Sharpening kitchen knives

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Forum topic by richgreer posted 10-02-2010 11:28 PM 2059 views 0 times favorited 17 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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4541 posts in 2499 days

10-02-2010 11:28 PM

I bragged to my wife that I could sharpen her kitchen knives very well in my shop. Now the truth is that I am not exactly sure how to do that. I have a conventional grinder with 60 and 100 grit wheels, a worksharp 3000 with disks that go to 400 grit and a couple of water stones (1000 and 6000 grit).

Does anyone have advice on the best way to sharpen kitchen knives with this equipment?

FYI – My wife has some relatively expensive German made knives and I really don’t want to damage them.

-- Rich, Cedar Rapids, IA - I'm a woodworker. I don't create beauty, I reveal it.

17 replies so far

View docholladay's profile


1287 posts in 2483 days

#1 posted 10-02-2010 11:40 PM


I was playing around on YouTube a while back and found numerous videos on just that sort of thing. Go to YouTube and search knife sharpening and you will find all kinds of tips and tricks.


-- Hey, woodworking ain't brain surgery. Just do something and keep trying till you get it. Doc

View Dennisgrosen's profile


10850 posts in 2539 days

#2 posted 10-03-2010 12:01 AM

as you know the lowe grits is only if she has som nasty nicks in one of them
1000 maybee 2000 grit shuold be enoff and the angle about 15 degree
and don´t make a shinny nice edge as we do on plane iron and cheisels
by getting rit of the skegg on the backside
you need the tip of the edge to be a little ruogh when you look at it ….(a burr)
under a magnifiring glass , this help to cut thrugh the meat
but the most importen is to hold a steady angle from the tip of the blade
and the hole way back to the end in one stroke

and like the skill of sharpening plane and scheisels has to be pratice many time
before its perfect then you will discover its the same here

so my advice to you is by a flat diamont stone and a old kitchenknife to pratich on
a few times before you try with your wife expensive knifes

good luck with it Rich


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3902 posts in 3122 days

#3 posted 10-03-2010 12:40 AM

I use my belt sander works fine for me

View closetguy's profile


744 posts in 3316 days

#4 posted 10-03-2010 02:11 AM

I also have an expensive set of cutlery and I use a ceramic, “V” shaped knife sharpener I bought at Lowes. I sharpen all my other knives and blades in my shop, but I wouldn’t want to take a chance scratching my expensive kitchen knives. My little hand held sharpener is quick, easy, and puts a good edge on my J.A. Henckels knives with just a few strokes. I think this sharpener was less than $10.

-- I don't make mistakes, only design

View Sawdust4Blood's profile


392 posts in 2446 days

#5 posted 10-03-2010 02:42 AM

Sounds like the easiest thing to do would be to get the leather honing kit ($30) for your Worksharp. If they are good German knives in good condition, likely all they really need is honing and it’s less likely you’ll inadvertently damage them.

-- Greg, Severn MD

View Gofor's profile


470 posts in 3211 days

#6 posted 10-03-2010 02:57 AM

I use a hand DMT diamond sharpener (blue-medium side to get the blunt edge off and then the red-fine to smooth) followed by buffing with chromium oxide on a felt wheel on my wife’s Henckels..

For the fine German steel with what you have, I would go with the worksharp with about 220 grit to get the blunt edge off. Go to 600 to fine the edge if you do not have a buffing wheel that you can load with green compound (chromium oxide). Or just drag it over the sharpening steel if you have one.

Kitchen knives do not have to be super smooth. A bit of tooth will actually make them cut better. A smooth polished edge will actually cause the blade to friction drag when cutting tight things like cheese or cold lard fat, or not penetrate thick skinned vegetables like melons or tomatoes.

If you want to get really anal about it, for slicing knives the first bevel should be 7 degrees, and the final at 15. You should only need the 15 unless there are some serious nicks in them. Cleavers, choppers should be like a chisel (about 30 degrees). If chopping through bones or frozen meat, closer to 40 or 45 degrees on the secondary bevel will keep the edge longer. A paring knife should be like a chisel, flat on one side and beveled on the other. It can be made for right or left hand.



-- Go

View FredG's profile


140 posts in 3121 days

#7 posted 10-03-2010 03:18 AM

View canadianchips's profile


2310 posts in 2421 days

#8 posted 10-03-2010 05:10 AM

I use a sharpening steel. Unless you have a nick in the blade, no need to use grinders.

-- "My mission in life - make everyone smile !"

View JohnDennis's profile


14 posts in 2368 days

#9 posted 10-03-2010 05:26 AM

Well, you can’t really ruin a knife when sharpening—it can still be worked on even after a mistake or two. Forget anything less than 800 unless you have to remove material from nicks and chips. For European knives the bevel is usually 20 degrees. Japanese ie Global knives are 10 to 15 degrees (which stay sharper longer by the way.) Wet stones are the way to go. It really boils down to the intended use of each knife as far as grit. For processing beef etc I like my cleaver at a 35 to 40 degree edge sharpened with no more than 800. My Santuku is 20 degree and worked on 1000, 1500 then 3000 grit for paper thin cuts. Paring knife gets the same treatment. M y go to 10 inch is sharpened to 1500and the Boning/filet knife to 1000 flat on one side and beveled on the other just like a chisel—this way the skin and flesh are separated without cutting or binding on the skin and take note lefty vs righty the bevel is on top so adjust accordingly.

But, most of all—a honing steel is a must and it has to be used every time you pick up a knife to straighten the bur. Also, stay away from any cutting boards other than plastic or wood. Remember that the harder the cutting surface the quicker it will bend the edge of the blade. Most people think the knife is dull when really just the bur needs honing/straightening.

Oh yes, my knives are bloody sharp and yes… I’ve had stitches—Comes with the territory same as burns.

-- John D

View Dark_Lightning's profile


2620 posts in 2533 days

#10 posted 10-03-2010 05:34 AM

Personally, I’ve used stones in the past, but by far the fastest way to a wife-pleasing edge is with my diamond sharpeners. Just a few strokes and I’m done with it. That includes knives sharp enough to cut tomatoes.

However, your Worksharp 3000 ought to be entirely sufficient to the task, really. As far as the angle goes, I’d rely on the measurement of the current knives and replicate that. In reality, the angle can vary a fair amount based on what you are cutting.

-- Random Orbital Nailer

View tdv's profile


1139 posts in 2494 days

#11 posted 10-03-2010 12:20 PM

I used to be a chef & have a good collection of german & swss knives. I always sharpen my own knives I like to sit my crooked forefinger of my left hand on the toolrest of the grinder & stand the back of the knife on this, then using my thumb as a guide on the side of the blade slowly draw the knife from left to right across the revolving wheel & then reverse to do the other side it IS safe & the contact between the bade back & side gives you a good feel for what’s going on. I then give them a rub freehand on a 1000 grit water stone you can with a bit of practice get them sharp enough to slice paper I personally don’t like to leave a burr I know it helps if your slicing tomatoes (ha! ha!)but those little raggy edges of stainless steel come off & I wouldn’t like them in my food however small. I maintain an edge usin a diamond steel & every time I pick up my knife I use the steel the edge lasts for ages between regrinds & some of my knives go back to 1967 & still going strong

-- God created wood that we may create. Trevor East Yorkshire UK

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Jim Bertelson

3945 posts in 2589 days

#12 posted 10-04-2010 12:17 AM

I decided I needed an easy, always available, quality solution for sharpening my very good German knives. So I had Sherie give me a Chef’s Choice 3 wheel sharpener. Now I can sharpen a knife in under a minute, unless it has a nick and then it take longer. My sharpener sits on the pantry counter adjacent to the kitchen, along with a lot of other appliances. I also made a cover for it, which I will post as a blog entry today.


-- Jim, Anchorage Alaska

View Jim Bertelson's profile

Jim Bertelson

3945 posts in 2589 days

#13 posted 10-04-2010 01:28 AM

Got that blog post done…......

Have a good one,


-- Jim, Anchorage Alaska

View Mogebier's profile


170 posts in 2457 days

#14 posted 10-04-2010 02:31 AM

For my cheapo knives, I sharpen them myself with a little crappy pull-through sharpener. For my expensive ones, I take them to a guy who has a little trailer he drives around town. The man is as old as time itself, but a master at sharpening.

-- You can get more with a kind word and a 2 by 4, than you can with just a kind word.

View richgreer's profile


4541 posts in 2499 days

#15 posted 10-04-2010 02:39 AM

As always, you guys provided some great advice. Thanks to all.

-- Rich, Cedar Rapids, IA - I'm a woodworker. I don't create beauty, I reveal it.

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