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Sharpened knives matter big time in kitchens in order to do the food cutting the right way. An ideally sharp knife ensures that it goes through any food item without slippage.
Though it is quite obvious that the sharp knives must be handled very carefully because if they are not used safely, they may cause cuts on your skin as well.
A properly sharp knife once tends to deteriorate with its sharpness once it is excessively used for cutting. Therefore, it is required to keep a good check on it and sharp as soon as the blade becomes dull again. You may keep checking its edges to know when it needs sharpening. Or else, the performance of a knife also determines the time when it needs further refining and sharpening.
Video Credit: Chef Eric Arrouzé
Knife sharpening stones can be used for the purpose, which is economical, easy and highly productive for the purpose. Though there are certain kitchen knife sharpeners as well as manual sharpeners available to help you do the whole process quickly and easily with least effort on your side.
The Process to Sharpen Kitchen Knives:
In order to do kitchen knives sharpening the right way while using the knife sharpening stones, the following steps should be followed:
1. Identifying the condition of your knife’s blade:
The first and foremost thing to do in the process is to identify how dull the blade of the knife is. Check, whether or kitchen knife is single or double beveled. You also need to ascertain whether the knife material is stainless steel or carbon steel. Finally, you must also identify which area(s) on the blade is dull and which aren’t.
2. Soaking the knife sharpening stones:
This step is important to ascertain so that the sharpening stone wouldn’t chip or scratch the blade any further. Ideally, you should soak the sharpening stones for 15 minutes before starting with the sharpening process.
3. Safety precaution:
In order to keep this process safe and secure, your grip on the knife and control over the sharpening stone tool matters a lot. Irrespective of a left or a right-hander, your knife’s hand thumb should be right over the back of the blade. The index finger should be just next to the knife’s handle grip over the blade. Finally, your three other fingers should be wrapped around the knife’s handle.
4. The angle:
This is the most crucial part of the process. Every knife to be sharpened could have a different angle. Therefore, you need to learn how to feel the specific angle that slopes down from the edges. For this, put the knife flat on the sharpening stone, while putting 2 fingers over its edge. Lift the knife using your free hand and move until you feel the shallowest knife’s angle. This edge should allow being even with the knife sharpening stone. You might not do this perfect the first time. This requires practice to get perfection.
5. Start sharpening the knife:
Once you have spotted the angle then the sharpening of the edge should be started. You should get comfortable and easy with the pattern and motion of sharpening before you work on the knife. For this, keep the knife’s blade against the sharpening stone and pull the blade of the knife towards you using 2 fingers and then shove it away. Sharpening action actually happens while you pull the edge towards you.
This is the down-stroke. Therefore, pressure on the upstroke should be relieved. Moreover, it should also be ensured that you don’t miss out on sharpening the tip of the knife. If you miss this point then the best sharpening angle created the remaining blade would possibly create a gap right between the tip and stone. This can be simply achieved by lifting the elbow of your hand in which you are holding the knife, while you go on and sharpen the tip area.
6. Keeping the sharpening stones wet:
In order to prevent the subject knife from damage, you must splash the stone constantly with water during the sharpening process. Grey sediment setting up over the sharpening stone indicates that your sharpening stone is in good shape. This could be seen building after you make a few swipes with the knife on the stone. The sharpening gets more efficient this way over the abrasive stuff developed.
7. Finishing of the sharpening process:
The finishing process is just like the earlier sharpening process. The difference is only the stone that is used and the amount of pressure you put on the edge of the knife. Rather than down-stroking across the sharpening stone, put the pressure of only your hand’s weight. Any more pressure than this could risk damaging the blade of your already sharpened knife.
8. Paper cut:
It may sound weird, but slicing through a piece of paper with your newly sharpened knife is the best way to check the blade of your knife. If you are able to cut through the paper sheet very smoothly, then your knife has sharpened as per the expectations. It is important here to cut through using the full length of the knife. In case you leave behind any dull spots on the knife, then you will feel the grind while using a knife in cutting food items.
In case if you are using an electric or manual knife sharpener, you may need little effort and the knife gets sharpened so quickly.
The sharpening of knives could be achieved in many different ways and using many different tools. You may do the needful using manual knife sharpeners, sharpening steels or even the electric type sharpeners. The manual sharpeners are always good if you want to fine-tune the edges as per your needs without over grinding. Whereas the electric sharpeners save time and need little effort to get the desired sharpness.
However, the most convenient, economical and efficient of all is the sharpening stone. It requires just a simple set of steps discussed above to have a sharpened knife. Just a little bit of practice is demanded to find the best angle while sharpening the blade over the sharpening stone.