After recently adding the Work Sharp Sharpener to our wide range of sharpeners - we decided to put it and a selection of our favourite knives to the ultimate tests - CATRA Knife Sharpness Testing, plus being put under the scrutinising eye of some of London’s leading & upcoming chefs at The Divertimenti Cookery School, London.
Knowing that no matter what knife a chef uses – or how sharp it was when it arrived, shiny and new, in the kitchen – we also know that unless it’s kept razor sharp, it’ll quickly move from flavour of the month to last week’s leftovers!
What is CATRA?
CATRA is a professional knife sharpness testing centre where, using a specialised method they test all types of knives and how well sharpeners sharpen them! This method of testing was developed in the 1980’s and soon became the national standard for retailers and knife manufacturers to compare sharpness and durability of knives.
To do this they attach the knife being tested to a machine that in spurts presses stacks of paper against the blade in all different directions to measure the cuts and speed that the blade slices the paper. (Its a bit more technical than that but this is the simple way of explaining it!) Interestingly, paper was chosen to test the sharpness, this is due to it being sufficiently dulling on the edge of knives, meaning that between testing the knife can be sharpened to determine how good the edge retention is as well as how well the sharpener sharpens the knife.
How did the Work Sharp Sharpener perform at CATRA?
The Work Sharp Sharpener was benchmarked against the commercial CATRA machine itself, the knife is resharpened – then submitted to 10 passes on the CATRA tester – before being resharpened again. Then this process is repeated ten times making it a lengthy, testing challenge to any sharpener. Amazingly, the Work Sharp Sharpener came in as the 3rd best sharpener on the market
How did the Knives perform for the chefs?Unaware of the test results from the professional CATRA testing day - We arranged a day of all things knives at The Divertimenti Cookery School and asked a selection of London’s upcoming chefs to test and try out all the knives then rate them on a scale of sharpness, comfort, weight & design. They tried and tested each knife and scored them on a scale of 1 to 10 in each of these categories. The tops knives were:
Comfort: Yaxell Gou
Knife Roll Staple: Wusthof
Wish List Knife: Miyabi
What’s the Verdict?
For the Chef’s its whole other kettle of fish, the chefs will consider a whole lot of other factors (as should you!) like the weight, handle, comfort and heel all play a major part in selecting your perfect knife.
For a very interesting read on comparative knife testing under laboratory conditions, plus a whole host of specialist articles for cooking and catering professionals– you can subscribe to Chef magazine here.