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Old 04-22-2009, 11:33 AM   #1
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Preferred knife sharpening techniques

What's your favorite knife sharpening techniques? I've seen people chef's knives as sharp as a scalpel or sharper, cutting through the toughest of foods like butter.

I've seen a French chef's video online of his method one time where he takes the knife and puts it at a 22 degree angle to a (wet)whetstone and makes a light pass up and back, from point to the heel, heel to point. And does this a 3 or 4 times and turns it over to do the other .. then he hones it with a few passes on the steel.

Does this work for others? In our moving process I've managed to lose my wife's whetstone and it's time to sharpen the knives now and was curious on whether I should get another (any preferred brands?) or go another method.

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Old 04-22-2009, 11:37 AM   #2
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Using the Edgepro Apex System is my preferred method. My knives have never been sharper since I started using this sharpener.
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Old 04-22-2009, 11:45 AM   #3
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Using the Edgepro Apex System is my preferred method. My knives have never been sharper since I started using this sharpener.

Holy cow! Nice, but very expensive
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Old 04-22-2009, 11:53 AM   #4
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Yes very expensive. I would not have purchased it if I were paying cash. I got it threw reward points on my credit card. Now that I have it though, I absolutely think it is worth the money. I would go for the basic model if I had to pay cash though. That would save about $50 and would be just fine for kitchen knives.
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Old 04-22-2009, 11:55 AM   #5
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You can effectively sharpen knives using any one of the many sharpening tools like the one GB posted, or with a series of stones. I use this one http://www.lanskysharpeners.com/LKCPR.php

The sharpening tools make life a little easier because they ensure you keep the proper angle of the blade against the stone. This is very difficult to do consistently without a LOT of practice.

BTW, a 22 degree angle is only one of the many angle options available. The type of knife, type of steel and intended use are all factors to consider when determining edge angle.
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Old 04-22-2009, 11:56 AM   #6
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I agree with everything Andy just said.

I just sharpened one of my knives to 10 degrees actually.
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Old 04-22-2009, 12:02 PM   #7
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Yeah, I would think the lower the angle, the sharper it would be. The only problem I could see, and it's totally theoretical ... is that it makes the steel on the blade thinner and would require sharpening more ... but this is completely theoretical
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Old 04-22-2009, 12:09 PM   #8
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In theory that is correct. In reality, it depends on what type of steel you are sharpening. With German steel like you would find on a Wustof knife you would not want that steep of an angle because you are right that it would not hold the edge very well and would require sharpening quite often. With a harder steel (like some of the Japanese steels) they can hold up to a steeper angle.
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Old 04-22-2009, 01:30 PM   #9
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My favorite set of stones consist of 1 each of Spyderco's 2" x 8" x 1/2" medium, fine, and ultrafine ceramic. I use the medium, fine, ultrafine and then some Flitz to try to maintain a 15deg bevel on each side of the blade and the ultrafine to do touch-up / maintenance sharpening at 20 deg. The stones are used dry. Light cleanup of the stones can be achieved using an eraser or piece of rubber wrapped around a cork. More thorough cleaning of the stones can be done with a paste made from water and Cameo stainless steel cleaning powder.
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Old 04-22-2009, 01:45 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by freefallin1309 View Post
What's your favorite knife sharpening techniques? I've seen people chef's knives as sharp as a scalpel or sharper, cutting through the toughest of foods like butter.

I've seen a French chef's video online of his method one time where he takes the knife and puts it at a 22 degree angle to a (wet)whetstone and makes a light pass up and back, from point to the heel, heel to point. And does this a 3 or 4 times and turns it over to do the other .. then he hones it with a few passes on the steel.

Does this work for others? In our moving process I've managed to lose my wife's whetstone and it's time to sharpen the knives now and was curious on whether I should get another (any preferred brands?) or go another method.
Basic freehand technique comes in many forms. They all work but they're like people, each a little different. It's easy, and your knives will get sharp on your first try. The more you practice, the better you will get. My method is the same as used by Dave Martell, one of the best pros in the country. This vid of him will show some of the basics.



You can get by with a combination stone such as this 1000/6000 grit waterstone by King.

Once your knife is sharpened don't put any kind of steel to it as it will dull the blade. Steels of any type, ceramic preferred, are only to be used for touch ups between sharpening sessions, and used very lightly at that.

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Old 04-29-2009, 04:04 AM   #11
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Holy cow! Nice, but very expensive


It could be expensive but you get what you pay for save you time sharpening all those knives that you have. This could made investment in the long run.
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Old 04-29-2009, 05:16 AM   #12
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It could be expensive but you get what you pay for save you time sharpening all those knives that you have. This could made investment in the long run.


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If you want or need exact angles then the EdgePro works best. As for saving time and money, free handing is the way to go. 3 x 8" stones as opposed to the EP's 1 x 6". I can sharpen a knife with full size water stones in one forth the time it takes with my EdgePro, and the money up front is less.
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Old 04-29-2009, 09:08 AM   #13
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I'm just old-school, I guess. I still have the same triple sharpening stone from when I was in restaurants. It's like this one, but over 30 years old, now. Heh, my Forschner knives are the same age, come to think of it. This stuff will still last my daughter's lifetime.

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Old 04-29-2009, 09:51 AM   #14
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I'm just old-school, I guess. I still have the same triple sharpening stone from when I was in restaurants. It's like this one, but over 30 years old, now. Heh, my Forschner knives are the same age, come to think of it. This stuff will still last my daughter's lifetime.


Very nice, glad to hear it lasted that long I saw the triple stone at the restaurant supply store last week and thought about it. But a $5, 3x8 stone sat right next to it and I opted for it for the practice. I sharpened all of our kitchen knives on it last week and forgot how much nicer and more efficient cutting with sharp knives could be
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Old 04-29-2009, 12:04 PM   #15
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I use the Accusharp Knife Sharpener. Its' design makes it very easy to hold at the correct angle to get super sharp blades fast.

The Accusharp was the top rated home knife sharpener by the "Cook's" TV show.

You can pick them up for around $10.
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Old 04-29-2009, 12:31 PM   #16
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I'm just old-school, I guess. I still have the same triple sharpening stone from when I was in restaurants. It's like this one, but over 30 years old, now. Heh, my Forschner knives are the same age, come to think of it. This stuff will still last my daughter's lifetime.


I guess I am old school too, cause I use the Norton 3 way system too!

I have a great video made by Jacques Pepin showing the proper way to sharpen knives using this system.

Yeah, I have electric sharpeners for the cheap knives I use to pick veggies in the garden and such.
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Old 07-28-2009, 02:16 PM   #17
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unfortunately, out of necessity (poor college student) my method of choice is a very old 1X2 whetstone from my scouting days, and a steel to hone. I love how sharp my knives are compared to the restaurant at which i work (in fact, I take a couple of my own knives with me because they actually cut, nobody else touches though).

id love to get a better sharpener though. at least a larger stone that was easier to use.
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Old 07-28-2009, 02:23 PM   #18
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I'm using an 8" stone and steel and I've never had sharper knives, I think the stone cost about $6 at a local restaurant store. I had several knives that needed sharpening, so I started with the old cheap ones of my wife's that she got when she went to school in case I ruined the blades. But nothing bad happened, other than laying one of the knives down a little too flat and ended up scratching up the blade a little ... but what the hey, that's why I started with the cheap ones :) After a while, you get to feel how the blade needs to lay on the stone and get the feel for each gauge of steel for each blade and voila!
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Old 07-28-2009, 03:54 PM   #19
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The majority of food service workers and chefs out there have their own knives and don't bring real expensive ones to the job. Why? Health regulations probably require plastic cutting boards which are harder on knife edges than good hard wood chopping blocks. But they can be tossed in the sanitizer. So most pros have a good professional blade costing about $35 from Dexter Russell or Forschner. Such a knife does not come very well sharpened as the pro likes to put his/her own edge on it.

A stone costs about $6, the pro knife about $30. This is how you learn to do it. (not with your $350 Japanese Sushi blade).

Many good videos of how to sharpen on YouTube.

Yes I have wonderful craft made knives from New West which I love so much I now keep them home on my maple block. I have a Russell and a Forschner/Victorinox in my knife kit...equally sharp, no where as pretty. But if some one drops it in the sanitizer sink, I won't have a melt down. :)
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Old 07-28-2009, 04:53 PM   #20
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The majority of food service workers and chefs out there have their own knives and don't bring real expensive ones to the job. Why? Health regulations probably require plastic cutting boards which are harder on knife edges than good hard wood chopping blocks. But they can be tossed in the sanitizer. So most pros have a good professional blade costing about $35 from Dexter Spenser or Forschner. Such a knife does not come very well sharpened as the pro likes to put his/her own edge on it.

A stone costs about $6, the pro knife about $30. This is how you learn to do it. (not with your $350 Japanese Sushi blade).

Many good videos of how to sharpen on YouTube.

Yes I have wonderful craft made knives from New West which I love so much I now keep them home on my maple block. I have a Spenser and a Forschner/Victorinox in my knife kit...equally sharp, no where as pretty. But if some one drops it in the sanitizer sink, I won't have a melt down. :)
The knives i bring are far from my nicer ones, they are just far nicer than the neglected, abused, community knives the restaurant has.
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