The best method for sharpening a knife

The best method for sharpening a knife

When resharpening the edge of the honing blade, it will not remove any chips or nicks. Sharpening removes material from the blade, creating a sharp new edge. “We always recommend using a honing steel or device initially to help straighten the blade and thus sharpen it without removing material from the knife. However, if the knife needs to be truly sharpened, there are advantages and disadvantages to the different styles. sharpeners on the market,” Griggs. said


Beyond honing rods, basic sharpening options include pull-through sharpeners, electric sharpeners, and whetstones. Welsh and Griggs, like most culinary professionals, prefer honing steels and whetstones. Hammer Stahl sells both tools together in its sharpening system. No matter which device you choose, knowing the correct angle to place your knife blade with the sharpener is critical to successful results.


Using a Whetstone

A whetstone (or sharpening stone) is a flat block of abrasive material made from aluminum oxide, ceramic, steel sheet coated with diamond particles, or natural stone. Some have two-sided serrations that allow for simple manual sharpening and an end edge. They should be soaked before use and moistened by rubbing the blade against a stone.


So, why is a whetstone a better sharpening option? “Whetstone sharpeners give you more control over how your knife is sharpened,” says Welsh. A multi-grit whetstone combined with either a honing rod or a good piece of leather to help ice and polish is one of the best ways to handle your knives, adds Griggs. “With the whetstone method you can sharpen many angles as well as most types of steel,” he says.


Still, using a whetstone correctly can take practice, patience, and confidence—all of which can be gained over time.


How to sharpen a knife with a whetstone


Always immerse a wetstone in water until there are no visible air bubbles before use. This can take anywhere from 10 to 45 minutes depending on the whetstone.


Place the whetstone horizontally, rough-side up, on a damp towel to avoid sliding.

Place the top of the sharp edge of the blade against the surface of the whetstone, near its left edge. Tilt the blade 20 degrees with the sharp edge in contact with the stone. Using pressure with your free hand, slide the sharp edge across the stone, to the right. At the same time, move the knife toward the top edge of the stone so that the bottom edge of the blade is in contact with the stone as you reach its right edge. To work on the other side of the blade, start at the right end of the whetstone and tilt the blade in the opposite direction. Repeat sharpening 10 times on each side.


Using an electric knife sharpener


While a whetstone sharpens the blade manually, an electric knife sharpener uses a powered abrasive wheel or disc to achieve that goal. Electric sharpeners have pluses and minuses. “Good electric sharpeners can produce a good, sharp edge, but they often wear down your knife edge quickly over time,” says Welsh. Read more: How to cut green onions


Griggs points out that while an electric sharpener is usually faster and more convenient, quality units can be more expensive and more invasive, especially if you fail to follow the instructions properly. “Electric sharpeners are often more restricted in blade angles, reducing its flexibility within your collection,” he says. Many Damascus knife brands discourage the use of electric sharpeners, Griggs says.

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