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
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)
Secure sharpener (like this one) on a folded kitchen towel
Slide knife from back to front slowly. Exert even pressure
Start with ten strokes on coarse, ten on fine
Test the blade (see instructions below)
Repeat until you pass the test
Option 2 - Whetstone Sharpening (video coming soon)
Soak stone for 10 min
Secure on a folded kitchen towel
Use 22.5° angle (half of 45°, which is half of 90°) with knife facing blade away
Slowly pull the knife towards you with even pressure
Five strokes on coarse, five on fine. (Flip every 5-10 strokes to keep blade “true”)
Test, repeat as necessary.
Testing the Blade:
Option 1 - Tomato Method
Gently slice through the tomato top with a rocking back to front motion
If tomato slices easily with minimal pressure, you did it! 🥳
Option 2 - Paper Method
Hold a piece of paper or folded sheet of newspaper in the air
Quickly drop the knife across the paper
If the paper slices in half, you did it! 🥂
Honing the blade
Secure honing rod/steel on a folded kitchen towel
Place knife at ~22.5° angel
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
🎓 Further Study
How to Sharpen a Knife (and Hone It) the Right Way [Epicurious]
🎥 How Do Honing Rods Work? [YouTube]
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