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How to Sharpen a Knife

Kitchen Knife Sharpening & Honing

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Keeping Your Knife Sharp

A sharp knife makes your job easier and safer.

Photo © Danilo Alfaro

How to Sharpen a Knife

Keeping your chef's knife sharp will make your job in the kitchen easier — and safer, too. That's because when you're using a dull knife you have to apply more pressure than you would with a sharper blade, which makes the knife more likely to slip.

Sharpening a kitchen knife involves two separate but related tasks:
  1. Sharpen the knife using a whetstone
  2. Hone the blade using a honing steel
Generally I'll break out the whetstone about once a month or so. But the honing steel is a different story. If I'm doing a lot of slicing, I might give my knife a couple of strokes on the steel every few minutes — especially if I'm working with items like ripe tomatoes or plums.

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