This may be a strange place to begin, but the best thing you can do for your knives is to visit Sharpen While You Shop as infrequently as possible. You made a substantial investment in your knives and that investment should pay off for decades. With this in mind it is important to understand the distinction between sharpening a knife and steeling a knife.
Are you ready for a new set of knives? Let's talk.
So you're ready for a fresh start and you have your eye on a block of new knives on sale at Macy's.
Stop right there!
Please take a moment to consider how you came to have your current knives.
Once in a while I get the strange request to "Please sharpen my knife but not too sharp or I'll cut myself." While I understand how someone could reach this conclusion, just the opposite is true. When you have become accustomed to using a dull knife for a while you can fall into some bad habits to compensate. It's only natural to lose respect for a knife after it gets dull. It happens slowly over a period of time, like the clutter that accumulates in the garage, until one day you finally resolve to do something about it.
There is no sadder sight than a customer walking up with an expensive knife that has a broken handle. There is nothing I can do for them short of recommending that they send it back to the manufacturer and beg for mercy. It is cost prohibitive for anyone to replace the handle of a knife short of using duct tape.
Sometimes I see a handle that was accidentally melted on the stove. Other times I see a wooden handle that has dried out to the point of cracking or warping.
Is having a dull knife really a sin?
I must look like some kind of priest because people are always coming up to me confessing the sin of having dull knives. They apologize for how long it has been since their last sharpening and they leave with sharp knives and the best of intentions to never let it happen again. And we both know how that will end.
The fact is that there comes a point in the life of every knife when it needs a sharpening. How do you know when that point has been reached? Here are a few clues...