The Three Steps Necessary to Sharpening a Knife

The Three Steps Necessary to Sharpening a Knife

Sharpening a knife isn’t as simple as you might think. For instance, there is not just a single step in the process. In fact, there are essentially three different steps to sharpening a knife and the only way you can actually guarantee that any of the three methods will leave you with a high quality cutting instrument is to take it a professional. Even so, the tools necessary to do it yourself are readily available and if you don’t mind not having professional quality work, you can do an acceptable job of sharpening that blade at home.



As you might suspect from the connotation of the word itself, grinding is not something that should be done too often. To grind the blade literally means to grind away the metal, View for fruitful information now.. How often should you grind your knife or have it done for you? If it’s a high quality piece of workmanship, this should be done at most twice in a single decade, and a top notch knife that you take care of will require grinding just once in that period. A cheap knife won’t really benefit much at all, to be perfectly honest. (Nor will even a high quality knife that you get clean by placing it in a dishwasher. Putting a good knife into a dishwasher even once can corrupt it forever.) In fact, the only time you should ever consider grinding your blade if the knife has become noticeably dull or if it has gotten badly chipped.


Honing, on the other hand, should be done at least once and possibly twice a year. Consider the act of honing the process of finely tuning its cutting ability. You should also be aware that most knives need honing before they are used for the first time. What is honing a knife? If you’ve bought a top notch knife from a reputable store, or off QVC even, you may well have received a honing stone with the knife. The best stone for honing is made of carborundum and even if you didn’t get one with your knife, they are readily available in most stores that carry a large selection of knives. Basically, honing involves placing the edge of the knife against the stone pulling the knife against it. You do this with one side of the edge first, then turn the knife over and do it to the other side of the edge. How can you tell if a knife has been properly honed? Hold the blade side up so you look down the entire sharp edge. If the line isn’t perfectly straight, you’ll need to hone it.


If you didn’t receive a honing stone with your knife, you may have received a tool that looks like a fireplace poker. This is the tool used for steeling and this part of the sharpening process is done most often. In fact, the more often you steel your knife, the better. It should be done at least after every use, and professional chefs who use the same knife all night will often steel the blade two or three times an hour. Hold that poker tool in your hand with a firm grip, and place the tip against your cutting board. (You do use a cutting board, right? If not, then don’t even bother sharpening your blade; it’s pointless.) Take the knife and position it so that the bottommost part of the blade is at the top of the steeling tool, next to the handle. Very gently drag your knife downward, making sure to keep the blade at a slight angle. Repeat this process for both sides of the blade.

While sharpening knives at home is better than nothing, to really make sure your blade is true and sharp you will want to consider taking it in for a professional sharpening. Professionals use tools that not only are out of your price range, but out of your skill range. The difference between a knife you’ve sharpened yourself and a knife sharpened by a professional is the difference between having a blade that can slide through a sheet of paper floating in the air and a knife that has trouble cutting through a tough piece of steak.