Knife Sharpening Tips

There are numerous methods for honing a knife. This method yields an excellent general-purpose edge.

My grandfather used to say, “Don’t slash toward yourself, and you’ll never be cut.”

Christy Canida, the whale killer, has produced some outstanding photographs.

Check out what she does with these instruments at Catfish Skinning and Filleting.

People have always valued keen instruments. Some “Bog Man” remains dating back thousands of years were discovered with honing stones worn as pendants.

This first video demonstrates how to create a Bog Man stone from an ordinary sharpening stone or any delicate abrasive stone.

First, we will fashion a drill bit from a nail, then we will bore a cavity in the stone, saw it in half, and then flatten it. The same as if an ancient bog man had the battery drill we fixed last week.

This second video demonstrates how to hone a knife for butchering and crafting wood. I purchased the weapon featured in the video from a husband-and-wife team of Chinese blacksmiths. In many areas of the globe, blacksmithing appears to be a job for couples.

There are links to the iPod-compatible videos at the bottom of this page.

Step 1: Look at the Edge

A strong light source, such as the sun, support the edge. Reflections will appear on level areas and nicks.

On this blade, the inch close to the point is quite poor.

Step 2: Thumbnail Test the Limits

Apply it to your thumbnail and observe whether it slides or captures.

If it slides, it is flat, meaning it is not pointed in this area.

Warning: Do not sever your fricking hand.

Step 3: Flatten the Stone

In Chinatown, you can purchase a sharpening stone for a dollar. If your city lacks a Chinatown, you should either create one or relocate.

This is a “water stone,” which requires the use of water to float the sharpening grit away. Some prefer a “oil stone,” on which oil is placed. Some rocks are naturally greasy. Once the oil is present, the water becomes ineffective.

This particular stone has been used, resulting in a depression in the centre. This makes it difficult to maintain the proper knife angle. Therefore, we must level it.

Actually, it does not matter when sharpening cutlery, but when you begin sharpening plane blades, you will develop a religious devotion to levelling your stone.

Step 4: Pare Away

Sprinkle water on the pavement and press the stone against it until it becomes level. Utilize heavy pressure.

Listen to Robert Fisk’s “The Grand War for Civilization” while attempting to comprehend what went awry in the Middle East.

Step 5: Thin the Edge

As shown, rub the knife against the abrasive side of the stone at a 5-degree angle. It makes no difference which stroke or direction you employ.

You are merely thinning the area around the perimeter to save time later.

In each of the subsequent refining stages, you will slightly increase the angle.

Thus, the stone is always shaved with fresh metal.

Commentators on this how-to are correct in highlighting the advantages of a 20-degree knife edge (knife held at a 10-degree angle to the sharpening stone) or a 17.5-degree wedge. I believe the setting on my improvised plane blade sharpening fixture is 27.5 or something equally esoteric.

Use your own numbers, not mine, and by all means indulge in your own elaborations.

The numbers I chose are unimportant as long as they are increased with each phase.

Step 6: Finally, the Sharpening Begins

Flip the stone over and draw the blade forward at an angle of 6 degrees. First one side of the blade is sharpened, then the other. You are slicing into the stone.

Step 7: Gilding the Lily

You have already endangered your acquaintances by sharpening a knife they anticipate to be blunt.

Now, it will become even more precise. Place a sheet of 600-grit emery paper on a piece of glass.

Any other extremely flat material will suffice, but glass is the most common. I’ve witnessed Klingit and Mayan woodcarvers employing this technique.

Alternate sides while advancing at a 7-degree angle. A few strokes are sufficient because you are removing a negligible quantity of metal. If you are foolish or exceptional, you could obtain grains as fine as 1200 and repeat.

The commentators have provided accurate information about edge angles. Unless you’re a serious artillery enthusiast, the majority of us tend to overestimate minor angles. Your seven will be closer to twelve in actuality. Examine the edge, test it, and increase the angle until you are removing a small amount of abrasive with each pass. Thicker blades will naturally sharpen at the intended greater angles. It is impossible to reduce a stout blade that much.

Some tools, such as plane irons and chisels, are better off with a perpendicular chamfer. Make a jig to determine the angle. Plane irons appear to inspire the most nerdiness in individuals.

Step 8: Cut Your Leg Off

This is a completely superfluous method of showing off. You can astonish people in this manner, particularly if you rip your limb open, blood sprays everywhere, and they have to rush you to the hospital.

Apply the abrasive substance you created by flattening your stone to your leg.

Then, drag the knife’s pointed edge through this substance.

This is known as “Stropping.” It removes the microscopic filaments to make the edge stronger and sharper.

This is how a razor is sharpened, except sensible individuals use a piece of leather called a “strop” that has been rubbed with red garnet abrasive grit.

My grandfather would spank his children when they misbehaved. My uncle “Bird Dog,” his son, attempted to shave without appropriate instruction and ripped a large wound in the strop. As a result of the ensuing punishment, he was cut by the new, pointed corner, began to hemorrhage profusely, and my grandmother Nana flew out of the house with strong new theories regarding corporal punishment. She was half the stature of my grandfather and twice as formidable. After that, the children were allowed to consume dinner seated for a while.

Step 9: Don Montague Tests the Edge

He rests the edge of the object on his fingernail to determine whether it glides off or snags.

Step 10: Improvised Sharpening Stones

You are in your friend’s kitchen attempting to slice a vegetable with a dull knife.

You are pulverizing it and smearing the skin all over, and you do not feel at all seductive.

The utensil drawer contains no abrasive material.

You feel compelled to censure your friend for being the incorrect type of tool-using animal.


Use a makeshift stone instead. Here is a brief list of things that may work:

The underside of the lid of the commode bowl.

The unglazed, unfinished rim on the underside of a plate or other ceramic object.

A nail file used for manicures

This is a stone.

A floral vase.

Any aluminum item. It is coated with aluminum oxide, an effective abrasive. This technique can only be used for final refining.

Bottom Line

After reviewing the various knife sharpening recommendations, it is evident that keeping your utensils sharp is a crucial component of a safe and efficient kitchen. Not only do dull blades make food preparation more difficult, but they can also cause accidents in the kitchen.

There are a number of important considerations to keep in mind when sharpening your blades, such as selecting the proper sharpening implement and maintaining the correct angle and pressure. In addition, it is crucial to know when your blades require sharpening and to do so frequently, as failure to do so can result in irreparable damage.

Remember to exercise caution and take your time when sharpening your blades, as haste can result in errors and accidents. Always wear protective gear, such as mittens and eyewear, to shield yourself from flying debris.

By adhering to these knives sharpening guidelines and developing good knife maintenance practices, you can ensure that your knives remain keen and safe to use for years to come. Whether you’re a professional chef or a home cook, a keen knife is an indispensable kitchen instrument. By sharpening your blades properly, you’ll be able to make the most of them in all of your culinary endeavors.