Best Ways To Sharpen A Knife (And How To Keep Them Sharp)

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It doesn’t matter if you are precious about your fancy kitchen knife set or just want to bring an old penknife back to life, there comes a time in every blades life where it just needs a good sharpen. The better quality the knife, the longer it will last between sharpens but even the elite need a bit of attention from time to time. Because of this, there are a variety of products on the market that can help, but before there were products available, traditional methods were used. We consider these, and other ways of sharpening a knife.

Sand Paper

This is something a lot of people have to hand and otherwise, it is an affordable method for sharpening a knife. Use two different types of sandpaper, a coarser grit of around 220 for giving the blade the correct shape, then move onto a finer piece of 600 grit to add sharpness. If you want to add another stage then go for a mid grit of approximately 400 grit. A good way of ensuring you get to control is by gluing the sandpaper to a block of wood and sharpen against the side.

Pocket Knife Sharpener

These little gadgets are essential for any trip to the woods as they are convenient, portable, and when you buy from a reputable brand, they do an excellent job. Most of them have multiple grit stone options to keep fishing hooks or a pocket knife sharp. A lot of the time they can be fixed to your keys so you are never without a way of keeping your camp side tools razor sharp. Make sure it has a grippy texture on the side for safety and if you want to get more for your money, some come with neat extras like fire starters.

Sharpening Stone/Whetstone

This is the best way to sharpen a knife and can be used on a variety of blades big and small. They usually come with multiple sides to choose from so you can select the right coarseness for each stage of the sharpening process. Grit ratings of 1,000 and 6,000 make the sharpening stone able to keep blades such as a kitchen knife, hunting knife, cleaver, sushi knife, and more nice and sharp. For added accuracy, buy a product with an angle guide and a non-slip base, and make sure it comes from a quality company so it will last a while.

You’ll need a little lubricant but water or oil will suffice to keep debris out the way.

Nail File

This is a quick fix that is easily found in most homes but it won’t be as effective as other methods. Still, if you need a quick sharpen, a nail file can be used in the same way as sandpaper but since they are smaller, it is important to work the blade with caution.

Leather Belt

The technique known as stropping can be used either after you have worked with a nail file or on its own although it won’t technically sharpen. By realigning the blade it can make it easier to work with when cooking, just move the blade away from the cutting edge and you should notice a difference.

The Spine Of A Different Knife

If you have another knife to hand, you can make good use of its spine. Think of it as you would honing steel, moving the blade down and away at a 20-degree angle. It can be a little tricky and make sure the other knife can be held firm without the risk of it moving.

Smooth Stones

If a sharpening stone works, then be the same logic, so does an actual stone. It can be difficult to get an accurate feel for the grit of a stone you pick off the ground but do your best to gauge it for yourself. They are a common sight on a river bed since the water has done the hard work of smoothing the stones for you but find a large one that is easier to work with. Use the same method as you would a sharpening stone.

Do You Need To Hone A Knife?

After sharpening a blade, it is important to add the finishing touch. Some people calling a honing steel a sharpener which is not necessarily an accurate name. Still, they are ideal for keeping the edge straight and won’t wear the blade, in the same way, sharpening it will. Hold the device vertically as the tip is rested on a worktop and pull the thickest part of the blade down at around a 20-degree angle. Do this on both sides, moving down to the tip.

How To Keep Knives Sharp

Store Them Properly

When they are out in the open, they can be exposed which will lead to them not to maintain their sharpness. Always be sure to dry them before you store them away and a knife rack or dedicated drawer is a good place to keep any knife, especially ones you have just sharpened.

Don’t Leave Them In The Sink

Any fluid will cause them to lose their edge and sharpness much faster so be sure to pay attention as to where you leave them. It is also important to clean them rather than leave a knife to soak, even if it has some pretty stubborn food or dirt on there.

Use A Honing Steel

We already mentioned how important they are, but not everyone uses them. To keep your knifes edge as straight as possible (and to make for. accurate cuts), pick one up when you buy your sharpening tool.

Regular Sharpening

It sounds obvious but too many knife owners wait until the knife is in desperate need of a sharpen before they actually do anything about it. Because they can be sharpened before every use, you should always have super sharp blades making your prep work in the kitchen a lot easier.

Buy A Quality Blade

Certain products tend to stay sharper for longer and it is all down to the materials. Look for a product that has a blade made from stainless steel and even high carbon. A professional might choose to sharpen their knives before every use though even if they use the best knives.

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