Introduction: How to Sharpen Knives

About: Ashley hails from beautiful, sunny, Idaho--what am I saying? Ashley is actually a potato that has experienced intense genetic modificaiton. Idaho does not exist. I.D.A.H.O. is actually a top secret government…

It's always important, when working in the kitchen, to make sure that you knives are sharp. There's nothing worse than a dull knife, and it can actually be dangerous! More kitchen accidents happen with knives that are dull than sharp. This instructable will show you how to really give your knives quite the edge!

Step 1: Materials

In order to sharpen you knives, here is what you will need:

  1. A sharpening stone (more on this later)
  2. Water
  3. A dull knife

A sharpening stone is used to grind your tools. When you sharpen your knife, you are actually grinding bits off of it!

A knife gets dull when the metal making up the blade is worn away (in this case by repetitive cutting) and the two sides of the blade no longer meet, and there is a flat or rounded spot where it should be sharp. By grinding the sides of your blade until the two edges meet, you can create a really sharp knife which will give you a great cut in the kitchen.

You'll notice that my sharpening stone is two different colors. This signifies different particle sizes (and therefore coarseness of that side). The darker color is coarser, and will grind your metal faster. The lighter color is finer, and will give you a better finish on your metal.

Step 2: How to Grind Your Blade


UPDATE: Thank you to user EmcySquare for this helpful comment!

A note on stones:
There are different types of stone. Most need some sort of lubricant to work properly: some are water-stones, other are oil stone. According to the type of stone you need to use water or oil. Never run your knife dry on either of the stones, never confuse the type of lubricant needed. An oil stone usually need a small amount of oil on the stone. Water stones need to be submerged in water for about 10 minutes before use and while using them you have to keep them wet by pouring water on them

You should submerge the stone so to "fill it" with water in all the little pores in between the stone.If you try, you'll see tiny air bubbles coming out of it for a few minutes. When the bubbling stops the stone is ready

Add some water to the coarse side of your sharpening stone, this helps to protect your stone while grinding the knife. (side note: check out this cool experiment done by Sharpening on how water/oil vs no water/oil sharpening went!

Then, take your knife so that the blade is about 20 degrees from the stone. This is a standard bevel angle that most knife manufacturer's recommend sharpening your knives to. Gently press the knife to one side on the stone, and turning it just so that the entire blade makes equal contact with the stone. This is important, because if only one part (let's say the part next to the handle) gets ground more than the rest, your knife can become uneven.

Now flip your knife around, maintaining the 20 degree bevel angle (on the opposite side), and gently press it to the other side so that, once again, the entire blade makes contact with the stone.

Repeat these motions, making sure to sharpen both sides of the knife exactly the same!

You can tell when to move to the finer side of the stone when a burr begins to form on the blade of your knife. It's a little hard to see it, but you can feel it. Every 5 or so passes, run your fingers from the spine (top) of your knife to the blade DO NOT GO FROM THE BLADE TO THE SPINE YOU WILL CUT YOURSELF. Do you feel a burr? If not, then continue using the coarser grit. Once you feel that burr, flip your stone over, wet it, and start honing again.

Step 3: The Paper Test

Now that you've been sharpening your knife, there is a simple test you can conduct to see if you knife is sharp enough.

Grab a sheet of regular old paper, and hold it up. Using your sharpened knife, try slicing through it with as little effort as possible. This is a great way to tell if your knife is sharp or not. If you immediately meet resistance at the edge of the paper (or the knife catches, or tears the paper), then your knife is not very sharp. Head back to the stone and do a few more passes on both sides.

Keep testing and honing until the paper is no match for your knife!

Congratulations! You've now sharpened your knife! Now you can sharpen all of your kitchen (and pocket) knives, as well as scissors and other blades. This skill can really come in handy, and I can guarantee that you'll never want to deal with dull knives again!

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