How to Sharpen a Knife
I’ve always been interested in knives. The knife has been the key to human survival. It’s an essential tool. Knives come in all shapes and sizes. I never worry too much about how pretty a knife is, I just want to make sure it has a sharp edge. Like the soul of a person, each knife has an edge to it. You may not be able to see that edge, but it’s very important.
I love carving and whittling wood, and I constantly use knives when I hunt, butcher, and cook. A dull knife is no good. Knives are meant for cutting, not bludgeoning. When a knife has a good edge, it will make a clear, sharp cut.
Having a sharp knife makes life easier. Work goes more quickly, and you’re safer using a sharp knife rather than a dull one. A sharp knife cuts with ease, and if you do nick yourself it will be a clear, clean cut, not a ragged one.
I taught myself how to sharpen a blade. After a lot of reading, research, and experimentation, I settled on using a hone. Basically, the hone is a stone that has a coarse side and a fine side. It’s simple, it’s sturdy, and it works. There are lots of gizmos, gadgets and contraptions out there that sharpen knives. A lot of people like to use a grinder, but the high speed of the grinder can heat and harden your steel. The harder steel is, the harder it is to shape.
Using a hone takes practice. It’s like playing music. You need to get the feel of it, hear the way it sounds when it’s working right. The actual edge of the knife is microscopic, so you can’t see it unless you have a magnifying glass, which is handy. Practice makes perfect. Luckily, winter brings plenty of time to sharpen your skills and your knives.
Here are the basic steps to sharpen a knife.
You will need:
- Sharpening Stone
- Make sure your stone is clean and oiled.
- Place the blade of the knife against the sharpening stone at a 20° angle.
- Using a smooth, pulling motion, sweep the blade against the stone, maintaining the 20° angle. Keep grinding until the metal forms a burr. A burr is a finely raised section of metal too small to see but you can feel it if you carefully run your hand along the blade. When the burr forms, you’ve created a primary edge.
- Flip and continue grinding to sharpen the opposite side and create the secondary edge.