Looking for the easiest and best way to sharpen your favorite knives? Not sure how to use that new whetstone? Here are some pointers to help you get a perfectly sharp knife every time with little effort.
Why You Should Trust My Tutorial On How To Use A Whetstone
- Cookbook Author: I've written 5 Instant Pot Cookbooks and 2 Air Fryer Cookbooks so I've spent more than my fair share of time in the kitchen.
- Efficient: That's the only way I know how to do things in the kitchen. Who has time to waste when you're trying to get food on the table? I'm known for my ruthless efficiency and use the pot in pot cooking method every chance I get.
- Gadget geek!: I'm a self-proclaimed food tech enthusiast and have been known to purchase (and review) just about any kitchen appliance I can get my hands on.
Video on How to Sharpen a Knife with a Whetstone
What You Need To Use A Whetstone
While not all of these items are necessary, the will improve your experience using a whetstone.
Do You Need A Whetstone Holder?
No. They are really nice to have to hold your stone in place, but they can be quite pricey. Here are a few things you can use in place of a whetstone holder:
- Dish Cloth
- Silicone Pad
- Any other nonslip surface
Different Grits Of Whetstone
There are many different whetstone grits that you can purchase. Most whetstones come with a different grit on each long side of the stone.
Anything under 1,000 will take small pieces of metal off of your knife. Use this if you have nicked your knife and are trying to save the blade edge. I use 300 grit for this. It will not be a smooth finish so make sure you choose something with over 3,000 grit to smooth the surface of the blade after you use the 300.
If you're wanting to sharpen your knife blade, use something between 1,000 and 3,000.
Anything higher than this is for polishing the edge of your knife. I prefer 6,000 or 8,000 for this.
Does A Whetstone Need To Be Wet?
This can be confusing. The name of the item is whetstone. Like whetting your appetite. However, you have to wet the stone to lubricate it and use it.
How To Sharpen Kitchen Knives
There are three things you need to remember when using a whetstone. Those things are:
Using these three techniques correctly and collectively will get your knives cutting like they're brand new.
DO NOT PRESS HARD. All you will accomplish by doing this is cutting a chunk out of your whetstone and dulling your knife even more.
All you need to do is press hard enough to make contact with the whetstone with the cutting edge of your knife and gently glide it over the top.
The slower, the better. Trying to rush this process will produce subpar results. Running the knife blade over the whetstone slowly will allow you to make contact with all parts of the blade, producing an even and sharp cutting edge.
You will not want to run your knife directly down the whetstone. You will want to start at one corner and move your blade diagonally over the stone.
It is important that you sharpen knives according to which type of knife it is. There are two major types of knives. They are Western edge and Asian/Japanese edge knives. Different style knives are sharpened at different angles. If you attempt to sharpen your knife at the wrong angle, you will do more harm than good.
Depending on which ones you buy, your whetstone may come with small wedges that attach to the stone so you make sure to get the right angle every time.
What Angle To Sharpen Kitchen Knives
For Western knives you will sharpen at a 19 degree angle and for Asian/Japanese knives, you will sharpen at a 16 degree angle.
How To Clean A Whetstone
This couldn't be more simple. Just add more water. Yep, that's it. If you wet your whetstone before using, the metal shavings from your knife shouldn't get stuck in the stone. So to get the residue off of the whetstone, just pour a little water on it and use your finger to buff it out. Then rinse or soak to get anything left off.
How Often Should You Sharpen Your Kitchen Knives?
It all depends on how often you use them. For a normal cook? Probably once a month. If you're always in the kitchen, do a lot of meal prep, or test recipes for cookbooks like me, I would recommend once a week.
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