How to sharpen a knife?
Cutting with a blunt knife can not only be frustrating, it can also be dangerous. Indeed, the more you force your knife, the more you risk cutting yourself. And cutting with a blunt knife is no fun!
To properly maintain your knives and take full advantage of them, you must remember to sharpen and sharpen them regularly. There are several techniques for sharpening a knife, and all require the use of a tool specifically designed for this purpose.
Sure, you could leave the task of sharpening your knives to a professional, but if you have the necessary equipment, you’ll find it easy and economical to do it yourself. Here is a guide on how to properly sharpen a knife.
Tips and techniques for sharpening a knife:
1. Tools for sharpening a knife
To properly sharpen or hone your knives, you will need the right tool. Here are the most commonly found on the market:
- The whetstone: available in several grain sizes, from the softest to the most abrasive, the whetstone is the most effective tool and gives the most lasting results. However, it requires a longer adaptation period than other tools to sharpen a knife.
- The manual sharpener: this tool for sharpening knives is surely the easiest to use, even by beginners. This sharpening tool has a slot in which the blade of the knife is inserted. The disadvantage of the manual sharpener is that it does not fit all knives. For even more convenience, the manual sharpener is also available in an electric version.
- The sharpening steel: Efficient and fast, this is the most common sharpening technique among kitchen professionals. The sharpening steel will be used primarily to maintain a blade, not being designed to restore the edge of the blade.
Find below in the guide the best whetstone, the best manual sharpener as well as the top sharpening steel for knives.
2. Can a knife be sharpened with a wet grinder?
It is quite possible to sharpen a knife with a grinding wheel, preferably a wet grinding wheel because the water prevents the blade from overheating. This tool designed to effectively sharpen all cutting tools, however, requires a certain skill when it comes to sharpening kitchen knives.
If you’re into woodworking, you probably already have this tool in your arsenal to maintain the blades of your tools. You could therefore, with a little practice, use it to sharpen your kitchen knives.
However, it is not worth getting a wet grinder if only for sharpening kitchen knives.
The best way to sharpen a knife is to use a whetstone. There are other methods and devices available for sharpening knives, but most of them tend to wear down too much of the blade.
Take a double-sided sharpening stone, with a coarse grit on one side and a fine grit on the other. Different knives require the knife edge to be applied to the stone at a different angle, depending on the manufacturing specifications. Typically the angle is around 22 degrees. Then follow these steps:
- Place the whetstone on a cutting board or counter, with the coarse grit side up.
- Grasp the knife by the handle and hold the edge of the knife against the stone, with the cutting edge meeting the stone at an angle of approximately 22 degrees.
- With moderate pressure, slide the blade forward over the sharpening stone, covering the full length of the blade and keeping the blade level with the stone at a constant 22 degree angle.
- Repeat 10 times, then flip the knife over and give the other side of the blade 10 strokes on the whetstone.
- Flip the sharpening stone over to the fine grit side and give 10 strokes to each side of the blade.
Buy a knife sharpening stone:
- Whetstone with double face (400 grit and 1000 grit)
- For kitchen knives, chef’s knives, pocket knives, etc.
- High quality whetstone
The manual sharpener is very easy to use. Here’s how to use a manual sharpener in a few easy steps:
- Place the manual sharpener on your counter or work surface.
- Hold the handle firmly with your non-dominant hand to prevent the sharpener from moving while in use.
- Insert the blade into the slot, and pull the knife gently towards you, exerting light pressure.
- Lift the handle as you approach the tip to follow the contour of the blade. Each pull should only last 1 or 2 seconds.
- Repeat until you achieve the desired result, usually about ten times.
Buy a knife sharpener:
- Effectively sharpens all kitchen knives
- Ideal for chef’s knives and hardened steel knives
- Also sharpens serrated knives
The sharpening steel is not really a sharpener. Rather, it is a tool that allows you to retain and realign the edge of a knife’s blade. It helps straighten the dips and twists that naturally occur on a knife blade when in use.
The sharpening steel, also called rat tail, will therefore be useful for maintaining your knives. To do this, follow these tips:
- To get started, set your cutting board on the counter and cover it with a dish towel.
- Then grab the sharpening steel by the handle and position it perpendicular to the board, so that the end of the handle is facing up.
- Hold the handle firmly with one hand and make sure the tip of the rattail is pressed firmly against the towel-covered cutting board.
- Take the knife with the opposite hand. Starting from the top of the rattail, gently hold the edge of the knife 20° to the steel of the rifle shaft. Be careful not to move the blade in any way.
- While maintaining this angle, slide your knife down one side of the shaft, from heel to tip, while pulling the handle toward you. Then do the same with the other side of the blade.
- Repeat 4 to 5 times per side.
Buy a sharpening steel for knives:
- Ideal for sharpening knives
- Heavy-duty round chrome-plated steel bit
- TOP quality price
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