How to operate ChefsChoice knife sharpener
January 8, 2006 9:03 AM   Subscribe

Do any AskMeFi members know how to operate/own the manual for a Chef'sChoice Model 100 electric knife sharpener?

Could you post a precis of its directions? It's been years since we used ours and we seem to have lost our manual. I seem to recall its operation is not intuitive and you really do need to follow their directions. No, the good people of the Edgecraft Corp. don't seem to have posted any manuals on their site, just some useless FAQs.

The Model 100 is out of production, but from its pictures, the ChefsChoice model 110 appears identical to the model 100, so its instructions will probably work.
posted by mojohand to Food & Drink (3 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: I am scanning the manual and will email (to your email in your profile) the two pages. The instructions say that you should only run the knife through the pre-sharpening slot (the furthest one on the left) three times. When I followed the instructions and only ran the knives through three times, they never were sharp. Now I run my knives through the pre-sharpening slot about 10 times once a week, and I'm very satisfied. I have not noticed any adverse effects on my knives from this deviation from the instructions. I may have to replace my knives after a few years because I'm grinding too much away, but the knives are sharp enough to work great in the kitchen.
posted by aliksd at 9:34 AM on January 8, 2006

Best answer: I have the 110.

Start by examining the knife you want to sharpen. Under a bright light, sight along the edge, from the bolster of the blade, with the point of the knife away from you. If you can see a bright line, any bright "dots" or obvious nicks in the edge, the edge is very dull, and will need to be ground. Use the pre-sharpening slot to grind the edge, making alternate passes on each side, until you no longer see any evidence of a bright line, or nicks. (If a nick is very deep, or a knife is chipped or bent, this is more than this class of machine is designed to handle, and if you want to save the knife, assuming it can be saved, you need to drop it off at a commercial restaurant cutlery service, for corrective grinding and honing.) Pull the knife through smoothly at a rate of about 6 inches a minute on the first pass, and progressively faster for subsequent passes. Depending on how dull the knife is, you shouldn't need more than a few passes on each side on the pre-sharpening station, if you needed any at all. Remember to alternate sides. You will find that the pre-sharpening station leaves a visible "grit" on the edge of the knife, and you should remove this with a paper towel when examining the progression of the edge's development between passes, and before moving on to the coarse and then fine diamond hone sections (in order to keep your diamond stones from loading up with the coarse grit). The pre-sharpening station is removing metal from the knife in grinding it, and produces far more of this abrasive grit than the diamond hones.

When passing the knife through the guides, allow the knife to lay against the side of the guide away from the sharpening element; each of the three stations has a slightly different angle of attack on the knife, producing in the end, the Tri-Razor edge, and reducing the amount of grinding of the knife edge to an absolute minimum. The pre-sharpening station is least acute, the coarse station (between the pre-sharpening station and the fine station) is somewhat less acute than the pre-sharpening station, and the fine station is yet less acute still. You don't need or want to put downward pressure on the knife, as it's own weight should generally be enough to keep it in proper contact with the hones. Never use oil or water on the knife while using the Chef's Choice, take your time, but keep the blade moving smoothly through the machine, with progressively faster motion as you approach your final sharpness. Don't move faster than you can easily control (never faster than about 1 inch per second).

Forged knifes with full bolsters cannot be ground within about 3/8" of the bolster, but this is normal. You don't use this machine on cleavers, either.

Despite what CrayDrygu said above, a steel will not truly keep knives sharp, and improper use of a steel will screw up good knives. I use a steel occasionally on my carbon steel knives, but stick to regular honing with the Chef's Choice for my forged knives. If you hone regularly, not allowing the knife to become very dull in the first place, you won't frequently need the the pre-sharpening station on the Chef's Choice. As to frequency, it depends on what you are cutting, and how often. I don't own a food processor, have 8" and 10" forged chef knives used daily, and hone them about every two weeks. I use dense polypropolene cutting boards, and I don't pound the knives into the boards.

Finally, the Chef's Choice is a sharpener for kitchen knives. It is not intended or designed to produce the fine edge of a double ground razor, because a useful and durable edge for a kitchen knife is not that of a razor or a surgical scalpel, which are actually made of different steels than kitchen knives, and tempered differently, as well.

posted by paulsc at 3:22 PM on January 8, 2006 [2 favorites]

I have one of these, 100, 110 who knows. It has three bays. The coarse bay on the left is only for when the knife is really dull. Otherwise, 10 to 15 passes through the middle bay and then another 20 or more passes through the right hand fine honing bay. Passes through the coarse and medium bays should be slow and deliberate, while passes through the fine honing bay should be fast. Give it a quick pull through, almost like using a steel.

As for how often, the high hardness, stainless steel regular knives, Henckel etc, hold an edge for some time. Mostly keep them sharp with a steel and then every few months hit them with the medium and fine bays. You could go sooner, but mine seem to stay sharp for at least that long, but it seems like I could open a cutlery shop these days so perhaps they don't get used as much. My Mac Santaku is the go to and for whatever reason it never seems to get dull, which is good because aside from using a steel on it I don't know how to sharpen it. It will never see the Chef's Choice. I have some high carbon steel Sabatier knives. Wonderful. They get dull very quickly, yet they sharpen to quite a fine edge. Used every day, these could benefit from sharpening every few weeks or at least every month on the Chef's Choice.
posted by caddis at 7:07 PM on January 8, 2006

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