Your fine kitchen knives are gradually becoming blunt, so it’s time to sharpen them again. But how do you do this? Below we explain step by step how to use a whetstone to get your knives sharp again. Because every chef or hobby cook cannot do without a sharp knife! 1. Determine the degree of damage In order to determine which grain size you should start with, you should first determine how blunt your knife really is. Are there any nicks or damages on the edge of the blade? Then you should start with a coarse grit size. Is the blade a bit blunt when cutting and are there no visual damages? Then polishing the cutting edge will be sufficient. 2. Choose the right grain size There are many whetstones with different grain sizes. A low number, e.g. 400, 800 or 1000, stands for a coarser grain and a high number, e.g. 5000 or 6000, has a fine grain size. Normally it is enough to start with 1000 grit, with which you can remove the nicks and coarser damage from the cutting edge. With 6000 grit you can then polish the cutting edge and possibly the tip, giving you a sharp kitchen knife again. 3. Prepare your whetstone Have you bought a sharpening stone, also known as a whetstone, and do you want to finally start sharpening? Before use, immerse the whetstone in a bowl of water for about 15 minutes. You will often see some air bubbles on the stone, which indicates that the stone is absorbing a little water. There is no harm in that, we want it like that. Do you have a whetstone with a holder? If so, put it back in its holder. Ideally, the sharpening stone should be wet all the time during the sharpening process. So make sure that you put a little water over the whetstone during the grinding process. The grey liquid that is created by the grinding does not need to be rinsed away, it just gives a better result. 4. Use your right angle and posture After you have prepared the sharpening stone, pick up the kitchen knife from your magnetic knife block that needs sharpening. But at what angle are you going to sharpen? For a European knife you should keep to around 20°, for Japanese knives the ideal angle is 15°. Experienced knife sharpeners sometimes sharpen their Japanese knives at an angle of 10°. Since we assume that you are not very experienced yet, we will sharpen the knife at an angle of +/- 20°. Hold the knife firmly with one hand by the handle and use your other hand on the end of the blade to maintain the correct angle. Depending on which side you are sharpening, you can either sharpen with the cutting edge facing you or away from you. To create your angle, leave a gap of about 4 to 5 millimeters between the back of the blade and the stone. It is important to maintain this angle consistently while sharpening. Always keep your free hand on the blade, but never directly on the cutting edge. 5. Make the right movements Pull or push the knife blade up and down on the whetstone with light pressure and regular movements. Keep the blade at the right angle at all times and always start with the tip. After moving it up and down about 5 times, you will notice a burr forming. If you are sharpening a large chef’s knife or santoku knife, divide the blade into three parts. Keep sharpening until you get a burr. The best way to feel this is to stroke the edge of the blade. If there is a slight resistance across the whole blade, you can turn the knife. 6. Turn the knife over Turn the knife over and repeat the same movement you made in step five. Sharpen both sides of the blade in succession, do not keep sharpening the same side all the time. Do you feel a burr on both sides? Then you can use a higher grit size, e.g. 6000, to polish the blade and remove the burrs. 7. Remove the burrs Work away the burrs with a higher grain size, e.g. 6000 grit. Make sure that you draw the knife across the stone from top left to bottom right and keep the stone wet with water. Hold your knife under running water to wash away any residue. You have now finished your knife with a “mirror polish”, this is called because the edge reflects like a mirror. Once you have sharpened your knife with this grit, you can cut anything with it again. 8. Testing sharpness Use a sheet of paper or a tomato to test whether your knife is sharp enough again. Can you cut through a sheet of paper without pressure? Then your knife is sharp again. The same applies if you can cut through a tomato with the knife without force. Hopefully these steps will help you bring your knife set, Damascus knife, Santoku knife or even scissors back to the right sharpness. Keep practising and take your time sharpening your knives, after all, practice makes perfect. Would you like more information or a 10% discount on your order? Learn more about using and storing your knife, sharpening stone or knife block by subscribing to our free monthly newsletter. It is packed with valuable tips, exclusive offers and you will also receive a 10% discount on your next order. Always useful! Perhaps useful?