The ABC of Knife Sharpening -- Getting the Fundamentals Right Part-2

The ABC of Sharpening -- Getting the Fundamentals Right  Part 2

As promised, here we are with the second part on knife sharpening fundamentals. We continue our discussion on the key indicators to look for while determining if your knife needs to be sharpened.

Presence of light on the edge: This is a nifty little trick that most people don’t know of. The idea is to hold the edge under bright light and look for reflection. If you spot any, that is an indication that the edge has not yet reached optimal sharpness and is a sign that the edge is still flat. Once, you cannot spot reflection anymore off the knife’s edge, you can be quite sure that the knife is now properly sharpened.

Uneven bevel: One of the most important components of properly sharpening your knives is to keep a constant angle throughout the sharpening session. Ideally, it should be between 20-25 degrees.

When you’re constantly changing angle while sharpening, you will most likely end up with a bevel that’s not consistent. If you’re just starting out; you can use a sharpening angle guide to help you practice angle consistency.

But your objective should be to get proficient enough so you can maintain a consistent angle without the guides. This will significantly shorten the time you spend sharpening your knives.       

Tip damage: Having a sharp tip isn’t super important if the bulk of your cutting doesn’t specifically need the tip. There are a couple of reasons for losing your tip only within a couple of uses after you sharpen your knife. One, a damaged tip is an indication of an over-sharpened blade.

Secondly, if you aren’t very careful about knife storage and your blades are constantly rubbing against each other or other cutlery then they’ll lose the tip plus the sharpness is not going to last very long. Ideally, you should be using a proper knife block to store blades and make sure they’re properly dried before you put them away.

A bevel that’s not smooth: If you don’t properly buff, you will have a bevel with somewhat of an abrasive and inconsistent surface.  Now I’m not suggesting you need to go OCD and spend hours bringing it to a spectacular mirror-finish. You just need to strop it long enough to smooth out the abrasive bevel surface.

A handy way to achieve that is to mark the edge with a dark marker. This gives you a clear idea of bevels as the ink is removed as you sharpen the blade. Once done; strop to smooth out the bevel.

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Here’s to sharp knives and great food!

Team Sharp Pebble

1 comment

  • A video would be a lot better with some explanations.

    William C Brown

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