Learning how to sharpen a knife is something that can only come with experience. You could read a million “how to” guides and articles on the best way to sharpen a knife and still not be able to do it.
It has been said that knife sharpening is the hardest of knife care tasks, and that’s probably true because it does take some practice to get it right. Therefore, the first step is to pick up a knife and a stone or other sharpening device and begin. As the old saying goes, “A journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step.”
How to Sharpen Knife with Stone
Here are some ideas before you get started. First, soak your whetstone in water for 10-15 minutes prior to use, then let all the excess water drain off.
It’s also important to know that the coarse grade side is meant to remove defects while restoring the edge while the fine grade hones the edge to a sharp finish.
Always use the same direction for sharpening, whether you choose front-to-back or back-to-front. Make sure you’re using the whole surface of the stone, which will maintain the consistency while sharpening.
If you are interested in getting a whetstone for yourself, here is a good, cheap stone for sharpening blades.
How to sharpen a knife with a stone
Here is the basic process to sharpening any knife with a stone.
- Place the stone on a countertop so that the coarse grit is facing up. A wet paper towel underneath will keep it from sliding around on you.
- Hold the knife by the handle with the edge against the stone, point first, and make sure the edge of the knife rests against the stone at a 22-degree angle. Use your other hand to stabilize the blade.
- At this time, apply a moderate pressure while you slide the blade in a forward motion across the stone. Make sure that you cover the whole length of the blade while maintaining that the blade stays flush against the stone, with a constant angle of 22-degrees.
- Repeat this previous step ten times, then turn the knife to the other side and repeat the process again, with moderate pressure and a 22-degree angle, for another ten strokes flush against the stone.
- It may be necessary to repeat the last step a few more times, especially if you have a very dull blade or the blade has turned to one side due to constant use. Just remember the pressure and the angle, and always do as many strokes on one side as on the other.
- When you are satisfied with the job that the coarse grit side has done, turn it over and use the same technique on the fine grit side, using ten strokes across the stone on each side.
- Now you can finish by rinsing and wiping the blade dry, removing any flakes or particles of metal, making sure it is completely dry.
Other Things to Know
This process works with any kind of non-serrated blade. If you have a serrated knife, it is much harder to sharper with a stone.
This process, however, will work with kitchen knives, pocketknives, survivor knifes, multi tool blades, bushmaster knives, etc. Of all of the knife cleaning and maintenance skills, knowing the ways to sharpen a knife is one of the hardest to learn, but it is also one of the most fulfilling and will forge a bond between you and your knife.
Make sure you take care of your stone, and try not to drop it as this can cause it to break. Also, remember to put away your stone as well as all knives and other sharp tools, keeping them out of the reach of children to avoid injury or accidents.