How to Sharpen a Knife with a Knife Sharpener – Step by Step Guide

Last Updated on October 30, 2020

A perfect knife could save time in the kitchen and minimize the hassle of cooking. When we are saying a perfect knife, it means the knife is sharp and can go through food items. The sad truth is, knives slowly lose the sharpness and become dull over time. Even the best knife in the world could become blunt when using daily. To overcome the issue, you need to sharpen the knife.

Unlike the ancient days, now it is easy to sharpen a knife. All you need is a good sharpener and to learn how to sharpen a knife using a knife sharpener. Once you have learned, you will become a pro after a few days. Cutting tons of vegetables or slicing meat won't be an issue anymore.

You may wonder what a knife sharpener is and how does it work. Well, a knife sharpener comes in a structure where you could place the knife and move the knife towards you. There will be two tungstate carbines in the V shape. Users can easily place the knife there and move it for sharpening. The sharpener works only on the edges. After a few moves in the knife sharpener, you can notice the changes in the edges.

Best Ways to Sharpen a Knife

Currently, if you search for a knife sharpener, will find two different types which are –

  1. Hand-held knife sharpener or manual knife sharpener
  2. Electric knife sharpener

Among them, manual knife sharpeners are popular as it is an affordable option. For professionals, electric knife sharpener works better. Here we are going to share the details so that you could learn how to sharpen knives with a knife sharpener as a beginner or even as an advanced user.

1. Sharpening a Knife with Manual Knife Sharpener

Before you start sharpening, we do recommend testing the sharpness of the knife. Because we often see that people tend to use the sharpener without any reason and destroy the edges. To test the sharpness, perform a paper test. Take a thin piece of paper. Take the paper piece with one of your hands and keep the knife on the other hand.

Knife sharpness test by paper

Try to cut slices of the paper with the knife. If you can do it, the knife is ok to work with. If you became failed, the knife requires sharpening. Take the knife sharpener out of the box and place it on a flat surface. Make sure there are no dust and debris in the sharpener. Clean the inside if there are small particles of anything. Now check if the sharpener is remaining stable when moving the knife in it. If everything is ok, you could go for the next step.

Knives that require a reshaped edge need to move in the coarse setting in the sharpener. Generally, manual sharpeners come with two settings which are coarse and fine. For a dull and blunt knife, the coarse setting is mandatory.

Place the knife in the coarse settings. Remember that here you shouldn't start sharpening the knife from the mid. Rather you will have to start from the bottom. Because you can't move the knife in forwarding motion which could spoil the entire edge. So, start from the base where the blade is ended. Position the knife in the right angle where you can move it comfortably. With a gentle force, pull the knife towards you. Push the knife a little bit down so that it gets the proper shaping.

After the first move, place the knife again and pull towards you. Repeat this process for at least 3 times. You could go for more moves when the knife blade is too blunt. To understand that the blade is getting sharped, try to hear a grinding sound from the sharpener.  The grinding sound means that the knife is getting sharped. Check after a first few moves if the edges are getting shaped. If necessary, do apply more force.

For each movement, make sure that you are pulling the knife according to the blade's shape. Most people make mistakes at this point. If you pull the knife straightly towards you, it won't be sharpened. Press the knife down and pull it. For instance, kukri machetes come in a different shape than regular knives. You couldn't sharpen a kukri machete just by pulling it in a straight line.

Now after enough moves, check the edge of the blade. If it got the perfect shape, no move is required. In the next step, go for the fine setting in the sharpener. Place the knife similarly as the coarse setting. Move the knife for 1 to 2 times in the fine setting which will give a smooth finishing in the edges.

When you are done with the coarse and fine setting, now it is time to rinse the blade. Rinsing the blade is mandatory as you actually have removed some metal from the edges. Place the knife under water and rinse it gently.

Wipe out the knife with cotton fabric. Now perform the paper test again for the knife. If you have sharpened the knife properly, this time it will cut through the paper smoothly.
For regular maintenance and the optimal performance of the knife, you could apply the fine setting of the sharpener for daily.

2. Sharpening a Knife with Electric Sharpener

If you are a professional chef and have a set of knives with different features, a manual sharpener won't be enough. In that case, you should use an electric knife sharpener which works fast, and you can sharpen lots of knives within a short time.

Using an electric sharpener is not different than a manual one. With the electric one, you don't need to force the knife blade in the sharpener. Just placing and pulling for a few moves is enough for reshaping. All other processes will be the same as the manual one.

Some Additional Tips to Follow

  • When passing the knife through a manual sharpener, be slow and steady
  • Try to wear safety gloves when sharpening a large number of knives at a time
  • Must rinse the knife once sharpening is done
  • Follow the user manual to avoid destroying the edges
  • Apply gentle pressure when pulling the knife inside the sharpener
  • Pull the knife according to the blade shape for smooth finishing

Final Verdict

Now you know how to sharpen a knife with a knife sharpener. Just follow the steps described here. If it is the first time you are using a knife sharpener, follow the user manual, and start slowly. If you get stuck at any step, take some expert help. Always remember that all knives don't come in the same style, and the metal could be brittle for some knives. That requires some extra care during the sharpening.

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