A meat slicer is a must-have tool for any fast food outlet whose demand for sliced meat is more than forgiving. It is also a common appliance in homes whose cooks prefer perfectly sliced beef, but cannot afford the precision of a meat slicer. Just like with any other cutting tool, the appliance gets blunt and can’t make precise cuts anymore. This article is dedicated to teaching you how to sharpen a meat slicer blade, either by hand or with an inbuilt sharpener.
Any sharp edge poses a risk of injury to the user during operation. Similarly, a meat slicer’s blade should be sharpened with caution. We shall also look at the safety precautions you should observe.
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How to sharpen a meat slicer blade by hand
If you’re budget conscious, then you may have been forced to go for just a basic meat slicer, one that doesn’t have an inbuilt blade sharpener. Not so fancy, but you can still enjoy the full benefits of a sharp-bladed meat slicer, for you can sharpen the blade by hand. You may still have sharpened the blade, but do you think you did it right? Here is how you should sharpen a meat slicer blade by hand:
- Sharpening stone
- Non-abrasive soap/detergent
- Sharpening oil (cooking oil can do)
- Isopropyl alcohol (or detergent diluted in water)
Steps-1: Choosing a sharpening stone
Even without an inbuilt blade sharpener, some manufacturers include a sharpening stone in the product’s package. If your unit came with a sharpening stone, it’s time to put it to use.
Most meat slicers are not sold with an included sharpening stone anyway, or you may have misplaced it. For such cases, you can buy a suitable stone from your nearest hardware store.
Steps-2: Cleaning the blade
Although you likely ignore it, you should have the blade spotlessly clean before sharpening. Just pour a little detergent all over the blade surface followed by a little water. Scrub till all stains disappear and give the blade a thorough rinse. You’ll know you’ve done a good job if you can see your face reflecting on the blade’s metal surface.
You do not want to clog the stone’s active surface, tasking yourself with yet another expense; buying a grinding stone dressing tool.
Steps-3: Positioning the sharpening stone on the meat slicer
If the machine is still running, turn it off and unplug the power cord. Follow your user manual to complete this step successfully. You’ll know how to place the stone on the machine, and lock it in place.
Steps-4: Unmounting the sharpening stone
Before sharpening, ensure you dress the blade by wetting it with sharpening oil, or cooking oil. The sharpening oil protects the stone and carries away the swarf. The oil also enhances the formation of a keen edge on the slicer blade, for neater slices of meat.
Steps-5: Oiling the blade
After ascertaining that everything is well set, it’s time for the real job. Plug back the power cord and switch on the outlet. Turn the machine on to allow the blade to grind against the sharpening stone. Stop the machine after 30 seconds. After about 4 seconds, turn the machine on again for another 30 seconds. Repeat the process a third time and check the blade for sharpness.
To check the blade’s sharpness, just place a tomato on the cutting edge and apply slight force on the tomato against the blade. If the blade struggles to slice the tomato, expect it to tear through the meat instead of slicing.
Repeat the sharpening step until the blade is satisfactorily sharpened.
If you’re using a separately bought stone, don’t let your eyes off it. The stone may fall off or get knocked by the blade, posing a risk of injury.
Steps-6: Unmounting the sharpening stone
When the blade has been sufficiently sharpened, it’s time to leave the machine’s operating space free. Even though user manuals have different procedures for this, unmounting the stone will mostly involve unscrewing the knob and sliding the stone off the blade. Screw back the knob into place and store the sharpening stone safely.
Steps-7: Cleaning the blade
Never, for one time, forego cleaning after a sharpening operation. Although the meat slicer blade was cleaned before sharpening, it gets dust-ridden from the stone’s abrasive sand particles and the metal chipping from the blade.
Pour detergent on the blade and spread with care. Then rinse thoroughly, with running water.
Steps-8: Disinfecting the blade
To prevent transferring germs to your now sharp slicer blade, you’ll need to disinfect it. Pour isopropyl alcohol on the blade, just enough to cover the blade surface. Let the blade air dry and put back the blade cover.
How to sharpen a meat slicer blade with a built-in sharpener
This is usually the more convenient way of sharpening a meat slicer blade. Simply follow these instructions and your deli slicer’s blade will be as efficient as a new one.
Steps-1: Cleaning the blade
Disconnect the machine from the power outlet. Wipe off any dirt on the blade and clean thoroughly with water and detergent.
Steps-2: Setting up the sharpening kit
After the blade is sufficiently dry, it’s time to set the kit for sharpening.
- Begin by loosening the locking knob. This releases the built-in sharpener attachment.
- Lift the sharpeners attachment up. Swivel the attachment through 180°.
- Check if the blade is centrally positioned against the two sharpening stones on the sharpener attachment.
- Tighten back the locking knob to lock the sharpener attachment in place.
Steps-3: Sharpening the blade
Deli slicers with a built-in sharpener attachment usually have extra buttons dedicated to the sharpening of the blade.
- Begin by pressing the sharpening stone button. This spins the blade against the stationary grinding mole. Let the blade run for 30 seconds to make a burred cutting edge and then stop.
- Press the sharpening and deburring buttons concurrently for about four (4) seconds and then release. This dresses the blade by streamlining the burrs to form a sharp edge.
NOTE:pressing the sharpening and deburring buttons simultaneously as mentioned above should not last more than 4 seconds. Pressing them longer can cause twisting of the blade’s cutting edge.
Steps-4: Cleaning the blade and the stone
Just as you’d do when sharpening without the built-in sharpener, clean up the machine and sanitize the blade.
Steps-5: Resetting the sharpener attachment
You cannot use the machine while the sharpener is obstructing the blade. After sharpening and cleaning, reset the sharpener kit back to the original position and secure it with the locking knob
Precautions for sharpening a meat slicer blade
You should always treat sharp tools such as a meat slicer with caution, failure to which the operator may suffer serious injury or even death. Follow these precautionary measures to avoid being on the blade’s wrong side:
- Always ensure the appliance is turned off and unplugged from the power supply before you start cleaning it. If the power cable cannot be unplugged switch it off from the mains supply and only turn it on when required.
- Never submerge the deli slicer in the water when cleaning the blade. Doing so would short-circuit some electrical components inside the machine. This poses a risk of fire or electrical shock o the user, as well as machine malfunction.
- Ensure that the blade guard is put back on the appliance before using the slicer again. This reduces the risk of injury to the user and may catch some stray meat chops flying about.
How to Sharpen a Meat Slicer Blade Watch Video
At this point, I expect that you know how that slicer blade should be cleaned. If you have been missing something, the missing link is now filled. Remember to always consult the manufacturer’s manual for cleaning and adjusting the various parts and assemblies involved in the sharpening process.
Rita C. Donnell (Jennifer) has spent the last 26 years studying and practicing nutrition science. She has used a larger part of this time in improving people’s livelihoods. She has done so by coming up with unquestionable ideas on how to tackle food problems in her community. Readmore