The Chef’s Choice 450 two-stage diamond wheel knife sharpener allows even those chefs who don’t like to sharpen knives to work with sharp blades. The bevel it produces and the quality of the cutting edge won’t match professional standards, but many good cooks don’t care so much about the steel as they do about the food.
The Chef’s Choice 450 is typical of simple honing machines, requiring some practice to operate well. I’ve been surprised that people who don’t use sharpening stones can use machines like this, but some find honing systems more workable than flat stones and steels. Tricks to remember include holding the 450 firmly on the table or countertop and using a light touch. The large handle provides a firm grip for either righties or lefties, but does require some downward pressure to hold the sharpener in place. Pressing too hard with the blade throws the machine out of line.
The two-stage system offers a coarse side for reshaping very dull knives and a finer wheel for refining the edge. Part of the knife edge near the bolster won’t ever reach the wheels, but that’s expected when using a machine like this. Of more concern is the area near the tip, which sees much more actual use. Sharpening the last inch or two of the blade requires some finesse, because too much pressure can drop the blade too far into the machine, blunting the new edge against the frame. The Chef’s Choice 450 has built-in guide slots that place the blade against the long lasting diamond honing wheels at the correct angle for most western knife types. Draw the knife through each slot the same number of times and use a light, steady stroke.
The Chef’s Choice 450 won’t put a magical edge on your blades, but it works. The 450 quickly puts a serviceable edge on dull knives, and many people who are averse to whetstones and honing steels find these machines a practical alternative.
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