Eventually, professional cutlery will be used to the extent that a steel will not be able to keep the edge sharp. At this point, a more aggressive sharpening method is required to reshape the blade. This can be accomplished with an electric knife sharpener which features several electrically powered grinding wheels.
Electric knife sharpeners will have either two or three different grinding wheels, each with a different coarseness, or grits. The location of each coarseness will be indicated in the owner's manual. When re-shaping a blade, start with the coarsest stone and move to the finer ones. Following are the basic steps for using an electric knife sharpener:
- Place the knife in the slot. Press the heel of the knife as far down as possible to contact the grinding stone. Be sure to start with the heel and pull through to the tip.
- Draw the knife through the slot. The slot will hold the blade that the correct 15° - 20° angle. As you pull the knife through, it the handle will angle up slightly as the stone contacts the blade.
- Make two passes on each side. Two passes is all you need to reshape the knife blade with an electric knife sharpener.
- Repeat the process on the different stones. Move to the next finest grit and draw the knife across the stone twice on each side.
- Rinse and dry the knife. Some electric sharpeners use magnets to collect shavings, but rinse the knife in a sink and dry it with a towel, just to be on the safe side.
Once the knife is sharpened, you can re-hone the blade by using the fine-grit stone or a sharpening steel.
Different types of blades will require different sharpening procedures. For example, single-edge blades only require sharpening on one side, so reference the owner's manual for specific sharpening procedures.