If electric sharpeners are not working to your satisfaction, learn how to sharpen a knife with a stone. Stones work because the user controls the amount of sharpness. Many professionals use these tools to sharpen knives. Keep the stone oiled well, as it will not work without moisture. Use a manufacturer recommended oil for your stone.
Determine the angle
Each knife is sharpened at a certain angle. If you don’t know what angle to use, ask the manufacturer or a professional knife store what angle should be used on the stone. If you are still unsure, go for a 17 degree angle, as it is a good average.
Drag the knife on the stone
Move the knife across the stone in the opposite direction that you would typically use it and away from yourself, so you slice a small part off the stone. This prolongs the life of the stone.
Lubricate the knife
Use lubricant on the knife according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Typically, you can run a cotton ball along the knife’s edge with some oil added to keep the metal pliable. This is essential to making the knife edge easier to sharpen.
Continue the process
Bring the knife back to the stone and continue to grind until the grind is halfway through the steel. You can measure this through practice and by developing a well trained eye. Watch videos or ask a professional to help you identify this step.
Flip the knife
Flip it over and grind the other side of the blade until you have similar results on the other side. Remember, you want your blade to come to a point for the best results.
Repeat the process. Look for burrs – these are small pieces of metal that chip away and leave crevices in the blade. These are supposed to be there and can be seen when you inspect the blade closely. Sharpen both sides to your satisfaction. This process takes practice so don’t get frustrated if you don’t get it right the first time.
Remove the burrs:
Finally, when the knife is where you want it, use a finer stone, such as a sharpening stone, to remove the burrs. You will need to pass the blade along the steel on both sides to polish it and make sure all burrs are removed. Again, carefully inspect the blade for burrs after.
Remember, this process takes time and practice. Even the most experienced chefs might make mistakes. If you are nervous about using a stone, ask a professional knife shop to help you. Watch videos on the topic. Gather as much information as you can before trying the process yourself. Next, practice on knives that might be a little cheaper or that you could stand to lose. Practice, practice, practice, and don’t give up. It takes time, though it creates a sharpness that you define yourself.