Just five minutes’ TLC can rejuvenate a neglected knife, By Ian BarnesOpen/close Make sure all blades open smoothly. This could be important when your hands lack dexterity due to the cold. Open the main blade and test the locking mechanism. Dirt, sand, food particles and a lack of lubricant can inhibit blade opening and also compromise the blade locking system. Use a pair of tweezers and a piece of cloth to clean around the blade pivots and all nooks and crannies inside the knife. Then give it a good wash with warm soapy water. If you use your knife for preparing food, add a drop of cooking oil to the pivots and moving parts. Go gently with the oil or it will act as a trap for dirt, gumming things up again. Sharpen the blade Your knife should be able to cleanly slice photocopy paper. Many knives languish unsharpened because owners have no equipment or little experience with sharpening. Here is a cheap, effective technique which can only improve the blade’s cutting ability.
- You need a base of 400 grit wet/dry paper, splashed with water
- Rest the blade on the paper and lean the back of the blade on a coin to gauge the correct angle for sharpening (20c coin for small blade, two 50c coins for medium blade and a 50c coin and $1 coin for large blade)
- Grind the blade over the paper in a circular motion while maintaining the correct angle
- Grind for two minutes, then turn the knife over and grind for another two minutes at the same angle
- Keep alternating from side to side until the edge approaches the desired sharpness. At this point, lighten your strokes so the knife is barely touching the abrasive
- Practise makes perfect