Sharpening knives could be an extremely easy task if you’re trained and you know the correct tool and method to sharpen your knives. You might be thinking why is sharpening knives an important thing to do? Well, you cannot replace every knife that becomes dull over time. So, you have to sharpen them because knives get dull over time.
Talking about the knife sharpeners, there isn’t just one sharpener out there. There are different types of sharpeners, that do the same job but in different ways. Before the advanced inventions, stones were the only source for sharpening knives. But, with the passage of time, some manual, as well as electric sharpeners, have been introduced in addition to the stones. These sharpeners, however, make your work much easier and quicker.
Now, what’s important is to know how to use those sharpeners and an overview of the knife sharpener instructions. Whetstones are still a very common and efficient tool for sharpening knives. But other than whetstones, electric sharpeners are also very much in the trend. Also, some manual sharpeners also do a great job if handled and gripped properly.
In this very article, we’re going to guide you through the types of sharpeners for knives along with their correct usage.
Table of Contents
Can You Over Sharpen a Knife?
Yes. Knives can often be over-sharpened if sharpened more than was required. Over sharpened knives could be great danger and must be only sharpened as much as needed. Moreover, every time you sharpen your knife, you’re removing the front layer of blade material and exposing its entirely new and more sharpened blade. So, you already are shortening the life span of your knife, and over-sharpening it, specifically can have an even greater effect on its life span.
Hence, it is important to be careful while sharpening a knife and make sure not to over sharpen it.
How to Use a Knife Sharpener?
Knife sharpeners could be of different types and every type may differ in its way of usage. There are whetstones, manual sharpeners, and electric sharpeners too; all different in the way they’re used to sharpen the knives.
In this article, with the help of our experts of knife sharpeners, we’re going to guide you through HOW TO USE:
- A Whetstone
- Manual Knife Sharpeners
- Electric Knife Sharpeners
1. How to Use a Whetstone
One of the easiest and very common ways to sharpen a knife is to use a whetstone. Whetstones are a great tool that perfectly sharpens your knives just as much as you require. Here is how you’ll have to use a whetstone.
- Place the whetstone on a counter where you’d feel comfortable sharpening a knife.
- It is better to have a whetstone holder that holds the whetstone in place while you sharpen the knife. If you don’t have a holder, make use of a towel to make sure the whetstone doesn’t move while you sharpen the knife. You’ll have to place the whetstone on the towel.
- Professionals suggest soaking the whetstone in water before use. That’s because the whetstone works best when used wet. So, you should soak the whetstone in water for about 15 to 20 minutes before sharpening the knife on it.
- Sharpening the knife at the correct angle is very important. Make sure you know the factory-set angle of the knife and then sharpen it according to that.
- Now, for the actual sharpening part of the knife, always use your dominant hand. Grip the knife handle with your last three fingers and use your thumb and index finger to grip the blade from either side.
- With your other hand, hold up the knife from the top of the blade for stabilization.
- Now run the blade, giving it 3 to 4 strikes from tip to the edge. When you’re done, do the same for the other side of the knife as well (which hasn’t been sharpened yet).
- If you find the knifeless sharpened than was required, you can do a few more strikes on both sides.
This was the entire procedure of using whetstones to sharpen your knife.
2. How to Use Manual Knife Sharpeners
Manual sharpeners are considered an easier method as compared to the Whetstones. That’s because you can simply put a knife into the manual sharpener and just sharpen it as much as needed. For most of the manual sharpeners, you have the ‘course’ setting and a ‘fine’ setting. The course setting should be used for extremely dull and blunt knives. While the fine setting should be used for slightly blunt knives for everyday normal use.
Here’s how to use a manual knife sharpener in proper steps:
- Hold the knife in your dominant hand and grip the manual sharpener with your other hand. Gripping the sharpener is important to make sure it doesn’t displace while you’re sharpening the knife.
- Now hold the knife and insert it into whatever setting type your knife needs. Now pull and push the knife from its tip to base through the slot.
- For a very blunt and dull blade, you’ll have to make 6 to 7 strikes while for the normal sharpening of a knife, 3 to 4 strikes would be enough.
- Also, because it’s a manual sharpener, make sure you apply gentle pressure and force on the knife while you sharpen it. This would make the knife rub well against the surface of the sharpening slot.
- While sharpening the knife, make sure you DO NOT pull and push it too straight. Move with the curve of the blade. The handle should come up higher when you pull the knife towards yourself. This would make the entire blade get well sharpened.
- Also, while sharpening a knife with the manual sharpener, the grinding noise that you hear during the pull and push of the knife is proof that your knives are correctly being rubbed against the sharpener.
- Some sharpeners may also have more than two sharpening slots. In that case, make sure you pass the knife through each of the slots 2 or 3 times.
After you’re done, do not forget to rinse the knife with clean water and dry it with a towel. It is better to wash your knife after every use to keep them clean and ready to use before use.
If you use a manual knife sharpener, it is recommended to pull your knife through the ‘fine’ setting (giving it 2 to 3 strikes) 3 to 4 times a week.
3. How to Use Electric Knife Sharpeners
Electric knife sharpeners are the easiest choice to make for a knife sharpener. They do not require any manual effort or work. You just pull a knife through the slots, without having any need to apply pressure, and the sharpener does its work.
Here are the steps you’ll have to follow if you’re using an electric sharpener to sharpen your knives.
- First of all, turn the machine on before inserting the knife.
- Always use your dominant hand to hold the knife.
- Now start by inserting the knife into the ‘course’ setting and pull the knife through it for a few seconds only. Make sure the entire blade is pulled against the grinder but be aware, not to apply any pressure or force onto the knife.
- Do 4 to 5 strikes for each of the two sides of the blade in the ‘course’ setting. Then move on to the next slot. You can also check the sharpness before you move on to the next one. If you feel the need, you can do a few more strikes.
- After moving to the next slot, repeat the steps for both sides of the blade.
- Finish with two quick (one or two seconds) passes through the fine grit slots to obtain a very clean edge. To remove remaining metal filings from the blade, wash it with warm water and mild soap and wipe it dry.
Do you push or pull when sharpening a knife?
Would your knife need a push or pull while sharpening it depends entirely on the type of stone you’re using for the sharpening purposes. Whetstones for countertops should be angled slightly, and then pried outwards when you pull. Straight pulls are never ideal. If it is a handheld micro-sharpener, push out and up while holding the blade at the angle the sharpener recommends, and being careful not to damage your fingers or wrist.
How long does a knife sharpener last?
Knife sharpeners have a pretty long lifespan. If used properly and kept with care, they could last for decades. For professional kitchens, you might feel the need to replace them after a couple of years, but for home kitchens, they would probably last for a lifetime.
The Best Way to Sharpen a Knife
To figure out the best way to sharpen a knife, it is important to figure out what purpose is your knife going to serve. If you’re somebody who loves trying different meat and vegetable dishes at home and needs a sharp knife for normal kitchen use, then using the whetstones is the best way to sharpen a knife. It is very affordable, as well as an easy way.
On the other hand, if you’re a professional chef or a butcher, a super sharp knife would be a greater need for your everyday tasks. In that case, using whetstones every now and then to sharpen your knives won’t really work effectively. Hence, electric sharpeners would save the day.
In short, both whetstones and electric sharpeners are the most suitable ways to sharpen your knives. You can choose any of these according to your type of work.
What is the Fastest Way to Sharpen a Knife?
Out of the many ways and tools being used for the sharpening of knives, the fastest way to sharpen a knife is by using an electric sharpener. Electric sharpeners require no manual force or pressure to be applied and do the job in seconds. As compared to the whetstones and manual knife sharpeners, which might take some time to sharpen a knife, the electric sharpeners get the work done in no time!
How to Use a Knife Sharpener Stone?
A knife sharpening stone basically has two sides, one is the ‘course’ side and the other is a finer one. The ‘fine’ course is going to take and re-shape the edge of your knife and get it back down thin enough in order to sharpen it.
To sharpen a knife with a sharpener stone means you’re basically taking a blunt and dull knife and working on it to thin it back down. So, you’ll have to remove all the extra metal that caused a dislocated edge and get it back down where it was thin enough. To make the sharpening stones work perfectly, it is better to make them wet before you get started.
Now, to use the knife sharpener stone, it is very important to position the stone correctly and under some grip. After that, by placing the knife at a suitable angle, you push and pull the knife against the stone, maintain the suitable blade angle, and making sure that the tip to the end of the blade gets rubbed against the stone.
After a few strikes on one side of the blade, you flip it over to the other side. Repeat the steps for this side of the blade as well. You can also make one strike for one side and then the next one for the other side and repeat the process. Or, you can completely sharpen one side and then go for the other side.
After you’re done with both sides, check for the intensity of sharpness you’re achieved. If you feel there’s a need for a bit more sharpness, follow a few more strikes. In the end, wash the knife with clean water and dry it with a towel.
For a better understanding, you can watch this short video:
How to Sharpen a Knife at Home?
For the sharpening knives at home, you do not necessarily need professional electric sharpeners. That’s because these sharpeners are usually required for the sharpening of knives for heavy-duty work by professional chefs and butchers. To sharpen a knife at home, whetstones do the best job. These are not only highly reliable but also much easier and convenient to deal with.
Hence, to sharpen a knife at home, whetstones are the best option. If you’re looking for some option other than the whetstones, we would suggest the manual or hand pull knife sharpeners. They do a great job too if handled properly.
How many times should you run a knife through a sharpener?
The number of times you should run a knife through a sharpener strongly depends on the dullness or bluntness of your knife. In most cases, three to six strikes from the heel to the tip of the blade do the best job. If your knife is very slightly dull, even two to three strikes would also work. And if the knife is super dull and blunt, you might have to do more strikes after the initial 5 to 6 strikes.
The sharpening of knives is an important thing to be done whenever needed. There are several tools available for the sharpening of knives, and no matter what tool you use, you can get the job done if you know the correct use of it. Make sure you sharpen your knives less often. This is because every time you sharpen a knife, the front layer of the blade is removed during the process, and an entirely new layer is exposed. This affects the lifespan of a knife over time.
Hence, it is recommended to sharpen your knives only once or twice a year. And, if you feel the need again, you can go for a third sharp as well. But more than that would definitely damage your knife in the near time.