Asian/Western Manual Knife Sharpeners
Western knives have a wider cutting angle on the blade than their Asian counterparts, so owning both kinds of knives used to mean owning two different sharpeners—if you expected to get back a razor edge. The pricey Chef’sChoice AngleSelect 1520 Electric Knife Sharpener ($169) solved the problem with two sharpening slots: one for 15-degree Asian knives and one for 20-degree Western knives. But now far more affordable manual sharpeners have come on the market that also accommodate both cutting edges. We compared two of these with the electric device by dulling and then sharpening multiple copies of our favorite Japanese and Western chef’s knives and slicing tomatoes. While one of our contestants actually chipped a knife, the diamond abrasives on our winner restored the edges almost as effectively as the company’s plug-in sharpener. It takes more strokes—but it’s a good bargain alternative.
The nonslip grip and narrow, straight blade let testers remove the smallest bones with precision and complete comfort. Perfectly balanced with enough flexibility to maneuver around tight joints. The low price was a bonus.
Hefty in weight, this knife was a solid performer when removing poultry bones, and the handle was easy to grip, even when covered in chicken fat. Piercing silver skin was a challenge since the tip wasn’t sharp enough and the long narrow blade produced slightly jagged cuts.
|Recommended with Reservations|
The sharp tip performed well when removing silver skin, but it was too flexible when maneuvering around poultry joints, leaving testers feeling a lack of control. The heavy handle was slightly unbalanced and became slippery once covered in poultry fat.
Designed to replicate a samurai blade, this expensive knife was a disappointment. It struggled to pierce the silver skin, although long cuts were smooth and even. Minimal flexibility and extreme curve got in the way when maneuvering around joints. The smooth handle was hard to grip and slippery.
The large, cumbersome handle reminded testers of an outdoors knife for fishing and hunting. The blade was too wide to maneuver around joints and it struggled to pierce silver skin. Unlike other knives, this boning knife could only slice in one direction, making intricate cuts around joints difficult.
The blade was so flexible it led to erratic cuttings; testers said the knife was hard to control. The blade was not sturdy enough to maneuver around joints and the lightweight handle felt flimsy and unbalanced.
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