Posted by: SWGK Admin on Nov 5, 2010
One of the most important aspects of a good knife is a sharp edge to the blade. To keep the blade on your knife sharp, whether you use it when hunting, fishing, camping, for survival or just for slicing a tomato to go on your burger, learning appropriate knife sharpening techniques will ensure you have the sharpest blade every time.
Learning the angle to use when honing a blade is one part of learning to sharpen a knife, but as far as knife sharpening techniques go, it's not the most critical thing you need to know. While keeping the blade at a specific angle, such as 90 degrees, may be desirable, it's much more important to keep it at the same angle during the entire sharpening process.
More Common Knife Sharpening Techniques
One of the more common knife sharpening techniques is to use a grit stone for honing. Many experts recommend using a rough grit stone first to grind the edge down to where you can feel the curled edge of the blade, then switching to a finer grit stone with a decent amount of pressure to smooth and sharpen the edge more fully.
All knife sharpening techniques assert the need to use slow, deliberate movements repeated a half dozen times or so and gradually decrease the amount of pressure you place on the blade. By the time you've passed the blade across the stone 10 to 12 times, the only pressure on the blade should be its natural weight with you simply guiding the process as it goes.
Mixed Feelings About Knife Sharpening Techniques
There are mixed opinions as to using oil or water on the stone used to sharpen your knife. Many people insist this is a standard knife sharpening technique, while others believe that the oil, in particular, can harm the edge because of the dross it carries to the blade. Because some stones clog if oil is not used, it becomes a matter of preference often based upon the type stone preferred. For instances, diamond or ceramic stones work well when dry, others do need a lubricant of some sort.
If your stone does become clogged, you can clean it with plain water, or paint thinner depending again on the type stone. If necessary, add a little cleanser or scouring powder to ensure the stone doesn't hinder your knife sharpening techniques.
Test Your Knife Sharpening Techniques
Be sure to carefully test the blade's sharpness regardless of the knife sharpening techniques you choose. You can do this by slicing through a piece of paper, or shaving your arm, if preferred. If needed, repeat the honing process until your blade is as sharp as you can get it, then be sure to polish the edge well for the best results.
Because stainless steel is so hard it will typically maintain a sharp edge when the proper knife sharpening techniques are used and when the edge is sharpened correctly. You obviously want a quality stone to ensure the best results. Many knife owners prefer a diamond stone for rough sharpening and a ceramic stone for polishing, but there are many good options to consider when making a choice.