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You've probably seen it in the movies—a chef brushing his knife against another, the metal clanging against each other to sharpen them. It looks like it's something a lot of chefs do in the kitchen, and you might be wondering if it is possible to sharpen a knife using another knife. We've found the answer to this question for you!
While it does look good on screen, sharpening a knife with another knife is an absolute no. Sharpening knives requires using a significantly harder material than the knife blade itself. Attempting to sharpen a knife using another knife can dull the blade or cause nicks to your knife.
A knife is a useful and important item to have at home, and having a dull knife is practically useless. Now that we've covered that sharpening a knife with another is not a good idea, we're going to show you how you can keep your knives razor-sharp. Keep on reading to learn more about sharpening your knives at home.
Can You Sharpen A Knife With Another Knife?
For people who are in the culinary world, knives are an integral part of cooking. It is a tool that every good cook needs to have for preparing roughly chopped herbs to paper-thin sashimi slices. In the kitchen, a sharp knife is as important as the best cookware.
A lot of people may have watched a movie and have seen the chef sliding their knife against another knife. Many thought that it was possible to sharpen their knives this way, but the truth is you should not do this. You cannot sharpen a knife using another knife because doing so will simply dull the blade even further.
When we see people sliding their knives against metal, this is a different process, what we call honing. To hone a knife means that you are realigning the edge of your knife to allow for smoother and safer cuts.
A honing steel is used to keep a knife's blade straight and sharp, and the process is pretty easy to do:
- Holding the honing steel vertically, slide the knife blade on the steel at a 15° angle using a left to right motion.
- Make sure to let the steel touch the entire blade at every pass.
- It should be done on both sides multiple times.
You will know if you've honed your knife properly by testing it and seeing if it cuts more easily than before. Otherwise, redo the process or consider sharpening your knife.
Sharpening a knife is a different process altogether, and it requires a bit of knowledge, skill, and special tools to do it properly. When a knife is sharpened, steel is removed from the knife to create a whole new edge completely.
You shouldn't have to sharpen the knife more than one or two times a year. Too much sharpening will wear down the blade too quickly.
How To Sharpen A Knife
There are different ways to sharpen a knife. These methods work well at sharpening your knives, so the choice ultimately lies in what you find more comfortable doing.
An easy, straightforward way to sharpen knives at home is by using a knife sharpener. They come with a few notches for coarse and fine grits. Here is a quick how-to guide on how to use a knife sharpener.
Sharpening with a knife sharpener
- With one hand, hold the knife sharpener steadily on a towel or rubber mat to prevent it from slipping.
- Slowly drag your knife blade through the coarse grit notch using light pressure, pulling it in towards you. Do this alternately on the other side of the blade.
- Repeat the process about 10-12 times, depending on how dull your knife blade is.
- Polish the knife blade by dragging it through the fine grit slot one or two times to finish sharpening your knife.
Another way to sharpen a knife is by using a whetstone to keep your blades razor-sharp. Knifesmiths typically use this method for sharpening knife blades because it offers them more control and precision to their blades. Using a whetstone is similar to using a knife sharpener, but it might be a bit more complicated.
Using a whetstone
- Place a towel or mat to prevent the whetstone from slipping when in use.
- Check your whetstone if it needs to be soaked or rubbed with oil before use. If it needs soaking, submerge the whetstone in water for about 5 to 10 minutes until it is completely saturated and no bubbles are coming out.
- Flip your whetstone coarse side up on your towel or mat.
- Hold your knife at a 20° angle against the whetstone, with the blade facing away from you. Use one hand to secure the handle and the other placed flat against the flat side of the knife.
- Using light pressure, drag the knife towards yourself while maintaining the correct angle. Make sure to touch the entire blade against the surface until the tip runs off the whetstone. Do this a few times, depending on how dull your knife is.
- Repeat the process on the other side of the knife blade. Remember to rub some water on the whetstone if it looks like it is starting to dry out.
- Flip over the whetstone to the fine side and repeat the same process.
- If you find that your knife is still dull, repeat the process from the start. Dry out your whetstone after use and store it properly.
What Household Items Can You Use To Sharpen A Knife?
Sometimes we need to sharpen our knives, but there are no knife sharpeners or whetstones available nearby. While true knife sharpening can only be achieved by using those tools, there are alternatives that will help make cutting easier for your knives. Here are some items you can use to hone or strop your knife's edge.
Using the underside of your ceramic mug or coffee cup, run the knife blade across the ceramic until you get your desired edge. You should be able to see some discoloration on the mug because the ceramic is removing steel and sharpening the blade of your knife.
Alternatively, you can also use an unglazed ceramic tile to do the same job.
If you are pretty far out with limited resources and you find that you need to sharpen your knives, another alternative is to use smooth river rock or a brick. Similar to sharpening knives with a whetstone, submerge in water and make sure that the surface of your river rock or brick is wet when you sharpen your knives on it.
In a quick pinch, you can make a DIY whetstone by using sandpaper to sharpen a knife. Using a piece of scrap wood blocks, secure a piece of fine-grit sandpaper on it and use the same pulling method to sharpen your knife. If you'd like to practice first, you can start with coarse-grit sandpaper and work your way up to a finer one to polish it.
If you don't have sandpaper, you can also use a nail file or an emery board to get the same results.
How Do I Keep My Knives Sharp?
Now that we've sharpened and honed our knives properly, we must keep the blades razor-sharp as much as possible. This will prevent unnecessary sharpening that can further wear down the edge of the knife.
Cut on the right surface
The surfaces on which the knife blade meets also affect the condition of your knife. Avoid using the knife and cutting on hard or metal surfaces like stainless steel, aluminum, or granite. Doing so creates nicks and chips the blade, making it dull.
Don't throw them in the dishwasher
While using the dishwasher is definitely easy and practical for most people, throwing your knives in it for a wash is a surefire way to dull the blades. Take the time to wash them by hand because not only will your knives get cleaned better, but it will help retain the sharper edge for a longer period of time.
Store knives properly
One mistake a lot of people do is keeping their knives with kitchen utensils. Take care of your knives by dedicating a storage space to store them, or use a magnetic block or knife block to hold them together.
A knife should always be sharp, but it should never be sharpened using another knife. There are many ways to keep the edge razor-sharp, and with these sharpening methods, you should be able to keep a good quality knife that will always be safe to use.
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