A sharp and sturdy knife is one of the most essential tools in a kitchen. Almost all recipes start with chopping, slicing, carving, paring, skinning, or dicing. Therefore keeping your knife sharp, and using it safely, is of utmost importance to anyone interested in cooking. It is also one of the more intimidating aspects. How many people feel comfortable the first time the pick up an 8-inch chef knife? Far fewer than feel comfortable swinging around a cast iron skillet. But using a sharp knife shouldn’t be scary, and it really isn’t, especially if you observe a few simple rules.