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How to sharpen a knife ?

Views: 16     Author: Site Editor     Publish Time: 2023-02-09      Origin: Site

Basic Sharpening Instructions

Sharpening a knife is a very easy skill to acquire. All you need to remember is to maintain a consistent angle and apply even pressure while passing the edge over the stone. It's really that easy. With a little practice you'll be an expert in no time. Remember: Consistent Angle + Even Pressure = Sharp Edge.

When it comes to culinary skills, having a sharp knife is paramount. A dull knife not only hampers your cooking experience but also poses safety risks. In this article, we will delve into the art of sharpening a knife, exploring various methods, tools, and techniques to achieve a razor-sharp edge. Whether you're a professional chef or a cooking enthusiast, mastering the art of knife sharpening will undoubtedly enhance your kitchen prowess.

Understanding Knife Sharpening

What is Knife Sharpening?

Before we dive into the nitty-gritty of sharpening techniques, let's understand what knife sharpening actually means. Knife sharpening is the process of refining the blade's edge to restore its sharpness and effectiveness in cutting. Over time, knives tend to lose their sharpness due to regular use, and honing the blade ensures it remains efficient.

The Importance of a Sharp Knife

A sharp knife is essential for precise and effortless cutting. A dull knife not only leads to uneven cuts but also requires more force, making it more prone to slipping and causing accidents. With a sharp knife, you can improve your cooking efficiency, create visually appealing dishes, and reduce the risk of injuries in the kitchen.

Types of Knife Sharpeners

There are various methods and tools available for knife sharpening, each catering to different preferences and skill levels.

1. Honing Rods

Honing rods, also known as sharpening steels, are ideal for regular maintenance of knife edges. They don't actually sharpen the blade but help realign the edge, keeping it straight and sharp. Honing rods are suitable for quick touch-ups between proper sharpening sessions.

2. Whetstones

Whetstones, also called sharpening stones, are traditional tools used to sharpen knives. They come in different grit levels, each serving a specific purpose. Coarse grits are used for repairing damaged or dull blades, while fine grits are used for refining and polishing the edge.

3. Electric Knife Sharpeners

Electric knife sharpeners are convenient and easy to use, making them a popular choice for home cooks. These machines feature rotating abrasive wheels that quickly sharpen the knife with minimal effort. However, they may remove more material from the blade compared to manual methods.

4. Manual Pull-Through Sharpeners

Manual pull-through sharpeners are designed for simplicity and consistency. They have slots with pre-set angles, allowing you to drag the knife through for effective sharpening. While easy to use, they may not be suitable for certain types of knives, such as Japanese blades with single bevels.

Step-by-Step Guide to Sharpening a Knife

1. Prepare the Workstation

Before you begin sharpening, ensure you have a clean and organized workspace. Lay a damp towel beneath the sharpening stone or whetstone to prevent slipping during the process.

2. Assess the Blade

Inspect the knife for any visible nicks or damages. If there are any major issues, consider seeking professional assistance for repairs.

3. Choosing the Right Angle

The angle at which you sharpen the knife is crucial for achieving the desired edge. For most Western-style knives, a 20-degree angle is common, while Japanese knives typically require a more acute angle of 15 degrees.

4. Using the Sharpening Stone

If you're using a whetstone, soak it in water for about 10-15 minutes before starting. Position the blade on the stone at the chosen angle and apply light pressure as you slide the knife across the surface. Repeat this process on both sides of the blade, ensuring an even sharpening.

5. Honing the Edge

After sharpening, use a honing rod to realign the blade's edge. Hold the honing rod vertically and slide the knife from the heel to the tip along the rod, alternating sides.

6. Testing the Sharpness

To check the sharpness, gently run the knife's edge across a piece of paper. A well-sharpened knife should glide through the paper effortlessly.


Sharpening a knife is a skill that every aspiring cook should master. By understanding the various methods and tools available, you can keep your knives sharp and ensure a safer and more enjoyable cooking experience. Regular maintenance will not only prolong the life of your knives but also enhance your culinary results.

To learn how to sharpen a knife just follow these four simple steps:

1. Put a small amount of lubricant on your stone. Use oil if you are sharpening with Arkansas stones.  If you don't have honing oil plain mineral oil works great. If you're sharpening with a diamond stones you can use water or oil but we strongly recommend using Automobile glass water for lubricating and cleaning diamond sharpening stones. If you're using a waterstone use water. Most waterstones require you to soak the stone in water for 20-30 minutes before you start and you'll want to be sure you are using plenty of water. It's best to sharpen waterstones next to or even in a sink.

2. Lay the blade across the knife and raise the back of the knife to establish your desired angle. We recommend the angle guides from Razor Edge for holding a consistent angle - Razor Edge Angle Guides
3. Draw the blade across the stone in a sweeping motion so that the whole blade passes over the stone. Remember: even pressure and a consistent angle.
4. Draw the blade across the stone on the first side 10 times. Turn the knife over and draw the blade across the stone 10 times on the second side. Turn the knife back over to the first side and draw the blade across the stone 9 times. Go back to side two and stroke 9 times. Continue switching from side to side while reducing the number of strokes by 1 until you are drawing the knife 1 time on each side.
Note: 10 strokes on each side is a good starting point for a dull knife. On a very dull edge you may want to start with 20 strokes. If you're just touching up, 5 strokes may be enough. Different steels will require more or less strokes. Use your judgment.

diamond stones sharpening - Huayida Tools


1. How often should I sharpen my knife?

The frequency of sharpening depends on how often you use the knife. For regular home use, sharpening once every few months should suffice. Professional chefs may need to sharpen their knives more frequently.

2. Can I use an electric sharpener for delicate knives?

While electric sharpeners are efficient, they may not be suitable for delicate knives, especially those with thin and precise edges. It's best to use manual methods or seek professional sharpening for such knives.

3. Can I use a honing rod instead of a whetstone?

Honing rods are excellent for regular maintenance, but they cannot replace the sharpening effect of a whetstone. Whetstones offer more comprehensive sharpening and are essential for restoring a dull blade.

4. How do I clean a whetstone after use?

After sharpening, rinse the whetstone with water to remove any metal shavings and debris. Allow it to air dry completely before storing it.

5. Can I sharpen serrated knives?

Yes, serrated knives can be sharpened, but the process requires special tools designed for serrated blades. Using a regular whetstone may damage the serrations.

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