How To Sharpen Your Kitchen Knife Like A Master
Of the number one questions I get of all time is how do you get your knife sharp. One of the best ways we can do is to visit the greatest knife shop in America. so Bernal Cutlery San Francisco’s premier, here we are. Cutlery san Francisco to me is the king of knives. The reason were here is to help everybody to start with sharpening.
What type of knives to begin with?
The first thing we need to talk about is what kind of steel should a beginner begin with. A lot of people might already find themselves with the Rodolphe knives. They are used by a lot of people, for example, this European stainless steels like this French chefs knife, here its a Japanese stainless steel, and then theres all the carbon steels and hand-forged.
Take a look at this incredible array of knives. And it can be really daunting, and people are just kind of defaulted to know a brand name knife. The way you sharpen your knife is going to be pretty much the same for any steel. Some types will hold their edge sharp for longer so it requires less sharpening, others can be easier to sharpen.
So whoever you re buying your knife from should be able to tell you what its sharpening is like, I think it makes a lot of sense than what were going to do. However, if you have no idea about how to sharpen your knife, let’s get some advice.
How to sharpen your knife?
We start with this knife to cut a tomato. Thats not too bad.
Now I think we’ll go and start sharpening.
Types of grindstones:
These are Japanese wet stones. That is soaked in the water. We have medium-coarse and this fine grit stone is the coarsest one that we got in our lineup.
This is 220. Grit quite coarse. Theres 400 in there as well here in this bin we have twelve hundred thousand and then theres our fine stones here. And these are 6000 and 8000. These ones have been soaking for about 30 minutes.
The coarse stone has a large particle which removes a lot of metal. Medium stones- little less metal removal and then the fine stones, very very light metal removal, so theyre essentially just polishing the edge. How dull the knife is would determine the way we sharpen it.
Starting with a 220 stone. We assume that this is a doll-tall knife. Were gonna start with a pinch grip from our pinch grip thumb goes in the heel forefinger goes on to the spine. These three fingers should be getting a good grip onto the handle and your wrist should be locked. You dont want to have a bent wrist either one of these two directions.
So the knife should be about 45 degrees to the stone and then the angle of the edge on the stone is really important. Were gonna be sharpening at somewhere around 15 degrees. I dont think that anybody freehand sharpening can really tell you exactly what their angle is. For chefs knives, this is kind of inaccurate, but really useful because it usually gives you about what your angle should be.
Dont let this finger drag on the stone, two fingers from our secondary hand are gonna come down were gonna kind of bend our fingers. Use the tips of our fingers and were gonna come straight back and forth over the stone. So were starting in the heel and going straight back and forth ring pinky and thumb up out of the way.
If you have them curled up in your palm as you start to work, theyll kind of relax and then if you slip you can cut yourself. So keep those fingers up so that you don’t accidentally bleed. Those fingers are gonna be running off of the centre line of the stone, walk along the sidewalk and not veer off into the street.
These fingers are going to stay over the stone while were working so dont let them come over the end. Theres a guillotine thats formed at the end here. And if your finger falls off its less fun so to work up the blade.
Were gonna take tiny steps with that hand on the blade. One finger comes up, the next one comes to meet it. Here one finger comes up next one slides up to meet it. As we do this, the hand bow is moving further away so that these fingers always stay over the centre. Itll look like this is yours each grit has its own sponge. So we dont introduce the grit onto our towel. That were gonna use to dry the blade so now thats the outside of the blade.
So we have the outside on the inside. Were gonna sharpen by switching hands same grip and I have a locked wrist previously. I had two fingers coming down. However, when I’m holding with my second hand, Im going to be pushing and controlling the movement with this hand now so I’m introducing my thumb into it straight back and forth over the centre of the stone.
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So I’m pushing with the hand thats on the blade. With my left hand thats holding the knife my wrist is locked. But my elbow and shoulder are loose. This is still where the control is happening, just keep holding our angle. The curved tip of a chefs knife often provides a little bit of a challenge to keep the same angle.
What were going to do is lift the handle as we come towards ourselves. And lower as we come out its pretty simple just remember that youre lifting up the handle along with your arm. So dont use your wrist. So I’ve worked each side is where I might start feeling a little roughness form. Theres a little flange of metal.
A little overhang that will form a little burden. Thats our indication that weve started our process of sharpening. We have a new edge and then we can then refine it.
This course run has done its job and it can go back into its back. If you need to remove a lot of metal, like really resetting, you might want to get your work done fast. So now well go to the stone and these are the ones that youd be using most often like you want to maintain that angle from every point of the knife. Dont ever want to change that, no.
Things not to do:
There are lots of different ways to get to a sharp knife. I do not say those are wrong I just added this. First, you dont need a ton of water on top. Second, no, were not letting the tip of the knife lead the way. And its a lot easier to maintain our angle. Next, do lots of long strokes, not short strokes. Nobody likes short strokes.
Fine stones so this is. 6000 and 8000. The finer the polish its not necessarily the better of the edge. A little dressing stone this is going to raise a mud and smooth the surface of the stone. Were talking about switching through so many different stones. Its like people get so crazy about this.
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But really the only most important thing to understand is just a technique of actually just sharpening the knife. Once you understand that, you can play with all the different kinds of stones. I think the most difficult thing is keeping a consistent angle and even if you do this badly, youre not gonna ruin your knife.
You might, temporarily, but the benefits of doing this even if you do it somewhat poorly, are way better than doing nothing. So the last thing is to strop and this is a cork strop here make sure your table is nic. Tibe Tanuprising sures theres no grit on the knife and you simply just go on to the edge of your work surface with the same angle.
The rest to do is with your stone. It actually helps the stone last longer and keeps our work more accurate. You dont want to flex on your friends.
Because from now on you can sharpen your knives. On your own.