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How to Sharpen a Knife with a Stone

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Published on Sep 15, 2008

Watch more Cooking Equipment videos: http://www.howcast.com/videos/124-How...

Sharp knives can cut your prep time in half, and, believe it or not, they're actually safer than dull knives—they're less likely to slip.

Step 1: Soak stone
Soak the sharpening stone in a bowl of water for 5 minutes.

Tip
Avoid oil stones-they are difficult to use correctly, even for culinary professionals.

Step 2: Place stone
Remove the stone from the water and place it on a towel on a stable surface. Make sure the coarse side faces up.

Step 3: Hold knife
If you're sharpening a chef's knife, hold it semi-parallel against the stone at a 20-degree angle with one hand on the handle and the other on the top part of the blade.

Tip
The 20-degree angle should be about the width of a matchbook, or even smaller for knives that require a thinner edge.

Step 4: Draw along stone
Starting with the base of the knife, called the heel, draw the blade sideways along the stone while pulling the blade toward you so that the point of contact slides from the heel to the tip. Apply moderate pressure, especially when working on this coarse side of the stone.

Tip
Keep your fingertips on the top edge of the blade to maintain the angle.

Step 5: Follow pattern
Repeat this motion in the following pattern: 10 times on each side, then 5, then 3, then single strokes alternating between right and left 6 times. You should be able to feel with your fingernail-carefully!-that a rough burr has developed on the edge.

Tip
Knives with thinner edges might take slightly longer to sharpen; they typically are made from harder carbon steel than the softer steel that most Western chef's knives are made from.

Step 6: Polish edge
Turn the water stone over to fine-tune and "polish" the edge. Repeat the sharpening motion with a slightly lighter touch.

Tip
A coarse edge wears more quickly than a polished edge, but is good for slicing items that have a tough skin but delicate flesh, like tomatoes and fish.

Step 7: Rinse blade
Rinse the blade.

Step 8: Draw along steel
For an even more polished edge, finish up with a few draws along a honing steel, making sure to draw the blade at the same angle as before and with a similar sharpening motion. Now slice away with your new samurai-sharp blade!

Did You Know?
Samurai warriors used wooden swords during practice to preserve the edges of their metal swords.

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