Posts tagged ‘dull’

Why Aluminum Foil is Dull on One Side

By Kaye Nemec

Hopefully you’ve all read Chad’s previous posts about aluminum foil retainers or how to properly use aluminum foil in the microwave. The post about aluminum foil retainers is a life changer.

I learned something else recently that adds to the growing list of things you never knew you needed to know about aluminum foil.

There are two, distinct sides to standard aluminum foil – the shiny side and the dull side. During the last phase of the rolling process, two sheets of foil are put through the rollers. The rollers themselves are oiled and, therefore, the side of the foil that touches the roller comes out shinier than the other. There are rumors that one side of the foil reflects heat better than the other and that the reflection should be considered during cooking. However, the Reynolds Wrap website states, “Actually, it makes no difference which side of the aluminum foil you use—both sides do the same fine job of cooking, freezing and storing food.”

P.S. If you place a piece of aluminum foil underneath your ironing board cover the heat will reflect off of it which means you are ironing both sides of your garment at once!

Broken Secrets

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Sources: Reynolds Wrap, The Straight Dope, Life Hackery

Photo: Emillian Robert Vicol (cc)

April 6, 2011 at 2:00 am 7 comments

Why Some Knives Have Serrated Blades

By Chad Upton | Editor

Good knives are expensive, but they’re money well spent when you consider they may outlive you.

There aren’t many purchases you can say that about and like anything that lasts, they need care and attention.

In fact, Japanese samurai swords endured hundreds of years of use, when properly cared for by a Togi professional — a sword polisher whose apprenticeship lasts ten years.

You’re probably aware that knives need sharpening, but do you know why they get dull in the first place?

It’s not just from repeated use, but from repeated misuse. Some misuse is expected, especially with serrated knives.

When you cut on a surface that is harder than the knife blade, that surface dulls the blade by creating a microscopic flat surface on the bottom of the blade. The flat surface is too small to see, but it makes a big difference in the cutting ability of the blade. In knife manufacturing, electron microscopes are used in quality control to inspect the sharpness of the blade.

To keep your knives sharp, it is best to cut on cutting boards made from soft materials such as various types of wood or plastic. While it’s convenient to cut directly on solid surface counter-tops such as granite and quartz, it’s not good for your knives and neither are glass cutting boards.

Plates are a common surface to cut on, but they’re bad for knives. Serrated blades help solve this dilemma; the points touch the plate but the raised edges above the points do not. Therefore, the points are dulled, but the other edges stay sharp.

Serrated blades also work well for cutting through hard rinds of some produce, and crunchy bread crusts too. The sharp points add more localized pressure, allowing better cutting penetration on the foods and act like a saw when the knife is moved back and forth.

There are other practices that can dull your knives too. Letting the cutting edge bang into other utensils in a drawer or the dishwasher can cause nicks and scratches, which adversely affect the knives’ sharpness.

To keep your knives in good repair, you should use a honing steel on the blade for about 30 seconds before each use. It helps remove scratches and bends in the blade, but it does not sharpen it.

For sharpening, a good manual or automatic sharpener should be used every few months. Professional sharpening should be done every few years. Many serrated blades cannot be sharpened, but a honing steel can be used on some.

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Sources: Cutco, Electric Knife Sharpeners Blog, Sword Forum Mag, Wikipedia (Serrated Blade)

August 6, 2010 at 5:00 am 7 comments

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