One aspect of caring for your knives is maintaining the edge and, when needed, sharpening the blade. But it’s also important to be aware of how you’re using your knives on a daily basis.
The cutting surface you use makes a big difference in keeping your knives sharp. A good cutting board will help retain a sharp edge for substantially longer. Wood, such as hinoki, and polypropylene boards are excellent choices. Tile, ceramic, marble, granite, or any kind of glass cutting boards are poor choices and are very hard on your knives. Do not cut frozen food with your knives. It could damage the blade.
Remember that your Kai cutlery is extremely sharp. When you're just starting, go slowly and enjoy the precision cutting ability of your new kitchen cutlery. As you gain experience, you will be able to work more quickly. No matter what your experience level, be careful and always pay attention to where your fingers are in relation to the knife.
We recommend that you handwash your blades with gentle dish soap. Do not use scouring pads, steel, or gritty cleanser when cleaning the blades. Dishwashers can prematurely dull edges through contact with other hard surfaces. Chemical residues can sometimes cause spotting. Letting knives sit in a sink full of soapy water is hard on them, too. Once washed, rinse and towel dry immediately, then store in a sheath, block, or in-drawer tray.
To make sure your Kai knives provide you with years of service, please wash the blade and wipe dry after each use.
To maximize the life of your blade, regular honing with a honing steel is recommended. Weekly honing will extend the time between sharpening significantly. When the time comes to sharpen, we recommend using a sharpener specifically designed to sharpen to our 16° angle, sending the knives to a professional sharpener, or to our Tualatin, Oregon center for free sharpening.
Do not use scouring pads, steel, or gritty cleanser when cleaning the blades; it may damage the colorful coating. Do not cut frozen food with these knives. Please store them either in the matching sheath they came in or in a block or in-drawer tray.
A selection of the knives in the Wasabi line are single-beveled blades. In addition to the general care above, you can give your single-beveled blade some additional TLC to enhance its razor-like qualities.
Like those of most manufacturers, Wasabi single-beveled blades have a micro-bevel on the blade back. This enables you to use the blade right out of the box—and to be able to touch up the edge using a smooth hone or 6000-grit whetstone.
However, for chefs who want the most exquisite of single-bevel edges, Wasabi can be further sharpened and shaped using a method known as uraoshi. The uraoshi process can be done by the knife owner using a series of progressively finer-grit whetstones or by a professional sharpening service.
Uraoshi flattens the back of the blade along the edge and the spine. The slight hollow in the blade back, which helps food release from the blade, remains in the blade's center; only the edges are completely flattened. Since there's no angle to maintain, this makes sharpening easier; you simply pull the blade flat across the whetstone. It reduces sharpening effort, too, since you're only concerned with the edges and not the entire back of the blade. Further, it strengthens the edge.
That said, uraoshi sharpening is a learned skill and Kai recommends having a professional sharpener do this for you unless you are a skilled sharpener yourself. It is not required in order to use your knife, but it is a professional enhancement.