How to Sharpen Your Kitchen Knife to Get the Best Use Out of It

20
April

If you don’t know how to sharpen your kitchen knife to get the best use out of it, you’re using a bad tool in your kitchen. How many times a day do you use your kitchen knives to prepare meals? From cutting grapefruit wedges at breakfast to chopping vegetables at dinner time, your kitchen knife works best when you keep it sharpened. Dull knives are also more dangerous to use — they are more likely to skip over the surface of whatever you’re cutting and cut you instead.

If it is time to sharpen your kitchen knife and you have no idea what to do, read on.

Materials

One flat medium-grit sharpening stone
One flat fine-grit sharpening stone
Knives to be sharpened
Small amount of water or cooking oil (optional)
A piece of paper

Should I use a liquid on my blade when sharpening?

This is the great debate among knife sharpeners. Some people will tell you that using a small amount of water or cooking oil on the blade of the knife to be sharpened helps clean the “grit” and metal shavings away from the blade. Others say that using liquid ruins the sharpening stone and that the liquid prevents the blade from being truly sharpened. It is up to you — the instructions below do not specify that you should use a dry or a wet sharpening stone.

Sharpening the blade

The first thing you need to do is recreate the “edge” that your knife had when it was new. The edge of a well sharpened knife blade takes the shape of a forty-five degree angle with an additional bevel. Don’t worry about the bevel for now — we’re just forming the simple edge of the blade.

You should be using medium to light pressure to sharpen your blade. You may apply a little more or less pressure depending on the age of the knife. A really dull knife requires more pressure for a sharp blade.

Keeping your angle consistent is the key to knife sharpening. That’s why it is vital to place your flat medium-grit sharpening stone on a sturdy surface in front of you and lay the blade flat on the sharpening stone at a 45 degree angle.

Take the knife by the handle, keeping your index finger firmly along the back of the blade. Now carefully draw the knife towards you — be careful, but be firm.

Once you’ve completed the first sharpening, turn the blade over and repeat on the other side.

Creating a proper bevel

So you have a basic edge on your kitchen knife — now you will finish off the blade by sharpening a bevel. Bevels keep the knife’s edge strong, and your knife will stay sharper longer if you bevel the blade.

The bevel is really just an alteration of the original sharpening stroke. There are things different this time around — you’ll use a fine-grit stone instead of a medium grit, and you should raise the blade a bit higher off the stone when you draw it across.

Finish the first side, and turn the knife to create the bevel for the other side of the blade. For both steps of the knfie sharpening process, five or six strokes should get the job done. Professional chefs say that using less pressure with each stroke makes for a nicer blade.

To test your knife, hold a piece of paper and draw the blade gently across the edge. A properly sharpened knife will cut the paper with ease.

What about using a leather strap?

After you sharpen your kitchen knife, you are more than welcome to use a leather strap to complete the knife sharpening process. While it is not necessary to use a strap on your sharpened blade, using a strap will create an even better edge, and makes the sharpening job last longer.

To use a leather strap, simply buy a piece of leather large enough to cover your kitchen knife. Move your freshly sharpened blade down the leather strap (after rubbing it with an abrasive compound) to create a fine, smooth edge.

This post was written by

jasonjason – who has written posts on Home Tips Plus.
I'm a father of three, married and a home owner since 2006. I've worked in fixing up homes and rental properties.

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