3 Things You Can Do This Weekend to Become a Better Sharpener

October 11, 2013


Sharpening isn’t necessarily hard. It just takes a good amount of practice and dedication. Fortunately, there are plenty of tips and trick that can help you on your journey toward becoming a Sharpening Master. The three best tips that I received when starting out on my sharpening journey have always stuck with me and I thought I’d share them with you.


  1.     Use a Sharpie

If you’re having a hard time keeping a consistent angle when sharpening or just plain old don’t know if you’re using the right angle for your blade, use a Sharpie (or really any marker) to mark your bevel. By coloring your bevel with a marker you can actually see where you’re removing material! Once you’ve removed all the coloring from your bevel, you’ll know that you sharpened at the correct angle and removed enough to reset the edge. If you’re only removing material from the edge of the bevel, you’ll notice the shoulder of the bevel is still colored. That means that you’re sharpening at a too obtuse angle and need to decrease the angle you’re holding your knife at. If you’re only removing color from the shoulder of the bevel, you’re not even affecting the actual edge! You’re sharpening at too much of an acute angle and need to increase the angle that you’re sharpening at. (If you have a nice knife with a finish you’re worried about ruining, try using a dry erase marker instead of a permanent marker.)


Colored bevel on this knife

     2.     Buy a Cheap Dollar Store Knife

A lot of the times when you’re learning how to sharpen, it’s often out of necessity. You have a knife that is dull that needs to be sharp. It’s time to learn how to sharpen it, right? The problem with that philosophy is that you’re potentially going to ruin, and not be able to fix, the edge/bevel on your nice knife. And if you keep grinding away, you’re not going to have much of a bevel or edge left. If you plan on learning how to sharpen, or even if you’re trying a technique or system that you’re unfamiliar with, using a cheapo knife means any mistake you make isn’t a big deal. Practice on the cheap knives and then transfer what you know to your nice knives.


  3.     Use a Sharpening System

Using a sharpening system can help you understand more about the different aspects of sharpening. Try to focus on more than the visual aspects of sharpening but rather the sound and feel of the edge against the stone. In my personal experience, the tactile feel and pitch of proper sharpening tells me more about how well I’m doing while I am sharpening, than vision does. It can be hard to describe, but vision is not the only sense to rely on when sharpening. By using a sharpening system you’ll have control over the proper angle and be able to focus more on the different aspects of sharpening rather than just the process.  


Try out these techniques to help you improve your hand sharpening skills. Make sure that you take your time, use light pressure and watch for the formation of the burr. If you have any questions or comments make sure to comment below and I’ll answer any hand sharpening comments that I come across.

Be Smart, Be Safe and Stay an Edge Above the Rest!



Category: Tip of the Week


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