I'm a poor college student that doesn't know much about his knives, pots, and pans. Specifically is there anything that I can do to make my knives stay sharp longer and maintain them without spending too much money?
Here are a few rules I follow with my own knives.
Slightly off topic, but if you're a starving college student who wants to have a high-quality knife or two at a very reasonable price, take a look at Forschner/Victorinox. Yes, the Swiss Army Knife people. I was turned on to them by professional chefs, and have found them every bit as high-quality as my much-more-expensive Henckels and Wustof-Trident knives.
Timber boards and learn to soak in boiling water and soap in the sink. Or get some "decent" plastic ones
Unless cutting meat. wash KNIVES with cold water. By hand. then dry and store in prev protections to suit.
Buy a reasonable WETSTONE $20 will find a usable Basic Fine\Coarse one. Soak in a dish of water for 15min's b4 use. I sit it between the two sinks in kitchen at home and run cold tap on it while using.
When knife to your edge. dry it. Then start with a decent Diamond Steel. I just bought a reasonable quality one from Mitchel Manufacturing. (They make Butchers tools for the meatworks trade.) 600 grit. Works well after you rubbed the spare dust off. And they're CHEAP. Then I use either an old SMOOTH diamond steel or a smooth Steel Steel. Followed by a strop. Mine is a Mules saddle strap from army disposals. around 5 ft long. 3in wide. Thick with big brass buckle. It made two nice strops.
Depending on the knife. you'll need to stone every several months. Steel regularly but not too much. and I strop every time b4 use.
if you want good quality. fairly cheap that will last your lifetime. Get some Mundial
I have Wusthof (40 yrs) and recently bought a new Utility, after 40 odd yrs I'd worn\stoned the blade down to it's thickness. Sharp but you have to work at it. I splashed out on a Torijo DP3 Utility, Laminated. (spoiled myself a little) It's my favourite general knife and LOOKS "lovely.Plus" A pleasure to use. But you'll never NEED to go past the Mundial for general cooks work. They as good as most others, Apart from Japanese..
Those skinny pressed blades can be sharp. but for a nice feeling knife that you LIKE to use go a bit better. You only buy it once. and DOES become an extension Buy a 15\20cm Cooks. Mundial? that'll do 90%of your work. ANY Paring knife from supermarket. Then a Utility. Mundial?.
Unless cutting seriously I use those two blades for everything. Bread Knife. I have 2 in the drawer. I prefer a 13in meatworks butchers knife For Pumpkin Cabbage etc. Long enuff to control at both ends while using. (Safer) And a 6in Curved Boner from same place (Swibo. HARD steel) Pricks to sharpen but hold it when you get there.
Meatworks knives will cover all you want. Crude but good steel. Cheap as. and do a good job. They designed to do a ten hr shift, continuously. Just Another way to go when your pocket light. king of knives sell them and are closing down.