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Can you sharpen a ceramic knife?

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7 Answers 7

up vote 21 down vote accepted

Ceramic blades can only be sharpened against something that is harder than it is. I would recommend sending it back to the manufacturer for sharpening if needed. Typically it is done using a very hard abrasive wheel because of the risk of the blade breaking, you do not want to do this without proper safety equipment.

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1  
+1. An alternative: on a trip to Japan, I bought a ceramic knife, and the salesperson tried to sell a special ceramic blade sharpener device with it. So presumably you could get one of those and sharpen it yourself - but not using a regular sharpener (for metal knives). (I didn't buy the sharpener, so I don't have any experience with it.) –  Erik P. Dec 27 '10 at 9:57

While ceramic knives will stay sharp for quite awhile, there is no such thing as "never needs sharpening". In our knife shop we use a diamond system that we developed to bring these knives back to their original sharpness. (or sometimes sharper!) One could try one of the diamond block type, sharpeners on the market but the ceramics are difficult to get the edge right.

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You can definitely sharpen a ceramic blade and do it by yourself. But due to the fact that the ceramic is super hard material you'll need more patience than with steel. Get a DMT or Lansky sharpening guide and diamond stones. You can use the diamond stones on either type of knife and the guides will keep you at the correct angle on both side of the blade. You can find several guides at this site http://www.sharpeningsupplies.com/Knife-Sharpening-Guides-C16.aspx

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Yes ofcourse Cary. Try using diamond steel, and check out this amazing video from Chef Phil for some more detauled instructions on how to do such. Hope it will help.

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If you made the investment as I did for a professional diamond wheel electric knife sharpener as you saw the chef point out in the video above, I can tell you that this will indeed sharpen ceramic knives. I was reluctant to try this and possibly damage the sharpener, but I was otherwise going to toss out this "starter" ceramic cooks knife. I was also concerned that I would not be able to sharpen my expensive Henkle knives if the ceramic knife damaged the diamond wheels. I went about the job rather gingerly and found that the ceramic knife took longer to produce a sharp edge, but otherwise it was not much different than a steel knife. I hope this answers the question.

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Basically, no.

Ceramic is super hard, harder than sharpening steels, and most sharpening stones.

I guess diamond is harder, and you probably could sharpen on a diamond stone or diamond sharpening steel. But thats a very tricky skill to master, and a very delicate operation, not for the unskilled hand.

The whole point in buying a ceramic knife is that you don't have to sharpen. With proper care ( e.g. Dont drop) it should last you a lifetime for home use.

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I'll let you know soon. My guess is yes, more easily than many believe. And yes, it's more necessary than many believe. They do get duller with use.

I've had a good set of Kyocera knives I bought a year or so ago. I take good care of them but they're definitely less sharp than when I bought them, especially the big chef's knife I use most often. In a way that's good. These knives were "dangerously" sharp when I got them. I nicked my fingers a few times. Not while cutting, while cleaning them.

That's the Kyocera's. I broke one using a twisting motion while separating chicken quarters. They are very fragile. I've also noticed different brands can be more or less sharp. I bought a replacement for the one I broke, a different brand, and it was not as sharp as the Kyoceras.

I had a ceramic sharpening "steel" (rod) a few years ago which I loved. It did a much better job a sharpening my old steel knifes than anything else I've ever used including fancy-schmancy (expensive) multi-stage electric diamond wheel sharpeners. These also have a major drawback of distorting the shape of the edge because they are very aggressive.

A couple days ago I ordered another, very well reviewed, ceramic rod made by Messermeister for $20. I know this will work great on my steel knifes and I strongly suspect it will work well on my ceramics as well, we'll see. It certainly can't work any worse than the "fancy-schmancy" electric sharpener I got (and returned) from Kyocera which claimed to sharpen steel knifes but didn't well.

I believe this will work because, like different grades of steel, I imagine different ceramics have different hardnesses as well. Messermeister claims this sharpener is "very hard" and while I can't find documentation to back it up yet, it makes sense to me that manufacturers would want to make sharpeners out of harder material than most knives. If this one is harder than the Kyoceras, it oughta work. I'll know soon and hopefully won't drop this one anytime soon :-). I don't find shipping knives back to Japan for sharpening every year or so an acceptable solution so for $20, I'm trying this out with good expectations.

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This isn't an answer... Also, a couple issues. our ceramic rod wasn't there to sharpen anything, it's designed to simply straighten the steel of a knife which is prone to "curl" over time. This isn't an issue with ceramic as it won't curl. The problem with sharpening it is the ceramic is harder than steel and probably most sharpeners made for steel blades. It's actually very unlikely, I'd theorize that the sharpener is hard enough to sharpen a ceramic knife. It would likely be marketed specifically as a ceramic sharpener if it was possible. –  talon8 Dec 3 at 17:25
    
I think this is an answer, just not a terribly good one as it's not based on experience, which unfortunately as talon8 points out results in it being wrong. So I'm not going to delete it - it does attempt to answer the question. –  Jefromi Dec 4 at 0:26
    
As for the correctness issues: people often call those things "sharpeners" or "sharpening steel" but really they're honing steels - that should be a sign that they won't work for sharpening. –  Jefromi Dec 4 at 0:28

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