This handy knife sharpener, the Twinsharp from J. A. Henckels, is designed to do the same job as a honing steel without all the flash and flourish. Although the hardened steel and ceramic wheels of this gadget will do a fine job of resetting the edge of even old knives, it’s possible to do this wrong. You should pick a knife you don’t care a lot about to practice on before touching up your fine prep knives.
The design of the Twinsharp gives you a good grip that lets you put downward pressure on the sharpener with your left hand — but, it’s only going to work if the right hand draws the blade through. It’s not a convenient tool for lefties.
With a sharpener like this you need a light and accurate touch. Lay the blade in the slot and draw it toward you; don’t use much downward pressure. If you do it right, it will hone the steel without chattering and bouncing. If you pull to one side or press the blade down too hard, you may wind up with nicked blades — but sharp nicked blades.
For high-end Japanese knives with acutely beveled hard edges, follow the guidance of the manufacturer. This sharpener is not the right tool for Shun or Global cutlery. With some practice it will do a good job on plain edged Henckels, Wusthof, and many other European style blades.
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