How to sharpen a knife

How to sharpen a knife



How to sharpen a knife

How to sharpen a knife


If you're like us, you probably use a knife every day in your kitchen. It's not likely that you have granite knives or a laser knife sharpener. But you likely have a paring knife, a bread knife or a santoku knife. And in that case, over time, those blades can become a dull knife and in need of some sharpening. So, what's the best way to sharpen a knife? Better yet, what's the best way to sharpen kitchen knives? 

You might have a lot of dull knives or dull blades in the house. It can be tricky to get and keep a knife sharp much less a bunch of them. Yet, it's similar to tread on the tires of your car. Sometimes you need to get new tires, sometimes you need to sharpen your kitchen knives.

A lot can be made about the correct way to sharpen knives. You might be asking "how do you sharpen a knife?" In general, here's how to sharpen knives (kitchen) and create a sharp edge:

Use an aggressive abrasive to create your primary bevel on the knife edge or blade edge. Apply special attention to maintain the same size bevel (angle) along the whole of the cutting edge, on both sides.

In this section, we'll talk about some ways you can use an abrasive to create a primary bevel on the knife's edge.

A sharpening stone is flat and comes in different grits. This means the stone will remove material quickly and leave the edge rough with lower grits or can leave a smooth edge with fine grit. Lower grit stones allow you to create either a thin or thick primary bevel depending on how much steel you remove from the edge,  what angle you're cutting at and how thick the blade is at that point.

A sharpening stone in brick form is also known as a "whetstone," but that name doesn't tell us very much about what it does or how it works. In fact, all sharpeners are "stones" to some degree, even abrasives on a belt or wheel. This is because they're made from stone such as quartzite (which comes in many different varieties), aluminum oxide (often used for knife sharpeners) or diamond grits (largely used by professionals).

As you think about how long to go before sharpening a knife please note that the less you use your knife the longer it stays sharp. Further, the more you use your honing rod to hone knives the longer your sharp edge can last. Unless the rod has diamonds on it you want sharpen a knife with a rod, per se. However, with a rod you can straighten out the knife blade that gets bent over from cutting use.

Once you can feel or see a burr, or a rough edge that runs along the length of the blade on one side, flip it over and repeat the same angle on the other side.

Now, once you can feel or see a burr, or a thin rough edge that runs along the length of the blade on one side, flip it over and repeat on the other side. When knife sharpening knives you should feel an even larger burr as you repeat this process from side to side. If your knife is still dull in spots, continue building the burr until you're satisfied with it along the full of your cutting edge.

When both sides have been "sharpened," inspect both sides for any unevenness in the bevel or burr and even it out ss needed.

Note: You might be asking, "can you sharpen serrated knives?" Serrated knives can be sharpened in much the same way but only one side is addressed at the very edge of the blade

Carefully strop the cutting edge to remove any microscopic metal shards, e.g.  the burr.

To remove the burr, you'll need a strop of some sort. A strop is a piece of leather (most often canvas or cotton). Sometimes they'll have a compound on them to make it slightly abrasive. This will allow you to remove any shards from your blade.

To use the strop, blades are often held at a 45° angle with the edge of the blade facing away from you (this may reduce the risk of accidents). Strop in one direction before going back over and repeating this motion on both sides of the blade.


You've just sharpened your knife and now it's ready to go back into service. You'll notice that this process takes some time, but it's worth it because now your knife will be more delightful and more predictable in the kitchen in either a wet or completely dry state. 

Happy cooking! 


If you'd like a professional knife sharpener to service your knives via the mail we'd be happy to help. It's the easiest way to answer "how to sharpen kitchen knives near me." Afterall, your mailbox is right at your house. Start your sharpening process here. We run freehand sharpening.

Extend the life of your sharp knife sharpening process by using a honing steel or ceramic rod on your kitchen knife between sharpenings. Even light pressure at the proper angle can push back the tiny burr that can form dull spots during use.

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