Monday, August 8, 2011

I do not weep at the world. I am too busy sharpening my knives.

One of the things we learned in culinary school is taking good care of our knives including keeping it sharp  at all times. Again, this is another topic that you can go deep into if it's your area of interest. Knife-sharpening is a somewhat lost trade now and the few highly skilled knivesmen are hard to find. Technology has also replaced many of them. As it's not exactly my cup of tea either, I have not researched much on this topic. What I'm posting here is the bare basic - simple and practical for home application, nothing too pro.

The recommended angle between the stone and the knife is 45 degrees as shown in this picture. The knife blade tilts at 20 degrees. Wet the surface area and slide from top to bottom of knife AND stone. If, through time, your stone starts to wear off and sinks in the middle, it means the sharpening technique is wrong.

You can get this at Sia Huat ( at Temple Street in Chinatown, Singapore for about $40. They have a strict exchange policy so make sure of your purchase before you leave the shop and keep your receipt just in case.
(Do I sound like your mom?)
"Global" is one good brand of knife. This one here is what is called a full tang, ie, the entire knife is one piece of steel from tip to handle. Not cheap but an excellent kitchen tool to have.
I have a paring knife to match the Global Chef Knife as well. An excellent pare, I mean, pair.
I sliced these tomatoes straight after the sharpening. Much easier and do you know it's safer to use a very sharp knife than a blunt one? If your knife is not sharp, you can't cut properly and may exert pressure in the wrong places and risk cutting yourself.
I asked the chef about other sharpening methods remembering how my mom used to slide her knife using the bottom of her ceramic bowl. This method, and also using a sharpening rod, is good for the short term, one or 2-time use. For the longer term, it's still best to use the stone.

Chef says there is only one place left in Singapore he knows that still sharpens your knife for you. Next to OG in Chinatown, there is a food center. Go up to the second floor through the stairs between the fruit stalls. Turn left. An old man there has passed his trade on to his daughter who now runs the business but she uses the sharpening machine instead. I'm giving this information because some of you asked me about it.

Well, whether you personally use the knives at home or someone else does, do stay sharp and keep safe and may your knives bless you and serve you well.


  1. Just for info

    The Chinatown lady does indeed still sharpen knives and scissors but only cheap ones.

    I took my Global ones there today but she said that her sharpening process scuffs up the body of the blade so not ideal for more expensive knives.

    There's a place called Razorsharp in Outram road which does it for $15-17. Might try them if I get lazy.

    James Ng


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