Sharpening Basics – Part 1

Even if you’re not a knife aficionado, we’re quite sure you hate working with a knife that doesn’t cut well. What follows is a comprehensive 2-part guide for sharpening your knives. We will cover all the fundamental aspects of knife maintenance and sharpening.

Why it makes sense to sharpen the knives yourself?

There are plenty of reasons why you should take the time to sharpen your knives & other tools yourself.

  • You will enjoy it: It may come as a surprise but sharpening a knife is pretty fun. Apart from learning a new skill, it will give you immense pleasure using a tool that you took to the time to sharpen. Secondly, you will form a bond with your blade. It doesn’t matter if it is your trusty pocket knife or a chef’s knife that you use daily in the kitchen to whip up a meal, you will get to explore the nuances of the tool that you never before.    

  • It will save you cash: Who doesn’t want to save a few extra bucks? We all do! While taking your knives and tools to professional sharpeners may seem convenient but it could cost you quite a bit depending on the work required. However, if you learn to sharpen your knives yourself, it will cost significantly less than the typical per-knife charges of a professional sharpener. And not to mention that professional sharpening can reduce the life of your knife because they use electric sharpeners, which can cut short the blade’s life.

Sharpening on a whetstone: There are several sharpening methods of which using a whetstone or a sharpening stone is the most common. The following are the key factors that you need to consider while using a whetstone.

  • Abrasive: These are the sharp grains attached to the stone at an angle. Their job is to remove metal from the blade thus sharpening it in the process. There are several types of abrasives depending on the stone you choose or your goal. Aluminum oxide, silicon carbide or ceramics are commonly used as abrasives. However, for blades made out of harder steels, stones with diamond abrasives are recommended because the stone will easily stand up to the steel’s hardness without wearing out.

  • A grain of the stone: Grain tells you how coarse or fine a whetstone is. They can range anywhere between 100 and 8000. A lower number means a coarse stone while a higher grain means more fineness. If your knife has a hard time cutting then you must start with a lower-grained stone and then finish with a 3000-4000 grain stone to achieve the desired sharpness.

Here’s to sharp knives and great food!

Team Sharp Pebble

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