Introduction: Knife Sharpening
Learn to sharpen your knives to a razors edge. It takes very little effort and once the skill is learned it can be done quickly for safer and more enjoyable knife handling.
Step 1: Sharpening Stones
Obtain sharpening stones. I have a Japanese water stone with 240/1000 grit and another with 1000/6000 grit. I also have a diamond whet stone with 325 grit. At a bare minimum a 240/1000 grit water stone should get the job done.
Step 2: Soak Water Stones
Soak the water stones in water for at least 5-10min.
Step 3: Mark Edge
Mark the edge of the knife with a Sharpie marker. As you slide the knife over the stone you will be able to establish if you have the correct angle. Each style of knife will have a different angle.
Step 4: Coarse Grit
Start with the coarse grit 240 water stone. With the knife edge at the top of the stone pull the knife toward yourself until you reach the tip of the knife. Use firm 4/5 pressure. When you slide the knife back to the starting position do not apply pressure, but also do not lift the edge off the stone. Do this for both side of the knife, alternating as you wish, for about 5-10 minutes until a burr forms. You can switch hands to do the opposite side, or start with the knife edge at the bottom of the stone and apply pressure pushing up, before slide back to the starting position. Apply water as needed to keep the stone wet. You should be able to feel the burr forming on the opposite side of the edge that you are sharpening. You can also use a magnifying glass to monitor the burr formation.
Step 5: Coarse Grit 2
The 320 diamond stone can be used in place of the 240 grit water stone to start the coarse sharpening process. It can also be used in succession to the 240 grit stone to aid the burr formation. Keep the finger tips as close to the edge as possible when applying pressure.
Step 6: Fine Grit
Use the 1000 grit water stone to remove the burr. Use the same motions as before with 2/5 pressure for about 2-3 minutes.
Step 7: Polishing
Polish the edge with the 6000 grit water stone. use 1/5 pressure and give each side a handful of passes.
Step 8: Edge
The edge should have a nice even polished finish.
Step 9: Strop
Use a piece of leather to strop the knife. I use green polishing compound which has about 10,000 grit to finish off the edge. Give each side a number of swipes with medium pressure to finish off. If you do not have polishing compound the raw backside of a leather belt is adequate.
Step 10: Test
Test the knife on your arm hair. The edge should be razor sharp. You can also slice the edge of a piece of paper. The weight of the knife should slice right through.
Step 11: Maintain
Maintain the edge on the knife by honing. This is done with a honing steel. Honing does not sharpen the blade, which is the process of removing steel and creating a new edge. Rather, honing realigns and straightens that edge. This can be done as often as before each use, or during use if cutting for long periods.