Electric knife sharpeners
I'm thinking of buying an electric knife sharpener. Any recommendations on makes? Also, what are the prices like? I own Wursthoff, Henkels and Sabatier knives, and one fantastic Italian one whose make I don't know/remember. Thanks in advance for the advice.
This is probably a moot issue since this post is a year old, but, for the record, there three general problems with electric knife sharpeners like Chef's choice and ilk:
1) because they're using a diamond abrasive and running very fast with no speed control, they tend to wear off more metal on your knives than is necessary, thus wearing them down sooner
2) they offer little or no options to customizing the bevel angle and depth for each knife
3) they have a hard time with knives with bolsters and after repeated use, end up notching the heel of the blade.
If you happen to be like me, and desire sharp knives but just don't have the time to master sharpening them yourself on a stone, I highly recommend using a quality knife sharpening service. And THEN, and this is just about as important (and much much easier than learning how to sharpen), learn how to hone/steel your knives regularly.
I have used three sharpening services that I like and I've reviewed them in depth on my website. They are: Seattle Knife Sharpening, D&R Sharpening Solutions, JustKnives101.
I agree with others that a sharpening stone is probably the best tool for sharpening your knives. There are also other manual tools which work very well too. We can discuss those if you are interested.
As for electric knife sharpeners, the general consensus is that: Chef's choice offers good quality and long lasting electric sharpeners, while Presto one are much cheaper and still good quality.
I used to have access to a professional knife sharpening service but when that shop closed up, I purchased a Chef's Choice unit from Williams Sonoma. I'm exceptionally happy with it. I have a number of Wusthof knives and some Sanelli professional knives. I feel the unit does a quality job in sharpening these knives. I would say that it's worth using some cheap knives to experiment with your technique so that when you do put your good knives in the machine you can move them through the process swiftly and with confidence.
I picked up a selection of knives at a thrift shop and used those to practice. It was well worth the investment of my time.
You're really wasting your time with those sharpeners - and dull knives are more dangerous than sharp ones. Blades have different angles, too, depending on their origin - and regardless if the sharpener you're getting offers different angles, they're not going to match the blade exactly, and really aren't sharpening the blade to a great extent.
Invest in some whet stones (a 400-600 grit, 800 grit, 1200 grit, and 4000 grit) and do it yourself. It's much more rewarding in every aspect. I once had a sharpener like one of these, now I laugh at them! ;P
Also, Knife Toronto offers free sharpening classes so you can get your.... knives... whet?
<they're not going to match the blade exactly, and really aren't sharpening the blade to a great extent. >
If you grind the knives enough, then the angle will eventually settle down.
<Invest in some whet stones (a 400-600 grit, 800 grit, 1200 grit, and 4000 grit) and do it yourself.>
Yeah, I agree that the collection of flat waterstones is a very good path forward. However, some people just don't have the time or patience to learn. Therefore, an electric knife sharpener is still better than not sharpening at all.
if you are really into getting one for home use look into these. http://www.chefschoice.com/page2a.html
the only thing is most knife sharpeners like these are set for specific edge angles which is a standard for most cheap general purpose blades. high end manufacturers have a tendency to use odd or strange angles and if you run your knife though it you would do more harm than good so make sure you know the angles on the edges of your blades before using these devices.. the one i linked you will support a 20 and a 15 degree edge blade. if this scares you a bit you should consider a professional blade sharpening service, there are plenty around, they use a belt grinding system which lets them get the perfect edge to your knife..
as for my self i use an electric sharpener on my cheapie walmart knives, which i am comfortable using, and it works really great! If i owned a Wüsthof and needed it sharpened i would probably seek professional help.
As to the whetstone suggestion, while a great idea, unless you are comfortable and sure of yourself in maintaining a proper angle on your blade while grinding it across a stone then yes it could be another option but if you go this route practice on some cheap blades till your really comfortable doing it before using your expensive ones.