Knife Sharpening 101

Knives dull over time. It’s just a thing that happens, no matter how well you take care of it. It’s no fun to have to saw at something just to get it cut, and you don’t want to have to buy a new set of knives every couple of years. Take a quick class in knife sharpening 101, and save yourself time and frustration with sharper knives!

Get a Sharpener

You could buy yourself a fancy knife sharpener, and go from there, but you could also get a really cheap sharpening stone instead, and do it all yourself. It’s recommended to find one online or in your local stores. Try home improvement stores or one of those “everything under the sun” shops that seem to pop up in various spots.

Flatten the Stone

If you’ve chosen the stone route, then congratulations, you’ve just saved yourself a couple bucks. You’ll need to make sure that your stone is actually flattened, so get yourself some water and head out to a cemented area. Splash your water on the cement, and rub the stone roughly on the watered spot until it is flat. This will require effort and strength, and can be skipped if you do not care about a truly sharp edge.

Coarse Grind

With a sharpening stone, there’s going to be two sides, one coarser than the other. Use the coarse side first, sliding the knife at an angle so that the stone can start to sharpen the blade. It’s recommended to hold it at a five-degree angle, to sharpen the blade fastest! Do this on both sides about twenty times, in any direction of your choosing. Be careful, though, not to aim the knife at yourself, or you’ll end up cutting yourself easier.

Fine Grind

This is really where the sharpening starts! Before you were just minimizing the dullness of the blade and trimming down on various nicks and flattened parts of your blade. Now on the opposite side of your stone, you’ll sharpen your cut. Glide the blade along the stone (away from yourself!), and let the finer grind start to sharpen the blade. Again, do this about ten to twenty times on each side, or until you can see that it has sharpened.

The Test

If you want a quick test to see whether your blade is dull or sharp, do the fingernail test. Carefully slide the blade along your thumbnail, as though you were cutting it. Do not actually apply enough pressure to cut your thumb! If the blade slides easily along your nail, then it is still dull. If it catches a little on the bumps of your nail, then it is sharpened, and ready to cut! For other tests, you can of course just chop into your chosen dinner and hope that it cuts more smoothly, though if it is still dull, you’ll be just as annoyed as before. It’s also recommended to perhaps wash or rinse the blade before actually using it on food. Don’t want to eat bits of your sharpening stone!