Ceramic kitchen knives come with a wide range of benefits. For one, unlike metal knives, they don’t rust, lose their edge quickly or brown your food. Additionally, these knives cut vegetables and fruits thinner without bruising them while accommodating acids and juices. But again, unlike metal knives, you need to know how to sharpen ceramic knives properly.
Sharpening ceramic knives come with various needs to prevent the already ultra-sharp and hard material from being chipping, snapping, or becoming an occupational hazard. I’ve shared an in-depth guide on how to properly sharpen your ceramic knife to prolong its use in your kitchen.
What Is a Ceramic Knife?
A ceramic knife is a kitchen cutting tool typically made from zirconium oxide, a specially toughened ceramic.
Ceramic knives are a popular choice amongst consumers due to their sharper blades, and longer-lasting edge compared to steel knives.
Thanks to their sharp and precision blades, ceramic knives offer thin cuts on vegetables and fruits without tearing or bruising them.
Unlike metal knives, ceramic knives are non-reactive. This means that you can use them with acids, juices, and other liquids, without the risks of rust or corrosion.
Additionally, ceramic knives don’t leach or brown foods, helping the food stay fresher and longer. A ceramic knife features a blade that has undergone a dry pressing and powdered zirconia sintering process, hence its hardness.
In fact, a ceramic knife has a hardness of 8.5, which is nearly twice as much as a steel knife with a hardness of about 4.5 to 6.5. Due to this hardness, a ceramic knife offers a high tensile, brittle, and sharp edge. Additionally, the hardness means the ceramic knives don’t require constant sharpening as they retain their edge longer.
However, it is this same hardness that makes ceramic knives difficult to sharpen. This is because slightly overdoing it can easily chip or snap the blade.
Do Ceramic Knives Need to Be Sharpened as Often as Steel Knives?
Ceramic knives don’t need to be sharpened as often as steel knives. Generally, the sharpness and edge retention of a knife highly depends on the hardness of its material.
Ceramic knives have a hardness level of 8.5, while steel knives have nearly half of a ceramic knife’s hardness, between 4.5 and 6.5.
Due to the hardness level, ceramic knives remain sharp and retain their edge for much longer at an acute angle. Thus, they don’t need to be sharpened as often as steel knives.
You must be asking yourself, why do ceramic knives stay sharp for longer? Well, typically, harder materials, like ceramic, allow their blade edge to be sharpened to a more acute and finer point, making the edge sharper. Combining this sharpening depth and robustness of the material, the edge can easily retain the sharpness longer.
As a general rule of thumb, you should hone a steel knife after every 2 to 4 uses for regular home use. Furthermore, to prevent the blades from becoming too dull, you should professionally sharpen your steel knife at least once or twice a year. However, the sharpness of a new and good-quality steel knife can last about 3 to 4 years.
On the other hand, ceramic knives don’t need sharpening and honing as frequently. You can go for months and years before needing to resharpen your ceramic knife, depending on the frequency of its usage. Additionally, a new and good-quality ceramic knife will last you anywhere between 5 and 15 years.
Also Read: Can You Put Ceramic Knives in Dishwasher?
Is It Possible to Sharpen Ceramic Knives With a Regular Sharpener?
You can use a regular sharpener to sharpen your ceramic knife at home. However, this will not do an excellent job as a specially designed-ceramic sharpener. In fact, if not done right, you can risk damaging the blades of your knife.
A regular sharpener designed for steel knives can very easily chip or ruin the ceramic blade altogether. This is because you need a sharpener that is hard enough, unlike regular oil or whetstones, to deal with the harder ceramic blade.
Here Are the Best Ways to Sharpen a Ceramic Knife at Home
To sharpen a ceramic knife, you need to invest in a specially designed sharpener. Like other types of knife materials, you can choose to sharpen your ceramic knife using various methods. Here are the four common ways to sharpen ceramic knives. These are;
01. Kyocera Advanced Ceramic Electric Knife Sharpener
An electric knife sharpener offers a quick ceramic knife sharpening solution at home. The best part of using an electric sharpening tool is that it is built with versatility.
Therefore, you don’t have to invest in multiple knife sharpeners for your home kitchen. A good quality electric knife sharpener is designed to handle different knife materials, including ceramic and steel.
This is because good-quality models will feature multiple grinding stages to handle various knife needs. However, to use an electric sharpener for ceramic knives, you need to choose one fitted with diamond grinding stones. This is because the diamond features a robust and hard profile to handle the needs of ceramic blades adequately.
Here’s how to sharpen ceramic knives using an electric sharpener;
- Place the sharpener securely on your kitchen counter, ensuring it doesn’t move
- Plug in the sharpener (or power it if it uses batteries)
- Hold the knife on your dominant hand and hold the sharpener on the other
- Hold the blade in the grinding section and slowly it back against the grindstone, focusing on the edge area
- Repeat this step at least 3 to 4 times (don’t exceed this interval), and you should be done.
- Turn off the sharpener and slice through a tomato or paper to check the sharpness. Your knife should smoothly cut through these items. If it still struggles, repeat the sharpening step at least twice.
- If the knife is sharp enough, unplug the sharpener and put it away
02. Ceramic Sharpening Rod
A ceramic sharpening rod comes in handy in two circumstances. First, it helps to smoothen the edge of the blade after sharpening the knife with a stone.
Additionally, you can use it frequently in your kitchen to revive the edge after cutting, slicing, or chopping food items for a while. Unlike electric sharpeners, a ceramic sharpening rod is not as convenient to use.
You will have to take a few minutes to ensure thorough sharpening. This is especially true for sharpening rods designed for ceramic knives since they are also made from ceramic material. Alternatively, you can use a diamond sharpening rod for ceramic knives.
Here’s how to sharpen ceramic knives using an electric sharpener;
- Hold the sharpening rod and point the surface down, using your passive hand
- Using your dominant hand, slide the knife’s blade across the rod at a 90-degree angle
- Slide the blade across the rod again, but this time at a 45-degree angle
- Repeat this step about 4 to 7 times
- Once done, test the sharpness on a tomato or paper
- If you are not impressed with the results, slide the blade across the rod at a 22-degree sharpening angle. This should properly sharpen and give the blade a super-thin edge for easier and precision slicing
03. Work Sharp Knife & Tool Sharpener
If you have several ceramic knives in your kitchen, you are better off investing in a dedicated knife and tool sharpener. Like an electric knife sharpener, this knife and tool sharpener is highly versatile. You can use it for pretty much all kitchen knives, whether ceramic, santoku, or western chef knives.
You can also use the sharpener with other kitchen tools like scissors. A knife & tool sharpener is typically fitted with an abrasive diamond micro coating to tackle the toughest and hardest knife blade materials.
Here’s how to sharpen ceramic knives using a knife & tool sharpener;
- Lay a towel on the kitchen counter and place the sharpener on the top of it
- Insert the knife into the machine, holding the sharpener with one hand while sliding the knife with the other
- Slide the knife once or twice to test the abrasiveness of the belt. If it’s not too abrasive, change the grit paper.
- Then, continue to slide the blade on the abrasive part of the belt at least 5 to 6 times (not more)
- When done, check the sharpness using a knife and paper. If the knife isn’t sharp enough, repeat the sharpening step at least twice
04. Ceramic Knife Sharpening Stone
A ceramic stone for ceramic knives features a fused block made with ceramic material. The choice of ceramic allows it to handle the hardness of ceramic blades.
Unlike regular sharpening stones, ceramic stones are usually dry with no water or oil. The dryness allows them to give your blades a finer angle when sharpened.
A ceramic knife sharpening stone typically comes in a choice of grits, including ultra-fine, fine, and medium. These grits correspond with grit levels of 600, 1200, and 2000.
Compared to diamond sharpening stones, ceramic stones are significantly more expensive. Additionally, their glass-like brittleness means you have to take extra care when handling them as they easily break on impact.
Here’s how to sharpen ceramic knives using a ceramic sharpening stone;
- Place your sharpening stone on a kitchen towel on a countertop surface
- Hold the knife firmly using your dominant hand at a 20-degree angle to the stone.
- Apply even and gentle pressure on the knife as you draw the blade along the stone from the tip to its hilt.
- Repeat this step at least 4 to 5 times.
- Turn the stone over to a finer grain and repeat the sharpening step
- If you have a double-beveled knife, you want to repeat the entire step on the other blade side
- Test the knife using tomato or paper. If the knife hasn’t achieved the sharpness you water, repeat the sharpening step.
Learning how to sharpen ceramic knives properly helps you protect your knife’s durability, quality, and appearance.
After all, as you’ve noticed above, each sharpening technique comes with its advantage. For example, honing your ceramic knife offers sharpness and thinness functionality for everyday kitchen use.
On the other hand, a sharpening tool works great if you have a set of ceramic knives and tools. While a ceramic knife rarely needs sharpening, you need to maintain it correctly when it’s time to do so.
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