Knives are an irreplaceable kitchen utensil and item and are much needed in many other day-to-day activities as well. However once in a while, you may be required to sharpen your old knife. Below is a step-by-step procedure for sharpening a knife that you can follow to have a well-functioning and quality knife at home.
Table of Contents
- 1. Quick Guide
- 2. Know When You Need to Sharpen Your Knife
- 3. Using A Whetstone for Sharpening A Knife's Edge
- 4. A Guide On Using An Electric Sharpener for Sharpening Your Knives
- 5. Sharpening a Knife by Using the Honing Steel Rod
- 6. Honing Knife' Blade vs. Sharpening
- FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)
1. Quick Guide
Step 1: Get a whetstone and place it on a flat and rigid surface. You also need to choose an appropriate angle of the knife while sharpening it. The angle you choose can be based on the style of your knife. Remember that the same angle should be kept throughout your knife sharpening process.
Step 2: Use your preferred or main hand (for instance your right hand if you are right-handed) to hold the knife. Now apply some pressure on the knife's spine by using your thumb.
Step 3: Use four of your fingers on the other hand for applying more pressure on the knife's edge that is used for cutting.
Step 4: Start at the knife blade's heel or lower portion along your whetstone. Move upwards (towards the knife's tip) gradually.
Step 5: Slide or move the knife along your stone (whetstone). The motion should be away from the body and not towards it.
Step 6: Lift the edge of the knife's blade when the motion moves to the stone's edge. Now begin and repeat the process.
There are certain professional sharpening services available for knives, where you can get your old knife sharpened at a cost. However, you may also have certain tools readily available to you at your home itself that can be used for sharpening an old life. You need to follow certain different procedures and methods for these different tools. The below-given guide and information will provide you with a detailed description of how to sharpen the knife using the different tools and options available to you. The guide here can help you sharpen serrated (jaw-like edge) knives.
2. Know When You Need to Sharpen Your Knife
It is also important for you to find out the right time at which you should be sharpening your life. Your knife may not be providing you the same outcomes and/or may also have an inappropriate and inept condition. The below given two tests will help you find out whether it is the right time to sharpen your life or not.
You need a paper for this test. The A4 size paper may be the best option. Hold the paper piece by using your non-dominant hand. Now pick up the knife that you want to test. Start to slide downwards and towards the center of the piece of paper you are holding. Do this slice and cut in a way so that it moves away from your body and not towards it. If the knife cuts the paper, it is fine. However, if the cut you are making is breaking the page or the knife is sliding-off, you need to sharpen the knife. You also need to sharpen the knife when it cannot cut the paper.
A good knife in the right functioning state will be able to cut through the skin of a tomato easily, and you would be able to make even slices out of the tomato. If the knife is not properly sharpened, the tomato will take the form of a disorganized and sloppy mush. If your knife is not able to slice the tomato and is breaking it, you should be sharpening the knife.
A knife should be sharpened at least once every 3 months. However, you can also use the tests listed above to know whether the knife needs sharpening or not.
A knife will be in a better shape and will cut for longer if it is stored appropriately in the knife block sets. However, in the majority of cases, the knives may lose their edge's fineness and may need some effort so that they come back to their original shape and cut like new. For instance, the knife may turn to be rough and may not cut the best when it moves around the kitchen and the kitchen drawers and may be used extensively for a few months. Dull knives with blunt edges must be sharpened as the old and unsharpened knives may cause accidents. The knife will assume the original "V" shape and a "razor-sharp" edge after some honing and sharpening. You can also use these knives to do your day-to-day activities and to prepare healthy and delicious recipes and meals for your family members.
3. Using A Whetstone for Sharpening A Knife's Edge
A whetstone is also known by other names such as sharpening stone or water stone. The stones have fine or coarse/rough ages and are used for sharpening knives. The coarse grit of the stone can be used for re-grinding a used and dull knife's edge. On the other hand, the fine grit of the stone is used for maintaining the sharpness of a knife.
Steps for Sharpening A Knife
A. Soak the old knife in water for approximately 10 minutes. You can remove the knife from the water once the air bubbles do not appear anymore.
B. Keep the wet stone on a rigid and flat surface.
C. You need to choose the optimal and the best angle for sharpening a knife. For instance, Western knives may require a different sharpening angle when compared to Japanese knives. The angle should be the same throughout the sharpening process.
D. Hold your dull knife with a hand. Use the thumb of the other hand for applying some pressure on the knife's spine region. Use four of the fingers of the other hand to put some pressure on the cutting edge of the knife. Practice caution and be careful so that you don't injure your fingers or hand.
E. Now move the knife on the whetstone away from your body. When the knife reaches the stone's edge, lift it.
F. Repeat the process after flipping the side of the knife.
Shopping for the Best Whetstones
You can shop for the Whetstones online or offline. Below are some of the advantages and disadvantages (pros and cons) of sharpening the knife on the whetstones.
Advantages or Pros of Sharpening a Knife Whetstones
- A whetstone can be used for keeping the knife sharp for a long period.
- Whetstones can be used for ensuring that a dull knife also turns into a sharp knife.
- Whetstones can be used for sharpening both Asian and Western-style knives.
- A wide variety of knives can be sharpened by using the whetstones. A whetstone can be used for sharpening knives including chef knives, cleavers, pairing knives, Santoku knives, butcher knives, and fillet knives, among other knife varieties.
- A whetstone can be used for the entire day for sharpening a large number of knives including pocket knives.
The guide here can also give you more information for sharpening a dull knife on a whetstone.
Disadvantages or Cons of Sharpening a Knife on Whetstone
- If the chef does not have enough time, the whetstone knife sharpening method is not suitable for them.
- The method may require some expertise, as a proper optimal angle has to be maintained throughout the process of knife sharpening.
- You may be required to do some research to know more about the process and may need time to master this skill.
4. A Guide On Using An Electric Sharpener for Sharpening Your Knives
Tips And Procedure for Sharpening Knife's Edge By Using An Electric Knife Sharpening Machine
Knives may become old and dull over a period. They may be bouncing over the kitchen cabinets and drawers or maybe fulfilling their functions and purpose for many months. They lose their razor-sharp edge due to these and other reasons. Apart from the whetstones, you can also use a quality electric knife sharpening machine for sharpening your knives at home.
Know More About an Electric Knife Sharpening Machine
Sharpening a knife may involve certain hassles and efforts. However, if you use the dedicated machine for sharpening your knife, it can grind the metal easily and reduce much of the effort that is associated with the process. An electric knife sharpening machine can sharpen any knife quickly and easily. However, some people make consider the method to be less reliable when compared to the other knife sharpening methods.
The Step-By-Step Process for Sharpening a Knife with the Electric Knife Sharpening Machine
Most electric knife sharpening machines have similar designs and features. However, there may be certain variations due to the different manufacturers involved. The below-given guidelines will hold good for the majority of the machines.
Step 1: If your machine contains a trap, you should check it carefully and ensure that the trap for the shavings and grindings is empty.
Step 2: Place the machine on a flat and rigid surface securely. Ensure that the machine does not shift or slide from its position when you carry out the knife sharpening process.
Step 3: You need to check the manual of the machine carefully to see whether it can sharpen the knife that you have in hand. For instance, there are machines that cannot sharpen the serrated knives.
Step 4: You need to first insert the heel of your knife blade into the machine. Now pull it back towards yourself while exercising caution. Ensure that you do the pull gently, else it may damage the machine or the knife.
Step 5: Some machines also have the "honing" functionality and feature. You can use the feature for your knife as well, but only after the knife has been sharpened.
Advantages of Sharpening a Knife by Using A Machine
· The process is quick and fast and you can do it in just a few minutes.
· It is also a very simple method and anybody can sharpen their knife by using it.
· The majority of the knife sharpening machines contain the trap that can be used for the shavings.
· The use of a machine may be expensive when compared to other traditional methods of knife sharpening (such as the traditional whetstone).
· There can be inconsistencies in the machine variations.
· The knife's blades are delicate and some machines may scratch them.
· The machines for sharpening knives are not highly versatile. They will have a fixed/factory-fitted angle setting. You may not do any alterations in that area.
5. Sharpening a Knife by Using the Honing Steel Rod
You can also sharpen a knife by using honing steel.
Know More About a Honing Steel
You can sharpen and adjust the angle of your knife and its edges by using honing steel. It has the shape of a stick and is also called a "honing rod" or "sharpening rod". The equipment and tool will not sharpen the edges of the knife. However, it can improve the outcome of any kind of knife sharpening procedure that you are using.
Step-By-Step Procedure for Using a Sharpening Tool
Step 1: Rest the tool's tip on a rigid and hard surface while holding its handle. You must ensure that the honing steel does not move or slide away when you try to put the knife into it.
Step 2: Use your main hand (for instance the right hand if you are right-handed) for holding the knife. Now place the edge or blade of the knife on your honing steel.
Step 3: The right sharpening angle is 20 degrees. You can come to this angle easily. Place the honing steel parallel to the ground surface. Hold the knife so that it has a 90-degree (perpendicular) angle to your honing steel tool. Now rotate your knife first to the half (of the set imaginary angle of 90 degrees) and subsequently another half.
Step 4: You can start with the knife's heel and move the blade of the knife in a downward direction. Maintain a slight amount of pressure. The handle has to be pulled towards self. It will ensure that the whole blade area is exposed to the steel.
Step 5: Once you have completed the process for one side of the blade and the edge you can flip the knife and repeat the process for the other side.
There are also ceramic honing rods that can be used for sharpening ceramic knives.
Advantages of the Process
- The honing steel and the steel rod sharpening method can be understood and learned rather easily when compared to the other methods of knife sharpening.
- It is a highly affordable method.
- You can have a highly versatile and useful tool at home.
- Following the process and the method will ensure that the other knife sharpening methods can give better results.
Disadvantages of the Process
- The honing road method fails to sharpen the blunt and the dull knives and can only be used for shaping the already-sharpened edges and blades.
- The tool fails to remove any steel during the process.
- The different kinds of knives such as the Japanese and the German knives have different kinds of designs. You may have to gain more experience in using the rod and learn how to angle the knife and the machine for the best outcomes.
6. Honing Knife' Blade vs. Sharpening
There are certain noticeable differences between sharpening the blade of the knife and honing it. For instance, the blade of a knife should be honed at least once every week. However, the knives used commonly in kitchens and homes are sharpened after 2 months or 3 months, depending on their use. During honing, the shape of a knife's blade is improved. However, sharpening removes the steel and blunt edges and makes the whole knife useful again. Honing will not improve the sharpness of a knife as sharpening does.
- The knife is honed much more frequently, while sharpened less often.
- Honing will not improve the sharpness of your knife's edges or blades.
- A honing rod can be used every week for shaping the knife's edges.
- When a knife is sharpened, it assumes it's "out of the box" and the "V" shape again. Honing will shape the edges and make them have a precise and better angle. It is good to hone the shape of the blades after you sharpen the knives.
- Sharpening a knife will remove the blunt edges and unwanted steel away from the knife. A knife will again obtain its razor-sharpness after sharpening is completed.
- A knife's blade requires sharpening after 3 months only. Honing can be done every day or week.
FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)
Ques 1: Can I use honing steel for sharpening my kitchen knife?
Ans. Honing steel and rod cannot be used for sharpening a knife. However, it can give the edges of a knife a more precise angle and better shape.
Ques 2: What is the best method and tool that I can use for sharpening knives?
Ans. The traditional and older methods (like the whetstone method) can provide the best results. It is more reliable and versatile.
Ques 3: Want is the frequency for sharpening the chef's knife?
Ans. Knives like chef's knife can be sharpened once every 2 or 3 months.
Ques 4: What is the professional and expert way to sharpen knives?
Ans. It is important to know more about the knife sharpening process before you start it. You should try to read more about the sharpening equipment/tools and the process and make a good purchase accordingly. You must prepare yourself adequately, whether you are using a whetstone or any other tool or equipment for sharpening your knives.