Freehand sharpening on water stones. The process that delivers a euphoric sensation, one that draws you in and ignites senses that consistently makes you feel absolutely incredible and yearn for more is freehand sharpening. There is something very special about taking a dull knife to a water stone and soaking in the elements associated with sharpening knives by hand. The fact that mankind has being doing this for hundreds and hundreds of years and that genius sharpeners in Japan and other parts of the world use this method, it is inspiring and captivating. You don’t even need to be a great sharpener to enjoy this, this all can happen at day one, this does happen at day one, that is why there is a day two. There is no other method of sharpening that has the potential to reward the sharpener as much as freehand sharpening, I will stand my ground on this statement as hard as the 300 Spartan’s stood fast at the Hot Gates.
If you’re a serious home chef, we recommend the Chef’sChoice Trizor XV Sharpener. (And we’re not alone: It’s the top pick for Cook’s Illustrated as well.) This model is much more expensive than our top pick, but it produces a professional-quality, polished and honed edge, as opposed to the ProntoPro 4643’s “toothy” edge. “Polished and honed” means it’s inherently sharp: The Trizor XV brings the metal of the blade to an infinitesimally fine point rather than to the relatively coarse edge that our main pick produces. That means you can chop straight down through, say, onions and carrots rather than stroking through them as with a saw. And that makes for faster, more efficient knife work—as long as you possess the knife skills to take advantage. But the Trizor XV is a bit bulky (about the size of a loaf of homemade bread) and heavy, so you’ll need to find space for it under your countertop.
TO USE: Soak stone in water for no more than 5-10 minutes. Place stone on a damp cloth with the courser 400 grit side (dark green) facing up. Hold the knife so that it’s flat and perpendicular to the block, with the blade facing left. Holding the knife at a 20-degree angle, slowly sweep the edge of the blade from left to right down the length of the stone and continue until sharp. If stone starts to feel too dry, add more water. Be patient and take your time. Flip knife over and repeat on the other side (now moving from right to left). Be sure to sharpen both sides evenly. To polish the blade further, flip stone over to the fine 1000 grit side (light green) and repeat the process. When blade is honed to desired sharpness, wash and dry your knife. To clean your stone, simply rinse with water, wipe away any remaining metal residue with a rag, rinse again, then dry.
"How do I use this daunting metal rod?" I hear you ask. Well, it's not too hard, really. The best way for a beginner is to balance the steel on a surface with the tip secured by a damp tea towel. You want to get that angle right, whether it's around 15 degrees for a Japanese knife or 20 degrees on a German or French blade. Then swipe slowly down, away from you, making sure the whole blade is honed – around five swipes on each side should do.
Historically, there are three broad grades of Japanese sharpening stones: the ara-to, or "rough stone", the naka-to or "middle/medium stone" and the shiage-to or "finishing stone". There is a fourth type of stone, the nagura, which is not used directly. Rather, it is used to form a cutting slurry on the shiage-to, which is often too hard to create the necessary slurry. Converting these names to absolute grit size is difficult as the classes are broad and natural stones have no inherent "grit number". As an indication, ara-to is probably (using a non-Japanese system of grading grit size) 500–1000 grit. The naka-to is probably 3000–5000 grit and the shiage-to is likely 7000–10000 grit. Current synthetic grit values range from extremely coarse, such as 120 grit, through extremely fine, such as 30,000 grit (less than half a micrometer abrasive particle size).
While it may still feel like there is a lot to choose from, you don’t need a lot of of stones, you just a several good varieties to choose from. To summarize I will indicate below what my favourite stones are in each grit. Yes you can mix up the brands when sharpening but my recommendation is to buy a combination of 2-3 stones of the same brand and go from there.
★ MOST COMPLETE SET ON AMAZON – Our Sharpening Set is the only kit that comes with both a Flattening Stone and Angle Guide in addition to a Bonus E-Book (for sharpening tips and tricks) and Detailed Instruction Guide. Providing amazing value at a lower price than other sets. A Flattening Stone is a MUST have since all whetstones eventually become uneven and need to be flattened. This set completely eliminates the need to buy one later.
When the block is intended for installation on a bench it is called a bench stone. Small, portable stones (commonly made of bonded abrasive) are called pocket stones. Being smaller, they are more portable than bench stones but present difficulty in maintaining a consistent angle and pressure when drawing the stone along larger blades. However, they still can form a good edge. Frequently, fine grained pocket stones are used for honing, especially "in the field". Despite being a homophone with wet in most dialects of modern English, whetstones do not need to be lubricated with oil or water, although it is very common to do so. Lubrication aids the cutting action and carries swarf away.
Well, I got one for myself and one for my mother. The next day after my mother received it, my sister told me that they just sharpened some knives with it and wow, what a great tool. Well, the same day at a later time, the same sister sent me a picture with her bleeding finger that she had just cut with one of the knives. So yup, this little thing will get things sharp! One thing to take in consideration is that it will "eat" a lot of steel as it sharpens. I made the mistake of sharpening this chef knife (good thing it was a cheap one) always starting a little far from the end and now I have a little arch in it that will not reach the cutting board to chop onions, for example. But that's me lacking common sense, the sharpener is awesome!
i have been sharpening knives all my life [im 61] ,its more of a relaxing hobby than anything else but i hate working with a dull blade.i have never used a water stone before and intend to buy some and get going.all ive ever used are oil stones and i can get an edge i can shave with [provided the knife is of a good steel ],so ive been reasonably happy with myself ,i was just wondering if you have ever tried sharpening with an oil stone and what differences you have found.i also have a lansky kit which i use every now and then but i find hand sharpening gives a better edge..
Very interesting. If you work flat, 45 degree is what I was taught. Love the wet stones, especially the oiled ones. The nice thing about the leather part, is the mirror finish on a razor sharp blade which is a must if doing fine wood working, carving etc. A rough blade simply does not have the fine detailed dexterity. I find that the oiled sandpaper can work great as well, but found that the refined clay bars (white refined fired clay rounds and flats etc) does a wonderful job of keeping those razor edges refined, smooth as possible and then one can high polish them for smooth cutting. Believe me, when working wood for a flute, one wants that refined edge.! Learning how to hone a blade on a flat surface teaches one to work outside without a table/wall handy too...:) But we all have to start somewhere!:) Anyway, great stuff and a great start for those who want more from their tools!:) Cheers!
Our only gripe about this sharpener is the terminology used in its documentation. When the Spyderco manual refers to a 40-degree knife edge, it's actually referencing what most knife-makers and manufacturers or sharpeners would call a 20-degree blade, the standard for Western kitchen knives. The reason for this disconnect is because Spyderco is measuring all the way across the blade, while most others measure just one side of the blade at a time. What Spyderco calls a 30-degree blade would typically be called a 15-degree blade, the standard for Asian kitchen knives, although some Western manufacturers are beginning to use this narrower blade angle as well.
Yes, I now believe that we can make knives as sharp and in fact sharper by sharpening freehand than we can using only the Edge Pro. This does not mean that we can discard our systems and just stick to freehand sharpening. Remember, this did not happen overnight, it came with hundreds and hundreds of sharpening sessions and also, I always knew that the Edge Pro was there If I needed it. Also, remember, I am obsessed with knife sharpening, this is all I think about so that perhaps has had an impact on my ability to sharpen knives.
Home sharpeners use some sort of an abrasive -- either tungsten carbide, ceramic, steel or diamond, which provides the hardest, most aggressive sharpening surface -- to reshape the knife blade. Most have at least two sharpening surfaces to choose from; you start with a coarser grit to remove more steel, then use a finer grit to polish your knife to a smooth edge.
Overall, users say the Sharpmaker offers reliable, hard-to-beat results with a reasonable learning curve, and they're happy that, unlike traditional flat stones, you don't have to wet or oil the sharpening rods before use. They also say the Sharpmaker makes it easier to maintain a good angle than flat sharpening stones. Users warn that you do, however, need to scrub the stones periodically with an abrasive cleanser like Comet or Ajax to remove any lingering particles of steel. They also warn to be careful about not dragging the point of the knife across the stones as this will quickly dull it.
Read on in the slides below to learn why the Chef's Choice Trizor XV is our top knife sharpener pick and why you should also consider the Brod & Taylor Professional Knife Sharpener, the Edge Pro Apex 4, the Smith's TRI-6 Arkansas TRI-HONE Sharpening System, the Work Sharp Culinary M3 Manual Kitchen Knife Sharpener, the Smith's Edge Pro Adjustable, the Work Sharp WSKTS Knife & Tool Sharpener, the Linkyo Electric Knife Sharpener, and the Chef's Choice ProntoPro 4643 sharpener.
The continuous angle adjustment feature will allow you to select a specific angle from 17-30 degrees, in 1 degree increments, which will offer unlimited options. It also comes with 4 different sharpening diamond stones including the 140 extra-coarse, 300 coarse, 600 fine, and the 1500 extra fine. You will never be forced to purchase another sharpening stone to ensure that every coarse level is covered, because these diamond hones will perfect your blade edge, in no time at all.
Note that, unlike steel honing rods, ceramic hones need occasional cleaning, as particles of knife metal build up on their surface (they form a gray layer). Idahone sells a “Superaser,” but on knife forums, many owners of ceramic hones recommend generic melamine foam sponges as a more economical alternative (the Mr. Clean Magic Eraser is the famous name-brand version). Messermeister, the maker of one of the other ceramic hones in our test, recommends a mild abrasive cleanser, like Bon Ami or Bar Keepers Friend, advice that is also echoed by many knife enthusiasts.
A: For many years there was a heated debate around this topic with manufacturer’s stating flatly the notion their products actually damaged knives was absurd, and many professional chefs claiming not only was it not absurd, it was common for mechanical sharpeners to damage expensive cutlery. So who was right? To a certain extent they both were. The manufacturers were correct in asserting that if you followed the instructions to the letter there was little if any chance your knives would be damaged. However, in reality few people actually followed the instructions to the letter and when they veered from the recommended course the potential was there for damage.
Not sure why I bought this item and then I received it. It has a bit of a 'cool' factor and is well made. I took the sharp edges of the stone as they were a bit uncomfortable on my chest but have since been wearing it a lot. Used it to put an edge on some workmates knives and to tickle up my own daily use knife. I like it, it is a bit different and useful.