Saturday, November 14, 2020

How To Sharpen A Chef's Knife With A Whetstone

I've been trying to learn how to sharpen my kitchen knives with a whetstone for some time now. This morning, while wife kitteh was still asleep, I decided to get this thing down pat once and for all. I watched several very helpful videos on the subject and then I went into the kitchen and gave my new techniques a try. Here's what worked for me. I think it might work for you, too.

  1. Soak your coarse and fine whetstones in water for about ten minutes. You shouldn't see any more bubbles coming from the stone.
  2. Take a piece of printer paper and fold it twice around one of the corners so that the angle of the corner goes from 90 degrees to 45 degrees to 22.5 degrees. This will provide you a decent guide for the angle of your knife as you sharpen it.
  3. Holding the knife handle, thus, and with your fingers on the blade, thus, make sweeping movements across the coarse whetstone at the proper angle. Do this on both sides of the knife.
  4. Turn the whetstone over and polish the edge in the same way with the fine side of the whetstone.
  5. Take your knife and run your finger along the edge, very gently so you don't cut yourself. If you're like me, your sharpening efforts will have turned your knife's edge into something resembling the barrel of a baseball bat. 
  6. Note that you couldn't cut yourself if you tried.
  7. Get your car keys.
  8. Drive to Walmart.
  9. Spend $8.54 and buy an ultra-cheap knife sharpener like the one pictured below.
  10. Bring the new tool home and run your knife through it ten times on each the coarse and fine sides.
  11. Barely touch the edge of the knife. See how sharp it is? That's success.
  12. Stop watching freaking YouTube videos like some kind of OCD maniac and move on with your life.
It's good enough. Good Lord, you're cutting up a whole chicken to dump in a deep fat fryer to eat while you watch SEC football, you're not serving the Duke of Wheedlesbury some elaborately staged French meal.


One Brow said...

That describes my experiences. I gave up whet stones a long time ago.

Mostly Nothing said...

I bought a powered tool a couple years ago. It's basically a belt sander with a guide so you get right angle on the blade. It's probably about time to get it out again.

I works well for pocket knives, kitchen knives, hunting knives, scissors, etc. Even Serrated knives, where you only sharpen 1 side.

K T Cat said...

I was thinking of buying a bench grinder. I haven't done so because the only application I've got right now is knife sharpening.

Foxfier said...

*laughs* I bought one of the "if this ever needs sharpening, we'll replace it" guarantee knife sets instead of bothering with sharpening kitchen knives! (that was over ten years ago, and I've lost the papers to have it replaced; by this point I think we got our money's worth)

I like the basic little wetstone for my pocket knife, mom taught me to use it by picturing trying to slice off bits of the stone. The idea of trying to do that with something longer than my finger.... does not appeal.