A sharp knife makes a safe kitchen, but there are so many conflicting schools of thought out there that learning how to sharpen your own knives can be overwhelming. My philosophy is this: I'm a cook, not a bladesmith. I need a fast, reliable sharpening method because I don't have backup knives to use while mine are at the hardware store getting sharpened and I don't care to spend a couple decades mastering the art of honing a blade.
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Learning to sharpen a knife by feel makes sure your knives last longer and are easier (and safer) to use -- even more so than an automatic sharpener, which can grind your knives down and shorten their life. This method, from sharpening master Peter Nowlan, is a solid "four pressure" system you can learn at home.
We've mentioned that sharpening your knives with a whetstone (or water stone) is the best way to keep them sharp and safe, but this video will walk you through picking the right stones, learning the right angles and getting the perfect edge -- all in one sitting.
Learning to use a whetstone is the best thing you can do for your knives, especially nice ones, but learning how can be tricky. Luckily, this (very detailed) guide from KnifePlanet teaches you how, from start to finish, and includes a simple method for making sure you've sharpened enough to make a difference.