How to Sharpen a Knife With a Sharpening Stone

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If you want to cut something or do any sort of cooking, you need a sharp knife so you need to know how to sharpen a knife with a sharpening stone. When you use one of these stones, it helps keep your knives in the best shape possible.

You won’t get precise or clean cuts if you use a dull knife. A sharp knife is safer to use when you’re cutting. The knife will go through the material easily, and this reduces the possibility of injury as a dull knife may catch on the material and slip, which is dangerous.

Table of Contents

How To Tell if the Blade is Dull

It’s important to have your knives sharp at all times. Take the time necessary to sharpen them on a periodic basis, so you get top performance out of all of your knives. If you notice that the blade is not performing the way that you want, then the blade is probably getting dull.  If this happens, possibly the only cut of meat you will get is a piece of your hand.

Stone Coarseness

You need to use a stone with the right coarseness for sharpening your knife. Not every knife that you use will need a coarse stone. If you have a knife that is only slightly dull you will need the finest, or less coarse stone. For a touch-up of the knife edge a fine or medium coarseness will do the job.

If the blade is dull then use the coarsest stone that you have. This stone will remove the material fast and help you refine the edge. A coarse stone also has to be followed up with a stone that is fine so that the edge can be more refined.

Getting Your Stone Ready for Knife Sharpening

Once you’ve picked out your sharpening stone you’re going to need to oil and prepare the stone for the sharpening process. You want to use a towel or a damp cloth and place your stone on this surface. Make sure you use a proper honing oil and not any sort of home oil like vegetable oil because this will ruin your sharpening stone.

Make sure you are following the directions for your sharpening stone. Some stones require lubrication with water while other stones require you to use oil. If you have a diamond stone, you won’t have to use any lubricant.

You want to use a small amount of oil. Take your oil and put this down the middle of the stone. Massage and spread your water or your oil across the surface of the sharpening stone. Once you have the right lubricant applied, you’re ready to begin the sharpening process.

Holding a Knife When Sharpening

sharpen a knife with a sharpening stone

One of the key parts of learning how to sharpen a knife with a sharpening stone is how to hold the knife when sharpening. Make sure you have placed the sharpening stone on a solid surface like a table.

The knife should be sharpened at a 20-degree angle. You want to hold the knife and have the blade facing down. The angle should be at 90 degrees, then move your knife to an angle at around 45 degrees. This is half the distance between the table and your 90-degree angle.

You can make adjustments to your sharpening angle if needed. Take your time when sharpening and don’t rush the process. Always ensure that the knife blade is facing down while you sharpen it.

Sharpening Process

The next step in learning how to sharpen a knife with a sharpening stone is the sharpening process itself. Once you have the right angle for your knife you can begin the sharpening process.

  • Take the knife and slowly draw it across the stone. You want to do this in a smooth motion.
  • Start at the heel of the knife and then finish the sharpening at the tip of the knife.
  • Repeat this process five times. You may have to do it a few more times if the knife is really dull.
  •  Do this on one side and then flip the knife over and repeat the process for the other side.
  • Once you have done this, flip it back over to the original side and sharpen it from the tip to the heel of the knife.
  • Repeat this process five times.
  • Turn it over and sharpen from the tip to the heel another five times.

If you’re sharpening stone has a fine side you can turn it over to this side and repeat the steps.

How to Tell if the Knife is Sharp

Once you have finished the sharpening process check the opposite side of the knife edge. This will have a burr which you will be able to feel, but it is hard to see. If you use a coarse stone, the burr is more common.

You can feel for this burr by taking your finger and running it from the spine of the knife to the edge. As you sharpen your knife the burr jumps side to side as you sharpen the edges. Once you feel the burr on both sides you can use a finer stone.

Once you get a fine grit, the burr disappears, and your knives are sharp. You may not have to check for the burr for every knife you wish to sharpen.

Cleaning Up

Once you have completed sharpening the blade, clean up the metal bits and wipe off the excess oil on the stone. Store the stone in a dry place once you have finished using it.

Summary of How to Sharpen a Knife With a Sharpening Stone

  • Always sharpen your knife slowly. Never rush the process as you don’t want to cause an injury
  • Consistent sharpening is key. You want to ensure that you’re sharpening your knife at the same angle every time you do it, so the knife has a consistent blade.
  • You want to sharpen both sides of the knife each time you sharpen it
  • Repeat the sharpening process slowly and don’t try to sharpen it too much

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