How do remove a chip from an edge?
Chipped knives: we often get questions about them. When we say chip we don't mean a transmitter you can use to track your knife, or a salty snack. Chips are bites from the edge, causing the edge to lose its sharpness.
Chips are often found on ceramic knives, one of the reasons we don't sell these knives. But they can also occur on (top-quality) steel blades. Even with normal use they can emerge. By carefully using your knife, however, you can reduce the chance of chips. If you do find a chip on your edge you can easily fix it yourself. How? We will tell you all about in this topic.
What causes a chip?
But first: better safe than sorry. To reduce the chance of chips you need to know what can cause a chip. There are many different causes. The common denominator? Not using your knives the way they are supposed to.
For pocket knives and outdoor knives the chance of chipping is, of course, a lot bigger than for kitchen knives. You use them ‘in the wild’ and to cut through various materials. It is, as such, conceivable that you accidentally bump into a stone or come into contact with metal. With kitchen knives this is usually not the case. You use them in your ‘safe’ kitchen and can truly limit the chance of chips by using the right materials.
Using cutting boards that are too hard
It is important – and we cannot say this often enough – to not use granite, marble or glass cutting boards! Granted, they often look amazing, but will damage your kitchen knives. All these materials are namely harder than the hardest types of steel. Best case scenario the worst that can happen is that you bend your edge on these types of cutting boards, or that they become blunt. However, worst case scenario pieces of your edge break off, causing a type of micro-serrations pattern. Something you, of course, want to avoid.
Chopping? Don’t use a kitchen knife!
That is why you should always use a wooden or plastic cutting board. These are a lot more flexible. It is, however, key that you use your knives as they should be used. You cut with them. You don’t use them to chop. With most kitchen knives the tip of the knife is never supposed to leave the cutting board as you use it. That is how you ensure that the knife will do the work for you. Want to cut through bones? Or a frozen piece of meat? Use a cleaver!
With kitchen knives you cut food
Kitchen knives were given that name for a reason. They are made to cut delicate products such as vegetables, meat, herbs and fruit. Not to open (plastic)packaging, cans or to wipe cut goods of your cutting boards. If you want to do the latter, use the spine of the knife, never the edge.
Finally, the chance of chips is bigger with thin, often Japanese knives, that are sharpened at a small angle and are made from a hard type of steel. This, however, doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t purchase these knives. After all, because of the hard steel you can sharpen these knives and end up with razor-sharp results. Sharper even than most western knives.
How do you restore a chipped edge?
Sometimes chips are clearly visible, but in many cases you immediately see them with the naked eye. You will, however, notice them as you cut products because you get caught in some places. If this happens you don’t immediately have to panic. You don’t have to throw out a knife and often you can restore the edge yourself. There are different ways to do so.
Use coarse sharpening stones
You need to know that a chip means that you need to create a new edge. This means that you need to remove material over the entire length of the blade. You, after all, want to maintain the profile – the shape of the blade. Removing quite a lot of steel is unavoidable. For it you need coarse sharpening material, that quickly removes steel and doesn’t wear out. We recommend diamond-coated or ceramic sharpening stones with a low grain size. After removing the chip you will sharpen the edge with much finer sharpening tools.
Whether you use sharpening stones, a file or a sharpening system: it will be tempting to set the edge perpendicular to this sharpening material, so at a 90-degree angle. We, however, do not recommend this. You will give yourself a lot of sharpening work afterwards because the edge of your knife will get a U instead of a V-shape. In addition, the knife will be too thick ‘behind the edge’ which will do little for the cutting performances. Wafer-thin slices will no longer be an option, for instance. So always try sharpening from a diagonal angle, as you normally would.
If you use sharpening stones to remove a chip we recommend using a slightly different technique than you are used to when you ‘normally’ sharpen your knives. Now you don’t make a ‘cutting’ movement from the heel to the tip, but shorter and more up and down movements over the entire width. As such you can remove more material even faster.