From collectors who display their knives to professionals who require a quality knife for their job, you need to know how to properly sharpen a blade. Quality knives are a significant investment, so it's important to maintain them properly. Over time, improper maintenance and lack of care will result in a dull and ineffective knife. Here are some tips for extending the life of a knife and keeping its blade sharp and pristine.
Sharpen and HoneFrequently re-sharpening the edge of a knife blade will help maintain its quality and durability. Honing is a maintenance technique that keeps a knife blade sharp. A knife blade edge is composed of very tiny teeth, like a saw. During use, the teeth become misaligned, making the knife less effective. Honing the knife realigns the blade, which improves its performance. Ideally, a fixed blade knife should be honed prior to every use.
Sharp Knife Maintenance Techniques
Steel HoningThe honing routine always begins with a sharp knife. A dull knife cannot be returned to sharpness using a steel. Once a knife has been sharpened or you purchase a new knife, a maintenance routine should be implemented followed to keep it in top shape. The time between maintenance and sharpening depends on several factors, including the meticulousness of the technique, the quality of the hone, and the knife itself.
Fine Grit Water Stone Honing TechniqueSet the end of the blade, either a ceramic or steel rod, softly on a flat surface cushioned with a dishrag and hold it vertically. Grip the knife gently touching the hone at a 20-degree angle. One technique to find the 20-degree angle requires two position steps. First hold the knife perpendicular (90 degrees) to the hone, then turn the knife to cut the angle in half (45 degrees), and then turn it half way again to achieve approximately 20 degrees). For the first few strokes, run the knife blade using very light pressure from the heel to the tip with the edge pointing down. Increase to a medium pressure on succeeding strokes. Complete ten strokes on each side of the knife blade. A Japanese fine grit water stone may be used for an alternative honing technique. The 2000-5000 grit water stone is a fine abrasive that will remove the fatigued metal on the knife. Hold the knife on the lubricated water stone at a 20-degree angle and push it away from you using a very light pressure.