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How to Sharpen & Hone Knives

How to Sharpen & Hone Knives

The Culinary Institute of America


Sharpening stones are essential to the proper maintenance of knives. Sharpen the blade by passing its edge over the stone at a 20-degree angle. The grit—the degree of coarseness or fineness of the stone’s surface—abrades the blade’s edge, creating a sharp cutting edge.

When sharpening a knife, always begin by using the coarsest surface of the stone, and then move on to the finer surfaces.

A stone with a fine grit should be used for boning knives and other tools on which an especially sharp edge is required. Most stones may be used either dry or moistened with water or mineral oil.

Carborundum stones have a fine side and a medium side.

Arkansas stones are available in several grades of fineness. Some consist of three stones of varying degrees of fineness mounted on a wheel.

Diamond-impregnated stones are also available. Although they are expensive, some chefs prefer them because they feel these stones give a sharper edge.

Opinion is split about whether a knife blade should be run over a stone from heel to tip or tip to heel. Most chefs do agree that consistency in the direction of the stroke used to pass the blade over the stone is important.

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