Types of Knife Sharpening: Which One Is Right for You?

Types of Knife Sharpening: Which One Is Right for You?

Sharpening a knife is an important part of keeping it in good condition. There are many different types of knife sharpening available, and it can be confusing which one to use. This guide will help you decide which type of sharpening is right for you. 


There are three main types of sharpening: honing, grinding, and whetting. Each has its own benefits and drawbacks. Today we will go into a little bit about each to help you find which is best for you!


Knives are essential in the kitchen for slicing, dicing, and mincing. A sharp knife makes these tasks much easier and safer to perform. Dull knives can be a safety hazard, as they require more force to cut through food, which can lead to slips and cuts. A sharp knife is also easier to control, which also reduces the chances of cutting yourself.


Knife sharpening is a process that can be done in a few different ways, depending on the condition of your blade and what you hope to achieve. There are three main types of knife sharpening: honing, grinding, and whetting. 




Honing is the most basic form of sharpening and probably the easiest to do. Despite popular belief honing doesn’t actually sharpen your knife rather it straightens the blade. Honing is the process of straightening the blade with a honing rod or steel. Also known as sharpening steel, whet steel, or sharpening rod, this tool is typically made of steel, ceramic, or diamond-coated steel. Rather than remove material from the knife like a stone or grinding wheel, honing steel instead realigns the blade. The edge of a knife blade will often curl or curve after frequent use. A honing steel will restore its proper alignment, allowing the knife to cut more precisely and without excess effort from the user. This should be done regularly to keep the blade in good condition.




Dull knives can be sharpened with a grinding wheel, which will actually remove metal from the blade. You can use an electric sharpener, too. The process is much the same, with the added benefit of speed. Instead of a whetstone, these products have both honing and sharpening slots. Dragging a knife through the slots accomplishes the same task. Grinding wheels spin inside the slots, and they're spring-loaded. That means they should polish knife edges at the correct angle automatically. Be sure to follow instructions laid out in the manual carefully. Incorrect use of electric sharpeners may damage blade edges. Common mistakes include twisting, pressing downward, or pausing the stroke of knives as you pull them through the sharpener slot. This can cause over-sharpening such as loss of too much metal, or result in an uneven edge. 




is a common method and is actually very easy to do. It uses a whetstone to sharpen the blade. This is best for very dull blades or those with nicks in them. The good news is whetstones are relatively affordable. Stones come in a range of grits depending on how coarse they are. The lower the grit, the coarser the stone. The higher the grit, the finer the stone. Keep the following grit grades in mind when determining which stone to use when sharpening your knife.

              • Under 1000: These coarse stones should only be used to sharpen damaged knives with chipped or nicked edges.
              • 1000 to 3000: Stones of moderate coarseness can be used for general knife sharpening. Any stone you use to regularly sharpen a blade should be at least 2000 grit.
              • 4000 to 8000: Very fine stones are reserved for refining or “finishing” the edge of a blade.



Since each type of sharpening has its own benefits, it's important to understand which one is right for you before getting started. There are several ways to sharpen a knife. The most common methods are honing and grinding. Since honing is a process that straightens the blade of the knife. It should be done regularly to keep the knife in good condition. Dull knives can be sharpened by grinding them on a stone or other sharpening device. This should only be done as a last resort, as it can damage the blade of the knife. 


Sharpening your knife ensures it remains as effective as the first day you used it, whether for cooking, outdoor excursions like hunting and camping, or other activities. Make sharpening and honing part of your knife maintenance routine to protect yourself from the dangers of a dull blade and save money in the long run since you’ll get more use out of your knife and won’t need to buy or make a replacement.

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