DIY: How To Sharpen Your Kitchen Knives
Using a dull kitchen knife is not only difficult, painstaking and frustrating, but it is also dangerous! Thankfully, sharpening your kitchen knives by yourself is not such a difficult task. When we say sharpening your knives at home, we actually mean honing – the act of straightening the steel edge of the knife’s blade. The true sharpening of a knife is done by grinding or shaving parts of the blade and making a new sharp edge. This is usually done by professionals.
To hone your knives at home, you need to follow the following steps and tips for proper sharpening:
- Hone the knives several times every month. This will reduce the need of professional sharpening to once a year or longer.
- Get a good quality honing steel in case you didn’t get one along with your knives.
- The honing steel should be placed vertically, and the tip should be firmly placed on the kitchen counter or another surface you will be performing the honing on. To keep the honing steel anchored safely on your countertop, place it on top of a towel or a dishcloth.
- The sharpest edge at the bottom of the blade must be placed on the tip of the honing steel, and the knife tip should point upward. You should go for a 15-degree angle when you proceed to hone the blade. A rule of the thumb is to place the blade on the honing steel as if you are about to slice very thin slices of something.Get used to holding the knife at this angle, in order to be consistent during the honing by practicing holding it that way.
- Try to keep the angle consistent and apply light pressure while sliding the blade of your knife along the steel in a sweeping motion – from the top to the bottom by pulling it toward you.
- At the end, you should pass the knife’s tip through the bottom of the honing steel. Do the same for the other side of the blade. The target is 4 or 5 passes on each of the blade’s sides, which is a total of 8 to 10 passes.
- If you don’t have a butchers steel, you can hone your kitchen knife by sliding both sides of the blade across the rough edge at the bottom of a porcelain plate. Repeat the swiping motion for both sides of the blade several times and you will have a nice and sharp knife.
- If your knife is still not sharp enough after you have honed it, the blade is really dull, misaligned or has started to chip, then it is time to get help from a professional sharpener. There are certain services which provide free sharpening – all you need to pay for is the shipping fees for your knives. Once such company is Cutco.
- If you are keen on sharpening your kitchen knives by yourself, then you can opt for a home knife sharpener. There are wet stones and electric sharpeners available for home knife sharpening. Wet stone sharpening may require some training and some skills, so do some research or take a sharpening course, if you are thinking about using it for sharpening at home. Electric sharpeners are easy and safe to use. They do not require any special skills. They do sharpen the knives very well, but at the same time they do take off quite a bit of shaving from your blade, so you can soon end up with no knife if you use the sharpener too often or do not use it properly.
Author: Paul Burton