How to sharpen a knife

By  

Investing in good quality knives is money well spent, but a dull knife is as good as no knife. Marc Bauer, master chef at the French Culinary Institute, shows you how to sharpen your knives properly.

How to sharpen a knife
  • A diamond stone, which is diamond powder against metal, is a great tool for sharpening knives as it creates good abrasion. 
  • When sharpening, keep the blade at a constant angle along the stone. Marc recommends a 20-30 degree angle. 
  • Using the stone and knife evenly, rub the blade from one point to an opposite point.
  • If you go twice on one side, then turn it around and go twice on the other.
  • Once the blade is sharpened, you want to remove metal particles on the blade by honing it a couple of times with steel. Like the diamond stone, you start on one side of the blade and go all the way down at the same angle. Then the very fine edge of blade will be straightened.
  • To test if it's sharp enough, cut a piece of paper.
Transcript

Hi, I'm Marc Bauer from the French Culinary Institute.  Today we are going to talk about sharpening knives.

Why sharpening? Because the blade gets dull very quickly especially if you use it over a cutting board.  The very edge of the knife cracks off somehow after multiple uses.  So you need to sharpen it.

There are many ways to sharpen it.  Here I have a diamond stone, it is diamond powder against metal for creating good abrasion against the blade. So, the idea is that you take the blade at the beginning and you want a 20-27 degree angle.  To get there, we all know that 90 degrees is straight against this blade, 45, and then half again is 22.

I always start from one edge of the sharpening stone and from one edge of the blade.  You start from a point of the knife to one side of the stone and rub it all the way through.  So you use the stone and knife evenly. 

Now, if you go twice on one side, then you turn it around and go twice on the other.  Remember 90 degree, 45, 22 or 20, whatever you want.  And I start one, two, and so on until your blade is nice and sharp. 

Once you sharpened your blade you want to remove metal particles on the blade and hone it a couple of times. Similarly to stone, you start on one side of the blade and go all the way down making full use of the honing steel and you see you do the same 20 to 30 degree angle. What it will do is the very fine edge of blade will be straightened.

Is it sharp enough? Take a piece of paper and if it cuts nicely like this, no problem.

meet theexpert
  • Marc Bauer

    Marc Bauer Master Chef, French Culinary Institute Marc Bauer is a Master Chef and Roundsman at the renowned French Culinary Institute and its popular L'Ecole Restaurant in New York City. more about this expert »

in the kitchenBasics

recipefinder