How to Use a Knife Sharpener

Knives are very necessary tools in the kitchen. It helps us to prepare delicious meals with precision and ease. Since we use knives over and over, it sometimes loses sharpness. Even the best-quality knives can do the same. If you don’t take necessary actions to sharpen it then it can lead to inefficient cutting and increase the risk of accidents. This is where a knife sharpener comes to the rescue. In this article, we will walk you through the process of using a knife sharpener effectively. We will ensure your blades remain razor-sharp for superior performance. Let’s dive in and master the art of knife sharpening!

Understanding the Different Types of Knife Sharpeners

Before we dive into the sharpening process, let’s explore the various types of knife sharpeners we use today:-


A Whetstone is a traditional and highly effective sharpening stone. We generally use it for sharpening the edges of knives or other blades. It is an essential item in the field of blade maintenance. Most cooks, chefs, and other professionals who work with cutting tools use whetstones to sharpen knives.

Whetstones are typically made from natural or artificial materials. It comes in various grit levels, indicating their coarseness or fineness. Lower grit stones are coarser and remove more material from the blade. On the other hand, higher grit stones are finer and provide a smoother, polished edge.



Electric Knife Sharpeners:

People nowadays have started using electric Knife Sharpeners. This has been a versatile and convenient tool for maintaining the sharpness of kitchen knives. Electric knife sharpeners use automated sharpening techniques to quickly and precisely sharpen blades. It gives consistent results time-saving efficiency and safety features. It’s an essential addition to any kitchen. If you use electric knife sharpeners regularly, your knives will remain in optimal condition. It makes cooking experience more enjoyable and efficient.

Manual Pull-Through Sharpeners:

Manual Pull-Through Sharpeners are handheld tools designed to sharpen knives effectively. With a simple pull-through motion, they use abrasive materials to restore the knife’s sharpness. These sharpeners are easy to use and suitable for various knife types, including serrated blades. They offer a convenient and affordable option for maintaining the edge of your knives. It ensures safe and efficient cutting in the kitchen.

Sharpening Rods:

Sharpening Rods, also known as honing rods or sharpening steels, are essential tools for maintaining knife edges. These long, cylindrical rods are typically made of steel or ceramic. To use a sharpening rod, you simply run the blade along the rod’s surface at a consistent angle, which helps realign and straighten the blade’s edge, keeping it sharp between actual sharpening sessions. Sharpening rods are ideal for regular maintenance and ensuring the longevity of your knives, making them a valuable addition to any kitchen.

Preparing Your Knives for Sharpening
  • To ensure optimal results, it’s crucial to prepare your knives before sharpening:
  • Start by cleaning the knife thoroughly to remove any food particles or debris.
  • Inspect the blade for any nicks or damages that may require professional attention.
  • Determine the correct angle for sharpening based on your knife’s bevel.


How to Use a Knife Sharpener: Step-by-Step Guide

Step 1: Choosing the Right Sharpening Tool

Select the appropriate knife sharpener based on the type of knives you have and your sharpening preferences. Whetstones offer a hands-on approach, while electric sharpeners are convenient and time-saving.

Step 2: Positioning the Knife

Place the knife in the sharpener according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Ensure a stable grip to maintain control during the sharpening process.

Step 3: Starting the Sharpening Process

Gently slide the knife along the sharpening surface at the designated angle. Use consistent and smooth strokes for even results.

Step 4: Honing the Blade

After using the coarse side of the sharpener, switch to the finer grit for honing the blade. This step helps refine the edge for exceptional sharpness.

Step 5: Testing the Knife’s Sharpness

To assess the blade’s sharpness, perform a paper test or carefully touch the blade’s edge with your fingertip (with caution). A sharp knife should easily cut through paper and offer a slight resistance to the fingertip test.

Step 6: Finishing Touches

For extra sharpness, you may perform additional strokes on the honing rod or fine-grit whetstone. This step is optional and dependent on personal preference.

Step 7: Cleaning and Storing the Knife

After sharpening, thoroughly clean the knife to remove any metal shavings or residue. Store the knife in a safe and dry place, away from other utensils.

Expert Tips for Effective Knife Sharpening
  • Consistency is Key: Regularly sharpen your knives to maintain their performance and longevity.
  • Maintain the Correct Angle: Pay close attention to the sharpening angle for precise results.
  • Safety First: Use cut-resistant gloves during the sharpening process to minimize the risk of accidents.
  • Avoid Excessive Pressure: Apply gentle pressure while sharpening to prevent overgrinding the blade.
  • Practice on Old Knives: If you’re new to sharpening, practice on old or inexpensive knives before working on your best ones.


FAQs about Using a Knife Sharpener


  • What is the recommended sharpening angle for kitchen knives?

The optimal sharpening angle for most kitchen knives ranges from 15 to 20 degrees.

  • Can I sharpen serrated knives with a regular knife sharpener?

Yes, some knife sharpeners have a special stage for serrated knives, making them suitable for sharpening serrated blades.

  • How often should I sharpen my knives?

It depends on how frequently you use your knives. As a general guideline, consider sharpening them every 2 to 3 months for regular home cooks.

  • Is it better to use a manual or electric knife sharpener?

The choice between manual and electric sharpeners depends on personal preference and the level of control you want during the sharpening process. Electric sharpeners are more convenient but may be less versatile for certain knife types.

  • Can I use a knife sharpener for ceramic knives?

It’s not recommended to use a regular knife sharpener for ceramic knives, as they require diamond or special sharpeners designed specifically for ceramics.

  • How can I tell if my knife is beyond repair and needs replacement?

If your knife has significant chips or damages, professional knife sharpening services may not be sufficient. It might be time to invest in a new knife.


You’ve now acquired the knowledge and skills to use a knife sharpener like a seasoned chef. Regularly sharpening your knives will not only enhance your culinary experience but also improve kitchen safety. Remember to follow the proper sharpening techniques, choose the right sharpener for your needs, and maintain your blades for long-lasting performance. Happy cooking!


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