How To Sharpen A Knife With A StoneLast updated on 3/15/2021
Nothing affects the longevity and daily performance of your knives more than sharpening and maintenance. When it comes to knife safety, a dull knife is more dangerous than a sharp one because kitchen staff must force their way through cutting meat and slicing vegetables. Sharpening stones make required daily knife maintenance easy. Learn how to use a sharpening stone with our video tutorial and comprehensive guide.Shop All Sharpening Stones
How to Use a Sharpening Stone
Check out the video below to learn how to sharpen your knives with a sharpening stone.
How to Flatten a Sharpening Stone
Since the middle wears down more quickly than the edges, sharpening stones become uneven with use. If you don't flatten your sharpening stone, it will round the edges of your kitchen knives.
Execute these simple steps to flatten your sharpening stone.
- Place your stone on a completely flat surface. We recommend using a cutting board as your working base to level the stone.
- Lubricate the stone. Check the documents that came with your sharpening stone to see whether it requires oil or water.
- Put a small line of oil or water down the middle of the stone. Gently massage and disperse the oil or water across your sharpening stone.
- Smooth the stone by rubbing it with a 100 grit sand screen disc until it's flat.
- If your stone has coarse scratch marks, repeat the previous step with a 400 grit sand screen disc. Or, if your stone shows little wear, simply wipe it down with a 400 grit paper and skip the previous step.
IMPORTANT: Never apply food oils such as vegetable and olive oil to sharpening stones. Only use honing oils approved for sharpening stones.
Knife Sharpening Angle
Experts recommend you sharpen your knives at a 22.5-degree angle. Follow these simple steps to find a 22.5-degree angle.
- Hold the knife with the blade down, at a 90-degree angle.
- Move the knife to a 45-degree angle, halving the distance between the 90-degree angle and the table.
- Once more, move the knife to half of the remaining angle. Now you have a good estimate of the appropriate sharpening angle. You can adjust the angle up or down as needed.
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How to Sharpen a Knife with a Stone
Once you've found the correct angle for your knife, you can begin sharpening. Whether you purchase a sharpening stone made of Novaculite, aluminum oxide, or silicon carbide (known as Arkansas, India, and Crystolon stones), you'll follow a similar sharpening process. Make sure you check your manufacturer's instructions for any nuances.
Here are the steps you need to follow to sharpen your kitchen knives.
- Put your sharpening stone on a moist towel atop a flat surface.
- Begin with the coarse side of the stone on top, as this is the quickest way to form the knife blade back into the correct shape.
- Lubricate the stone according to the manufacturer's recommendations. Some options like diamond stones don't need any lubricant at all, so be sure to check the stone's instructions.
- With your knife at a 22.5-degree angle, slowly draw the knife down and across the stone in a smooth motion, starting at the heel and finishing at the tip.
- Repeat this action five times. You may need to repeat this motion additional times, depending on the dullness of the knife.
- Flip the knife to the other side and sharpen the reverse side using the same motion. You should sharpen this side the same number of times as the other side for consistency.
- Return the knife to the original side, but this time draw the knife from the tip to the heel. Repeat this motion five times.
- Flip to the reverse side and sharpen from tip to heel five times.
- Turn your sharpening stone over to the fine side and repeat steps 1-5.
IMPORTANT: When sharpening knives with a sharpening stone, consistency is key. So, be sure that you're using the same angle each time, and that you sharpen both sides of your knife equally.
How to Tell If Your Knife Is Sharp Enough
When you sharpen knives, especially on coarser stones, you'll notice a burr form on the opposite side of the edge. It can be difficult to see, but easy to feel. Carefully feel for the burr by running your finger from the spine of the knife to the edge.
The burr will jump from side to side as you sharpen each edge, and once you've felt the burr move to both sides, you can move to the next finer stone. Once you get to the finest grit, the burr will become smaller and smaller, until it disappears. When the burr is gone, you'll know your knife is sharp enough.
How to Clean a Sharpening Stone
To clean your sharpening stone after use, simply use a damp towel to wipe away any metal shavings and excess oil. There is no need to rinse or wash your sharpening stone after use. After wiping down your sharpening stone, place it back in its box or store it in a dry place.
How to Use a Sharpening Steel
Sharpening steels hone the edges of your chef knives and help keep the edge straight. In addition to honing the edges of your knives, you can use them after sharpening your knives with a sharpening stone to smooth out the edge.
How to Hone a Knife
Learn how to hone a knife with a sharpening steel.
- Hold the steel vertically with your dominant hand and the tip of the steel resting on a cutting board or work table.
- Place your knife horizontally with the edge touching the steel at the top.
- Turn the knife until it's roughly at a 22.5-degree angle with the sharpening steel.
- Gently pull the knife down and back across the sharpening steel going from the heel to the tip of the knife.
- Repeat this motion five to ten times.
- Switch to the other side of the blade and steel, and repeat the same motions.
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Not only does regularly sharpening your chef knives with sharpening stones and steels make food prep easier, but it can also prevent accidents and injuries in the kitchen. Use this guide to Incorporate knife maintenance into your routine.