Jacob Osborn

How to Sharpen a Knife Like a Professional | Man of Many

There’s a number of different ways to sharpen a knife, you can even use a coffee mug if you’re desperate (more on that later). As always, safety comes first with knife sharpening, so if you have the funds we recommend hitting up your local knife sharpener to get the job done for you. Paying a professional is always going to be the first and best option, however, if you’re like us, you want to learn things, because lord knows impressing your partner is always cooler than paying someone.

Ways to Sharpen a Knife

Whetstones are stones used for sharpening knives. They come in a range of sizes, shapes, prices and materials. Because some knives need more sharpening than others, whetstones are commonly broken down by levels of grit and coarseness. Rough whetstones have less grit and more coarseness. As such, they’re best used for blades that are especially dull or even chipped. Medium whetstones are the most common type, and they’re used during the first step of knife sharpening (grit count from 800 to 2000). Finishing whetstones have the highest grit count (3000 or more), and they eliminate the bumps or ridges that remain after sharpening.

How to Sharpen a Knife Using a Whetstone

  • Quality chef’s knife
  • Sharpening Whetstone.
  • Sharpening stone base for mounting the whetstone
  • Sharpening stone fixer for smoothing the whetstone
  • Dressing stone (also known as a nagura) to erase streaks from your whetstone or create a polishing slurry for your finishing stone.
  • Tools

  • Lubricate your whetstone.
  • Soak rough and medium whetstones in water for 20-30 minutes before using them.
    Don’t soak the finishing stone. Instead, rinse the surface of a fine-grit stone and rub the dressing stone along that surface to create a type of polishing mud or slurry. Use the slurry on the finishing stone.
  • Mount the whetstone.
  • Instructions

    The chances are you’ve either seen someone using a honing rod to “sharpen” a knife or you have one sitting in your knife draw at home. A common misconception, the honing rod doesn’t actually sharpen your knife, instead, it straightens out the sharp ‘cutting’ edge on the blade to allow for tighter, more effective and thus safer cuts. In an ideal world, you’ll have both a knife sharpener and a honing rod.

    How to Sharpen a Knife Using a Honing Rod

  • Quality knives
  • Honing Rod
  • Tools

  • Gripping the honing rod in your non-dominant hand, point the rod away from your body at any angle. Make sure the tip of the rod is positioned above the rod handle.
  • Hold the knife in your dominant hand.
  • Keep four fingers on the knife handle and your thumb on the spine, away from the blade’s edge.
  • Place the knife at approximately a 20° angle on the holding rod.
  • Instructions

    Quick and easy (though probably not recommended by experts) is the method of sharpening a knife using the surprisingly rugged ceramic of an overturned coffee mug.

    How to Sharpen a Knife Using a Coffee Mug

  • Quality knives
  • Coffee mug (ceramic)
  • Tools

  • Turn the mug upside down so that the bottom is facing upward.
  • Keeping approximately a 22° angle, and moving heel to tip, swipe one side of the blade across the mug’s ceramic grit. Perform this motion several times.
  • Flip the knife and perform the same process on the other side. Remember to maintain the 20° angle.
  • Switch sides of the blade per swipe only for the last two to three swipes.
  • Use a honing rod to smooth out any remaining kinks, burrs, or abrasions.
  • Instructions

    Join our exclusive community