How to sharpen a knife with a stone

How to sharpen a knife with a stone

When it comes to cooking, a good knife is an essential tool that no chef can do without. A well-sharpened blade not only makes prep work easier but also ensures that your cuts are precise and uniform. But as with any tool, knives eventually lose their edge and become blunt, making them less effective in the kitchen. Fortunately, sharpening a dull knife at home is much easier than you might think.


In this article, we’ll walk you through the process of how to sharpen a knife with a stone – specifically, using Henckel knives as our example. By following these steps and practicing on your own set of blades, you’ll be able to keep your knives in top condition for years to come!


1. Soak the stone: 


Before you’re ready to use a whetstone, you need to do some prep. If using a stone that requires soaking, make sure you soak it ahead of time. This means immersing the stone completely in water until no air bubbles appear; A glass baking dish filled with water is perfect for this. Some say a 15 minute soak is enough, but to err on the side of caution, you can soak your stone in water overnight before bed and use it the next day for sharpening.


2. Forge the knife:


When you are ready, forge your knife; As with a tabletop sharpener, if you don’t sharpen the blade before sharpening you run the risk of seriously misaligning it.


3. Set up your station: 


You’ll want to put a dry towel down to soak the water off the splash. (It’s also worth having another dry towel on hand to keep your hands and handle dry.) Once you’ve set your stone on the towel and rubber base long enough, if your stone comes with one, you’re ready to go. Read more: How to cut green onions


4. Sharpen the first side:


 To use the stone, start with the coarser grit, which is the lower number; For the sharpening stone mentioned above, this is 1000 grit. Sprinkle a few drops of water on the surface, so it’s nice and wet. Then, using your right hand, grasp your knife at the base just above the handle, pinch the blade between the nose of your thumb and index finger with your remaining fingers around the handle. Set the knife blade on the stone at about a 45-degree angle and place all four fingers of your left hand on the blade with your fingertips toward the edge; This is the hand that will guide and stabilize your knife. Place the base of your knife edge in the top left corner of the stone and apply even pressure while maintaining a 45-degree angle, pulling the knife toward you, ending with the tip in the bottom right corner. Depending on how dull your knife is, repeat this motion for another 5-10 passes on one side, sprinkling more water over the stone as needed to keep it wet.


5. Sharpen the second side: 


Dry your hands and knife handle to avoid any slippage. Then, change hands; Grasp the handle of your knife with your left hand and use the fingers of your right hand to stabilize it. Start with the base of the edge in the top-right corner and pull the knife to the bottom-left corner, making sure to keep the pressure and angle constant. For most people, a side motion feels very natural, while flipping to the other side feels rather unnatural. So while it may seem awkward at first, practice makes perfect. The most important thing to note when using a whetstone is to make sure you sharpen each side evenly. Meaning, if you make eight passes along the stone on the first side, be sure to make eight passes on the second side.


6. Flip the Stone: 


Finally, flip the stone over to a finer, or “finishing” grit, and repeat the entire process again, making the same number of passes on each side. It may take some getting used to, but as long as you are mindful of keeping your knife at a 45-degree angle and making the same number of passes on each side, your blade will come out sharper.


7. Clean the blade: 


Once you’re done, rinse the blade and wipe it with warm soapy water to remove any metal filings that may have been shaved off. Dry the knife completely with a clean towel and you are all set!

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