How To Sharpen a Ceramic Knife

Do you think Chef Gordon Ramsay of Hell’s Kitchen would tolerate having a set of dull knives? Of course not, you’d be cursed off the show before your knife even gets the chance to nick the tip of the onion. While chefs of their caliber usually use Kyocera and Boker, ceramic knifes are getting more and more popular and are seen in the kitchen of even the most world-renowned chefs. Why? Well, aside from being not only inexpensive, ceramic knives are also hard, thus they do not often need to be sharpened- only every few years.

Ceramic knives get their sturdy qualities because of the zirconia, which is used to make them. Zirconia ranks 8/5 on the Mohs scale of mineral hardness. (Zirconia measures harder than hardened steel and just a little below the hardness of a diamond that measures 10). Since ceramic blades are extremely durable, they can only be sharpened with industrial grade diamond sharpeners.

Aside from being very hard, ceramic blades also do not rust, are nonconductive and nonmagnetic - which is why there are beneficial to both scuba divers and bomb disposal officers.

Though the aforementioned qualities of ceramic blades make them very attractive to consumers and kitchen personnel, ceramic blades however cannot be used to chop bone and frozen produce. It is brittle as it is hard so it can easily break free from the handle. Despite that, ceramic knives still have a place in any kitchen.

Every few years or once you feel that the blade has a dull edge; you can return your knives to the manufacturer for professional sharpening. For brands such as Kyocera and Boker, they usually offer this service for free.

To keep your knives clean and cutting smoothly, here’s how to sharpen them.

  • Diamonds. You can only sharpen the blade with diamonds, but you can’t use any ordinary diamond or studded wedding ring for this. You will need to purchase a diamond sharpening stone. Sweep your diamond sharpening stone over the edge of the blade a few times along the edge of the blade at an angle. You may also purchase a powered diamond wheel with a 1,000 grit diamond, but this will be an expensive investment.

    Angle the knife a few degrees to ensure that you get a smooth sharp edge. Using a diamond sharpening stone will leaves scratches on the blade so use the silicon carbide stones to rub off the scratches. It is important that you smoothen out the scratches caused by the diamonds as these scratch lines can cause the blades of the ceramic knife to fracture.

  • Silicone carbide. Purchase silicone carbide sandpaper, either wet or dry, with 1500 girt. This process of sharpening will not be as fast as sharpening the blade with a diamond wheel, but it will give that same perfect edge. Place the sandpaper on top of cardboard and then slide the blade over it at an angle. Do 20 strokes and then test the blade.

Once you have sharpened your knives, do not forget to wash them with soap and water. Do not immediately use the blades to cut produce.

You can use these techniques to sharpen knives if the chips are minor however for more complicated fixes, it is advised that you send the knives back to the manufacturers. Good luck!


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