As was foretold, we've added advertisements to the forums! If you have questions, or if you encounter any bugs, please visit this thread: https://forums.penny-arcade.com/discussion/240191/forum-advertisement-faq-and-reports-thread/

Knife Sharpening

zagdrobzagdrob Registered User regular
About a year ago my wife and I got a really high end set of Wusthof kitchen knives. They are fantastic and wonderful to cook with and hold an edge really well especially with regularly honing.

Unfortunately, as knives do, they are getting duller and need sharpening. I have a relatively cheap two grit electric sharpener I used for our previous (relatively cheap) knife set, but it takes quite a bit of material off and I've seen those aren't great for high end / premium knives. There are also a few places around that do professional knife sharpening, but I know knife sharpening isn't that difficult to do and from what I've seen they aren't anything too special.

What I'm trying to find is recommendations for the best knife sharpening system for high end knives that won't ruin the blades or take off too much material. I'm looking to spend no more than about $150 on it, but if that's not a realistic price I'm willing to spend more to keep my fancy ass knives in good shape. I've been taught long long ago how to use a whetstone but I'd probably want a refresher / learn on a cheaper knife before taking it to one of the good knives. Which is absolutely fine if I need to learn a new skill!

Does anyone have any recommendations for the best knife sharpening system (grinder, electric, something that holds a precise angle, just a really good whetstone, no just pay someone, etc) and guides / training videos for using it properly? I assume there are a lot of schools of thought on this and hopefully its not super controversial, but I figure H&A has some people who can give some real good input on which way to go.

Posts

  • Nova_CNova_C I have the need The need for speedRegistered User regular
    I bought a whetstone to try to fix up my chef's knife that I kinda ruined, and gave it a couple gos. I imagine with enough practice I'd get there, but the first couple forays made it marginally sharp again for a short while, but to be honest, it's going to take some practice to get good at it and I'm not that interested, so my plan is to take my knives to a professional.

    I'm only offering this as a perspective on self-sharpening: If you really want to do it, yeah, it's probably not that hard, but there will be a gap where you may not see much improvement until you spend enough time practicing at it to get good. That may or may not be worthwhile to you.

  • dispatch.odispatch.o Registered User regular
    edited June 22
    No countertop "drag through" models will spare any metal on the edge, especially not electric.

    I like water stones. They're soaked for a period of time before use and take some getting used to but give a great edge.

    https://www.sharpeningsupplies.com/Norton-Water-Stones-P25.aspx

    I essentially have that set, except I bought mine all individually as I needed them. I like them. I also bought a stone holder and a prep/resurfacing stone. I am fortunate in that I learned to sharpen knives when I was younger in a Japanese restaurant on knives I didn't own. I have a chef knife, paring knife, 8" utility and bread knife all Wusthof Classic and it's been a pleasure sharpening them - if I feel like doing it. It's a very satisfying feeling and it's not actually that hard, though I'd recommend starting on a $7 Winco Chinese chef cleaver like one of these. I actually bought one to use because I always sort of wondered if I'd like it, and after an afternoon putting an edge on it... the $7 cleaver is one of my favorite knives.

    This all being said, https://www.patronsaintofknives.com/ does absolutely fantastic work. I've used his service and he answers texts and emails extremely promptly if you have questions. There's a pickup/dropoff option that's actually very convenient and/or he does it by mail.

    I'd honestly just pay him $7 an edge once a year if I didn't already have the stuff. I don't know where you live but there's probably a professional service that will sort you out for under $25 and your sink doesn't have to smell like you murdered something.

    I'm not in any way affiliated with any of the websites linked but I have used them to order things in the past.

    Edit: Whatever you choose, look at the video on bolster repair/reduction on the website I linked. It's a really frequent problem with Wusthof knives with a full bolster. It can be exacerbated by removing too much material while sharpening and really needs careful grinding to repair without ruining the temper.

    edit2: linked the video mentioned. it's what I had him repair for me.



    Edit3: and now I'm eyeballing my knife block. Thanks a lot.

    dispatch.o on
  • djmitchelladjmitchella Registered User regular
    I've tried a bunch of different sharpeners; a very basic yellow and black one (that's by Klein, the one I have is the same but not that brand), stones+water, the Ikea three-grit version, the Lansky sharpening system, standard sharpening steels (metal and ceramic), and the one that finally got to the point where I could get knives really sharp again was the Worksharp guided sharpening system (and upgrade kit which gives you more grits and a leather strop for the final step)

    I'm not sure why it worked so much better for me than the others, but it let me take a $8 chinatown cleaver and make it hairs-off-the-arm sharp which is pretty respectable, and it's let me keep actual decent quality knives very sharp as well. I think it's that the motion it needs was one that I could reliably repeat, and the way that the abrasive surface can pivot a bit makes it more forgiving of my lack of skill.

    Banzai5150
  • GilgaronGilgaron Registered User regular
    As a woodworker I've read too much about sharpening, much of which is probably nonsense translated from tribal knowledge. In any case, I use oilstones/Arkansas stones for my plane irons, chisels, and kitchen knives; the best thing for putting the final fine edge on is a 1x30 belt sander with a leather belt, which by itself is good enough if you're not heavily damaging your knives before sharpening. Awesome mirror finish and very easy.

    This is probably the cheapest way to get set up:

    https://www.amazon.com/Leather-Strop-Super-Powered-Sanders/dp/B07X5MDD4Y/ref=asc_df_B07X5MDD4Y/?tag=&linkCode=df0&hvadid=385172629843&hvpos=&hvnetw=g&hvrand=13194187315622925223&hvpone=&hvptwo=&hvqmt=&hvdev=c&hvdvcmdl=&hvlocint=&hvlocphy=9014879&hvtargid=pla-824985323246&ref=&adgrpid=73789135410&th=1

    https://www.harborfreight.com/1-in-x-30-in-belt-sander-61728.html

    If you're repairing a chisel that got drivel into a nail you need a grinder and so on but I think for a kitchen the linked items would do nicely on their own.

  • BurtletoyBurtletoy Registered User regular
    If you go with the whetstone, they sell knife guides, which are just small triangles that force your knife into the correct degree, so you can maintain the same angle the knife came with from the factory. Like so

    Whetstone:

    https://www.chefknivestogo.com/imtwosi1kst.html

    Knife guide:

    https://www.chefknivestogo.com/ancuandgu.html

  • Capt HowdyCapt Howdy Registered User regular
    If you really love your kitchen knives, I'd recommend bringing them to a pro while honing your sharpening skills on lesser - less loved - blades. Better to let the pro handle the good steel until you know what you're doing. Plus you might get some tips from the pro!

    Steam: kaylesolo1
    3DS: 1521-4165-5907
    PS3: KayleSolo
    Live: Kayle Solo
    WiiU: KayleSolo
    ElvenshaeMichaelLCAkilaeStraygatsbyHahnsoo1
  • AkilaeAkilae Registered User regular
    One of the best knife sharpening advices I ever got: Leave it to a professional. No need to invest in gear you might lose interest/time in, they do good work, and you help keep a niche industry in business!

    NoneoftheaboveHahnsoo1
  • zagdrobzagdrob Registered User regular
    Ok, thanks everyone for the advice.

    I think this round I'm going to take my Wusthof Classic set to the professional place down the road and have them sharpened there. Just seems like the best bet to avoid messing them up until I'm more confident in my own abilities.

    I'm also going to buy that Worksharp set + upgrade kit that djmitchella recommended and give that a try on the old set the Wusthofs replaced and see how confident I feel once I've got some practice and its time to re-sharpen the good set down the line. If that doesn't work I'll take a look at some of the other options or just stick to the pros.

    Capt Howdydispatch.odjmitchellaNoneoftheabove
  • HefflingHeffling No Pic EverRegistered User regular
    The Monarch: Is that a Wusthof?

    21: Huh? Yeah. Yeah, looks like.

    The Monarch: Huh. Weird.

    Our fancy squatters have
    the same taste in cutlery as--

    [gasps]

    Phantom Li-i-i-i-i-mb!!

  • djmitchelladjmitchella Registered User regular
    I found it's pretty easy to use the Work Sharp set -- this video was really helpful for how I'm meant to hold things / where my fingers go / etc, and this one talks about how to use the leather strop from the upgrade kit.

  • SimpsoniaSimpsonia Registered User regular
    Akilae wrote: »
    One of the best knife sharpening advices I ever got: Leave it to a professional. No need to invest in gear you might lose interest/time in, they do good work, and you help keep a niche industry in business!

    I would disagree unless you vet the pro thoroughly and make sure they are using stones rather than a wheel or belt. Most knife sharpening "pros" are just guys who have a grinder and can put an edge on cheap commercial kitchen knives, and do it quickly. Nobody cares about removing too much steel from commercial kitchen knives because they are cheap tools that are treated as wear items that you replace. Most of those pros will take far too much steel off your beloved Wusthoffs. Even worse if your Wusthoff has a full bolster because that part doesn't get steel removed but the blade does leading to a point where your edge can't contact the cutting surface because the bolter is now taller than the edge. Side note: full bolsters are terrible.

    I'm of the opinion that the only way to truly care for your expensive knives is to learn to do it yourself. As was endorsed up-page, get yourself a reasonable 1k/6k combo water stones and watch a few youtube videos. Wusthoff steel (German steel in general) is pretty soft as far as knives go compared to Japanese steel. You should be able to raise a burr with the 1k within a minute with Wusthoffs. Now the truly hard Japanese steel with asymmetric bevels, those take a little more work.

    I have many Wusthoffs (mostly for boning and other utility knives) and a Japanese gyuto for my main chef's knife. Most of the time I don't even bother with the 6k stone with the German knives.

    This is a perfectly acceptable combo stone for a beginner. https://www.amazon.com/KING-KW65-Combination-Whetstone-Plastic/dp/B001DT1X9O/ref=sr_1_1?crid=1OB06VK4AM0CG&keywords=king+1k+6k&qid=1656017383&sprefix=king+1k,aps,98&sr=8-1

  • MegaMan001MegaMan001 CRNA Rochester, MNRegistered User regular
    I have that same setup and it works well

    I am in the business of saving lives.
  • zagdrobzagdrob Registered User regular
    When I take our knives to the sharpener down the road - it's like a five decade local institution that does vacuum cleaners and knives + repairs and sharpening. A friend worked there for a while.

    I'll talk / walk through their process before I drop my knives on them. I should also ask my chef friend if he has a professional sharpener reference.

  • That_GuyThat_Guy I don't wanna be that guy Registered User regular
    edited June 25
    I recommend the Lansky 4-Stone Deluxe Diamond System for easy at home sharpening. It comes with a guide so you can make an edge at your desired angle. I've used it on my pocket knife and kitchen knives and it does a great job. It came to my attention when recommended by ProjectFarm on Youtube after he tested a dozen or so different sharpening system.

    https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000B8L6LS

    That_Guy on
    steam_sig.png
  • DevoutlyApatheticDevoutlyApathetic Registered User regular
    That_Guy wrote: »
    I recommend the Lansky 4-Stone Deluxe Diamond System for easy at home sharpening. It comes with a guide so you can make an edge at your desired angle. I've used it on my pocket knife and kitchen knives and it does a great job. It came to my attention when recommended by ProjectFarm on Youtube after he tested a dozen or so different sharpening system.

    https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000B8L6LS

    I am incredulous that anything in that is capable of holding angles that it claims it does. The opening assumption that the back of the knife is square to the edge is highly questionable. That an extruded clamp is going to hold it repeatable and square is laughable. That those long thin rods won't flex/warp or are straight to begin with seems unlikely. The usage of something like 1/4" of aluminum to serve as the guide when those through holes aren't even in angle with the path of travel makes me cringe.

    I'd have way more faith in a whetstone with angle guides.

    Nod. Get treat. PSN: Quippish
  • Inquisitor77Inquisitor77 2 x Penny Arcade Fight Club Champion A fixed point in space and timeRegistered User regular
    That_Guy wrote: »
    I recommend the Lansky 4-Stone Deluxe Diamond System for easy at home sharpening. It comes with a guide so you can make an edge at your desired angle. I've used it on my pocket knife and kitchen knives and it does a great job. It came to my attention when recommended by ProjectFarm on Youtube after he tested a dozen or so different sharpening system.

    https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000B8L6LS

    I am incredulous that anything in that is capable of holding angles that it claims it does. The opening assumption that the back of the knife is square to the edge is highly questionable. That an extruded clamp is going to hold it repeatable and square is laughable. That those long thin rods won't flex/warp or are straight to begin with seems unlikely. The usage of something like 1/4" of aluminum to serve as the guide when those through holes aren't even in angle with the path of travel makes me cringe.

    I'd have way more faith in a whetstone with angle guides.

    So...freehand knife sharpening will never hold the same angle, either. Particularly if you're sharpening anything other than a straight edge. I'd also point out that, to be frank, the vast majority of people do not have the dexterity, patience, or practice to learn how to sharpen knives properly with whetstones.

    That Lansky is the equivalent of an Aeropress for knife sharpening - it is consistent, easy to use, relatively, and produces good enough quality to get the job done (and in many cases better quality than most non-professionals can ever hope to produce).

    I also feel compelled to point out that if you haven't actually used it, you might not want to comment on whether or not it holds up over time. Whetstones themselves require maintenance and can be ruined over time if not used, stored, and maintained properly.

  • DevoutlyApatheticDevoutlyApathetic Registered User regular
    My whole point is that there is no way that thing is consistent. They cheaped out on the build materials. At every point their design choices send my metal working instincts screaming into the woods. Hell, watch the video and watch the knives deflect all over the place when sharpened. Hand sharpening also varies but there are a few thousand years of techniques of how to handle that. There are definitely thousands of hours of youtube tutorials if you really want to go that way.

    That thing isn't an Aeropress. An Aeropress has two moving parts and you don't actually care much how they move as long as it is closer to each other.

    I also feel compelled to point out that if you haven't actually read my post, you might not want to comment on whether or not I mentioned durability. My complaints are focused on rigidity, which is the #1 concern in any kind of precision metal removal situation. I don't venture to guess how long that thing would last. Admittedly, with the quality I'd expect out of it, I don't know how you'd tell it wasn't working right.

    In the context of the initial question, "I bought some fancy knives and I want to care for them correctly" I maintain this is the worst solution I've seen on this page. I'd push for just farming the work out to a professional or a whetstone with some guides if you'd like a zen hobby a couple times a year.

    Nod. Get treat. PSN: Quippish
  • That_GuyThat_Guy I don't wanna be that guy Registered User regular
    I was very happy with the results I got from my Lansky. Sure it wasn't perfect but it was a darn sight better than I was getting with the cheap sharpening stone that came with my knife set. When you pick your angle it become pretty apparent if you are being consistent. Once you get a good rough edge ground in you'll feel the stone start to glide across the surface with more and more ease. I found the whole process to be a lot more consistent than my efforts with a whetstone.

    THe Lansky set is certainly not for simple honing and maintenance. But if you're edge is nicked all to hell, it's a good alternative to less measured options.

    steam_sig.png
  • BlazeFireBlazeFire Registered User regular
    I've had my Lansky for... 5? Years. I use it a few times a year to take care of our most often used kitchen knives. I never noticed any issue with rigidity or not holding the knives firmly. Seems good to me and for me.

    That's a really strong opinion for just looking at something.

    *shrug*

  • SimpsoniaSimpsonia Registered User regular
    That_Guy wrote: »

    THe Lansky set is certainly not for simple honing and maintenance. But if you're edge is nicked all to hell, it's a good alternative to less measured options.

    If you're nicking up your edge where you need grits below 1k on a regular basis, I'd say you're probably using your knives wrong (or are a professional butcher), and that blade definitely won't last the test of time.

Sign In or Register to comment.