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Zen and The Art of Kitchen Knife Maintenance

It's 2023, people. This is the year we're all going to start actually taking care of our knives instead of saying nonsense like "I use my Wüsthof 24/7 without ever sharpening it and it's feels sharp as a razor 15 years later!".

That can only be true if you don't use it. We don't play those games anymore.

Here's what you need — and what you need to know — to whip your knives back into shape.

The Basics

You don't have to go out and buy a $350 Kramer set just to get your knives back into shape.

These tools might not get you the most convenient experience, but if you haven't been maintaining your knives, they're about to change your life — and for a pretty decent price too.

A couple things to know:

1. You don't need to buy both of these at once. If you can only get one, get the stone and pick up a hone later.

2. This stone requires soaking before use, but that's why it's $30 instead of $200.

3. It's hard to tell if this stone comes with a stand. If not, you can set it on a damp kitchen towel to stop it from skidding around in a pinch.

The Good Stuff

I haven't used a ton of whetstones in my time, but that's because these tools do a bang up job in just a few minutes so I've never felt the need to. I have different grits in the same series, but the #800/#3000 set is such a good deal that I think I'd pick that over my #1000/#6000 if I were starting today.

If your knives are damaged or super super dull, grab the #400 too. It'll save you a lot of time on repair work.

In my experience, anything finer than #3000-#5000 is really just for enthusiasts and probably not worth the cost for most people.

The Accessories

These are just a couple extra pieces that'll help you get the most of your time spent sharpening. Not strictly necessary, but nice to have.

The Guides

Saving the best for last, here are the resources I used to become at least moderately proficient at sharpening. These'll get you started, but just like everything else in the kitchen, the key is to build experience.

Don't be afraid to mess up your knife. That's all part of the process and just about everything is fixable.

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