I use, for meatcutting, several basic, non-fancy knives. Chicago Cutlery, Dexter, Victorinox, and so on. I have two steels - a regular medium steel
and a diamond steel.
The regular steel hones the edge of the knife, standing it up when it rolls over, but does not sharpen. The diamond steel actually removes metal as well as setting up the edge. But steeling a knife is not sharpening a knife. I have had many many years of experience with a single sided
and two-sided stones
plus the triple-sided knife sharpener with coarse, medium and fine stones in a revolving mechanism that keeps the stones bathed in honing oil.
In the meatrooms, however, they usually provide a HookEye belt sharpener:
You have to have experience and training on this machine as it can burn up, remove blade temper and destroy a brand new knife in seconds; it takes a light touch.
However, Work Sharp® has come out with a new line of sharpeners that work very nicely for the amateur, similar to the HookEye but not nearly as powerful, yet still accurate and can put a good edge on a knife. Remember, you are putting a burr on the edge of the knife to cut with, like micro-teeth. When it gets bent over, you have to 'set up' the burr again with a steel. When the knife loses its burr, you must then sharpen it to re-establish the burr.
I got mine from Northern Tool and for me, it does a fine job, esp. since having my strokes. It is inexpensive, the belts are replaceable, and it can produce a sharp edge on a knife, I paid $69 for mine.
Now, purists in knife sharpening want to take off the burr, to a fine polished edge, like a Japanese water stone. I am no purist. Meat is tough with sinew and ligaments and skin and bone. I want quick, efficient knife sharpening so I can continue cutting meat up safely and efficiently. A dull knife is a danger to the operator. Some of my knives:
All good, solid, sharpenable quality, but not overly-expensive knives. The two wood-handled, carbon steel knives are great knives, got from my dad in the meat room before stainless knives were required, they're over 50+ years old. If you go to a lot of rummage sales, you may find some good carbon steel knives of meat cutting quality. Antique stores usually grab them up for themselves if they have any idea what they have, however.
There are plenty of videos and instructions on how to sharpen knives on the internet, I won't even attempt to duplicate them here. Restaurant Supply retailers in your home town can usually supply great knives at a reasonable price ($25 - $100). Also, I use Hubert, Koch Supplies, and Ace Mart for reference and ordering, too.
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