Picture of How to Sharpen Your Straight Edge Kitchen Knives
There is nothing, more stressful (at least for me) nor more dangerous than a dull kitchen knife.  The times that I have cut myself with a knife was when I had a dull knife in my hand and instead of cutting through the food, the knife would slide off, and got me!  Of all the nerve!  So in many ways, a sharp kitchen knife is a lot safer than a dull one.  You really don’t need NEW knives.  You need the ones you own to be sharpened.  So here we go on "How to Sharpen Your Straight Edge Kitchen Knives".
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Step 1:

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Your dull kitchen knives
Varying types of knife sharpeners (telling you what kind is what this Instructable is about)
Something to cut

Step 2:

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I have learned that there are 3 types of sharpening apparatus; course, medium and then fine (like a steel).  I have used one or the other on my knives over the years, but it wasn’t until I ran my knife through all three, starting with a course, then the medium then the fine, that I had a truly wonderful sharp knife.

Step 3:

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Let’s talk about each kind of sharpener and where they can be found (they all can be found on line, just google “knife sharpeners”) and about what they will cost.

If your knives are really dull you will first need to a get course sharpener with sharpening blades forming a 45° angle.  Mine looks like this.  I just walked into a store one day, there it was, and I bought it.  Couldn’t have been more than $5, but don’t ask me where, because it was more years ago than I care to think about and my mind being the sieve it is, I just don’t remember.  

I found this one at   This is a nice, course and fine, sharpener at a cheap price of under $5.00.  Run your dull knife through the course side 5 times. This course sharpener will take off any burrs and smooth out some of the knicks.
papastretch506 months ago

My only problem with this design is the fact that it doesn't sharpen the blade exactly. These will 'scrape' metal from the blade, making it ready to use equipment designed to actually sharpen the blade.

ghaines11 year ago
I was told that very dull knives should be taken to a pro for sharpening. Once they have it up to spec, you can maintain your blade for a year or so (depending on use). So, my question is: should you hire a pro for dull knives or can you sharpen them at home?
craftknowitall (author)  ghaines11 year ago
If you have a local pro to sharpen your knives - by all means, do it! NO such luck in our small community. So just do my best with what I have. Thanks for commenting.
Thank you for the note. My late father did all of his own sharpening. But people with years of experience make things look easy. He always "knew" what angle he wanted and made everything look simple... Me, I'm terrible... I guest it comes back to practice practice practice.
badams22 years ago
Sorry, but as a professional edgesmith, this kind of thing infuriates me. NEVER use these kinds of drag-through "sharpeners". the edge will ALWAYS be uneven, usually the knife will "chatter" across the surface of the tool, and you'll only end up ruining your knives in the long run. Either find a good old-fashioned whetstone and learn how to use it properly, or hire a professional. Your knives will thank you.
macpower2 years ago
I have the same Harbor Freight sharpener pictured. It works great! The one with the red handle you sow in step 3 is my least favorite because its use goes against everything I've ever learned about knives. You're drawing it across the sharpener JUST above your hand. The one from HF is offset so there's no chance of cutting yourself. "Safety by design" is a principle I can get behind!

Let's be careful out there!