The Dreaded Task of Knife Sharpening

Knife Sharpening

Thanks for tackling the knife sharpening for me, son.

I do not like knife sharpening. I was not looking forward to it at all. It frustrates me, so I asked my son to do it. Knife SharpeningThat didn’t go so well.  The knives ended up in worse shape than before they supposedly got sharpened, but it was the gesture that counted right? At least he tried.

So with only 3 working fingers on my right hand due to an earlier injury, I had no choice but to try to figure out this knife sharpening thing once and for all. I went to YouTube and began some research on what could have gone wrong, and found some useful tips. Then I went to work on it.

The whetstone.

Here’s what I learned about knife sharpening. If you have a whetstone, use water. Do not switch between water and oil. The oil had built up a nasty residue over time. So I sanded both sides of the stone down, keeping it wet, until I saw some sludge. Now I had something that was going to grind against the blade again.

The right angle.

Next, I needed to find the perfect angle at which to hold the knife to the stone. If I let the knife rest on my thumb, that was just the right angle I needed.

There are many techniques when it comes to knife sharpening. There’s the Japanese method, the French method, and a few others in-between.  Straight up and down, side to side, top to bottom-I used them all. The important part was to give each side the same number of strokes. It didn’t seem to matter if I did 5 and 5 or 20 and 20. I came across some pretty elaborate systems where they said to do 10 stokes on one side, ten on the other, then 7, then 5 then 3, then 1. The important thing to remember is to use the course side first, then the fine side, and lastly don’t forget to straighten the blade with a steel, which by the way most people think is a knife sharpener, but it’s actually not.  And one more piece of advice-put drops of water on the stone as you work, and don’t rinse the stone or your knife until the end. You want the gritty sludge build up to help work on that edge.

I know I need to update this post with some video or at least a few more pictures. But hopefully it was somewhat helpful.  I can now slice a very delicate ripe heirloom tomato.

Update

I have decided I like dropping my knives off at Phoenix Knife House for expert knife sharpening service. The few dollars it costs to have them sharpened is well worth it! I admit defeat. Knife sharpening is not my forte, and that’s ok with me.

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