I bought a new set of knives and my dad used the chopping knives to cut onions.

Instead of chopping by slicing the onions with the usual technique, he was using his two hands to hold the knife by the extremities and chopping the onions this way. Is this going to destroy my knives?

  • 1
    I'm not sure -- what I suspect could be an issue is that if he's using both hands, he'd be more likely to pull towards himself as the blade hits the board -- and that's more likely to pull the blade out of true. It's more difficult to do this with one hand, as the blade would pivot instead.
    – Joe
    Commented Apr 12, 2015 at 13:22
  • So the blade won't be affected? It will stay sharp?
    – Napster
    Commented Apr 12, 2015 at 13:24
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    not exactly. It might technically be sharp right near the edge, but when you look at the whole knife, it just won't cut things as easily as the blade isn't properly aligned.
    – Joe
    Commented Apr 12, 2015 at 13:26
  • Check your dad's knives to see if they're warped or otherwise damaged.
    – Ross Ridge
    Commented Apr 12, 2015 at 17:22
  • They won't be damaged unless they're ceramic or otherwise brittle knives, or if the chopping is done on an improper surface. And you should not try to eternally preserve sharpness as moscafj's answer hints at, as that entails keeping them sealed away from oxygen and never using them. Commented Apr 12, 2015 at 19:14

3 Answers 3


Hard chopping will not destroy the knife, but it will dull the knife faster. The edge of a knife is extremely narrow. As a result, regular use will push the edge to the left or right, leading to burrs. Hard impacts accelerate this process, and can even cause the edge of the blade to chip. Knife blades stay sharp longest when they are used gently and on soft cutting surfaces.


He probably didn't "destroy" them...all knives dull with use depending on what you are cutting, what you are cutting ON, frequency of use...etc. Whether you slice, dice or chop, you should get in the habit of sharpening and honing your knives regularly. Higher quality blades stay sharp longer (and take a sharpening better), but over time, all knives need care if you want them to have a useful life


Probably not, if it's onions

Onions are a soft product so the damage from chopping this (weird) way is much more affected by what kind of cutting surface he's using rather than the product itself.

This is because the greatest impact pressure on the knife will be the point where it hits the hard surface of the board.

If you're worried about knife damage, just make sure he: * Uses a softer cutting board (those cheap, thick white plastic boards are pretty good for this) * Doesn't try to do this with products harder than onions, like coconuts, bone, or his own fingers...

  • "weird way"? Sound like mincing to me... Commented Jan 10, 2016 at 17:33
  • If it's mincing then I agree it's not weird. The OP used the term chopping, so I was visualizing something different, ie using the knife in a vertical chopping rather than a rocking mincing motion.
    – tohster
    Commented Jan 10, 2016 at 17:38
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    Bringing the knife straight down, handling it two-handed, is something I often do myself if I want to mince the living daylights out of something that is still in big pieces (eg aromatics pile for a thoran). Advantage is that you give things less incentive to roll off the cutting board. But then, not something I tend to use the most recently sharpened, most fragile knife for.... Commented Jan 10, 2016 at 19:28

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