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How to Sharpen & Test Your Knife

How to Sharpen & Test Your Knife

Today’s lesson is 300 words, a 1 min 12 sec reading time. This post is the instructional complement to Knife Sharpening Basics. Subscribe here.

Basic Knife Sharpening YouTube Link

📍 Introduction:

Practicing sharpening and testing the blade is the best way to learn. Once you master this skill, you’ll be flying through veggie prep!


Sharpening the Blade: 

Option 1 - Basic Sharpening (see video above for demo)

  1. Secure sharpener (like this one) on a folded kitchen towel 

  2. Slide knife from back to front slowly. Exert even pressure

  3. Start with ten strokes on coarse, ten on fine 

  4. Test the blade (see instructions below) 

  5. Repeat until you pass the test 

Option 2 - Whetstone Sharpening  (video coming soon)

  1. Soak stone for 10 min

  2. Secure on a folded kitchen towel 

  3. Use 22.5° angle (half of 45°, which is half of 90°) with knife facing blade away

  4. Slowly pull the knife towards you with even pressure 

  5. Five strokes on coarse, five on fine. (Flip every 5-10 strokes to keep blade “true”)

  6. Test, repeat as necessary. 

Testing the Blade:

Option 1 - Tomato Method 

  1. Gently slice through the tomato top with a rocking back to front motion

  2. If tomato slices easily with minimal pressure, you did it! 🥳

Option 2 - Paper Method 

  1. Hold a piece of paper or folded sheet of newspaper in the air 

  2. Quickly drop the knife across the paper 

  3. If the paper slices in half, you did it! 🥂

Honing the blade 

  1. Secure honing rod/steel on a folded kitchen towel 

  2. Place knife at ~22.5° angel  

  3. Slide back and forth from the top down 

📝 Notes, Tips & Tricks

  • Remember that honing is for maintenance between sharpenings: if you are regularly honing your knife (e.g., every 2-4 uses) you only need to sharpen a couple of times a year

  • Be careful!   

🎓 Further Study


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