Basic knife sharpening tools and how to use them

You might have ready many knife sharpener reviews and guides. Knives and knife sharpeners go together like hands and gloves. A knife is a great tool as long as it has a sharp edge. A dull knife, on the other hand, becomes hard to use efficiently. Its practical uses are limited to cutting mashed potatoes and other soft and squishy stuff.

This may be an exaggeration. However, a knife is only a sharp knife is a good and useful tool. Unfortunately, the sharp edge of a knife does not last forever. Depending on what the knife has to cut and on what surface, the sharp edge of a knife can last for months or be gone after a few weeks, even days. That’s why knives and sharpeners should always go together.

The blade material and the angle of the cut of the edge, as well as what the knife is used for, determine the best sharpener for the knife.

Knife sharpening tools come in several basic forms:

  • Steel and diamond rods
  • Manual sharpening stones
  • Electric rotary sharpening stones
  • Electric stone sharpening equipment
  • Hybrid sharpening

Manufacturers cut the edge of a knife at specific angles. The most common angle is about 20 degrees. Over time, this factory edge will curl over to one side depending on how the knife is held and used. A curled edge is no longer a sharp edge. Sharpening a knife removes this curl and restores the original edge.

Steel rods are the most popular curl removal tools. The curl is removed when the knife blade is slowly drawn over the sharpening rod, from tip to its base, first on one side and then on the opposite.

Other sharpening tools essentially work in similar ways using different sharpening materials and techniques. Some are easier to use, others protect the edge much better.