will slow down to about one sharpening per month.

        2. re: Chemicalkinetics
          scubadoo97 Feb 11, 2010 04:20 AM

          The FoodieForum is not the therapy you are looking for to cure this disorder but you will feel better amongst those with more serious illness.

          1. re: Chemicalkinetics
            r
            RGC1982 Feb 13, 2010 09:16 AM

            Actually, now that I have re-read your response, I think you should count this scenario as an every week event. Look at it this way: If you are an alcoholic, and one week you binge on vodka, the next week on scotch, and the next on bourbon, you were still drunk for three weeks -- correct? Since this topic is technically about a DISORDER, I think your scenario of not counting this as a weekly event (for you, not the knives, who cannot have a disorder) is a symptom of the typical rationalization that addicts might use to justify why they are still sharpening each week.

            Nope, I disagree. You need to put your stones AWAY for three weeks out of the month in order to convince me that you are not sharpening once a week. I don't care how many knives you own ;)

            1. re: RGC1982
              Chemicalkinetics Feb 13, 2010 10:56 AM

              Oww, I am worse than I thought. You have only given me the end result "putting my stones away for three weeks...", you have not given me any solution.

        3. shaogo Feb 10, 2010 12:55 PM

          I'll often sharpen (by hand -- three wet stones Japanese-style) a knife that's been used by someone else. Well, I should say "have sharpened." I run a restaurant and there're two guys in our kitchen who can put an awesome edge on a knife -- and quickly, too.

          I also use the steel compulsively. Probably more often than I ought to.

          1 Reply
          1. re: shaogo
            Chemicalkinetics Feb 10, 2010 01:03 PM

            Shaogo,

            How often are we talking about? I suppose a restaurant will be completely different. I know people sharpen their restaurant knives as often as every day, but I have a real feeling that I am sharpening/touching up my home knives a bit more too often. My knives still cut fine, but I would just touch them up to get them sharper.

          2. PBSF Feb 10, 2010 01:04 PM

            Having OCKSD signifies some deeper and more sinister personality problem. Next thing, you'll be sleeping with your knives.

            3 Replies
            1. re: PBSF
              Chemicalkinetics Feb 10, 2010 01:08 PM

              PBSF,

              Oh my. I think you are right. What should I do? Please suggest a doctor.

              1. re: PBSF
                f
                Fahzz Feb 10, 2010 03:20 PM

                ...just don't sleep with someone else's knife! ;-)

                1. re: Fahzz
                  Chemicalkinetics Feb 11, 2010 07:52 AM

                  Fahzz,

                  Is that a real possibility?

              2. g
                goatgolfer Feb 10, 2010 03:53 PM

                This knife is mine. There are many like it but this one is mine.....

                1. Soop Feb 11, 2010 01:33 AM

                  You know I don't sharpen mine often. But I don't think it's a bad thing that you do it if you enjoy it - I play video games far more than you sharpen knives, but I wouldn't describe myself as obsessive :)

                  Mind you, my paring knife has some micro chips, so I'll have to do something about it soon.

                  6 Replies
                  1. re: Soop
                    Chemicalkinetics Feb 11, 2010 02:25 AM

                    Soop,

                    Ok, I play video games more than I sharpen my knives too. I spend less than 1 hour per week for knife sharpening, but I spend more than 1 hour per day playing games and I used to play a lot more.

                    Just get a inexpensive waterstone. Start with just a ~1000 grits stone. It will cost you like $20-30 US dollar, so probably close to $15-25 in pounds. Depending on the size of your micro chips, it may take you awhile to gind out them on a 1000 grits stone.

                    http://www.amazon.com/gp/offer-listing/B0000DD1MJ/ref=dp_olp_new?ie=UTF8&condition=new

                    http://www.amazon.com/250-1000-Combin...

                    1. re: Chemicalkinetics
                      Soop Feb 11, 2010 02:43 AM

                      This is all we have on the UK one :(
                      http://www.amazon.co.uk/whetstone/s/q...

                      1. re: Soop
                        Chemicalkinetics Feb 11, 2010 03:20 AM

                        Soop,

                        Ok, the UK Amazon has poor selection and horrible prices. I don't know why, but look at these diamond stones:

                        DMT fine, coarse and extra coarse diamond stone for £50.00 each
                        http://www.amazon.co.uk/Dmt-Whetstone-Grit-Plastic-Case/dp/B00004WFU7/ref=sr_1_51?ie=UTF8&s=diy&qid=1265890470&sr=1-51

                        http://www.amazon.co.uk/Dmt-Whetstone-Grit-Plastic-Case/dp/B00004WFU8/ref=pd_rhf_shvl_1

                        http://www.amazon.co.uk/Dmt-Whetstone-Grit-Plastic-Case/dp/B00004WFU9/ref=sr_1_57?ie=UTF8&s=diy&qid=1265890627&sr=1-57

                        I bought them for $30 each, that is £20.00.

                        http://www.amazon.com/DMT-W6FP-Diamond-Tabletop-Whetstone/dp/B00004WFU7/ref=sr_1_12?ie=UTF8&s=hi&qid=1265890691&sr=8-12

                        http://www.amazon.com/DMT-W6XP-Diamon...

                        1. re: Chemicalkinetics
                          Soop Feb 11, 2010 03:31 AM

                          horrible, isn't it?

                          I'm still regretting not picking up the bargain ~£20 chroma whetstones.

                        2. re: Soop
                          Chemicalkinetics Feb 11, 2010 03:38 AM

                          Soop,

                          Have you bought stuffs from eBay? There are a few reasonably priced stones.

                          This one looks good. A King 1200 grit waterstone for £17.55 (£2.80 shipping). The only problem is that this seller is new, so it can be slightly risky.
                          http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/Ice-Bear-King-japanese-Waterstone-1200-grit_W0QQitemZ200435684807QQcmdZViewItemQQptZUK_BOI_Building_Materials_Supplies_Carpentry_Woodwork_ET?hash=item2eaae5d5c7

                          This follwing guy is more reputable and sold many more products. Here is his list of waterstones and their prices are not too bad given of the free shipping.
                          http://stores.shop.ebay.co.uk/World-O...

                          1. re: Chemicalkinetics
                            Soop Feb 11, 2010 03:48 AM

                            That's a bit better. I'll have a look - next month T___T

                    2. Alacrity59 Feb 13, 2010 11:40 AM

                      I sat down and sharpened every knife in the house before Christmas knowing I would be doing a lot of cooking. The knives I use the most are sharpened 3 or 4 times a year.

                      1. CindyJ Mar 4, 2010 11:36 AM

                        Tell ya what, Chemicalkinetics -- next time you feel an uncontrollable urge to sharpen knives, come on over and sharpen mine! I've never met a knife sharpener that I like and that I can use correctly. As a result, my knives are the "weakest link" in my kitchen. Most of them are dangerously dull. I sometimes go through the motions -- quite literally -- with a steel, but I can never see a difference afterward. I've had a Chef's Choice sharpener and I gave it away because my knives "bounced" in it. I have a MinoSharp ceramic water sharpener that someone talked me into buying, but I can't figure out exactly how to use it, so it sits in a drawer, collecting dust. I also have a DMT Diamond Whetstone; I can't tell you where I got it, or why, but I haven't the foggiest idea how it's used. I WISH I knew how to sharpen my knives; I don't even know where to learn how.

                        Can we talk you into feeding your habit by offering a hands-on class locally?

                        9 Replies
                        1. re: CindyJ
                          scubadoo97 Mar 4, 2010 03:06 PM

                          Cindy, Not sure where Chem is located but it sounds like a nice offer

                          Dave Martell http://www.japaneseknifesharpening.co... is located in Berks County PA. He is one of the best sharpeners around specifically for Japanese knives but he can also do regular western knives. He will charge much less for those as they will take very little time to sharpen. He also sells sharpening equipment and has a video on how to sharpen with whetstones. There are many good videos on youtube that show excellent Japanese sharpening technique. I have Dave's DVD but have learned a lot by watching videos on youtube. Dave's DVD goes over basic theory then shows you how to use the stones.

                          There are lot of bad videos as well. Search for Japanese knife sharpening and you should get a few good hits.

                          1. re: CindyJ
                            Chemicalkinetics Mar 4, 2010 05:23 PM

                            Cindy,

                            I have a disorder. I am not very good at my disorder through. Many people are alcoholic and have very low tolerance. I heard MinoSharp ceramic sharpener is good. Do you know what grit is that stone? That is: is it a 200 grit or 1000 grit or 6000 grit? If you have never used it, then the number should still be on the stone. DMT diamond stone is very good in my experience. I have two of them. They cut really well. They last a long time and they remain flat – always. They are just not good for polishing. Do you know what the diamond stone grit size? Some of the DMT stone are color code. Do you know the color?

                            Scubadoo is correct. Dave Martell is probably one of the better known knife sharpener. He really cares about knives, so much so that he probably cares about your knives more than you do. So if his service still cannot match your expectation, then probably not many others can. There are a few knife sharpening videos of Dave on youtube. I think if you type “Dave knife sharpening”, you will find them.

                            1. re: Chemicalkinetics
                              CindyJ Mar 5, 2010 09:04 AM

                              The MinoSharp has two ceramic wheels; one is described as "coarse, the other is "medium". I don't know what the grit is. I've tried using it, but was never really impressed with the outcome.

                              The DMT is blue. As I said, I can't recall where I obtained it, but I once Googled it and found that that stone, alone, is not adequate for knife sharpening.

                              I took a look at Dave on Youtube. I might decide to trek on up to Berks Co. to get my knives sharpened. But that still leaves me with the challenge of "everyday" sharpening (or is it honing?).

                              1. re: CindyJ
                                Chemicalkinetics Mar 5, 2010 09:31 AM

                                CIndy,

                                Opps. Somehow I thought it is this MinsoSharp:

                                http://www.amazon.com/Minosharp-Medium-Stone-Sharpening-Kit/dp/B0006A03UQ

                                The blue DMT stone is a coarse stone at 325 grit.

                                http://www.dmtsharp.com/products/colo...

                                It is a good stone, but it is a bit coarse, so you will need to finish on a finer stone. I own the black one and the red one, so even though I don't technically own the blue one. I can guess how it feels.

                                What kind of knife do you have? If you have standard German Henckels Wusthof knives, then you should able to hone it on a daily or weekly basis. Some people like a smooth steel. Other prefer a ceramic rod. The smooth steel is a pure honing device. The ceramic rod both hone and sharpen slightly.

                                If you have hard steel (Japanese) knives like Shun, Global, Tojiro, then typical honing won't do. You can either use a ceramic rod or fine grit flat whetstone.

                                1. re: Chemicalkinetics
                                  CindyJ Mar 5, 2010 11:42 AM

                                  The MinoSharp I have is this one: http://www.amazon.com/Global-MinoShar... Most of my knives are "standard German" knives. What I really need is for someone to show me how to sharpen my knives, on whatever type of apparatus I can successfully manage, and then watch and critique me as I attempt to follow those instructions.

                                  1. re: CindyJ
                                    Chemicalkinetics Mar 5, 2010 12:23 PM

                                    Cindy,

                                    If I am any good, I would have offered my service, but I am not. You know what? Dave Martell actually teaches Japanese knife sharpening class. Of course, he has his DVD, but he has real life classes as well. He lives in PA like you.

                                    I thought about going to improve my skill, but couldn't find the time to do it. To be honest, the price of the class is reasonable. Yes, it is $150, but this is not a 1-2 hour class. It is a 10AM-6:00PM class.

                                    http://www.japaneseknifesharpeningsto...

                                    The other challenges are that you need to have a few things ready before attending. Here are the requirements:
                                    ***
                                    Japanese Knives (double bevel and/or single bevel
                                    )Sharpening Stones (Coarse, Medium, Fine)
                                    Stone Flattener
                                    Nagura stone (optional)
                                    Stone Holder
                                    Good attitude :)

                                    You already have a coarse stone from DMT and a DMT coarse stone also act as a stone flatter (which is why I love DMT stone). So you really only need a fine stone, a medium stone, a stone holder and a Japanese knife -- oh yes, a good attitude. I heard you are not allowed to hit people in the class, just so you know :P

                                    Of course, Japanese knife sharpening is probably a lot more involved than you need for maintaining German steel knives. For German steel knives, you just have to hone them lightly at 20 degree angle with a honing steel. That should keep your knives functional for 6months to a year. Avoid the grooved honing steel if you can.

                                    1. re: Chemicalkinetics
                                      CindyJ Mar 5, 2010 12:33 PM

                                      From what little I've read, it seems that it takes much more skill to sharpen Japanese knives than the ones I've got. I'll be happy to send my knives out a couple of times a year for professional sharpening if I can keep them well-honed in between.

                                      I think I'm overwhelmed by what I don't know about knives, and I hardly know where to start. I don't even know if my knives are of decent quality.

                                      Oh, I went to Dave's website and it says that he doesn't do drop off/pick knife sharpening -- it's all mail order -- so I'm debating whether to use his service, or to leave them at Kitchen Kapers for sharpening. I don't know who does their knife sharpening.

                                      1. re: CindyJ
                                        Chemicalkinetics Mar 5, 2010 12:55 PM

                                        Cindy,

                                        Typical knife sharpening is not as bad as it seems. I admit it is very scary to sharpen a beautiful and expensive knife. So you should always practice with a cheap knife which you don't care for. Just play around with it on your DMT stone. Once you get the hang of it, then you can try your other knives and then buy a finer stone on top of the DMT coarse stone.

                                        Chad has a nice section on knife sharpening and knife honing here. It is slightly long, but he is a very good write, so it is a good read.

                                        http://forums.egullet.org/index.php?/...

                                        I don't know who Kitchen Kaper contract the work to.

                                        1. re: CindyJ
                                          scubadoo97 Mar 5, 2010 04:14 PM

                                          Consider the EdgePro. You can get one for about $150 and you will be able to sharpen your knives on your first try after watching the DVD. It will pay for it self in little time and you will never have to worry about sending your knives out for service. It doesn't cost much more than a good knife and is much less than many of the Japanese knives out there yet it will provide years and years of service to all of your knives.

                            2. tim irvine Mar 5, 2010 04:45 PM

                              I had the same disorder, albeit at a likely much less proficient level. I had some stainless Henckels and nothing would keep them sharp (too hard for me to hone, I guess). Carbon has been my answer and I sharpen ONLY when with a regular honing it will no longer slice a tomato cleanly by simply drawing it across the fruit. Eventually I figured out tthat July 4th and Thanksgiving worked well. I overcame my disorder by going to soft, easy to hone knives and turning the day before each of those two big days as "Knife Sharpening Day." Now I have time for my OTHER OCDs!

                              30 Replies
                              1. re: tim irvine
                                Chemicalkinetics Mar 5, 2010 05:54 PM

                                Tim,

                                I am glad you were able to overcome this disorder. It has been hard on me, my family and even my imaginary dog. So what other OCD have you acquired? :)

                                1. re: Chemicalkinetics
                                  tim irvine Mar 6, 2010 08:08 AM

                                  I have three of 'em...polishing copper, oiling wood utensils, and always having a STACK of clean white towels.

                                  1. re: tim irvine
                                    Chemicalkinetics Mar 6, 2010 10:00 AM

                                    I understand the first two... but Stack of white towels?

                                    1. re: Chemicalkinetics
                                      k
                                      knet Mar 6, 2010 03:42 PM

                                      Finally a disorder I can embrace! I can control the knife sharpening urge but oiling wood utensils and boards AND having stacks of clean white towels in the kitchen are two compulsions that are taking up an unhealthy amount of time and thought in the kitchen for me! Just as a word to CK - I notice the digression into "Knife Sharpening Advice" and I have to ask myself - is it fair for posters to tempt your ( the recovering sharpener) :into this sort of talk when surely it just reminds you that there is a whetstone somewhere calling your name? And secondly, surely your willingness to lapse back into knife sharpening talk indicates a less than 100% commitment to recovery :)) ?

                                      1. re: knet
                                        Chemicalkinetics Mar 6, 2010 04:28 PM

                                        knet,

                                        Are you also Tim Irvine, or do you two have the exact same urge to oil wood utensils, board and having stacks of clean white towels?

                                        Yes, you are right. I am not sure why these other posters tempering me to talk about sharpening knives. :) It is like asking an alcoholic about different hard liquor drinks.

                                        1. re: Chemicalkinetics
                                          k
                                          knet Mar 6, 2010 05:49 PM

                                          Not Tim - just share the compulsion! Since I also have a compulsion to buy more cutting boards and wooden utensils, it's a LOT of oiling! More than necessary though perhaps not as detrimental as excessive knife sharpening:) At the moment I am up to 5 cutting boards and who knows how many spoons and spatulas that all ( in my deluded mind) need to be oiled. All the time!
                                          As to the white towels - there may be 50 of them in the kitchen and I still feel the need to bring home more. Then I obsess about keeping them white which is an almost impossible task when I use them as side towels. It's all quite sad really

                                          1. re: knet
                                            Chemicalkinetics Mar 7, 2010 09:47 AM

                                            Knet,

                                            I only have one chopping block. Why do you need five cutting boards? Ok, I have three, but two of them are cracked, so only one real one. I am tossing the other two out soon. The one which is working is this one:

                                            http://www.chow.com/photos/420502

                                            The other two I used mineral oil and eventually cracked. This one I used tung oil and finished with beesmax -- spent a lot of time doing those. I don't have to oil it anymore and I don't have to worry about drying out. The downside is that I think I applied too thick of a beesmax layer, so it doesn't have that wood fiber feel anymore. I wonder if it has lost that end grain wood board advantage -- that is the idea that knives can cut into the board, so it is gentle on the blade. Now, my knives seem to just cut into the beeswax rather than parting the wood fiber. Maybe I will buy another chopping block and play around again. :)

                                    2. re: tim irvine
                                      CindyJ Mar 7, 2010 05:45 AM

                                      I'm almost afraid to ask the question for fear of an "aha" moment which will have me running once again to fulfill another unmet need, but here goes -- what, exactly, are the stack of clean white towels for?

                                      1. re: CindyJ
                                        tim irvine Mar 7, 2010 07:11 AM

                                        the stack of towels is for a long list of things: they are handy to grab and use as potholders (every pan I own has a handle that can get hot), wiping knives after use and rinse (they're all carbon and can't sit around wet), cleaning plate edges, covering rising bread, wiping water spots off the faucets, use as napkins or aprons, and, of course, drying dishes. The kitchen opens onto a small hall where the washing machine is; so a pile of towels piles up quickly. It is just comforting to have plenty of them in a neat, clean stack when I start the day (the first job of the day for towels being to hold the still hot Bialetti as I take it apart to make the second latte). They don't have to be white, I guess, but cotton pique towels out perform all others IMHO.

                                        1. re: tim irvine
                                          k
                                          knet Mar 7, 2010 07:34 AM

                                          Yep, all of that is what I do with them. I am afraid for me they do have to be white!

                                          1. re: tim irvine
                                            Chemicalkinetics Mar 7, 2010 08:00 AM

                                            Have you tried bamboo/cotton mix towel. I am leaning toward those. Anyway, no, I don't have the obsessive compulsive clean towel phenomena yet. I have like 9 towels, but they are all different colors and I don't wash them very often :P

                                            1. re: Chemicalkinetics
                                              Eiron Mar 7, 2010 09:37 AM

                                              Dear Lord....

                                              Actually, I feel quite a bit better now about my own "quirks," after reading all of this...

                                              :-D

                                              1. re: Eiron
                                                Chemicalkinetics Mar 7, 2010 09:42 AM

                                                Dude,

                                                Doesn't someone has some quirks about dollhouses? :P Just teasing you. Hey, you are always welcome to increase your numbers of quirks.

                                            2. re: tim irvine
                                              CindyJ Mar 7, 2010 09:52 AM

                                              Oooooh... okay. Well I've got one cabinet shelf devoted entirely to dishtowels, and I use them just as you do. I just counted 43, precisely folded, stacked and ready for use. And there are probably at least a dozen more piled on the washer, waiting to be washed. Uh oh! Could this be a compulsion I didn't even realize I had?

                                              1. re: CindyJ
                                                Chemicalkinetics Mar 7, 2010 09:54 AM

                                                43!!!! This reminds me the shock I had when my college dorm neighbor told me that she has 10 pairs of shoes at home.

                                                1. re: Chemicalkinetics
                                                  CindyJ Mar 7, 2010 09:55 AM

                                                  *NOD* Those are just the clean ones.

                                                  1. re: CindyJ
                                                    Chemicalkinetics Mar 7, 2010 09:58 AM

                                                    Cindy,

                                                    I have 10 towels or so. How do you use 43 towels? Do you use one towel and then toss it into the laundry basket, so you end up using a lot of towels in one week? Or do you wash your towels once every month, so you need a lot of towels to provide you a month worth of usage?

                                                    1. re: Chemicalkinetics
                                                      CindyJ Mar 7, 2010 12:36 PM

                                                      Truth be told, the towels at the bottom of the (three) stacks don't get used very often because I don't rotate through them; I pull towels from the tops of the stacks. That said, I probably go through about 15-20 a week, and they get washed once or twice a week. There's always a clean, dry towel hanging beneath the counter at the sink. There's always one hanging at the cooktop and on the oven. If I'm wearing an apron, there's always one tucked into the apron string. Towels that get used for drying pots and pans get tossed into the laundry basket when I feel they're too damp. I use towels to dry knives, to remove smudges from the stainless steel appliances, to remove hot dishes from the microwave, and on the counter when hot bowls/dishes are set down.

                                                      It's not that I can't pass up a dish towel display in a store, but I do like to buy towels as souvenirs when I travel, so my towels sport crabs (Maryland), lobsters (Maine), lavender (France), Porcini mushrooms (Italy), cows (Switzerland), etc.

                                                      1. re: CindyJ
                                                        Chemicalkinetics Mar 7, 2010 12:41 PM

                                                        CindyJ,

                                                        Cool. You seem to know about towels. Do you have preference? Currently I am leaning toward cotton and cotton/bamboo rayon towel. Bamboo because I notice these towels have better antibacterial properties, so they don't get that mildew/mold smell. I am not very into those micro something synthetic towels. Maybe I have tough skin on my finger tip, they tend to catch on my skin.

                                                        1. re: Chemicalkinetics
                                                          CindyJ Mar 8, 2010 05:31 AM

                                                          Chemical - I'm no towel maven; I just enjoy collecting them. I don't have any bamboo blends, and I just wouldn't consider those microfiber products. I once bought some microfiber cleaning cloths and I hated them for the reason you cite -- they feel awful on my fingertips. They also didn't clean as I expected they would. I bought them specifically for cleaning my stainless steel appliances, and I find them no better than paper towels.

                                                          My dish towels are all 100% cotton, and even so, there are great variations in absorbency. I don't seem to have a problem with a mildew or mold smell. Let me know how the bamboo towels work out.

                                                      2. re: Chemicalkinetics
                                                        k
                                                        knet Mar 7, 2010 12:50 PM

                                                        I can go through 5 -6 towels in a day so easily that I can't imagine living with just 10. I am not going to run the washing machine for 5 towels so I need enough around to get through the week. What's your secret CK for ten towels? I use at least three for drying dishes, a couple more for wiping up spills, wiping plate edges, and other miscellaneous mess that happens in a kitchen. And they have to be clean - folded stacked and waiting for me.

                                                        Cutting boards - one by the cooktop , a big one for baking , a John Adams for most chopping jobs, one for resting meat and a few silicone mats for cutting poultry, fish, etc. Of course the silicone doesn't need oiling so I obsessively clean it with soap and boiling water instead!!

                                                        1. re: knet
                                                          Chemicalkinetics Mar 7, 2010 12:57 PM

                                                          Knet,

                                                          My secret is that I don't dry my dishes :P I just hang them side way on a dry rack. :) I use towels mostly for dry my hand in between things and also my knives. As such, I just I assume I don't need a very clean towel every time clean my knives. I clean a lot of other stuffs with paper towels. Another secret is that I don't clean after my kitchen daily :P Disgusting isn't it? I only clean it once a week.

                                                          Do you have fancy John Boos cutting boards? Those are expensive, but I heard those are the professional high grade stuffs.

                                                          1. re: Chemicalkinetics
                                                            k
                                                            knet Mar 7, 2010 04:33 PM

                                                            Yes, I have John Adams Takes Two and a Boos board but this is my favourite ( I have two):
                                                            www.williams-sonoma.com/products/end-...

                                                            Can you believe I even clean my oven once a week ( while you are cleaning the kitchen :)) I am a bit of a clean freak esp. in the kitchen - no doubt that helps to justify my need for 50 clean white towels a bit! I don't sleep at night until it's clean and sparkling for next day's kitchen duty!

                                                            1. re: knet
                                                              Chemicalkinetics Mar 7, 2010 11:03 PM

                                                              Knet

                                                              :) Cool. That is a beautiful end grain cutting board. Have you tried to use those beesmax+mineral oil mixture? They should last longer than mineral oil alone, so you may not have to reapply the boards as often. Williams Sonoma used to sell those, but I cannot find it on its website now.

                                                              How do you clean your oven? Run the self cleaning mode? Or stick your head inside and clean? Best.

                                                              1. re: Chemicalkinetics
                                                                k
                                                                knet Mar 8, 2010 03:50 PM

                                                                Stick my head inside and clean! And actually i don't HAVE to oil often - that is to say that I am not experiencing anything troublesome. It's just that I guess I LIKE to do it!!!

                                                              2. re: knet
                                                                CindyJ Mar 8, 2010 05:25 AM

                                                                knet - I've been using these plastic cutting boards http://www.crateandbarrel.com/family...., and I replace them often, but I've been thinking about investing in a Boos cutting board. Maybe this is a topic for a whole new post, but what factors help you choose the right cutting board? And, which boards do you like best, and why?

                                                                1. re: CindyJ
                                                                  k
                                                                  knet Mar 8, 2010 04:11 PM

                                                                  Probably is a good thread topic! For me, it's wood. I do use the flexible silicone mat for chickens and fish but I prefer a beautiful, heavy, end grain, hard maple. I like the look and the give. It;s sanitary, functional and beautiful all at once. I tried bamboo once and found I really didn't like it. It felt too hard, and there are people who believe it will dull a knife faster. I think if you can afford it, end grain maple is the way to go but it's a personal decision. I have a Boos too - cherry end grain which is a very nice board. RIght now I am really loving the Boos walnut reversible end grain and one day I just may decide to buy it. Trouble is, I don't NEED it!
                                                                  Seriously, if it's in your budget then end grain hard maple, oak, walnut or cherry are all good choices but edge grain boards can be had for much less. One of my boards is a JK Adams Takes Two - hard rock sugar maple - edge grain. Also a very nice board in a lower price range.

                                                                  1. re: knet
                                                                    CindyJ Mar 8, 2010 04:24 PM

                                                                    Can you help me understand the difference between "end grain" and "edge grain" and why end grain is preferable? Thanks.

                                                                    1. re: CindyJ
                                                                      k
                                                                      knet Mar 8, 2010 04:37 PM

                                                                      Edge grain is essentially long wood rail the entire length of your board. End grain is fusing together the end pieces of the wood rails into a 'checkerboard' pattern. The end grain boards are supposed to be easier on your knives because they have more 'give' courtesy of the end grain fibers. Same thing also makes the end grain board more resistant to knife nicks and gouges in the board. Because they are constructed the way they are, they tend to be thicker and heavier than the typical edge grain. And the checkerboard pattern is beauitful. Space might also be an issue - do you plan to leave it out on the countertop or store it?

                                                                      1. re: knet
                                                                        Chemicalkinetics Mar 8, 2010 05:02 PM

                                                                        knet,

                                                                        Technically, end grain boards do not have to be made from fused wood blocks, but it is easier that way. I believe the only requirement is that the fibers run perpendicular to the cutting surface which is parrellel to the knife blade. For example, my choppiing block is end grain, but it is not made from fused blocks:

                                                                        http://www.chow.com/photos/420502

                                                                        I agree with you on every thing else. End grain boards are better for knives because they have more "give". When a knife strikes an end grain board, the fibers split a little. As the knife takes off, the fiber comes back together. This, however, only works well for wood and not bamboo. When bamboo fibers split, they split for good.

                                                                        Edge grain boards, on the other hand, have the fibers run parallel to the cutting surface and perpendicular to the knife blade. They are cheaper and easier to make and usually thinner and lighter. I just notice this from my picture above. The chopping block is end grain and my pastry board underneath is edge grain. Good examples?

                                                                        Cindy, yours is an end grain.

                                        2. tim irvine Mar 7, 2010 02:02 PM

                                          this board is probably a place to catch new disorders. I have known I was a much a cookware junkie as a pig and a cook for years, but this Board has opened up whole new areas to ponder and obsess about, such other (besides knife sharpening) hotly debated topics of our time...universal healthcare, All Clad handles (yuck), Staub vs Le Creuset, etc. I love many of the other Boards, too, especially Wine and Austin. Actually most of my greatest obsessions, like the best under $20 Pinot Noir or the perfect Bolognese, fall outside the scope of this board. Of course they all involve clean towels and are best savored in the glow of well-polished pans and well-oiled wood spoons (and, of course, very sharp knives.) Maybe it's time for a new post: "What is YOUR kitchen obsession?"

                                          2 Replies
                                          1. re: tim irvine
                                            Chemicalkinetics Mar 7, 2010 02:11 PM

                                            We have universal healthcare debate here? Yuck, that is a bit off topic. All Clad handles really suck in my opinion. I thought about getting All Clad. The moment I hold that thing. A huge "No" just popped into my head. We do have a kitchen obsession post. Let me find it.

                                            Found it.
                                            Here:

                                            http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/692008

                                            1. re: Chemicalkinetics
                                              CindyJ Mar 8, 2010 05:40 AM

                                              I've got one piece of All Clad -- a 12" saute pan with cover. It sits collecting dust. I'm thinking of selling it on Craig's List. I also hate the handle, I find it hard to clean (the spots drive me nutzo), and it doesn't heat as evenly as I had expected it to. I've got so many other pans that perform and serve my needs so much better. I just don't get all that All Clad hype.

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