The Right Way to Sharpen a Chef Knife at Home

We can’t compare a whetstone to a machine or a knife sharpener in sharpening a knife. Because machines cannot assist any type of knife with any type of roughness and dullness. Then a question arises here: who can sharpen more than a hundred knives in a day ? The answer has been described in the following section in steps that you do at home.

Primary Sharpening Stone

There are various grit numbers in sharpening stone. Lower the grit number, the rough the stone. Those stones that have lower grit number are more rough and these stones should be used for first sharpening. While the higher number are traditionally used for finishing already sharpened knives. The whetstone ‘s grit number less than 600 is used for repairing and sharpening highly dull knives. Our recommendation is to use grit starting from 1000 for initial sharpening.

Finishing Stone

Finishing stone is the process of removing the heat you created by stripping metal from a previously dull knife. It also makes the knife beautiful and attractive. Now increase your lower grit number a bit higher as our recommendation is 4000 to 8000. If you don’t feel like spending nearly $200 on two whetstones, King makes two packs (1,000 grit and 6,000 grit) for $42.

How to Sharpen a Chef’s Knife

Study Your Knife

The first thing about any knife sharpener is to study the blade itself before putting the blade to the stone. Certain questions that you should ask yourself is : where is the dull knife ? Is it single or double beveled ? knife carbon steel or stainless steel ? It’s not a good practice to just pick up a knife and go. You should pay attention to what you are doing. Do some practice before starting a sharpening.

Soak Your Sharpening Stones

Wet the surface of the sharpening stone before starting a sharpening to ensure that it would not scratch or chip the blade of your knife. It is a very important step in the whole process. You should soak your stone in water before 30 minutes of starting work is ideal.

Find Your Grip

You should hold the knife and stone firmly to protect yourself from injury. We recommend that in your knife hand, place your thumb on the spine of the blade and your index finger on the heel and wrap three fingers around the handle. Your other hand will be used to provide the acceleration force.

Get the Angle Right

Every knife has different angles at which the edge slopes down and it’s important to learn how to feel for these things. To determine the angle, place the knife face down on the stone and place two fingers on its edge. With the edge of the blade resting on the stone with your fingers, use your other hand to lift the knife until you find the lowest angle that allows the edge to be flush with the stone. Beginners can use a pair of coins as a visual guide. Place the penny on the whetstone and place the spine of the knife on its top.

Start the Sharpening

As you go down the angle the next step is to create a new edge, we advise you to familiarize yourself with the movement and sharpening style before starting work with the knife. The easiest way to sharpen a knife is to hold the knife with two fingers on the stone and pull the blade towards you and then away from it.

There are two things to think about when it comes to the up and down motion: The sharpening action should be on the downstroke which means pulling the blade towards you so you can take the pressure off the knife in the upward direction. 

You must sharpen the full blade by sliding your fingers slightly down the blade after each downstroke. If you don’t apply pressure, your knife blade won’t be sharp. Make sure the tip of your knife is also sharpened, as the best sharpening angle for the rest of the blade can create a gap between the stone and the tip. 

To do this, raise the elbow of your gripping hand while sharpening the tip part and it will lower it onto the stone.

Keep the Stones Wet

To prevent damage to the knife, it is important to wet your stone with water before and after each round of sharpening. After a few swipes of the blade, a gray sediment will appear on the water. These things rub off and help you accelerate more efficiently.

Finish the Blade

Finishing or polishing a knife is similar to initial sharpening, the only difference being the stone used and the pressure on the blade. Instead of pushing down on the stone blade, just apply the pressure of your hand weight.

Paper Cut

Cutting a paper after sharpening the blade is the best and easiest method to check out your work. If you carve the paper without any issue then it means the blade has been sharpened. Make sure you skim the complete length of the knife because if you leave any chip or dull spot, you will feel drag while cutting.

Final Verdict on How to Sharpen a Kitchen Knife

There are many ways to sharpen chef knives at home but the important thing is remember to always use the right stone which fulfills your needs. You can also take time to experiment with different sharpening stones until you do not get the best one that works good for you.

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