Doctor's Review: Medicine on the Move

July 24, 2017
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Get an edge on

The Universal Sharpener by Chestnut Tools

A couple of years ago, a friend of our daughter’s and her boyfriend arrived for the weekend. He was an amateur cook of some talent and claimed to have studied with Julia Child, author of the famous cookbook. His freezer, he said, was full of reductions of various kinds: several pounds of premium meat reduced to 500 millilitres, that sort of thing. He talked a great meal.

I like to mess around in the kitchen too, if perhaps not at that level. I’d planned a tasty Indian meal for them, but was deflated when he came into the kitchen and proceeded to go through my utensil drawer. He extracted my chef’s knife holding the blade up with two fingers, and said, “Oh Theo, you should be ashamed.” The knife, a Henkel from Germany, was as dull as the left bank of the Rhine.

I was indeed ashamed. A sharp knife is one of the essential tools in any kitchen. I aspired to always having one in mine — and I had the knife sharpeners to prove it. From sharpening stones, to sharpening rods, to several models that you draw the blade through ceramic or steel wheels. I have an electric model too, and a diamond-surfaced block of stainless steel that comes in a small leather travel case. And I have dull knives. Sadly, I’ve never quite mastered the art of knife sharpening — until now.

Enter the Universal Sharpener. It uses “a very different concept in sharpening” boasts the Lee Valley catalogue. A sub-micron tungsten carbide blade shaves the steel rather than abrades it. It actually peels away a tiny thread of steel leaving a blade that is as sharp as it was when new — maybe sharper. It takes very little force and it works on all kinds of blades: axes, scissors and even those with a curve in them.

The sharpener resembles a chunky penknife with the working part folding into a handsome red anodized aluminum handle. There’s even a belt clip. It’s simple to use and comes with a clearly illustrated instruction booklet.

Your liberation from dull knives could be less than a week away. $18.50. leevalley.com.

This article was accurate when it was published. Please confirm rates and details directly with the companies in question.

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