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Equipment and Materials
Optional Equipment and Materials
Different Kinds of Waterstones
A very coarse stone, 220 grit or so, will remove a lot of material quickly. This is useful for repairing chips or setting a new bevel angle on a blade.
A medium grit stone, typically 1000 to 1500, is usually the first stone you'll use if the knife is very dull, but not damaged. The finer grit removes enough material to restore the cutting edge, but not so much material that you'll grind the blade down quickly.
A fine stone, typically 4000 grit, is used for polishing a cutting edge until it's very sharp. This is usually as fine as you'll want to polish a knife because it strikes a very good balance between sharp and durable.
A very fine stone is between 6000 and 8000 grit. This stone can be used to polish the blade to a mirror-like finish and hone the cutting edge to razor sharp. Such an edge is ideal for a slicing knife for delicate ingredients like seafood, but a cutting edge this fine will dull faster with use.
If you don't have a set of basic waterstones, we can recommend the norton set used in the videos.
Working with Waterstones
Always saturate waterstones by submerging them in water for several minutes before use.
Keep the surface wet while sharpening a knife on them.
Allowing some mud to build up on the wet surface is okay; it acts as an abrasive that helps grind the edge of your knife.
Sharpening Demonstration, Part 1
Grant demonstrates how to take a knife with a factory sharpened edge and sharpen its edge to suit his preference.
If you're inexperienced with sharpening your own knives using waterstones, be patient and focus on holding a consistent angle as you grind away material.
Sharpening Demonstration, Part 2
Grant demonstrates the finishing steps to putting a razor sharp edge on his knife.
Notice that he uses very light pressure when polishing the edge on the fine-grit stones.
Honing is frequently confused with sharpening, but it does something entirely different. Sharpening involves remove material from the blade itself, whereas honing simply straightens the cutting edge of a knife.
This is necessary because the cutting edge of a knife tends to fold over on itself with use, which makes it dull. But with honing, you can keep an otherwise sharp knife working well for a long time before it's necessary to grind away material and reset the blade's cutting edge.
If you watched experienced chefs, or any one who work with knives every day like a butcher, you'll notice that they are frequently steeling their knives to keep them cutting well.
A long steel makes the process easier for large knives. Best practice is to use long strokes over the entire surface of the knife.