No matter what kind of knife you have in the kitchen, you’ll need to sharpen the knife someday. This is the law of physics. The only difference is the degree of the bluntness of the knife. Dealing with a blunt knife always slows down your prep work while a sharp knife, can make your cuts even and execute cleanly to make your cooking more enjoyable.
So, when you feel your knives don’t sharp like before, it’s time to sharpen it.
In this article, we would like to introduce you to Japanese Whetstones and explain how to sharpen knives with Whetstones.
We firmly believe that sharpening with Whetstones is the best way to sharpen knives and to maintain good edge geometry.
What Kind of Whetstone is Great in the Kitchen?
Sharpening your own knives is easy with a Whetstone sharpening kit. The whetstone is typically two-sided and has a coarse and fine texture. The beauty of a Whetstone is that you don’t need oil to sharpen your blades. Then you may want to know what kind of whetstone you can choose.
We recommend owning a double-sided whetstone with1000 and 6000 grit. 1000 grit side is coarser, while 6000 grit side is finer. In principle, you need different stones with different grit numbers to let your blade as sharp as possible, But if you are just using it in the daily kitchen, this two-sided whetstone with 1000 and 6000 grit will get the job done.
Below is our pick:
This High-grade double-sided whetstone equipped with a silica gel non-slip base guarantees safety sharpening.
How the Whetstone Works?
Essentially, the whetstone is a rectangular block of stone used for sharpening and honing the edge of a kitchen knife – or any other sharp steel utensils. Many specialists agreed that a whetstone is the best way to keep your knife stay sharp. The numbers of different grit stand for different levels of coarseness. Nearly 1000 grit whetstone is perfect for resharpening the blade, a 6000 grit stone is used to get a nice polished finish.
What do you Need to Prepare before Sharpening?
- A blunt knife
- Double-sided whetstone with 1000/6000 grit
How to Sharpen Knives with Whetstone?
Step 1: Wetting the Stone
Before each use, the Whetstone needs to be soaked in water for 5 to 10 minutes. You can see the air coming out of the stone as it absorbs the water and forms a liquid film on the surface.
Once sufficiently wet, please fix the whetstone on some solid base to keep it from sliding during sharpening. Many whetstones come with a base such as a wooden base or silicon base, if not included, you can use a slightly damp towel instead.
After soaking, splash some water on the surface of the whetstone, and re-splash during the sharpening process if it ever gets too dry.
Step 2: Exploring the Angle
If you have ever feared sharpening your knife with a whetstone because it’s difficult, you’ll know the importance of sharpening is to find the angle. But, don’t worry, we’ll tell you some simple ways to handle this problem.
If you’re just a beginner, we’d better focus less on the optimal angle and more on staying consistent throughout the sharpening, which means you need to sharpen in the same direction and same angle.
Here’s a simple way to get a consistent angle, that is to put your blade perpendicular to the stone, then rotate it halfway between vertical and horizontal to get a 45-degree angle, then repeat this way again to get an angle of 22.5 degrees.
Remember the relative position between the blade and stone and keep that consistent throughout.
Another way is to hold the blade at about a 15-degree angle which is about half the height of your thumb.
Another thing we’d like to talk about is how to place your hand. You’d better hold the knife handle with your dominant hand to offer a firm grip, your other hand (the one that needs to apply pressure) should be placed so that your fingers are on the blade near the edge.
Remember to do it slowly and stay in consistent and control.
Step 3: Sharpening the blade
After prepared the stone and found your angle, the next step is to re-sharpen the edge to get a sharp knife again.
Starting with the lowest grit which is 1000 on this stone, hold your knife at about a 15-degree angle and slide it away from you. It only takes light pressure along with the strokes. You don’t need to push too hard. Gently slide from the tip to the base of the blade. After about 12 to 15 strokes, flip the blade over and repeat on the other side.
Continue using gentle and even passes across the stone. Remember to hold the blade at about a 15-degree angle which is about half the height of your thumb. Be sure to periodically wet the stone during the sharpening process, you’ll see the dark, splotch of steel and stone formed during the sharpening process, that is slurry, which is important at sharpening. Don’t soak the stone to wash the slurry away, just splash the stone with a few drops of water to clean it off and let it work more efficiently.
Don’t sharpen knives quickly, concentrate on keep constant pressure and angle throughout the backwards and forwards motion.
Normally, we recommend 10-15 times go back and forth to the next step. Though, the number of times depends on how dull the edge is and how much pressure you are applying.
10 to15 times is an appropriate estimate to avoid over-sharpening.
Finally, when will you move on to the next procedure? The best way is to feel how sharp the blade is, be careful. Place your thumb on the belly of your knife blade and move it to the edge. You will feel a slightly rough patch right here, which is called a burr, if you feel it, you can go next.
Step 4: Sharpening the blade
At this point, you can flip the stone over and use the fine grit. Before starting again, you might need to add a bit more water to the surface. Now with the fine grit, finish the sharpening process like before at the same blade angle and consistently pass along the stone. About 10 to 12 passes are good before switching to the other side of the blade.
This is when you’ll swap over from the coarse grit to the finer grit (make sure this side is wet, too). I found the knife still had a bit of grime on it, so I gave it a wipe clean beforehand. The motion is exactly the same as with sharpening, but you can apply slightly less pressure, and limit to roughly 30 strokes on each side.
Step 5: Test the sharpness of the blade
Congratulations, you’ve sharpened your knife by yourself self!
You can test the sharpness by cutting papers, onions, tomatoes, or any other squishy veg with no trouble at all.
Useful Knife Sharpening Tips
- Make sure to work slowly if you just try this the first time. You can’t control the pressure well. Remember to always sharpen with a consistent angle.
- Try the first time with a cheap knife to practice. You don’t want to damage an expensive Damascus steel knife due to your bad knife sharpening skills, right?
- If you find the angle by using your thumb, avoid the thumb rubbing against the stone as you go back and forth. It will hurt your finger.
- You should rotate the whetstone often to make sure even wear due to the stone will wear during the sharpening process.
- If your knives are just slightly dull, quickly sharp them with a 6000+ grit stone, it is ok to save time. But if your knives are heavily damaged such as chips and pits, you have to start from 1000 gritstone, which is great for repairing major damage to a blade.
- Don’t sharpen ceramic knives with a whetstone, because the ceramic knives are prone to breaking.
- Take good care of your knives.
Are you ready to try sharpening your kitchen knives? Get practicing for a cheap knife first.
Hope you can use your knife for a whole life after you know how to keep its edge sharp all the time.
What kind of kitchen knives do you like best? Let us know in the comments below!