Sharpening knives is a process that most people don’t know much about. There are many ways to sharpen your knives, and each one has its own pros and cons. If you want to get the best edge possible for your knife, it’s important to know how various methods work so that you can find the one that will work best with your budget. In this blog post, we’ll take a look at the different sharpening methods available and what makes them unique!
There are a number of methods that could be used to sharpen your knives. Broadly speaking they are manual and machine. Within manual there are basic stone based methods and guided methods.
Guided methods help you maintain the correct sharpening angle and to help sharpen the knife and to help you maintain a consistent angle.
Oil stones, water stones and guided systems are all methods that can be used to manually sharpen a knife by hand. They create an edge with less metal removed than machine sharpening methods like grinding or abrasive belts. The abrasives used come in many different levels of coarseness and hardness. Depending on what you are trying to achieve will determine what your starting point will be.
A really abused and blunt knife will need to start on a coarser abrasive to help remove any dings and to set the profile for the blade. You will then reduce the coarseness going smoother and smoother until you achieve the edge that you require.
The popular water stone is made of a material such as silicon carbine, aluminum oxide or diamond. They are graded by grit size. Some of them come with two sides that can be used to either create an extremely rough edge for removing metal quickly and a finer one for finishing off the edge.
The simplest way to maintain the edge of your knife is by using a simple strop. A strop is usually a piece of leather glued onto a wooden block. Leather has both a rough and a smooth side. The smooth side is often used as is and the rough side usually has some chromium dioxide paste applied to help polish up the edge.
Double sided strops are available that have the smooth on one side and the rough on the other side.
It takes bit of skill to master the use of a strop but you need not worry about damaging the edge of your knife as stropping is a process that removes very little metal. The key to successful stropping is to maintain the angle with each successive stropping action.
Providing that the knife has not become totally blunt, just a few passes on a strop will produce a very sharp edge very quickly.