I will confess, I’m a bit anal when it comes to my knives. But can anyone blame me? A dull knife means everything you chop ends up messy. Don’t believe me? Trying cutting a tomato into the neat slices you need for a salad or to garnish Jollof rice and you will know exactly what I’m talking about. A dull knife is the beginning of a disaster in the kitchen.
Unfortunately, knife sharpeners are not readily available. And even when you do find them at the store, they cost a pretty penny for something that after repeated use, you have to replace every couple of months. Also, don’t get me started on how difficult it is to find professional knife sharpeners, especially during kitchen emergencies when you need to slice and dice and can’t afford to wait for anyone.
So what do you do when that happens? When you need to sharpen your knife and you don’t have a knife sharpener, nor do you have a professional on speed dial who can help you sharpen your knives? The answer to that is simple.
You use any one of these ten items and you’re good to go.
1. A coffee mug
Before you go all, “but that’s impossible!”, simply turn your coffee mug upside down (please note that this works best if the mug is an old one that is quite rough at the bottom), place the mug on a hard and flat surface, place your knife at a ten percent angle, and run the knife across the mug several times, until you’ve achieved the desired edge. Be sure to flip the knife over so both edges are sharpened and look out for discolouration on the mug, as this is the indicator that the sharpening process is going very well.
2. A nail file
Place your nail file on a hard surface (please do not place it on a body part. We don’t want you accidentally cutting yourself while sharpening your knife), making sure that the rough side of the file is facing up. Place your knife at a ten percent angle and run your knife across the nail file, making sure to change sides, as you go until both edges of the knife, are sharpened.
3. A leather belt
This one is pretty easy. Simply get an old belt that’s a bit rough around the edges, lay the belt on a flat surface, place your knife at a ten degrees angle, making sure the blade is facing you and then drag the knife on the belt, making sure to drag the knife away from you. Use this movement across the entire length of the knife, flipping it over as many times as possible until all the edges are sharpened.
Yes! The sandpaper kids use for arts and crafts can work wonders in sharpening your knife. To get the most effective use, get two variants of sandpaper: coarse and fine. Start with the coarse sandpaper, placing your knife at a ten degrees angle and running the entire blade across the sandpaper, flipping your knife over so you get both sides. Once done, repeat the same process but with the finer sandpaper to maximize the sharpness of the blade.
5. Nylon strap: Before you ask me “But hold up, where will I find a nylon strap?” The answer to that is pretty easy. Just get the strap of an old backpack you’re not using anymore. Place your knife at a ten degrees angle against the strap, making sure the knife is away from the cutting edge and run your blade several times over the strap, flipping it ever so often to sharpen both sides.
Yes, those hold thick cardboard boxes that your deliveries come in, work wonders for sharpening your knife. It won’t be professional grade sharpening but it will do the job. Just place your blade along the edge and run it across the cardboard until it’s as sharp as it can be.
7. Car window
The rough, rounded edge of a car window works amazingly well for soft steel. Just visit any junkyard shop or mechanic workshop where there are a lot of abandoned cars and slide the blade across the edge of the window, doing so eight to ten times, on both sides of the blade until your knife is razor sharp.
8. Another knife
I’m sure you’ve seen it on several cooking shows. A chef holds two knives in their hands and then proceeds to use the knives to sharpen the other. This actually works! Just set the knife you want to sharpen along the unsharpened spine of the second knife and run it along with the knife, flipping the knife several times over so you sharpen both ends of it. To sharpen the second knife, reverse the process and you should be good to go.
9. Smooth Stone
If you live close to a river bend, then visit it and grab one of those smooth and flat stones you see. Grab a couple of the stones (you only need one though) and take it home. Place it on a flat surface, set your knife along the edge at a ten degrees angle and run it across the stone, making sure to sharpen both sides of the blade.
For this to work you have to find a piece of concrete that’s extremely smooth, otherwise, you will damage your blades. Once you’ve found a smooth piece of concrete, lay it on the floor, set your knife at a ten degrees angle and run it across the concrete like you would the smooth stone.
And that is ten items you can use to sharpen your knives. Of course, if you would rather a professional sharpen your knife for you, well then; visit Gatekrasher to choose from our wide array of professional knife sharpeners who are ready and waiting to serve you!