Knife Sharpener – Everything You Need To Know

What if every time your knife got blunt you had to discard it and get a new one? Some people actually do that, but that's waste of good knives, not to mention money!

If you love your knives you'll notice when they're going dull and you won't wait for them to become completely useless before sharpening them. This is why you need a good knife sharpener in your kitchen.

Here are the most common knife sharpeners you can find in any home kitchen.

The Whetstone

This is a rectangular or round stone with a flat surface that can be used to sharpen knives by grinding them on the surface. Whetstones are actually very versatile and can be used to sharpen other tools such as scissors, garden tools, and chisels.

Have you ever wondered why whetstones come with different numbers? That's the grit size. Sharpening stones come with different degrees of abrasiveness which depend on the grit size of the particles the stone is made from. Very abrasive stones are rough and have a lower grit size, while smoother stones are less abrasive and have a higher grit size.

Some whetstones come with two different sides- a coarse grit side which is more abrasive and a smooth grit side.

The  Shun Kai Michel Bras 1000/3000-Grit Combination Whetstone combines two faces with different grains; a coarse 1000 grain face and a fine 3000-grain face. Whetstones also come in different materials, which also affect how they sharpen tools.

Shun Kai Michel Bras 10003000-Grit Combination Whetstone

Here are the main types of whetstone materials:

The Water Stone

These are whetstones that need to be lubricated with water to form slurry before sharpening. They're usually made of artificial material.

Japanese Sharpening Stones

These are considered to be the best quality natural sharpening stones. They're also called Japanese water stones because they have to be immersed in water for about an hour before being used. They're made from very fine silica-rich stone and, as with all matters Japanese, have a long tradition of exceptional craftsmanship behind them.

Arkansas Stones

These are named after Arkansas State, where the stone material novaculite, a quartz stone rich in silicon dioxide, is mined. This KitchenIQ™ Natural Arkansas Sharpening Stone 6" polishes the edge of your knife even as it sharpens it, and can be used with both double and single-beveled knives.

KitchenIQ™ Natural Arkansas Sharpening Stone 6

Dry Sharpening Stones

Not all whetstones need lubricating before sharpening. Some, like those made from ceramic or industrial diamond, can be used without having to lubricate them.

The Leveling Stone

Even whetstones need maintenance. The leveling stone, like this Tojiro Whetstone Level Touch Up Stone, does just that. Some whetstones wear out and lose their shape with constant use, and a leveling stone brings them back to their original shape. Don't use it for sharpening knives, though.

Tojiro Whetstone Level Touch Up Stone

Handheld Sharpeners

Also known as a pull-through sharpener, this is a portable knife sharpener which is very useful for the traveling chef. It can be a small handheld one or a large one that can sit on the countertop. It usually has two slots- a coarse grit one for sharpening and a fine grit one for polishing. They're also affordable and easy to use.

With a pull-through sharpener, all you need to do is to draw the knife through the coarse slot a number of times to sharpen the knife, after which you draw it through the fine grit slot to polish it.

Miyabi 2 Stage Pull Through Knife Sharpener

Miyabi 2 Stage Pull Through Knife Sharpener

The Electric Sharpener

An electric sharpener is more or less like a motorized pull-through sharpener. It consists of slots containing motorized wheels, which spin when the sharpener is switched on and grind the knife edge.

They're faster and more powerful than pull-through sharpeners. In fact, they're so powerful that, if you're not careful, you could end up over-sharpening your knife.

Some electric sharpeners are simple and just have one slot for sharpening the blade. Others have up to three slots:

  • A pre-sharpening slot- to clear out any burrs and old edges.
  • A coarse-grit slot- to sharpen a blunt blade.
  • A fine grit slot- for honing the sharpened blade.

Different knives come sharpened at different angles and this can be difficult to stick to. Some electric sharpeners come with a guide to help you get the right angle for sharpening your knife. The Work Sharp Culinary E5 Electric Knife Sharpener & Honing Rod features a guide that keeps the angle at 170, and professional sharpening belts to protect delicate knives.

Work Sharp Culinary E5 Electric Knife Sharpener & Honing Rod

Serrated Knife Sharpeners

Serrated knives are a bit more difficult to sharpen than straight-edged knives due to their irregularly shaped edges. A normal handheld or electric sharpener would definitely damage a serrated knife as the motors aren't made for such a blade. Some sharpeners are made specifically for sharpening serrated knives without damaging them.

How to Keep Knives Sharp

Sharpening a knife involves grinding its edge, so the more you do it, the more you wear the edge out. To avoid wearing out your knives quickly, it is important to keep them sharp for as long as possible and avoid having to sharpen them all the time.

Here are some steps you can take in order to keep your knives sharp:

  • Avoid washing them in the dishwasher – Some manufacturers will say that their knives are dishwasher safe but the fact is that dishwashing detergent is harsh and may eventually dull the blade. Instead, wash them gently with soap and water and dry them thoroughly with a dishcloth.

  • Avoid storing knives in a common drawer unprotected – This is because the knives will rub against other utensils and tools, which will eventually dull the blade. Instead, use knife storage equipment such as knife blocks, magnetic knife strips, or knife sheaths.

  • Use a proper cutting board – Avoid cutting on very hard surfaces like glass and marble as this will also dull the blade quickly. Use a cutting board made of wood or plastic.

Final Words

Every kitchen needs a knife sharpener. Whether you're a rookie cook or a pro, there's always a sharpener you can use for your knives, we have a huge collection of sharpeners that will definitely fit your kitchen’s needs, click here now!

Also Read: How to Choose the Best Electric Knife Sharpener


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