The topic about sharpening of a knife reminds me about Sir Isaac Newton who chiseled out ‘I Newton” on the wooden window of his school. Really funny; but today that simple act can perhaps be construed as his foresight with regard to his momentous contributions in the physics or science as a whole where he curved out a space for himself with the highest dignity and honor. Sounds nostalgic? Let’s get back to the core discussion.
They say necessity is the mother of invention and it is this urge that propelled the mankind to explore and run after the impossible. This endeavor in effect yielded to the many new weapons like knife. Look at the primordial civilization when there was no weapon at all and gradually pieces of stones were being sharpened and used as pivots for attacking in hunting which evolved into the current shape of the knife later.
Tricks for sharpening your knife:
The word ‘trick’ itself can get you confused by virtue of its meanings that come relevant based on the word’s use. I‘m however trying to tell you the smart ways of sharpening your knife so much so that you can effectively cut back on your time and energy alongside saving the life span of the knife itself. How? It’s a relevant question beyond doubt here that I shall be addressing in several steps. Onus to mention here that there different ways and means to sharpen your knife and you should adopt the one that works best for you.
FAQ about the knife sharpening:
FAQ stands for frequently asked question and I have added this section here in an effort to make you learn the common mistakes that one commits unknowingly while getting into the act of a knife sharpening.
- FAQ NO. 1: Before you resort to action for sharpening your knife please spend sometime so as to understand the angle at which your knife was sharpened. Please understand that no two knives are equal in terms of the angle at which it was sharpened and your knife therefore is a unique one by all probability. If you don’t follow the angle of sharpening your knife and sit for sharpening it you will invariably land up in spoiling the current angle and in your first attempt you will basically make your knife comparatively blunt only.
If you aren’t sure about your knife’s angle you better ask the manufacturer of your knife or at the least consult a good knife shop in your locality. I‘m sure your issue will be resolved. Alternatively I can suggest you a blanket solution to this issue such as picking up of 10 to 30 inches angle for each side of your knife.
Caveat: There is a correlation among the angle of sharpening of your knife and its longevity in terms of the sharpness alone. The higher the angle is (preferably in between 17 to 30 inches) the longer the life of the sharpness lasts and the vice verse. But, you may be tempted to use the lower angle such as below 10 inches that in essence sharpen your knife quickly; but the sharpness won’t last long for sure.
- FAQ No. 2: Sharpening your knife gets automatically faster if you lubricate your whetstone with honing oil or mineral oil. Alternatively use water at least so as to lubricate your whetstone or diamond stone. Oils or water used during and before the start of the sharpening ideally keeps the steel shavings away from chocking the pores of the whetstone. Onus to mention here that the steel shavings are the byproducts of sharpening.
Caveat: Check the manufacturers guidelines on the use of the whetstone since most of the stones commonly available and used are not conducive to the oil use; they are rather okay with dry or wet use. The common type of whetstone is carborundum stone. Some whetstones available in the market are oil friendly and labeled as ‘Oil Stones’.
- FAQ 3: You must use an angle guide while sharpening your knife which should ideally be place below your knife so that it helps you in maintaining a particular angle during the sharpening exercise. Please understand that varied angles during sharpening activity basically hinder the process of sharpening leading to the dismay of your patience and perseverance.
Holding onto a particular angle during the sharpening however is not an easy task even though you just can’t help it other than making somewhat arrangements such as marking the edges or tips of your knife with the sharpies pen on both sides. It helps identifying the right angle or the angle you have been sharpening it.
- FAQ 4: Playing with the right grit of your whetstone is equally important for the desired result out of your knife sharpening act. There are generally two types of grits seen on a whetstone – rough grit and the fine grit. Rough grit is essentially used at the first stage of sharpening while you are aiming to slim the coarse tip of the knife and fine grit is used for giving your knife a final touch in terms of its sharpness; you can say fine tuning of your knife.
- FAQ 5: You are required to drag your knife in the opposite direction of the sharpening act if you wish to have the permanent and equal tip all across the edges. Additionally you may be required to drag the knife on the whetstone based on the actual scenario.
- FAQ 6: You must have to rub both the sides of your knife on the whetstone for effective sharpening of your knife. It must be adhered to the case of sharpening while using rough grit as well as fine grit side of the whetstone.
How to sharpen your knife with the electrically powered stones or grinding wheels?
From the FAQ discussed above hope you have developed a far bit of idea with regard to the effective ways and means of sharpening your knife. It is not as trivial as it might look for sure. You have to have the commonsense alongside the presence of mind while to taking care of the delicate issues of knife sharpening.
You have now graduated to the next level of knife sharpening; i.e., sharpening of your knife with the help of electrically powered stones or grinding wheels. How to go about it?
Process is simpler in comparison with the manual process since all that you need to be doing in adept hand is to hold on your knife against the running stone in the sharpening angle of the knife. It won’t toil you too much other than keeping a constant eye on the progress of the shining or sharpening of the knife and repeat the process for each side of the knife.
Caveat: Use of electrically powered stones and sharpening therein usually increase the temperature and thereby makes the steel vulnerable to easy decay and thereby lose the sharpness easily. Unless you are sufficiently experienced don’t jump into the sharpening with the electrically run stone as you can potentially get hurt and can damage your knife as well.
In Asian countries like India you get to see another type of whetstone fixed with a spoke-wheel. This spoke wheel (without tubes and type, small in size) is generally attached with the back wheel of a bicycle and get fitted with a chain along with the bicycle paddle. The person who’s essentially a peddler shouts in lanes of residential pockets asking for sharpening of knives and or any other item. The man sitting on the seat of the bicycle paddles and the whetstone fitted with spoke-wheel begins to move and the man resorts to sharpening the items holding them against the running whetstone that has ridges all around in a round shape.