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whats the best way to sharpen a chef knife i got a DMT 3 piece whetstone Answered

i just started culinary arts at college and i been trying to figure the best way to sharpen a knife i have dmt whetstones that where a gift to me i got coarse, fine, extra fine. i wanna know what would be the best technique to sharpen a chef knife and a boning knife i would like to know any videos that helped you out or any techniques that you use to sharpen a knife on a whetstone i need it sharp cause when i first got the knife it was literally sharp enough that i just pushed it down into the paper and it cut it easily it is a forged chef knife and a pressed boning knife i would love whatever help you have that could make it easier for me to know how to sharpen it right and make it "scary sharp" for class


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Best Answer 12 years ago

There actually is science to this...
First, take a look at the tutorial at Razor Edge... Not so much for the product information, but for a description of what you are trying to do.
The first step in sharpening any blade is to get a wire-edge burr on one side. If the blade is very dull, start with the Course or Medium grit stone. Diamond stones are very aggressive, so you won't need to use the Course for very long, if at all.
The idea when using a whetting stone is to keep as consistent an angle as possible. I find that it is easiest to do this if I am not using my arms, but moving my whole body. Try locking your arms and hands in place, relative to your body, and moving your arms and knife by moving your legs and body. This will feel mighty odd, but will give you best results without an angle guide.
The ideal angle is the angle already ground into your blade. This will likely be between 25 and 30 degrees. Lay your knife blade on the stone, and try to match the ground angle.
Next, lock your arms in place to hold the angle, and move your body to move the knife against the Course or Medium whetting stone. Use a circular motion to grind one side of the blade for a minute of two. What you are looking for is a wire edge to curl up on the opposite side of the blade. Use your thumb nail, pushing from the opposite flat of the blade toward the cutting edge, so that the nail 'flicks' over the blade. Once you have a wire edge, you should feel resistance like a little shelf at the tip of the blade as you flick your thumbnail over it. You will want to feel this all along the blade. If you don't, keep on sharpening that portion of the blade (making sure to keep that consistent angle). If you do not get this step, you will not get a sharp blade.
Once you feel the wire edge along the length of the blade, flip the knife over, and sharpen an equal amount on the other side.
From here on, the emphasis is on polishing the newly created edge. Move to the Medium, or more likely -- the Fine stone. Polish each side, taking a minute or two on each side, and swapping to the other side for an equal amount of time.
Unless you have a guide, or you have been doing this for a very long time, you won't be able to keep a consistent angle and swap sides for each stroke, as many guides tell you. Don't worry about it. As long as you keep a consistent angle, and sharpen for a minute or two on each side with a circular motion, you'll be fine.
The last step requires a sharpening steel. If you want a razor edge, you need to polish that edge with a sharpening steel.
Take the knife, and lay one edge on the steel, keeping a roughly consistent angle, run the knife in a circular motion over top of the steel. It is easiest to do this to start with the tip of the steel braced against the edge of the counter. Polish the blade on one side, without additional pressure. Then flip the blade, and using the same angle as you have used to now, polish the other side in a circular motion.
Finally, take the steel, and hold it vertically, with the handle up, and the point against a cutting board, or other relatively soft surface. Take the knife, and run it down one side of the steel going from the handle end of the blade to the tip, keeping roughly the same angle as the rest of your sharpening. If the steel has protective guards between the handle and the steel, these can be used as angle guides. Start with the back of the knife spine resting against the tip of the guard. Next, run it down the other side of the steel, alternating for the final polishing.
As you do the polishing, check sharpness by shaving the hairs on the back of your hand. If you have the blade sharp, you will feel the blade pull on the hairs. If you have it very sharp, it will start to cut the hairs. If you have it razor sharp, the hairs will 'jump' away from the blade.
Another test is to run your thumbnail tip lightly along the blade. You are feeling for any roughness. If the blade is sufficiently polished, you won't feel any rough spots.

It is important to remember the steps: First wire edge, then polish. Keep a consistent angle, and finish with a steel.

If you work your way through these steps, you will end up with a very sharp knife, and will be much less likely to cut yourself than with a dull blade. That said, keep your finger tips away, lest you add a little iron to your vegetables!


12 years ago

Personally, I love wet stones. They are what I was taught to use to sharpen a knife. The first step is to lightly wet the stone. Next, place the blade of the knife against the stone at an angle. A 30 degree angle is approximately what it should be at. Then, rub the knife in circular motions. Make sure you sharpen the entire length of the blade equally. Then, flip over and do the same to the opposite side. If it is extremely dull, start on the rough stone and work your way to the extra fine one for the best blade. A problem that can be caused in this process is that the blade can be bent. Once way to fix this is to use something such as the item on the following link to straighten the blade.