I recently purchased a set of Wolfgang Santoku knives and I am wondering if they need to be sharpened by a professional or can it be done at home?
You can sharpen them at home if you know how to sharpen a knife. If you don't care to learn how then I suggest you choose a professional sharpener...carefully. Ask them if they have experience with thin bladed forged knives and stress that you want as little metal removed as possible. Another alternative is to buy an good electric sharpener but this alternative is likely to cost more than the knives you bought. In the mean time I suggest you learn how to use a steel. It will greatly increase the time between sharpenings. Steeling realigns the edge but removes very, very little metal.
My husband knows how to use a steel. So I can get him to some sharpening when needed.
Well, what a surprise! I find myself scheduled to post on Santoku knives when I was really trying to post a comment on the Ultrex cookware thread. Where is it? This website is one of the most awkward I have ever seen.
Well, on the off-chance that this post might be directed to the right thread...Hey folks, until Dupont et al fixes their toxic product, i.e., Teflon, which all non-stick products are no matter what they call it, my recommendation is...throw out all your non-stick cookware, it is dangerous and toxic. Grandma's cast iron is every bit as non-stick as Teflon and a whole lot healthier, though it is a bit heavy. Stainless steel and cast iron are your best bets for good cooking.
Treedancer, that's odd...I have often wished other forums were as user friendly as this one.
Using a steel to hone a knife is NOT the same as sharpening it.
Honing a knife on a steel moves the edge back into alignment. In use, the edge of a knife will round over and wonder back and forth like a curvy road. The steel realigns the edge so that when you cut down you're actually cutting with the edge instead of a rounded part of the side of the edge.
Sharpening, on the other hand, removes material from the knife blade. Over time, the nice, sharp edge will dull -- erode or be worn away.
Once that happens, no amount of steeling in the world will bring it back.
I use a Lansky sharpening system on my knives. It makes it much easier to set the proper angle and helps prevent unfortunately sharpening "oopsies" in which you dig the nicely sharpened edge into the stone and have to start all over again.
Most kitchen knives only need sharpened once a year, if that.
You should, though, use a steel on your knives EVERY TIME you use it.