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Sharpening Knives

I'm doing some research on sharpening knives and wanted to get the input of fellow Food52ers. We're currently using an Arkansas Stone, which we like very much and have been using for a few years. However, I know that every knife-lover has his or her favorite method and tool. Some argue that Japanese water stones are best, while others swear by a sharpening steel. What are your opinions on the best way to sharpen knives?

asked by petitbleu almost 4 years ago
10 answers 1465 views
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added almost 4 years ago

The sharpening stone, is the best way.

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Sam is a trusted home cook.

added almost 4 years ago

Check your local cookware stores. Some have classes or offer sharpening services. As much as I'd love to really get into all the type of knives and blade edges available today...Go to a class or have them professtionally sharpened. All the Issues you mentioned would be covered in a lecture at a local store...My issue is that I really don't know how to manually sharpen my 'so called' santoku knives..as they're American made and seem to refer to style of the knife than the blade side sharpness (which are usually left or right handed...which complicates things even further) while the american santoku are ground to 'either hand' left or right.
See; it's confusing. I need to go one of the classes.

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pierino is a trusted source on General Cooking and Tough Love.

added almost 4 years ago

This question came up quite recently on Hotline so you might want to look that up. Because I own a lot of knives I use a number of tools primarily now an electric three stage sharpener similar to this one http://www.chefscatalog... Check out the video.
I also use a whetstone for smaller knives. Whatever method you use, to actually sharpen knives you are removing metal from the blade. That's just a fact of life.
To Sam's point, the bevel on Asian knives is different hence the right hand, left hand thing. You can still sharpen them with a pro-level electric machine, you just use one side of the slot.
Worth reading; THE PROFESSIONAL CHEF'S KNIFE KIT from CIA, published by Wiley.

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added almost 4 years ago

I use my husband - #1 knife sharpener!

31cf169d f83a 458c 9946 a9a0311207c3  cumberland pass atv trip july 20 2013 019
added almost 4 years ago

I hit enter too quickly- he prefers to use a sharpening steel.

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added almost 4 years ago

Thanks for the responses. As I noted, I'm partial to the stone, but I keep seeing things like "Steels are the best things for sharpening knives" with no explanation as to why they're better. I was just hoping for some reasoned opinions on why you use what you use to sharpen knives. And thanks for the book recommendation, Pierino. I'll definitely check that out.

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added almost 4 years ago

Stone is a great tool, but only required after neglecting to use a steel periodically. The real trick is to NEVER allow someone else to sharpen your knife. Their "tilt" on either a steel or a stone will inevitably differ from yours, and thus, dull your blade. Every time!

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added almost 4 years ago

If this is all too frightening to you, take your knives to your local butcher. Have him sharpen them for you and teach you how to use a knife steel to keep the edge.

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added almost 4 years ago

This piece should answer most if not all of your questions including what a steel is properly used for:


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added almost 4 years ago

For the record, steels are NOT meant to sharpen knives; they hone/align the blade. It removes no metal and therefore can (and should) be used before and after using your knife on a daily basis; it keeps the edge "straight". But a honing steel is of no use whatsoever to a dull knife. A whetstone is my preferred sharpening method. I sharpen my knives bi-weekly because I use them so much at work. But for home use only, knives should only need to sharpened maybe once a month and (again) honed daily.

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