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A Simple Guide to Knife Sharpening

By Jeremie Plane

Which One Does Your Knife Need and Why?

A good knife, to be well maintained, must be honed, and sharpened. The question is how frequently should you do it, with what, and how? What material should you choose and why? In this article we are about to share almost all the information one needs to know to become an expert of sharpening.

Honing and sharpening a knife are two different processes that are used to maintain the edge of a knife.

Honing refers to the process of realigning and straightening the edge of a knife. Over time, the edge of a knife can become bent or twisted, which can cause it to lose its sharpness. Honing is used to straighten the edge of a knife, so that it will cut more efficiently.

Sharpening, on the other hand, refers to the process of removing metal from the edge of a knife to create a new, sharp edge. Sharpening is typically done when a knife becomes dull and no longer cuts well. A sharpening stone (also known as whetstone or waterstone) is a common tool used for sharpening knives. Sharpening is comparatively a more time-consuming process than honing and it's recommended to be done once in 3-6 months depending on your usage.

Overall, it can be said that honing should be done regularly to maintain the straightness of the edge and sharpening can be done less frequently, as, and when needed, to restore a dull edge.

HONING: How To Hone Your Knife Using a Honing Steel?

Sharpening a knife is an important task to keep your knife in good condition. Honing is an
often-overlooked step in the sharpening process, but it's a crucial one to keep your knife maintained. In this article, we'll go over the basics of honing a knife and how to do it properly.

Honing is a simple process that can be done at home with a honing steel. Here are the steps to honing your knife.

Camera is focusing on the pointed tip of the KOTAI's honing steel resting on the cutting board.

Choose the Right Honing Steel

Select a honing steel that is appropriate for your knife. A honing steel should be slightly harder than your knife's blade.

The model is holding the honing steel at a 15 degree angle to the knife for sharpening.

Hold the Honing Steel Correctly

Hold the honing steel vertically with one hand and place the other hand on the handle of the knife. The blade should be at a 15-degree angle to the honing steel to get the best results.

The model is stroking the knife with the honing steel towards the tip.

Stroke the Knife

Start at the base of the honing steel and stroke the knife towards the tip, maintaining the 15-degree angle. Repeat this stroke several times on each side of the blade.

The model is holding the honing steel at a 15 degree angle to the knife.

Check Your Progress

After a few strokes on each side, check your knife's edge to see if it has been straightened. Repeat the honing process until the edge is straight.

KOTAI’s Honing Steel Knife Sharpener - 30 cm rod has an integrated guide in the finger guard to help you find a 15° angle. The end of the rod has a point to stabilize the sharpening rod upright on your work surface for ease. KOTAI's honing steel will help you realign your knife’s edge to make cooking safer, faster and more enjoyable.

SHARPENING: How to Sharpen Your Knife Using a Whetstone?

Even the best blades will lose their initial sharpness over time. Whetstones, also known as water
or sharpening stones, are used to grind and hone the knife’s edge. For sharpening, the
ideal method is with a whetstone.

The whetstone is often used to sharpen Japanese knives. KOTAI’s whetstone is made from corundum and has the property of being abrasive however, in contact with water, it softens and precisely avoids the abrasion of the blade. The two numbers in a whetstone's description refer to the grit of the stone, with the first number being the coarser grit and the second number being the finer grit.

Sharpening a knife with a whetstone can be a bit tricky, but with some practice and patience, it can be done easily. Here are three simple steps to sharpen a knife using a whetstone. Remember to take your time and be patient with the process. Proper sharpening technique can take some practice, but once mastered, you'll have a razor-sharp knife ready for use.

The model is pouring water on the KOTAI whetstone grit 400/1000 to soak it.

Step 1: Prepare the Whetstone

  • Soak the whetstone in water for about 10-15 minutes before use.
  • Place the stone on a non-slip surface such as a damp towel to prevent it from moving while sharpening.
The model is sharpening the knife on the whetsone or waterstone.

Step 2: Sharpen the Knife

  • Hold the knife at a 15-degree angle to the whetstone.
  • Begin with the coarsest side of the stone and run the blade along the stone in a sweeping motion, making sure to maintain the same angle throughout.
  • Repeat this process on the finer side of the whetstone, running the blade along the stone in the opposite direction, still maintaining the same angle.
The model is testing the sharpness of the knife by cutting a piece of paper with it.

Step 3: Test and Finish

  • After sharpening, test the blade's sharpness by slicing through a piece of paper or tomato. If it's still dull, repeat the sharpening process.
  • Finally, rinse the knife underwater to remove any residue from the sharpening process and dry it thoroughly with a clean cloth.

Which Sharpening Stone to Choose?

The stone you should buy depends on the condition of your blade, and the edge you want to obtain. There are a lot of different types of stones, ranging from 800 to 6000 grit. The higher the number, the finer the grain of your stone.

KOTAI offers two types of sharpening stone: Sharpening Set - 400/1000 Grit and Sharpening Set - 1000/6000 Grit.

KOTAI's sharpening ceramic whetstone or water stone grit 400/1000 on a black background.

Sharpening Set - 400/1000 Grit

The KOTAI 400/1000 Combination Whetstone offers you two grits: a coarse 400-grit side to grind away rougher edges and a fine 1000-grit side to put the final touch for a razor-sharp edge.

The coarse 400-grit side is perfect for quickly reshaping a dull blade. The fine 1000-grit side is ideal to maintain or give the edge a sharp finish.

KOTAI's sharpening ceramic whetstone or water stone grit 1000/6000 on a black background.

Sharpening Set - 1000/6000 Grit

The KOTAI 1000/6000 Combination Whetstone offers you two grits: a fine 1000-grit side for regular edge maintenance and an even finer 6000-grit side to put the final touch for a razor-sharp edge.

The coarser 1000-grit side is perfect for duller blades and setting the edge. The finer 6000-grit side is ideal for finishing a razor-sharp edge.

Sharpening and honing are two steps that should not be neglected to keep your knife in its top

In conclusion, it can be said that honing and sharpening are two different processes used to maintain the sharpness of kitchen knives. Honing should be done regularly, after every few uses, to maintain the sharpness of the knife, while sharpening should only be done when the knife is dull and cannot be sharpened by honing.

It is important to use the right tools and techniques for honing and sharpening, as using the wrong methods can damage the blade and reduce its lifespan. A combination of honing with a honing rod and sharpening with a whetstone or sharpener can help to keep kitchen knives in optimal condition for a long time.