The McGowan Diamond Stone Electric Knife Sharpener definitely has the potential to be an all-in-one knife sharpener for even the most discerning of kitchens. The one caveat is that this precision may be to much for the amateur who is just looking for a bit of performance. Take it upon yourself to understand the needs of your kitchen, and if you are looking for Food Network levels of performance, then the McGowan may be just the knife sharpener for you.
As the video of our test shows, the Trizor XV took a very dull, very heavy (and slightly bent) 12-inch Wüsthof chef’s knife and made it tomato-slicing sharp. Setting the new edge took about 20 strokes on the coarse wheel; the fine and polishing steps took about 10 and five strokes respectively. All told, the process was perhaps three minutes of work. The motor was impressively powerful, never allowing the sharpening wheels to bog down or “catch” in the metal of the knife. It sharpened blades to within about ⅜ inch of the heel—as with the manual ProntoPro 4643, excellent performance, and a testament to the attention that Chef’sChoice pays to overall design throughout its extensive product range. This sharpening of virtually the entire blade is important. Without it, not only do you lose the ability to cut with the heel of the knife—especially useful when you’re cutting tough root vegetables, where employing the heel provides stability and pressure—but also over time the blade edge develops a “dish,” or dip, that prevents the rear portion of the blade from contacting the cutting board and slicing all the way through a food item.
Honing is kind of like dusting the furniture while sharpening is more like reupholstering the furniture. Honing is purely a maintenance activity that should be regularly practiced to make sure the blade is clean and sharp as can be every time you use it. It’s easily done using a honing rod, a leather strop or a sharpening stone; as most stones have a side for sharpening and a side for honing. Honing is akin to trimming your hair to remove the split ends. It’s not a full on haircut. What it does is realign the tiny sharp protrusions along the edge of the blade that can be bent over with use, so that they stand more or less straight.
For this guide, we limited our focus to manual and electric sharpeners. Such models are by far the most popular choices for sharpening knives, and for good reason. When well-designed, manual and electric sharpeners are effective, extremely quick and easy to use, and durable. (By the same token, when poorly designed they’re cumbersome, flimsy, and ruinous to blades.)
Aesthetics – While it’s true that most people keep their sharpener, (even their expensive mechanical sharpeners) in the drawer until it’s time to use them you’ll still want to be aware of whether your sharpener fits into the overall aesthetic of your kitchen when you do take it out to use. While sharpener designs are fairly limited to be sure you typically have some control over the color and finish of the device as well as design factors like whether the device is boxy or rounded in appearance. With a stone sharpener or a stick however you pretty much get what you get.
It helps you get the knack for a consistently correct angle BUT the idea falls apart a bit when it comes to the curve and taper part of the knife and if your knife has an excessively narrow (slicer/boner) or wide (cleaver) width. It will also mark up the sides of your knife which may bother some who are obsessed with the cosmetic appearance of their $150+ Japanese knives--I could care less.
Method 1: Use an Electric Sharpener. Quality electric sharpeners are an option, but I strongly discourage their use. First off, they remove a tremendous amount of material from your edge. Sharpen your knife a dozen times, and you've lost a good half-centimeter of width, throwing it off balance, and rendering any blade with a bolster (i.e. most high-end forged blades) useless. Secondly, even the best models provide only an adequate edge. If you don't mind replacing your knives every few years and are happy with the edge they give you, they'll do the trick. But a much better choice is to...
Now it's time to polish. This is when you'll swap over from the coarse grit to the finer grit (make sure this side is wet, too). I found the knife still had a bit of grime on it, so I gave it a wipe clean beforehand. The motion is exactly the same as with sharpening, but you can apply slightly less pressure, and limit to roughly 30 strokes on each side.
The ceramic stone is very durable and capable of lasting a lifetime, if you take care of it properly. You will not need to oil or wet the ceramic stone, when you are using it to sharpen your knife blades. This will definitely offer a much cleaner work space. You just simply need to wash the stone with soap and a traditional pot scrubber to remove the swarf, so it does not interfere with the cut.
Contrary to popular belief, the whetstone is not called so because it is soaked in water prior to sharpening. To whet an object means to sharpen; the soaking step aids in priming the stone for sharpening. The process of sharpening a blade with a whetstone is aptly called stoning. The water combines with the small particles in the stone to create an abrasive surface to grind the blade.
Edges lose their sharpness for the very purpose they cater to. Cutting acidic fruits and vegetables like lemon, tomato causes corrosion in the blades. Knives are often used to accomplish tasks they’re not meant to perform, like scraping or opening tin cans. Blade buckling is also a very common kind of damage your knife faces every now and then. It happens due to slicing items heavier than the knife itself or crushing ice. Keeping the knife in high temperature or washing it with harsh chemical based detergents also has havocking effects on the sharpness. Taking proper care of your cooking combat hunting knife is the only way to prevent it from fraying. Always select a suitable knife for the task, avoid heavy wooden cut boards and wash it immediately with cold water right after using.