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How to Sharpen & Hone Knives

How to Sharpen & Hone Knives

The Culinary Institute of America

Guidelines to Using Stones

Before using a stone, be sure that it is properly stabilized. No matter which method you use, keep the following guidelines in mind:

1. Assemble your mise en place.

2. Anchor the stone to keep it from slipping as you work. Place carborundum or diamond stones on a damp cloth or rubber mat. A triple-faced stone is mounted on a rotating framework that can be locked into position so that it cannot move.

3. Lubricate the stone with mineral oil or water. Be consistent about the type of lubricant you use on your stone. Water or mineral oil helps reduce friction as you sharpen your knife. The heat caused by friction may not seem significant, but it can eventually harm the blade.

4. Begin sharpening the edge on the coarsest grit you require. The duller the blade, the coarser the grit should be.

5. Run the entire edge over the surface of the stone, keeping the pressure even on the knife. Hold the knife at the correct angle as you work. A 20-degree angle is suitable for chef’s knives and knives with similar blades. You may need to adjust the angle by a few degrees to properly sharpen thinner blades, such as slicers, or thicker blades, such as cleavers.

6. Always sharpen the blade in the same direction. This ensures that the edge remains even and in proper alignment.

7. Make strokes of equal number and equal pressure on each side of the blade. Do not oversharpen the edge on coarse stones. After about ten strokes on each side of the blade, move on to the next finer grit.

8. Finish sharpening on the finest stone, and then wash and dry the knife thoroughly before using or storing it.

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