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How To Sharpen a Knife

If a knife is not sharp enough to cut what you need to cut then it is useless. The edges have to be sharp throughout the life of the knife, but it is not so. If you see the cutting edge of a knife closely with the help of a magnifying glass or a microscope, you could see there are small teeth that make the look of a saw. This is what makes the knife sharp and useful. On using a knife repeatedly it becomes blunt. If you look at a blunt knife with a magnifying glass you could see that the saw like cutting edges are bent and not in alignment. You have to make them straight to be useful again.

The effort you take to sharpen a knife depends on the hardness of the blade that is used in the knife. If the hardness is more then it takes more effort to sharpen the cutting edges and the knife would retain the sharpness for longer time. If the hardness of the blade is less then it is easy to sharpen the knife and it will lose the sharp edge sooner. A Rockwell scale is used to measure the hardness of the metal that is used in the blade of the knife.

Sharpeners used for sharpening the blades can be made of steel or ceramic. Both of these are good and are used for different kinds of blades. Metals can be easily sharpened by steel sharpeners. Hard metals are sharpened easily by ceramic sharpeners. Once you feel that the cutting edge is blunt then you can use an abrasive stone to sharpen the edges and to keep the knife on the right track.

One of the most important techniques in sharpening a knife is the angle at which you are trying to sharpen the knife. The angle at which you tilt the knife with respect to the abrasive stone is very important to maintain the cutting edge of the knife. The thumb rule is that the cutting angle should be 10 to 15 degrees from the perpendicular.

When you are using a ceramic sharpener to sharpen a knife you have to start with the base of the knife and slide the knife down the length of the sharpener. When you do this just apply little pressure so that the knife slides on the sharpener and the cutting edge grazes the sharpener. The angle at which you slide the knife should be constant during every stroke. You have to end a stroke with the tip of the knife at the base of the sharpener. Repeat this step on the other side of the blade.

If you are using a steel sharpener, you have to start with the base of the knife being at the base of the steel sharpener and then move your hands away from each other in such a way that the blade slides on the steel sharpener towards its tip. When you reach the tip, you should see that the blades tip is also on the tip of the sharpener. This is the kind of stroke that is to be applied when you are using a steel sharpener. These methods that are used to sharpen your knives are manually done. It is found that the wear and tear of the knife is more when it is done manually. Hence some people prefer to use a grinding stone which is machine operated.

Once in a while depending on the usage of the knife you have to use a grinding stone to sharpen the cutting edges of the blade. At least once in a year you have to use a grinding stone to do this. By using a grinding stone you get a new cutting edge. It is better to do this grinding from a professional. If you have a sand wheel then you can also do that yourself. Some of the grinders have different types of stones that can be used for grinding. The surface of the stone varies from coarsest to fine. You have to grind your knife on all these to get the exact finishing on the edges. Some people use wet stone to sharpen their knives. Such people believe that the minute shavings from the metal keep floating from the surface so that you get better edges when you grind the knife blade. Some people are against the wet grinding since they believe that the wetness clogs the pores of the grinding stone and spoils it forever.

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