We all have ceramic knives at home because they are overall great in the kitchen. But as useful as they are, they can be really tricky to sharpen.
While it is easy to sharpen a stainless steel or carbon steel knife, sharpening ceramic knives is no such simple task.
If you have wondered how to sharpen ceramic knives, chances are you own one and already knew how different they are from metal knives.
It is safe to say that ceramic is a black sheep among cutlery materials. Although they don’t get dull easily, when the time comes, ceramic knives can be tricky to sharpen since they are incredibly brittle.
A ceramic knife breaks easily and you should avoid exerting too much force when sharpening one if you don’t want it to break into half.
Extra care is needed in sharpening ceramic knives.
There are things you should and should not do to keep the integrity of the knife. Follow these simple steps for a successfully sharpened knife.
Things You Will Need to Sharpen Ceramic Knives
There are a couple of options in the market when it comes to sharpening knives. Here are some of the materials you can choose from.
This sharpener is highly recommended for various reasons. For one, diamond stones are harder so they require less work. This also means the sharpness of your ceramic blade is restored faster and with more efficiency.
Since ceramic breaks under too much force, using hard sharpeners, like diamond stone, speed up the process. As a result, you don’t have to use too much force to get the job done.
For regular chips, diamond stones with 200 grits are highly recommended. As the chips get larger, you can move higher 600, 1,000, and up to 1,500 diamond grits.
If diamond sharpeners are not available, traditional abrasives like waterstones and sandpapers will do just fine. However, this means you will have to be more careful to apply just the right amount of force in the sharpening process.
If not, you may end up with two pieces of the same blunt knife instead of having a sharp one.
Some people feel more comfortable using proper knife sharpeners. When you go for this option, however, make sure you follow the instructions from the manufacturer.
Just like waterstones, knife sharpeners have the tendency to require more effort than diamond stones. As a result, too much force will snap the ceramic blade in half.
Five Easy Steps in Sharpening Ceramic Knives
1. Proper Positioning
Lay the sharpener of your choice on a flat surface. If you are working on a table, make sure it is not wobbly. It is also important to keep in mind that the height of the surface and the angle of your body contribute to the force you exert.
For example, if you are working on a lower table, you have the tendency to lean down and exert more weight on the knife and sharpener.
Avoid this by paying attention to how much of your weight and force is transferred to the blade and the sharpening tool you are using.
The proper position is to work on the same level as your arms. If you don’t have a table with this height, you can opt to sit down while sharpening the knife. If you are standing up, make sure to put your weight on your legs.
2. Avoid This Position
Many people make the mistake of holding the handle while sharpening the knife with just one hand. This lateral positioning can put a lot of pressure on the blade.
With this position, you will notice that the side of the blade facing upward can easily bend. Add a little force in there and snap! There goes your ceramic blade.
3. Lay the Knife on Top of the Sharpener
Lay the knife’s blade on top of the sharpener with the sharp side facing you. Make sure it is flat on the surface.
If you are using an angled table or sharpener, remember that this puts more pressure downwards than when the surface is flat. Thus, do not press too hard.
4. Use Both of Your Hands
Use both your hands when sharpening the knife. Depending on the size of the knife and sharpener, you can use your ring, middle, and index fingers on both hands to press the knife flat against the sharpener.
This position allows you to support the side of the knife that faces upward. In this way, the pressure is equally distributed. With that in mind, see to it there are no area where the blade flexes as this is the major cause of snapping.
Furthermore, positioning your hands against the blade this way gives you more control. The fingers give just the right amount of pressure as it can only exert so much force.
5. Nice and Smooth Movements
There are no tangible differences on whether you move up or down. If you prefer to move your hands exclusively in a downward motion, that is okay.
You can also combine downward and upward movements. The result is absolutely the same – you will have a sharper knife.
The best technique is very simple. With both fingers on top of the knife, make nice and smooth movements while applying just a slight pressure as you go along. Every now and then, carefully feel the edges of the knife to check if it is sharp enough.
Some people go as far as stropping to give the blade a mirror polish. While you can go ahead and do this, it generally does not have any significant effect on the functionality of the blade.
Having it sharp enough to cut through meat, or fruits and vegetables should be enough. However, if you have the time and the patience to go further, stropping would give an aesthetically pleasing result.
Ceramic is usually less favored when it comes to cutlery materials. However, ceramic knives have the edge retention that is far above average.
With proper care and enough precaution, ceramic blades should last a fair amount of time and you won’t often have to wonder how to sharpen ceramic knives.
With that said, ceramic does have its weaknesses. Despite the promotion that it never goes dull, it definitely loses its sharpness after years of use. In fact, anyone who’s had ceramic knives knows this to be true.
To successfully sharpen the blade, know that when it comes to edge sharpness, you can only depend on the final grit of the edge. You also need to master the precise movements to get the right amount of sharpness you want especially since ceramic is not ductile.
Hopefully, you find this article useful for your purpose. Leave your questions and clarifications in the comment section below and feel free to share this article if you think it will be of any use to your friends and family.