Ever tried to cut vegetables with a blunt knife? Then you might already know how frustrating and dangerous it is. A knife feels only good to use as long as its edge is razor-sharp. But we cannot deny the fact that a knife’s edge loses sharpness over time with regular use. And today we’re about to learn different ways to sharpen a kitchen knife at home.
There are all kinds of kitchen knives available in the market today. Each product is different from others and so does its sharpness. While a cheap kitchen knife losses its sharpness in a few days, you might feel less need to sharpen a high-quality steel knife.
But one thing for sure is, that every kitchen knife needs sharpening over a while. This not only aids in the easy cutting of vegetables or fruits but also keeps your fingers safe from accidental cuts, which I must say is common while trying to cut hard food with a blunt knife.
So it is important to keep your kitchen knife sharp. And interestingly, there is more than one way to sharpen a kitchen knife. Below you’ll find different ways to sharpen the knife edge for both beginners and professionals. Learn the best way to sharpen the knife and you can also cut veggies, fruit, and meat like a pro.
How Often Should I Sharpen My Knives?
Thankfully, high-quality kitchen knives do not require frequent sharpening. So you might only need to sharpen your kitchen knife once a year or in 8 months if you cook at home every single day. And sharpening can be done at home in many ways which you’ll find out below.
How to Sharpen a Kitchen Knife with a Manual Knife Sharpener
If you’re not afraid to put some effort to sharpen your kitchen knife then a manual sharpener is the best. It does not require electricity and is highly portable. Plus, it is extremely easy to use once you get a good grip on how to adjust the edge and slide through the grit.
A manual knife sharpener comprises 2 or 3 slots. These slots are coarse grit and fine grit. These fixed slots are helpful to sharpen many knives apart from kitchen knives.
All you need to do is adjust the blade properly before pulling through the grit for razor-like sharpness. The below points will give a bride idea of how to use a manual sharpener.
- Place your manual sharpener on an even surface and hold the unit firmly with your other hand.
- Put the knife edge (heel side) on the coarse grit and pull the edge towards yourself applying gentle but even pressure.
- Pull through the coarse slot of 3-4 times. You can increase the pulls if the blade is dull and damaged.
- Lastly, pull the knife through the fine slot. This will polish the blade and help to maintain the sharpness for a long time.
How to Sharpen a Kitchen Knife with an Electric Knife Sharpener
Tired of manually sharpening dull blades? Then try using an electric knife sharpener. These little machines are time-saving and provide high proficiency.
And who doesn’t love to sharpen a kitchen knife like a professional at home? Even professionals and chefs use electric knife sharpeners due to their high efficiency.
Just like manual units, an electric knife sharpener also comprises dual or 3 slots. There is one fine slot and 2 coarse slots for polishing and sharpening the blade.
However, instead of applying pressure, here, there are motorized wheels that spin at a particular speed that can even sharpen pure Damascus steel knives.
You place the damaged blade between these wheels for instant sharpening. Get to know about how to use an electric knife sharpener below:
- Clean the kitchen knife with a clean cotton/muslin cloth. Plug the electric sharpener and keep it on a stable base.
- Place the knife heel on the unit and pull it slowly till you reach the tip. Do not apply pressure as the rotating wheels are already doing the work for you.
- Perform the pulling action on both sides of the blade for proper sharpening. Repeat for 3-6 times till you feel the roughness of the blade is all gone.
- Then, at last, pull the edge through fine grit for final polishing.
How to Sharpen a Kitchen Knife with a Honing Rod
Removing bone from meat or slicing a fish with soft bones might damage the edge of your kitchen knives. And in such cases, instead of sharpening, you should make efforts to return the blade to its original position.
And using a honing rod is highly effective for a damaged blade. Why? Well, thanks to its shape and texture.
A honing rod or sharpening steel is a long slim rod of steel, ceramic, or diamond-coated steel that is used to true the edge of a knife. Regardless of what it looks like, you need to apply very little pressure to restore a kitchen knife with honing rod. Listen to the sound while honing the blade and you will get to know whether you’re doing it right or wrong.
A loud, harsh, or rough sound indicates you’re applying too much pressure. On the other hand, a quiet ring indicates honing is just right. In addition to sound, the way you hold the knife is also important. Have a look below to learn how to sharpen a kitchen knife with honing rod.
- Hold honing rod in an upright position on an even surface. Make surface the surface is dry and free from grease.
- Now grab your kitchen knife and hold the blade at a 15-degree angle from the rod.
- Slide down the knife applying gentle pressure. Move the blade down in a sweeping action such that it touches from heel to tip.
- Repeat this action on both sides of the knife. 4 to 5 strokes on each side will be enough to turn back the damaged blade to its original position.
How to Sharpen a Kitchen Knives with a Stone
One of the oldest ways of sharpening knives was by using stone or say whetstone. However, it requires skill to sharpen a knife with a stone.
Stones are of two types, oil, and diamond. Oil stones are a tad bit messy but easy to use. On the other hand, diamond stones are expensive but strong and life longing.
Once the stone type is selected, you need to select the grit. You can choose from coarse, medium, and fine stones. Or go for a stone with a different grit on both sides.
- Soak the stone in water for 45 minutes prior to sharpening. If not soaking in water, you have to lubricate the grit surface with oil(only on oil stones).
- Take the diamond stone out of the water and keep the heel side of the knife on the grit. In the case of an oil stone, let the mineral oil soak well before placing the blade on it.
- Sweep the side of the knife applying little pressure from heel to tip. Repeat for 4-6 strokes on both sides.
- Then do a few strokes on fine grit for polishing the edges.
- Clean the kitchen knife with clean water and dry using paper towels. You can check for its sharpness by cutting a vegetable or fruit.
How to use a Whetstone?
Whetstones are the same as sharpening stones. They also need to be submerged in water or lubricated with oil before use.
Check the manufacturer’s instructions before use. After lubricating the surface with water or oil, you need to do the following for proper sharpening of the kitchen knife using a whetstone.
- Keep the whetstone on the cloth with the coarse side up.
- Now grab your kitchen knife and adjust it to 15-degree or 20-degree(as per the manufacturer’s instruction).
- Slide down the blade from heel to tip applying gentle pressure. Repeat such gentle strokes on each side 3-6 times till you feel smooth.
- Then turn over the whetstone to fine grit and stroke the edge for final polishing.
- Clean the knife after sharpening and dry it with a cloth to prevent rusting and water spots.
How do you Sharpen a Serrated Knife?
Serrated knives are different from kitchen ones. And unlike kitchen knives, they do not require frequent sharpening. In fact, they are designed in such a way that you will not need to sharpen them at all. And you might be surprised to know that the serrated edge does not lose its sharpness from cutting meat, veggies, or bread but due to the chopping board.
Yes, it is indeed true. When a serrated blade touches the cutting board, the tips tend to get dull over time due to friction and they are widely used as a bread cutting knives. However, restoring the sharpness of a dull serrated knife is difficult at home because of its shape.
Here, you need to sharpen individual serrates at a time which is not possible with manual or electric sharpeners.
While you can use a honing rod for a serrated knife, it requires good knowledge for safe sharpening. So it is better to take your serrated knife to a professional.
Safety Measure To Practice
Sharpening a kitchen knife is not child’s play. You need to be careful while handling blades because even dull they can cause potential injury. And the injury is not worth taking the risk. So below are some safety measures to keep in mind.
- Do not touch the blade of any knife to check its sharpness.
- Wear protective gloves if you’re a beginner.
- Place the sharpening tools on an even surface.
- Clean the knife under running water and dry using paper towels or a clean cloth.
- Do not forget to clean the sharpening surface to get rid of tiny metal shavings.
- Never rush, take your time to sharpen the entire knife set.
- Hold the knife with your dominant hand for better grip and control.
Worried about frequent sharpening, you can go for high-strength original steel Wusthof knives that will last longer.
Final Thoughts on Knife Sharpening!
Cutting vegetables, fruits, meat, or removing bone from fish or chicken is easy and safe with a sharp knife.
And a kitchen knife is such a tool that is used daily in your home. So it does require sharpening after a certain time.
Now that you know different ways to sharpen a kitchen knife at home for both professionals and beginners, it will be easy for you to decide which way suits you more.