Your better kitchen knife is a quality tool, and like other quality tools. it should receive proper care. It has been designed for years of dependable service, but that goal cannot be met if it is being treated casually and without regard to the exacting engineering that has gone into it. You might, therefore, want to take the following suggestions into consideration:
1. Hand Washing
As the folks at Furi, one of a number of top quality manufacturers, puts it, "The material used in professional knives is very different to sinks, pots and pans, forks and spoons, etc. It is less corrosion resistant, but much harder (to hold an edge under abrasive cutting conditions). Simply hand wash and dry your knives after each use. Don't leave them wet on the sink, and don't put them in the dishwasher. (Dishwashers are highly corrosive environments, and will literally eat a small layer of metal off your knives, making your fine edge rounded and dull, and leaving rust spots on your blade.) Also, the plastic sleeves many knives are packaged in are very humid environments, and your knives shouldn't be stored in them after purchase (use a good knife block or magnetic rack). If you do get small rust spots or stains on your knives, simply scrub off the spots using a sideways (width-wise) scrubbing motion, using a scouring pad or cloth and metal polish. Never scrub along length-wise along the blade or handle, because this is across the original polishing grain, and will quickly show polishing scratch marks."
2. Keep Them Sharp
It's a simple fact. Usage produces wear, and wear can dull a knife. True, the Rachael Ray Furi knives hold an edge better than most, but they won't hold that edge forever. There are some knife makers on the market that advertise their product as "never needing sharpening," but be careful, that may be because they cannot be sharpened. Consequently, it might be wise to sharpen your sharpening skills. Fortunately, with the proper instrument at hand, that is not difficult to do. We recommend something such as the Accusharp Knive and Tool Sharpener, not only for the Furi knife, but for any high quality kitchen knife. It is safe and simple to use, and does a tremendous job with little effort. It has been designed with "diamond -honed tungsten carbide sharpening blades of an excellent sharpening finish."
One word of caution: Those better knives comes to you very sharp. They can be made exceedingly sharp. In that condition take extra precautions to keep it out of the hands of little ones. Being razor sharp certainly has its advantages, but it can also make accidental cuts much more likely if care is not taken.
3. These Are Knives, Not Screwdrivers
Don't use your knives as a lever to remove lids, or as some sort of a workshop tool to loosen screws or pry off staples. Don't set them down too close to counter edges where they might accidently be knocked to the floor. The engineers at Furi advise that "professional knives are hard and strong, but they can still be broken or chipped if enough inappropriate force is applied. Knives are only designed for straight-line forces in the vertical plane (normal cutting), and not for sideways leverage, or for striking against hard objects (including bones – chefs never swing their knives at bones!). Apart from the unnecessary destruction of a fine tool, and the inconvenience, the lifetime warranty is voided if they are abused in any of these ways. Please care for your knives: they will give a lifetime of good service if treated sensibly!"
4. Store Them Properly
The safe and hygienic storage of knives is a crucial issue in both domestic and commercial kitchens. Storing knives loosely in a drawer is normally not a good idea. It makes them prone to such hazards as blunt knives, contaminated knives, damaged knives and increased injury risks. Some sort of a sheath or holder helps, but you need to remember that a knife blade needs to breathe, and stay dry. Too tight a covering can trap moisture, and over time that moisture can lead to corrosion. A better solution is probably a knife block of some kind. Try to find one that will not damage blades and that can be kept clean. A knife block also has a convenience feature in that it renders your knives more easily accessible during food preparation and cooking. You might also want to consider a magnetic rack. This also makes for a safe alternative to the loose storage in a drawer.
5. Develop Proper Cutting Techniques
It has already been mentioned that a knife is not a screwdriver or a pry bar. It is also not a shovel or an axe. Build your cutting skills. There are some simple techniques that make the food preparation process much more pleasant, faster, and safer. One of the key simple skills is using the "claw" grip on the food, and using your knuckle as a guide on the side of the blade. In other words, tuck your finger tips in while gripping the food to be cut, leaving your knuckles to be a guide for the knife. This may sound and seem uncomfortable, but it is much safer and you can quickly become comfortable with the technique. A potato, which is inexpensive and easy to cut, is a good vegetable on which to practice.
Other suggestions: Use a cutting board. Make sure the knife is sharp. (Believe it or not, more accidents occur when using a dull knife.) Also use the proper sized and the proper type of knife for the job at hand. Make it a practice of cutting away from you rather than towards you. If in doubt, check with the experts.
Don't ever use the palm of your hand as a cutting board. That is just inviting trouble!