Maintaining a knife is an essential part that most people tend to skip out on, resulting in a deteriorating condition of the knife.
For a knife to always function well, it is essential to sharpen and maintain them on a daily basis. A knife should always be sharp and is always going to get blunt after a few uses.
What people don’t often realize is the dangers that can present themselves when the knife that they are using is not sharp enough. When cutting through fruits, vegetables or meat, the sharpness of the knife determines how much force should be exerted on the product. Because of this, a person using a knife has to apply a lot more force if it is not as sharp, thereby posing a few risks that could otherwise be easily avoided.
The easiest way to maintain a knife and make sure that it is well functional is by using a sharpening stone. A sharpening stone is a chef’s best tool when trying to maintain a knife, and can elongate the lifespan of the kitchen tools as well. However, simply owning a sharpening stone is not enough, since one also needs to know how to use it efficiently. Here is a step by step breakdown of how to properly use a sharpening stone.
Preparing Your Stone
Before you start the process of sharpening your knives, it is essential to try and prepare your stone so that you can use the knife on it well. No matter what kind of sharpening stone you have, the process of preparing the stone still remains the same. Sharpening stones for kitchen utility are generally small in size and consist of one single block of stone.
- Place your stone in water for a period of thirty to forty minutes before you begin this entire process. This is mainly done to smoothen the surface by a little so that it doesn’t have too much of a harsh effect on your blades.
- Lay your stone out on a steady surface, and place a damp towel underneath it. It is important to note that the cloth that you are using is going to be permanently tainted after this since the particles that fall out while sharpening cannot be washed out. The process of sharpening should always be done on a table that is steady, and which is devoid of any bumps.
- Sharpening stones generally have a coarse side and a smoother side. The coarse side must be placed on top since this is what one needs to properly sharpen the knife. The coarse side is also a lot easier to work with since it provides just the right amount of friction to properly shape the knife with.
- Lubricating your stone is the next part of this process. Oil or water is generally the best lubricants to choose when trying to go in for this. However, there are times wherein certain stones require specific kinds of fluids to be able to use efficiently. At the time of purchasing your stone, be sure to check the specifications and the preferred kind of fluid needed to know for sure.
Finding Your Angle
While the process of buying and preparing your stone might be easy, finding the right angle to work with the knife is something that can be rather hard. If you are someone who wants to sharpen their knives properly, you are going to have to spend some time trying to figure out the best angle to work with. Chefs all over the world aways use a twenty-degree angle when trying to sharpen their knives because it provides them with the right kind of friction level to be able to sharpen with the least amount of damage.
Here is one set of steps that you can use to find out the right angle for you to work at:
- The first step is to find your ninety-degree angle. This is a good starting point to be able to then figure out the right angle to work with. The sharper blade of the knife needs to be placed facing the stone in this.
- Once you have placed your knife at ninety degrees, the next step is to move it towards a forty-five-degree angle. This means that you have to move it half the distance that it had when it was at ninety degrees. Finding the right angle might be harder at first, but once you get the hang of it, it becomes a lot easier to work with.
- Once again, you have to move your knife to half the distance that you had when you were placing it at forty-five degrees. This means that your knife would stand at a little under a twenty-five degrees angle, which means that is is not completely in line with the stone. At the same time, it is not further away from the stone, making it incredibly easy to work with.
Sharpening Your Knives
Once you have found the right angle to work with, the next step is actually to start the process of sharpening your knives. The key to this is consistency. While sharpening your knife, every stoke should be consistent to ensure that you get the right kind of edge. This process literally entails griding out parts of the knife to reveal a new edge for the blade. If you have a look at the stone after a knife has been sharpened, you will notice that there are a number of filaments left behind, and these usually need to be thrown away once the sharpening has competed.
After finding your correct angle, the process of actually sharpening your knives begin. Always remember that this is something that must be done with extreme caution. Even though you may theoretically know the process, it is always better to be careful the first time around. Once you feel ready enough to sharpen your knife, you can start this process:
- The first action that you need to do here is the action of slowly drawing out your knife against the surface of your stone, starting from the bottom and working your way to the top.
- Run the knife across the stone for five times, before you flip it over and start the process on the other side again. Remember to keep the blade of the knife facing the stone when you do this process.
- The number of times that one runs the knife across the stone doesn’t always have to be five, and sometimes, this depends on how dull or how sharp the blade already is. If you feel like your knife needs a lot more swipes across the stone, feel free to do so, but make sure that number is equal on both sides of the knife.
- Because of the manner in which knives are used, it is essential to sharpening every part of the blade. Because of this, you have to switch up the motion of moving your blade across the stone. If you have been sharpening your stone by swiping it towards the right, swap it over to a leftward movement to ensure that you get even sharpening on all sides.
- Once you have finished sharpening your knives, the next step is to smoothen them out entirely. This is where the smoother side of the sharpening stone is used. Set your knives aside and flip over the sharpening stone. By doing this, you can then smoothen over your knives and complete the process of sharpening them.