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Learn How to Sharpen a Knife With This Easy Guide: All About Knife Sharpening

Aug.30.2021
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How to Sharpen a Knife

If you’re anything like me, you really enjoy the process of slicing and dicing food in preparation for cooking. Using a really nice knife to slice through beautiful produce or fine meat can heighten my experience while preparing food and also enjoying it once it’s made. Sometimes a dull knife can take some therapeutic quality out of the time in the kitchen that I cherish so much.

Knowing how to sharpen a knife can make your experience in the kitchen a lot more fun, more lucrative, and safer. It is actually quite dangerous to try to cut things with a very dull knife. This is because using a dull knife requires more force and the risk of slipping is increased. This can lead to nastier kitchen accidents and emergencies. Keep your knives sharp so that you don’t run into this issue, and also so that you can enjoy the smooth slice of a tomato, or the buttery gliding of your knife into a piece of cheese.

So what is the best way to sharpen a knife at home? Be aware that many people are under the impression that a honing stick is what to use to sharpen a knife. A honing stick or a stainless steel rod can hone your knife and make it straighter for a more precise slice, but it won’t actually sharpen the blade. Honing is important and should be done frequently to keep your knives straight and safe for use. The right way to sharpen a knife, however, is with a whetstone or a knife sharpener.

Knife Sharpening Technique

The two most widely used ways to sharpen a knife are scraping the knife over a whetstone or pulling it through a knife sharpener. A whetstone is a piece of stone that is used to sharpen knives, and they have been used for centuries. It is essentially just a slab of stone with no bells or whistles. Some whetstones require that you get them wet before use, which you should do by submerging them in water for 5-10 minutes. The name “whetstone” comes from the word whet which means to sharpen and stone, so it literally means sharpening stone. The other easy way to sharpen a knife is with a knife sharpener. Knife sharpeners can be bought at most home goods stores, and they are simple to use and maintain. You simply run the blade of your knife through the knife sharpener and voilà: it’s sharp!

What is the best way to sharpen a knife? The better choice of the two depends on what you’re going for. The whetstone would keep your knives in good shape for longer, but the knife sharpener is often more convenient because it doesn’t require soaking in water, and its instructions are simple. Although they’re not always as good for your knives, the fastest way to sharpen a knife is certainly with a knife sharpener. Because these quick fix sharpeners can run down the blade of your knife, stick to a whetstone for your most precious or luxurious knives. Using a whetstone might be ever so slightly more complicated, but we think it’s worth it. If you want a more exacting and preservational knife sharpener, a whetstone might be your best bet.

Sharpening Knife At Home: Knife Sharpening Instructions

When using a whetstone, the instructions aren’t overly complicated. If your whetstone needs to be soaked in water before use, go ahead and soak it in water for 5-10 minutes for an optimal moisture level. Then take the knife you want to sharpen and hone it so that it is in the correct alignment for sharpening. You can hone it with a stainless steel honing rod, which many people confuse for a knife sharpener. Honing can be done anywhere from once a week to with every use of your knife.

If it’s been a very long time since you last sharpened your knife or your knife is noticeably quite dull, you should start on the coarse side of the whetstone and then move on to the fine side.If you hone and sharpen your knife regularly, you can begin with the fine side of the whetstone and drag it across the stone at a twenty-degree angle. Now for an obvious one of our knife sharpening tips: It goes without saying that you are going to want to be very cautious and attentive while honing and sharpening a knife.

How to Sharpen a Knife Using a Knife Sharpener

How to Sharpen a Knife Using a Knife Sharpener

To use a knife sharpening device, you simply slide the blade through the device to sharpen. These handy kitchen tools are easy to use, but again, remember not to save them for when you need to sharpen in a pinch or for less pricey knives. Start with the course slot to sharpen a knife that isn’t regularly maintained, and then move on to the fine slot. If you know that you maintain your knife religiously, you might find that starting with the fine side works great.

How Often Sharpen Knives

Knives should be sharpened every six to twelve months to ensure that they are sharp and efficient for use. As mentioned previously, honing can be done far more often. Hone your knife weekly and sharpen it bi-annually or annually depending on use.

Can All Knives Be Sharpened?

Can All Knives Be Sharpened?

It is important to note that not all knives can be sharpened. No matter how dull your serrated knife is, you can not use a whetstone or knife sharpener to sharpen it. You also cannot hone serrated knives. It’s a bummer because serrated knives can become dull too, but don’t try it, or you could get very hurt. Other kinds of knives that you shouldn’t try to sharpen include ceramic knives and knives with hard metals that could not sharpen. Ceramic knives can break, and hard metal knives can cause injury or simply won’t get sharp no matter how much you try to sharpen them with the typical tools.

Bottom line

Using a dull knife is obviously not as easy, more dangerous, and provides less evenly sized slices or dices. Learning how to sharpen your knives with a whetstone, or in a pinch with an electric knife sharpener, can improve your quality of kitchen time greatly.

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