How To Sharpen A Dull Knife
Knife sharpening used to be somewhat of an onerous chore. Many people developed the skill to do it well, while many of us struggled with knife sharpening. Josh Warren of Work Sharp demonstrates the basic principles involved in sharpening knives in this video. Note that Work Sharp makes several types of exceptional tools for knife sharpening and these tools have made sharpening easy, even for people who have trouble sharpening a pencil.
In the video, the tools Josh has on hand are a dull knife to sharpen, a knife sharpener (a Work Sharp Benchstone in this case), a Sharpie to determine sharpening angle, and a couple tomatoes to check for sharpness.
When sharpening, questions arise regarding stone type, grit, amount of pressure to use, number of strokes, the importance of a burr, and sharpening angle. In the video, Josh covers all of these, and also talks about knife sharpening techniques that are especially applicable to the Work Sharp Benchstone knife sharpener.
Josh starts the process starting with the coarse, 320-grit stone to expose the cutting edge and create a burr. He recommends six to eight pounds of pressure initially, five or six strokes per side, then check for a burr. No burr = no sharp knife.
Once a burr is raised, change to a finer-grit stone, in this case 600 grit. From this point forward, Josh likes to alternate strokes. The idea with 600 grit is to remove the burr, using ever-lessening pressure. Once you can’t feel a burr, move on to the ceramic stone, using lighter and lighter pressure, alternating sides, 20 strokes total. Then test for sharpness.
If you follow the process for knife sharpening described in this video, you’ll have a much sharper knife that requires far less pressure to cut—so be careful!