How to Sharpen a Knife

Instead of writing at lenght, I will let Walter Sorrels to explain it better than I ever could.

This (except the measuring of the angle with a tool, which I was taught to recognize by feel and eyeballing) is how I was taught to sharpen knives and it is essentialy how I do it and teach others to do it.




  1. Sunday Afternoon says

    Thanks -- very timely for me. I’ve ordered one of the recommended diamond stones for our kitchen!

  2. says

    As he says, he is lazy. And that works if you’re using diamond plates and are willing to reshape the edge-bevel to whatever angle you decide -- and if you cab remember it. Otherwise you’re chasing a specific angle and the blade edge might not be set up to take that angle without you having to grind it off. I know Sorrels knows this, as he makes blades in the Japanese tradition, but he also makes “tactical” knives that are ground very differently. And a cooking knife is also ground differently. Simplifying to “grab a diamond plate and wail away at it” is oversimplifying unless the viewer understands that he is talking about a cooking knife that is not all messed up.

    I also use my diamond plate to flatten my very shishi Japanese water stones. :) So score another notch for the diamond plates. I don’t know if Diafine makes them any more but they used to make 12x6″ plates for planer blades. That’s what I have and they have been going strong since 1987.

  3. voyager says

    It looks like it takes a lot of practice to properly sharpen a knife.
    When I was a kid there was a man who’d come around the neighbourhood and offer sharpening services. He was on foot and pushed a tall wagon. He would sharpen all sorts of things; knives, scissors, hedge trimmers and I think he even worked on the blades of the push mower. It’s a bit dim in my memory, but I do remember running out to watch him work.

  4. lochaber says

    I was a bit concerned when he showed the close up of the knife edge, it looked awfully chewed up to me. Is that from using the steel?

    Sunday Afternoon @1
    If you are still looking for something, I strongly recommend Spyderco’s Sharpmaker. It’s pretty easy to use, stores nicely, and works for serrations and concave curved edges.

    voyager @3
    I don’t think it’s too difficult, but to do a decent job quickly, freehand, does take a bit of practice.

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