Meanwhile, if you want something that you can use to sharpen a variety of knives and edges, including small and pointed tools, you might want to consider the DMT WM8CX-WB 8-Inch Duo Sharp Plus Bench Stone – Coarse/Extra Coarse with Base. For less than a hundred bucks, you can even use it to repair a damaged edge because of its extra-coarse diamonds.
In summary: Peter Nowlan is a professional knife sharpener based in Halifax (Canada) and he recommends the KnifePlanet Sharpening Stone Set, a beginners and intermediate kit that includes 4 sharpening grits: 400/1000, 3000/8000, a bamboo base and the KnifePlanet Flattening Stone. The Japanese Naniwa 3-stone combination is also a great (and more expensive) choice, ideal for professionals and more advanced sharpeners: the Naniwa stones are slightly bigger compared to KnifePlanet’s. In both cases, a coarse, medium and fine grit combination is very effective to sharpen and refine the edge:
Before we start, I want to make clear that there are dozens of different ways to sharpen a knife. Everyone has a way they think is best, and men have all sorts of techniques and tools that they feel are essential in getting a sharp blade. In the end, much of it comes down to personal preference. I’m going to show you the way I learned how to sharpen a pocket knife. It’s very basic, good for beginners, and best of all, it works. If you have an alternative method that you prefer, great. Share it with us in the comments. I’d love to hear your tips.
The sharpener has come a long way in the past couple of thousand years and yet it hasn’t. That is, while there have been incredible advances in the development of mechanical knife sharpeners the classic and very ancient sharpening stone is still with us and very much in use as you read this. The best knife sharpener for you will be one that meets the needs of your cuisine and your temperament but which, first and foremost, reliably produces the sharp knives (look after your knife!) you need with the least hassle.
I have had 20 different knife sharpeners in the past, including two that are the motorized type, as well as the manual stones, and the types that clamps are used to sharpen knifes. I have some nice and expensive knives I use in the kitchen as well for recreational use. This one is by far the best one to use for the kitchen. I have not tried it any Swiss Army knife type blades, but it does very well with my Victorinox kitchen knives. I highly recommend this sharpener. It is rather large but I actually like the fact that it is large as you can then hold it better. Also, try not to push the knife down on the sharpener, but instead use a steady motion, with minimal pressure and you will see small particles sharpened off. The knob above has presets for kitchen as well as hunting knives. This sharpener is well worth its price as the sharpening blades are easily removable. The pictures don't show it well but once you pull out the knob, the gray plastic cover easily comes off and the blades are held by the yellow pieces by screws. I have not yet found replacements but I don't think I will need them soon. The blades are still sharp after sharpening 20 knives. I sharpened my main santoku knife, chefs knifes and serrated steak knives and I was very impressed. Highly recommended.
Although the Trizor XV is easy to use, you have to use it correctly. That means sharpening one side of the blade at a time until a burr forms, whereas a back-and-forth, one-side-and-then-the-other approach might seem more intuitive. (Don’t worry—the Trizor XV’s manual explains the process plainly.) Maintenance is easy: Once a year or so, you open the bin on the machine’s underside and wipe out the metal shavings that it has conveniently captured there with a magnet.
This Linkyo’s suction cup feet will hold it still atop any counter. Its auto-stop function will turn the machine off if you press downward with the blade or if the blade itself is too heavy. This wonderful safety feature will keep the machine from jamming and ruining your knives. Also impressive is its special catch basin which makes cleanup much easier as it catches any metal shards or shavings that come off your blade.
In addition, the most prized of the natural Japanese Water Stones are quarried in the Narutaki District north of Kyoto, Japan and are commonly available as either bench stones or pocket stones in grits ranging from 120 to 12,000. On the other hand, synthetic water stones are made from Aluminum Oxide and commonly available as either bench stones or pocket stones as well in grits ranging from 220 to 8,000 and, although this is the same abrasive material used to make India Oil Stones, the difference between the two is that the binder that holds the abrasive together enables Water Stones to be much softer than India Oil Stones which, in turn, promotes faster cutting because the worn abrasive material breaks away more quickly and is replaced with fresh, sharp, abrasive material more quickly. In addition, because water stones do not become glazed or loaded with swarf like oil stones can, new abrasive particles are constantly exposed as the stone wears so it continues to cut consistently. Plus, they can be lubricated effectively with water (rather than oil which can ruin some water stones) which combines with the fine particles of abrasive from the surface of the stone to form a slurry which polishes the bevel as the stone cuts. However, it should also be noted that Water Stones do become uneven significantly faster than other types of whetstones although, their softness does make them easier to true again.
If you follow Joe’s instructions and still can’t get a good edge, chances are your knives have been abused to the point that they need a pro’s touch to restore the edge. You can do it yourself, but it takes expensive electric tools or a lot of tricky manual grinding on a stone. But for well under $10 per knife, a sharpening shop can bring your edges to better-than-new condition. Then you’ll be able to keep them that way using Joe’s techniques. Search online for “knife sharpening” followed by your city and you’ll surely find a local sharpener. And don’t give up on high-quality knives that have a chip or notch in the blade. A pro can grind out any imperfections and reshape the edge. Yes, you’ll have a slightly narrower blade, but you won’t even notice.
using an appropriate blade for the task – a thinner blade for more delicate work, and a thicker blade whenever a thinner blade is not required (e.g. a thinner blade might be used to cut fillets, butterfly steak or roast for stuffing, or perform Mukimono, while a thicker one might be used to slice or chop repeatedly, separate primal cuts of poultry or small game, or scrape and trim fat from meat or hide, as these actions would be more likely to cause unnecessary wear on a thinner blade.)
I have this one and the axe/machete version as well. These are great sharpeners that make very short work of getting blades sharp. They take off quite a lot of material and are quite different than most other stone sharpeners I have used in the past, so I try to be conservative with my pressure as you see the chips fall when you pull the knife through. But, they absolutely work, and work very well. If you have a high use knife, this is a great way to keep it sharp and in service all the time. I use my large bushcraft knife a lot more now that I have this since I can sharpen it much faster and easier. I would not use this sharpener on precision instruments just because I prefer more control and try to preserve material on those types on knives. But, bottom line, I get more work done and much faster now that I have this.
Stone: With a sharpening stone, you'll drag the blade of the knife across the rough surface of the stone. Sharpening stones consist of a number of types of material, such as diamond stones, oil stones (also called Arkansas stones), water stones (or aluminum oxide stones), and ceramic stones. Yes, the diamond stone actually contains tiny fragments of diamonds, but it's a little heavy to wear as an earring. The trick with a sharpening stone becomes applying the right amount of pressure and sharpening at the proper angle because using a sharpening stone requires a completely manual process with no guide slots. However, stones can sharpen many tools, including scissors and chisels.
The DuoSharp Plus stones are nicely sized at 8” long by 2 5/8” wide and have two grits on each stone to maximize value. The Plus in the name refers to an area of continuous grit in the otherwise interrupted grit surface of the stone. This area is for sharpening edges with fine points that might be difficult on the interrupted surface. A coarse/fine DuoSharp Plus stone is a good single stone to start a sharpening toolkit.
The goal when sharpening is to create a burr, which is a tiny whisper of metal left on one side of the blade. You'll know you have a burr when you can feel one smooth and one scratchy side to the edge. Warner's is formed in no time at all; I struggled. Nevertheless, eventually I got there. Once you've got the burr, it's time to move on to step three.
If I am to be completely honest, I must tell you that I actually came extremely close to selecting another manual sharpener for this position. I thought it looked wonderful. It had all the specifications I would hope for in a manual knife sharpener and then some. It boasted the ability to sharpen at two different angles (15 degrees and 20 degrees) and included a honing feature. It looked solidly built. It used diamonds to grind the blades down. It sounded perfect and I almost selected it, until I read the consumer reviews. The consumer reviews for that apparently perfect manual knife sharpener were abysmal.
4. Start sharpening the first side of the blade. With your blade set at the prefect angle, you’re ready to start sharpening. Imagine you’re carving off a slim piece of the stone’s surface. Personally, I bring the blade into the stone. Other people stroke the blade away from the stone. Both ways work, so just use whatever technique you prefer. If the knife blade is curved or if it’s longer than the stone, you’ll need to sweep the blade sideways as you work, so the entire edge is sharpened evenly. Apply moderate pressure as you sharpen. No need to bear down hard on the blade. After you make one stroke, start back at the beginning and repeat. Do this about 6-12 times.
I've always wanted to sharpen knives on water stones, and this set gave me the motivation to finally give it a shot. The price is amazing for the quality and content of the set. It comes with all the grits you need to sharpen anything... I usually start on the 400 grit if the knife is very dull, or directly on the 1000 grit if it's not too dull. The 3000 and 8000 grit stones are softer and ideal after the coarser stones. The online learning section is truly amazing, much better than I expected. A convenient place with instructional videos and many articles about knife sharpening. Only downside is that the knives are now so sharp I need to be very careful using them... but that's a good thing! I feel like I fell in love with knife sharpening again.
Some experts recommend sharpening as if trying to slice a thin layer or decal off the stone. Don't consider doing this without significant experience: it is typically bad advice; most people don't hold the correct angle this way. You instinctively raise the blade until you feel and see the edge working. This creates larger edge angles and thicker bevels as time goes on and the results gradually deteriorate. The more you sharpen, the duller it gets. Sound familiar?
Consumers have stated that a lot of metal is removed from the blade if you use all three stages. Usually, however, it is completely unnecessary to use all three stages. Most of the time you can easily get away with only using the fine grit and the honing discs to sharpen your knives. You can even use the honing discs on their own to keep your blades straight. The first stage (the rough grit) will only be necessary for sharpening extremely dull or damaged blades. Upon completing this stage, you will often find that you can skip right over to honing.
Start off on the rough grit side of the stone. Check the grit on your stone, or the packaging that came with the stone, to identify which is which. In general, whetstones and diamond stones each have different grits on either side. The rough grit side is used to grind the steel down, while the fine grit side is used to sharpen or hone the knife. The grinding process comes first, so you start on the rough grit side.
Good for a quick touch up: As I mentioned, I think there is a case for owning both a manual and an electric knife sharpener. This is the use case I was talking about. Manual sharpeners are great for a quick touch up to your knives in between full sharpenings with the electric sharpener. You can even take them with you camping or to a vacation home to keep your knives fresh while you’re away from home.
A steel is the shorthand term for a steel rod used to straighten knife edges. Any decent knife set includes one, but few people know exactly what it does, much less how to properly use it. If you don’t have a steel, go buy one for about $20. Joe will show you how to use it to maintain a sharp edge. Don’t waste your money getting a diamond-coated surface. You don’t need it to know how to sharpen a knife.
A sharpening stone is a stone that has got a coarse side and usually a finer side, and that is going to take and re-shape your edge and get it back down thin enough in order to sharpen it. You are basically taking something that is blunt and thinning it back down. You have to remove all of this extra metal and get it back down to where it is thin enough to cut. Very simply, all a knife is is a very thin piece of steel to split whatever you are cutting. If the knife is obviously thicker, it is like trying to cut something with a chisel; it is not going to happen.
Be sure to note what kind of edge the ProntoPro 4643 puts on a knife. Chef’sChoice describes it as having “a lot of bite.” That’s accurate. It’s also a nice way of saying that the edge doesn’t end up polished to a fine point but comes out rather “toothy,” or microscopically serrated. This result isn’t a bad thing at all; it’s the sort of edge that most traditional European knives, including those of the highest quality, came with. Toothy edges perform sensationally if you are doing push- or pull-cuts—the sort where you move the knife tip away or toward you as you slice, and the sort most people do. Just be aware that, if you are used to chop-cutting (pushing the blade straight down through a food item), you may have a hard time if you sharpen with the ProntoPro 4643.
Once the burr is removed, it's time to test the sharpness with paper. Hold a piece of newspaper at about 45°, with a bit of tension, and slash lightly with each point of the blade. If it cuts through easily, your knife's sharp. Warner speedily lacerated his newspaper, but I of course struggled. There is an element of technique involved, he reassured me.