But Joe has a quick, drop-dead simple approach that he’s been teaching to amateurs to learn how to sharpen a knife. You’ll only need a couple of inexpensive sharpening tools and a bit of practice. Master it and you’ll be amazed at how well your knives perform and how much more fun food prep, carving, slicing and peeling can be. Or at least how much less painful. Read on to learn how to sharpen a knife.
The final Chef’s Choice sharpener on our list is the 316 Diamond Sharpener. Like the 15XV the 316 is at its best when used to sharpen Asian-style knives and it does so with unflinching effectiveness and speed. This is a compact, 2-stage electric sharpener that produces the 15 degree edge so favored in Asian cutlery. Ideal for the preparation of sashimi or sushi.
Grit choices should fall in line with the steel used to make the knives you plan to sharpen. If your knives are all European, relatively soft steel knives, then you could finish off your knives at the 1,000 – 2,000 grit level. There is a lengthy explanation regarding this topic but suffice it to say that at 2,000 grit, these knives can be made extremely sharp.
There are many methods to sharpen your knives. For example, you can use a sharppening stone, or a sharpening rod, sharpening system or an electrical sharpening machine. You can also ask someone else to do the job. The best sharpening method for you, depends on the kind of knives you want to sharpen, the type of steel of the blade, your experience with sharpening and your own preferences.
The Presto EverSharp 08800 electric knife sharpener gets great reviews. In our test, though, its flimsy motor instantly bogged down when our knife contacted its sharpening wheels—and even light pressure threatened to stop the the sharpening wheels entirely. The high, wide guide frames meant it couldn’t sharpen the last ¾ inch of a blade, an unacceptable shortcoming. We’ll take our experience over the reviews.
The Work Sharp WSKTS-KO performs double duty as a knife sharpener and a tool sharpener. Its ability to perform multiple tasks is part of why this sharpener looks so intimidating. Instead of using spinning discs like most electric sharpeners, this Work Sharp uses belts. In fact, it works a lot like a typical electric sander. A motor pulls the belts along so that they gently shave away at whatever you place them against.
I bought this knife sharpener for my son as a Christmas present years ago and recently (but cautiously) used it on my cutlery (Henkel and Wusthof). Frankly, I had been a little lazy and let my knifes lose a bit of their edge. I did not feel like getting out my stones and oil to do a proper job, so I borrowed my son's sharpener. It really works great, which I hate to admit, as it feels like a cheat and it is a fraction of what I spent on stones. I realize that I need to buy one for myself, so I looked around to see if there is anything better and I could not see anything that looked better. This one is adjustable, which is what I need. I looked at the 1 star ratings and there was a common theme that the knife edge chatters as the blade is pulled across. It can, if you don't use it properly! If your blade is very dull, you will need to pull with a very light, steady, and quick motion. You never need to push down hard as you pull. Even pressure. Don't be a brute! Finesse is what is needed. I am going to buy another one for me.
Trying to decide which type of knife sharpener will work best for you in the battle of manual vs electric knife sharpener? It’s not an easy battle, since there are so many different types, methods, versions, brands bombarding you with options. One thing is for sure though, using sharp knives in the kitchen is imperative. Continuing to use dull blades when cutting and chopping can cause more than just frustration, it can cause injury. Thus, it’s important to figure this out. Just what type of knife sharpener should you buy? The question usually comes down to manual vs electric knife sharpener.
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.
Hobby microscope view of a 220 grit diamond sharpening stone. Tiny diamonds are electroplated to a perforated metal carrier strip and bonded to a plastic backing. The feature identified with the red line across it measures about 0.08 mm across. The dark area at upper right is a void designed to allow for swarf created during sharpening to be cleared from the diamonds. This relatively coarse stone would be used to reshape a damaged blade edge which would be refined by finer grit stones.
Method 3: Use a Sharpening Stone. This is the best method by far. Not only will it give you the best edge, it also removes the least amount of material. With a fine enough grit, your knife should be able to take hairs off your arm when you've finished. Additionally—and I'm not kidding about the importance of this one—the act of sharpening your knife will help you create a much stronger bond with your blade, and a knife that is treated respectfully will behave much better for its owner. The only problem? It takes a little know-how.
Put the pointed, narrow end of the sharpener up against the open end of the gut hook. The narrow, pointed end of the sharpener should face in toward the thickness of the blade, away from the edge of the gut hook. Match the angle of the sharpener to the original edge angle. This will maintain the correct sharpening angle and prevent you from getting cut by the blade tip. Hold the same angle when sharpening each side of the gut hook.
Chefs and meat cutters frequently pause and “steel” their cutting edges. Steeling doesn’t sharpen an edge; it straightens it. That’s necessary because the thin edge actually bends or warps while you’re cutting. If you could see the edge under a microscope, it would look wavy, and it would feel dull while cutting. Steeling the knife straightens out all those waves to restore a straight, even cutting edge. So when your knife begins to seem dull, don’t sharpen it—steel it first. Every time you grab a knife for the first time to begin cutting, steel it before you even get started. But it’s important to do it right or you’ll just make the edge worse. And don’t act like one of the Iron Chefs on TV and do it all up in the air—you’ll eventually wind up in the ER. Rest the end of the steel on a cutting board and do your steeling the safer and more accurate way. It’s very important that you steel at an angle between 20 and 30 degrees. Photo 1 shows you how to figure that out.
I would say they are worth the money. Go for it. I took a blunted Pampered Chef kitchen knife from completely dull to razor sharp in about an hour (of bumbling and repairing mistakes LOL) heavy grinding. If you have a severely damaged blade, grab one of those cheesey two sided stones from Harbor Freight to do your heavy grinding. From there these stones will work very well.
If you are looking for a knife sharpener that is easy to use, reliable, affordable and compact, then you should consider this one. This amazing knife sharpener, comes with all the attributes, features and qualities needed to sharpen every knife, regardless of how dull it is. It is designed to sharpen and maintain all types of kitchen knives. It is made of carbide and ceramic, which gives a fine grip on various surfaces. It performs exemplary on straight edge blades. It is easy and comfortable to use.
A major benefit of sharpening your knives on a sharpening stone is that you can thin out your knife. When thinning out a knife, you grind away extra material on the sides of the blade, making the blade thinner. Thinning of a knife is useful for knives that are often sharpened, as the cutting edge gets fatter when the blade is sharpened more often. Thinning is of great importance for the preservation of good cutting properties.
For beginners, we’d recommend starting with a medium grit stone (1000) to remove chips and set a new sharp edge. If you’re up for a little more, a finer stone (6000 or 8000) will help polish your knife to a scary sharp mirror finish. We’d also recommend getting a flattening stone (a ‘stone fixer’) to ensure your sharpening stones perform consistently, though a lower grit stone can also serve a similar function. Lastly, while sharpening stone holders are helpful (and we use them), you can easily just use a damp towel to place your sharpening stones on during use for stability.
The speed and polishing ability of waterstones attract many sharpeners. Waterstones sharpen quickly and are available in fine polishing grits not found in other stone types. The ability to flatten the stones is a necessity when sharpening with waterstones, so a starting set should include a flattening stone of some kind. Our article, How to Flatten a Waterstone, has more information about keeping waterstones flat.
The stones from Shapton are probably the hardest of all Japanese sharpening stones. They will remain flat for a long time. They are therefore the best choice if you are looking for a relatively coarse stone that cuts quickly without having to be dressed repeatedly. The finer-grained stones also work very well. But Shapton stones do not provide the mirror finish you can achieve with softer stones.
It is made of solid ABS plastic. It has rubber feet that make it safe to use on your counter top while at the same time guaranteeing its stability and grip when it is being used. The handle used is very durable, and it is ergonomic. This knife sharpener will deliver excellent results for all your knives. It works in three stages to give the best professional results on ceramic and steel blades.
So, as you can see, there are numerous different types and grades of whetstones on the market today and each has its advantages and disadvantages. Therefore, the right practice to choose the right sharpening stone for you is to choose a whetstone material based upon how fast you need to remove metal and how fine an edge you need. For instance, although they are often the most expensive type of whetstone, diamond hones generally cut the fastest even in their finer grits followed by Crystolon Stones and then India Stones which are then generally followed by Japanese Water Stones and then by Novaculite, Belgian Blue, and Coticule whetstones in terms of how fast they remove metal. However, it should also be noted that the rougher an edge is, the less sharp it is while, the more polished an edge is, the sharper it is and thus, rough edges are fine for some tools while other tools require a much finer edge and, hunting knives require the finest edge of all. Therefore, the trick to choosing the proper whetstone for any given sharpening purpose is to purchase multiple stones with varying grits to accomplish each given task from cutting an initial bevel or defining a damaged edge to refining an existing edge to polishing it. We hope this article helped you. Feel free to leave a comment below if you have questions.
People often describe the Trizor XV as putting a 15-degree edge on a blade, but the reality is a bit more complex. It in fact produces what Chef’sChoice calls a Gothic Arch Edge, which consists of three distinct bevels, the final one at 15 degrees. Not surprisingly, the company claims that this “blade architecture” is more durable than a single bevel. More convincingly, the testers at Cook’s Illustrated and America’s Test Kitchen use the Trizor XV on all their knives and actually convert 20-degree knives to the Gothic Arch Edge. (Europe’s medieval cathedrals, too, attest to the strength and durability of the Gothic-arch form.)
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.
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.
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.
One thing about this stone is that it is very "thirsty." I had a cup of water close by just to add a little water periodically when it felt like it was scraping a little too aggressively. Also, be sure to do as the instructions say and use different parts of the sharpening surface. I wasn't paying attention the first few minutes, and apparently I would end each sharpening pass in the exact same spot, creating a very very small notch on the edge of the stone. So I turned the stone around and made sure to vary the ending spot, and it seemed to buff out that little notch very quickly. My knife is now incredibly sharp--it seems to glide through material rather than "cut" it. I know some people would continue to go even higher with the grit, but for my purposes this whetstone is just perfect. I'll be tackling the kitchen knives next!
The truth is that there is no one recommendation that we can make that will meet everyone’s needs. Every sharpener’s needs are different and every sharpening toolkit will be different. In order to help beginning sharpeners get started with good sharpening stones to build around, we need to understand their individual needs. So with that in mind, let’s look at the basic needs of a beginning sharpener.
For a more affordable version (around $50), our best buy is the Chef’s Choice 250 Diamond Knife Sharpener. There are many of its consumers whom converted from manual sharpener (steel or stone) to using this electric knife sharpener. And they’re glad they did! Some of them just thought that they may not be that good in using manual sharpeners because when they used the Chef’s Choice 250 electric knife sharpener, their kitchen knives are a lot sharper than they were. They also find this electric sharpener to be great for fixing very dull blades.
I recommend keeping two stones in your kit. One with a medium grit (around 800 or so) to perform major sharpening jobs, and one with a fine grit (at least 2,000) to tune the edge to a razor-sharp finish. For real pros, a stone with an ultra-fine grit (8,000 and above) will leave a mirror-like finish on your blade, but most cooks won't notice the difference in terms of cutting ability.
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As Mal Knives shows in a review, the Chef's Choice sharpener creates a triple bevel on the blade, which allows it to work with both Asian and European/American knives. The bevels are at roughly 25 degrees, 20 degrees, and 15 degrees. This triple bevel design increases the length of time required between sharpenings. However, one Amazon customer reviewer disliked the sharpening results on Asian knives with this machine.
The design of the knife sharpener is unique. It sticks to any flat surface due to the suction pad. This gives the user excellent control, safety, and confidence when using the knife sharpener. It can work on even serrated knives. The user needs just to slide your knife drawing it through one direction. It can be easily stored in a drawer making storage very easy.
The 8,000 grit Kitayama is definitely a popular 8K stone, it is my favourite, and the feedback has much to do with that. It is silky smooth and feels creamy when you use it. When reaching refinement levels of 6k and above, polished bevels/edge are inevitable, and often sought after. The level of polish from this particular stone is very beautiful, assuming that you have done some refinement prior to this but it is a wonderful 8,000 grit stone.
I really like this stone. The 1000/4000 grit combination is perfect for my needs. I'm a woodturner, and belong to a club that brings in professional turners from around the world. One had an eye opening test of sharpness. He stacked around 25 new razor blades in a box with one open side. The box assured that the blades were in perfect alignment. If you looked at the blades' sharp ends head on, all you saw was black. His point was that if you can see the edge, the blade is not sharp. Any reflection from the edge, again, facing it head on, is a dull spot. My long story leads to the fact that I was able to sharpen several knives to the point of not seeing the edge. This is not the stone to use if you are trying to remove nicks from a blade. A lower grit will do that job. This is for putting a fine, "invisible" edge on the blade, and with the right technique, that's what it will do. Another thing to consider is the fact that these stones are "sacrificial" A stone wears because it is deliberately giving up dull surface particles to expose the sharp ones below them. Anyone expecting a stone to last forever is mistaken. Bottom line? I think this is a great stone that takes my knives to the level of sharpness I need in both woodworking and cooking. I also like the rubber frame it sits in, giving you much better control over the stone. Your efforts can go into sharpening without having to steady the stone on your workbench or countertop.
Diamond whetstones, like the DMT Diamond Whetstone, are made out of industrial type diamonds which create a long-lasting hard, coarse and flat surface. A diamond whetstone is an excellent choice for when you are outdoors as you can use it dry or with a lubricant. It can take some time getting used to and the larger sized stone may not be ideal for working with small knives or cutting tools.
The newly designed dual-sided combination whetstone from Fallkniven features a super fine white ceramic stone (0, 1 micron) with a grit of 1400 to 2000 and the dark grey ceramic stone is made of synthetic sapphires (1 micron) and has a grit of 800-1000. There is no need to add any oil or water, just lay the blade on the stone, raise the blade's spine and deburr your blade on the grey side until it has a razor-sharp edge and then use the smooth white side to get a nice polished edge.