Continuing my fascination with using the best prep tools for the job, I’ve spent a fair bit of time getting my arms (and hands) around how to keep my knives super sharp.
The sharper the knife, the better and easier it cuts. And, a really sharp knife results in fewer accidents in the kitchen.
There are two different aspects to getting and keeping a knife’s edge sharp:
- creating the perfect edge
- maintaining the edge
For most chefs, creating the perfect edge means sharpening it on a whetstone. Maintaining the edge means using a honing steel.
Let’s first understand what a whetstone is…
Now let’s see how to use the whetstone to sharpen a knife. In this video, the guy has an unusual setup, but it’s quite clever if you make sure the stone is secure on the board…
Watch this masterchef use a whetstone to create a super sharp edge. While it does take a fair amount of time to create the edge for most of us, we shouldn’t have to do this more than once a month. And the results are well worth it…
The whetstone is used for setting and repairing the edge. Once you’ve done that, you want to keep that edge as long as you can. You do that with a honing steel. For some, using a steel can be a bit intimidating, but truly, it’s straightforward. And, when you use one on a consistent basis, it will keep your knife sharp in between using the whetstone.
Here are the basics for using a honing steel (some call it a sharpening steel, but in reality it’s used to straighten a blade that’s been sharpened by the whetstone)…
“Last but not least”…here’s a knife maker who has his own slant on the why’s and how’s of getting and keeping your kitchen knives sharp without making it a chore (I like his thinking!)…
There are a lot of knife-sharpening solutions out there. The important thing to take away from this post is that you DO need to keep those knives sharp.
Here are the tools I think are among the best:
The King 2-sided whetstone with 2 grit side—#1000 and #6000. This is perfect for keeping your kitchen knives in tip-top shape. However, if you have a knife that’s needs to have its edge, (also called the bevel) reset, you will need a courser grit like a #300. It would take you too long (or never) to set a new edge with a #1000 grit.
I like the ‘heft’ of the Wusthof 10″ sharpening steel.
One more thing you should add to your sharpening stone toolkit—a flattening stone. It’s purpose in life is to keep your whetstone sharpening surface flat. If you don’t keep it flat, you are not going to get the results you want. The knife just won’t get its entire edge sharpened as you draw the blade across the surface. Here’s a video that shows you how it’s done:
Once you get proficient at using these tools and you see the results, you’ll want to sharpen all your knives and those of your family and close friends—assuming you have enough spare time on your calendar .