1. Tips on the use of sharpened steel
To properly align the edge of your kitchen knife, it is best to place the sharpening steel tip on a cutting board or on a kitchen towel that holds the rod vertically. This gives you a vertical line and prevents slipping.
Hold the knife in your strong hand and place the blade of the knife at the top of the steel at an angle of about 25 degrees. Slowly pull the knife down the length of the steel, pulling the knife back so that the entire blade, from the base to the tip, runs against the steel, as if you were slicing through pieces of steel. Repeat on the other side. Remember, the secret is to be kind; don’t push too hard. Do this five to ten times, then rinse the knife and dry immediately. Be sure to sharpen each side of the blade the same number of times in order to maintain the balance of the knife.
It is important to maintain the angle of about 25 degrees and to run the entire length of the cutting edge along the steel from the handle to the tip of the knife. Movement speed is not that important.
Also, always clean your sharpening steel before using it. The grooves that run the length of the rod can become clogged with grease and food, reducing the effectiveness of the steel. If you can no longer feel the grooves on the steel, it is time to replace it.
Use a sharpening steel at least 10 inches long, so you can tone your larger kitchen knives as well.
2. Tips on using manual and electric sharpeners
Place the sharpener on a work surface and hold it firmly with one hand. Pull the knife blade out of the sharpener slots with the other hand. Since manual and electric sharpeners differ drastically, be sure to follow the operating instructions to the letter. If you are not careful enough, electric knife sharpeners can grind more steel than you might have thought, limiting the life of your knife.
The following video is about Chef’s Choice knife sharpener – one of the best brands on the market. As you will see on the video, it is better to choose a sharpener with several slots, angular guides and diamond abrasives. Diamond is very hard, aggressively sharpens and removes metal without disturbing the temper of the knife blade.
3. Tips on using a whetstone
Place a damp kitchen towel on the countertop and place the whetstone on the towel. This helps prevent the stone from slipping. Grasp your knife by the handle with one hand and hold it at an angle of about 25 degrees from the stone. Use your free hand to apply even pressure to the knife blade and carefully pull the entire length of the blade across the stone. Turn the knife and repeat the process. Be sure to keep the angle at about 25 degrees, and always use an equal number of passes for each side. Keep repeating this process until the knife is sharp. When you’re done, rinse the knife thoroughly and dry immediately.
To properly sharpen your kitchen knives, use a whetstone with different degrees of roughnessas with the manual and electric knife sharpeners slots above.