Steps to Sharpen a Knife: A dull knife is a dangerous knife. Indeed, you are more likely to accidentally injure yourself with a blunt knife than with a sharp one. A blunt knife has to be pushed hard to cut through what it cuts. In contrast, sharp knives glide effortlessly through the cut material, requiring much less effort.
If you’ve ever cut a tomato with a blunt knife, you know what I mean. Tomato skins are notoriously difficult to cut unless your knife is extremely sharp. Blunt ones usually crush the fruit before successfully cutting the skin. Worst of all, when you try to cut something delicious like watermelon or butternut squash with a blunt knife, the knife becomes slippery when you try to push it in, and you may have to stitch. Therefore sharpen a knife is a must.
How to Sharpen a Knife With a Stone
Step #1- Soak the Stone
There’s a little bit of prep you need to do before sharpen a knife with a Stone. If using a stone that needs to be wet, make sure you soak it ahead of time. This means completely submerging the stone in water until there are no air bubbles; a glass baking dish filled with water is perfect. Some say as little as 15 minutes of soaking is sufficient, but to err on the side of caution, you can pop your stone into the water before bed for an overnight soak and use it for sharpening the next day.
Step #2- Hone the Knife
Once you’re ready, hone your knife; just like with a tabletop sharpener, you risk seriously misaligning the blade if you don’t hone it before sharpening.
Step #3- Set up your Station
You’ll want to place a dry towel down to soak up the water that splashes off. (It’s also worth having another dry towel on hand to keep your hands and the handle dry.) Once you’ve set your stone up longways on the towel, and in the rubber base, if your stone comes with one, you’re ready to start.
Step #4- Sharpen the first side
To use the stone, start with the coarser grit, which is the lower number; for the Sharp Pebble stone referenced above, that is the 1000 grit. Sprinkle a few drops of water onto the surface, so it’s nice and wet. Then, using your right hand, grip your knife at the base just above the handle, pinching the blade between your thumb and the knuckle of your index finger with the rest of your fingers around the handle. Set the knife blade at about a 45-degree angle on the stone and place the four fingers from your left hand onto the blade with your fingertips facing the edge; this is the hand that will guide and stabilize your knife. Place the base of your knife edge in the upper left corner of the stone, and applying even pressure while maintaining that 45-degree angle, pull the knife towards you, ending with the tip in the bottom right corner. Depending on how dull your knife is, repeat this motion for 5-10 more passes on one side, sprinkling more water onto the stone as needed to keep it wet.
Step #5- Sharpen the second side
Make sure to dry your hands and the knife’s handle to avoid any type of slipping. Then, switch hands; grip the handle of your knife with your left hand and use the fingers on your right hand to stabilize. Start with the base of the edge in the upper right corner and pull the knife to the lower-left corner, making sure to keep the pressure and angle steady. For most people, the motion of one of the sides feels very natural, while flipping to the other feels rather unnatural. So while it might feel awkward at first, practice makes perfect. The most important thing to note when using a whetstone is to make absolutely sure that you sharpen each side evenly. Meaning, if you made eight passes along the stone on the first side, make sure to do eight passes on the second side.
Step #6- Flip the stone
Finally, flip the stone over to the finer, or “finishing,” grit and repeat the whole process again with the same number of passes on each side. It can take some getting used to, but as long as you are mindful of keeping your knife at a 45-degree angle and doing the same number of passes per side, your blade will come out sharper.
Step #7- Wipe the blade clean
Once you’ve finished, rinse the blade and wipe it with warm soapy water to remove any metal filings that have been shaved off. Wipe the knife completely dry with a clean towel, and you’re all set!
A simple way to keep your Knife Sharp
Once you go through the trouble of sharpening your knife, you’ll want to keep that fresh edge as long as possible and avoid unintentionally fast-tracking your way back to a dull blade. To do this, avoid bringing your knife into contact with other metals. This means don’t store your knife lose in a drawer with other utensils and never toss your knife in the sink. Most importantly, no matter what, never put your knife in the dishwasher; that’s a one-way ticket to a ruined knife. Hand-wash and dry your knife and always store it in a plastic sheath. | Also read How to clean a knife