How To Sharpen a Knife

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Taking part in the Kitchen Cure? This would be a great week to learn how to sharpen your knives, especially given all the cooking you’ll be doing in the final three weeks. Even if you’re not one of the 800-plus Cure-takers, my guess is your knives haven’t been sharpened lately, if ever.

You’ll need a sharpening stone (or bench stone) for sharpening and a sharpening steel (or rod) for honing. For stones, I like one with a diamond edge, but it’s not necessary for sharpening success, and non-diamond stones will only set you back less than $10. For the steel, they are usually included in knife sets, or pick one up for less than $20 at most cook’s supplies.

Get the Step-by-Step Instructions: Sharpen your knives.

A note on frequency: Professionals sharpen their knives a lot more often than home cooks. I cook at home often, probably using my chef’s knife at least four times a week, so that is a knife I sharpen on a stone about four times a year. I hone it on the steel almost every time. Once you work with a properly sharpened knife, you’ll know when it needs to be sharpened again. Honing re-aligns the blade, whereas sharpening on a stone actually scrapes off a little of it, so obviously you want to hone more often than sharpen.

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

Pick up this inexpensive sharpening steel (, $6.74) and Smith’s Diamond Sharpening Stone (Amazon, $24.86) or this budget-friendly 12-inch sharpening stone (Restaurant Source, $2.89)


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