Sharpening knives - What am I doing wrong?

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kbreit

Cook
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Nov 29, 2008
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67
I bought a whet stone a few months ago and have tried to use it numerous times to sharpen knives, but it isn’t working well. It has a 1000 and 6000 grit side which seems mostly standard. I’ll get as close to 15 degrees as I can and spend a few minutes on each side sharpening. I feel for the burr which forms on the upward facing side as a guide. After the burr shows up, I flip sides. Then I move to the 6000 side to smooth it out. By this point it should be sharp, but it doesn’t seem much sharper than when I started as it doesn’t come close to cutting paper. Any suggestions?
 

caseydog

Master Chef
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Jan 19, 2017
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Dallas
I bought a whet stone a few months ago and have tried to use it numerous times to sharpen knives, but it isn’t working well. It has a 1000 and 6000 grit side which seems mostly standard. I’ll get as close to 15 degrees as I can and spend a few minutes on each side sharpening. I feel for the burr which forms on the upward facing side as a guide. After the burr shows up, I flip sides. Then I move to the 6000 side to smooth it out. By this point it should be sharp, but it doesn’t seem much sharper than when I started as it doesn’t come close to cutting paper. Any suggestions?

First question... what kind of metal are your knives made of?

CD
 

Rascal

Head Chef
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Christchurch nz
I have a range of knives, different quality, one of the best is a cheapy, I use a steel, same as the ones used in freezing works. My daughter can't stand me sharpening knives.

Russ
 

di reston

Sous Chef
Joined
Mar 25, 2010
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805
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Calosso, Piemonte
I too would welcome advice on how to use a sharpening stone. I have one, but I never got the gist of it, so I use my steel instead, which works fine, but I've heard that stones work better. I'm going to search the web for a site which shows you what to do, but I'm sure there are 'knacks' to it that help on the way.

di reston


Enough is never as good as a feast Oscar Wilde
 

CharlieD

Master Chef
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Oct 17, 2004
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USA,Minnesota
I am professional tool maker, I deal with tool sharpening on the daily bases and yet, sharpening knives is not that simple. It takes a lot of practice. And even more, Patience. And then some more Patience. The best I can recommend is start watching videos on Youtube. There are plenty to choose from. But remember it will take time and Patience to learn to do it right.

Here is a good video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lBXRkMZfIXk
 
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Andy M.

Certified Pretend Chef
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Sep 1, 2004
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Massachusetts
As described, your technique appears sound. I'd take the advice to watch some videos and follow their techniques. Does the company that made/sold the stone have a website with 'how to' videos?
 

RPCookin

Executive Chef
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Apr 20, 2005
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Logan County, Colorado
I bought a whet stone a few months ago and have tried to use it numerous times to sharpen knives, but it isn’t working well. It has a 1000 and 6000 grit side which seems mostly standard. I’ll get as close to 15 degrees as I can and spend a few minutes on each side sharpening. I feel for the burr which forms on the upward facing side as a guide. After the burr shows up, I flip sides. Then I move to the 6000 side to smooth it out. By this point it should be sharp, but it doesn’t seem much sharper than when I started as it doesn’t come close to cutting paper. Any suggestions?

I'm there with you, never could get the hang of using a stone. There are several decent sharpening systems around, but I've had my Chef's Choice 3 stage electric sharpener for quite a few years now, and I'm happy with it, so I haven't really done much research. I also have a cheap Wrenwane pull through sharpener (about $10 on Amazon) that I use on my smaller paring/utility knives... keeps them pretty sharp. Both are easy to use and fairly foolproof.

I use a steel (mine is a ceramic hone, but it functions like a steel) for honing but it won't actually sharpen a dull knife. For that you need something that does more than just realign the edge. Eventually all knives need more than a hone to recreate a proper edge.
 

tenspeed

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Apr 4, 2015
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New Hampshire Seacoast
There are several decent sharpening systems around, but I've had my Chef's Choice 3 stage electric sharpener for quite a few years now, and I'm happy with it, so I haven't really done much research.
I have one of those too. I can't say that they're cost effective, but it sure is convenient to pull it out when the knife needs a little touch up, rather than taking it out to a sharpening service. I sharpen my knives maybe twice a year. I would much rather have a sharp cheap knife than a dull good knife.
 

taxlady

Chef Extraordinaire
Moderator Emeritus
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Sep 13, 2010
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near Montreal, Quebec
...
I use a steel (mine is a ceramic hone, but it functions like a steel) for honing but it won't actually sharpen a dull knife. For that you need something that does more than just realign the edge. Eventually all knives need more than a hone to recreate a proper edge.
Thank you for pointing that out. The steel/hone will make the knife seem sharper for a while. Eventually, the knife will need to be sharpened.
 

kbreit

Cook
Joined
Nov 29, 2008
Messages
67
What do you do to keep the angle consistent as you do a pass? I try to keep my forearms level and consistent but it seems like they move slightly.
 

caseydog

Master Chef
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Dallas
A few different knives but my go-to knife is my chef's knife. It's the Victronix Fibrox Pro 8" chef's knife. Supposedly a carbon blade.

I have that exact same knife. I haven't had it long enough for it to need sharpening. It is thinner than the chef's knives I have had in the past. When I do need to sharpen it, I'm thinking I will need to have patience and a light touch with it.

The only advice I can give is to not, for lack of a better term, "over-sharpen it." Be slow and gentle.

Hope that helps.

CD
 

caseydog

Master Chef
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Jan 19, 2017
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Dallas
I have one of those too. I can't say that they're cost effective, but it sure is convenient to pull it out when the knife needs a little touch up, rather than taking it out to a sharpening service. I sharpen my knives maybe twice a year. I would much rather have a sharp cheap knife than a dull good knife.

I also have a Chef's Choice 3-stage. I never use the first stage unless I have a knife that is actually damaged -- such as a visible nick in the blade (very rare for me).

The last two stages do a great job, but again, you have to have patience and a light touch. Let the magnets and gravity work.

CD
 

kbreit

Cook
Joined
Nov 29, 2008
Messages
67
I am not, although I probably should. I created a wood block to help me set 15 degrees although that only gets me started. Once I’m on my own, I need to keep it stable.
 

Andy M.

Certified Pretend Chef
Joined
Sep 1, 2004
Messages
49,838
Location
Massachusetts
You complained earlier that you were concerned about maintaining the proper angle. You should use the guide.
 
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