How to Sharpen a Knife With a Stone

Updated on August 1, 2019
dredcuan profile image

Working on a cruise line has allowed me to travel all over the world. My experiences have given me a different view on life.

how to sharpen a knife with a stone
how to sharpen a knife with a stone | Source

The knife is one of the most important kitchen tools, but it is important that it be kept sharp in order to do its job effectively. The best way to keep your knife sharp is to use a specialized sharpening stone.

Chefs have different opinions, however, about the best methods for using a stone. There are different schools of thought about whether the knife blade should be run over a stone from heel to tip or vice versa. There are also different opinions about whether to use any lubricant or water during the process. However, most people agree that the stroke direction must be consistent to achieve a well-honed blade.

towel, knife, and sharpening stone
towel, knife, and sharpening stone | Source

What You Need

  • Knife: Considered to be one of the most important tools in the kitchen, it is important to keep it sharp. Many chefs believe that dull knives lead to more accidents than sharpened knives.
  • Sharpening Stone: Used to sharpen the blade of a knife. A sharpening stone has two sides: the rough or coarse side for the initial procedure and the smoother or fine side for the finishing touches.
  • Towel: It is important to lay a piece of cloth underneath the stone to prevent it from slipping during the procedure.

How to Sharpen a Knife With a Stone?

knife sharpening
knife sharpening | Source

1. Lay down the towel on a flat surface.

2. Place the sharpening stone vertically on top of the towel, rough side facing up.

3. Position the heel of the knife at a 20-degree angle on the top left of the sharpening stone.

4. Hold the knife across the tip.

how to sharpen a knife with a stone easily
how to sharpen a knife with a stone easily | Source

5. Drag the knife all the way down until the tip reaches the right bottom part of the stone.

how to sharpen a knife with a stone for beginners
how to sharpen a knife with a stone for beginners | Source

6. Turn the knife over to sharpen the other side of the blade.

7. This time, start from the tip. Then run the entire edge going back to its original position: at the left top part of the stone.

sharpening knife
sharpening knife | Source

8. Repeat this procedure a couple of times to achieve a sharp blade.

Click thumbnail to view full-size

9. After making a couple of strokes, turn over the stone. Follow the same procedure, this time using the more finely grained side of the stone.

Knife Sharpening Techniques

  1. Use a damp cloth or rubber mat to prevent the sharpening stone from slipping.
  2. Lubricate the stone with oil or water if needed.
  3. Apply enough pressure onto the knife while letting it run over the surface of the stone.
  4. Move the knife blade away from you at all times.
  5. Make equal numbers of strokes on each side of the blade.
  6. Start sharpening the blade using the coarse side. Then finish with the fine side.
  7. Wash the knife before using to remove all debris.

Sharpening Knife Step-by-Step Procedure

Other Sharpening Tools

  • Steels: Steel rods are used to realign the blade edge during normal use. Steels are not intended to replace sharpening stone; their function is to maintain the quality of the knife blade.
  • Electric Knife Sharpeners: These gadgets are made with an abrasive surface, such as belts or wheels. They typically operate at a high speed that will grind away too much of the blade, which may result in serious damage. These sharpeners will shorten the useful life of a knife.

Questions & Answers

    © 2018 Dred Cuan


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      • dredcuan profile imageAUTHOR

        Dred Cuan 

        11 months ago from California

        Hi Poppy,

        I agree with you. It's more dangerous to work with dull knife as compared to sharp knife because when using the former, the tendecy is to slip the food away from it.

      • poppyr profile image


        11 months ago from Tokyo, Japan

        This is a good step-by-step guide on using a whetstone to sharpen your knives.

        When I was in my final year of university, I worked in a shop that sold kitchen equipment, primarily cutlery and chef knives. We sold whetstones too but emphasized that they were only needed for the higher-quality knives.

        It is easy for people to forget to sharpen their knives which is obviously dangerous for cutting up vegetables and the like.

      • dredcuan profile imageAUTHOR

        Dred Cuan 

        11 months ago from California

        Hello Eric,

        So you played the knife against a board just like when playing darts huh? That's so interesting way to kill time and to enjoy as well for sure!

      • Ericdierker profile image

        Eric Dierker 

        11 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

        I just did a Chef's knife with a stone we got on a hike and we use spit for the lubricant.

        Absolutely a dull knife is a dangerous one.

        Oh on the by and by, we played knife throwing against a board last night. The Boy is getting weight and rotation.

      • dredcuan profile imageAUTHOR

        Dred Cuan 

        11 months ago from California

        Hello Eric,

        I see people sharpening their knives differently. However, even if it's a different procedure, what is important is you shapen the knife regularly in a safe manner. What I like with this procedure is that I am using all parts of the stone to maintain the quality or level of the surface over time.

      • dredcuan profile imageAUTHOR

        Dred Cuan 

        11 months ago from California

        Hi Mary,

        The first time I used a stone is when I started my cooking profession. I still remember that we still need to pay somebody to maintain the sharpness of our knives.

      • Ericdierker profile image

        Eric Dierker 

        11 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

        Interesting. I use the stone. A little different procedure though.

      • aesta1 profile image

        Mary Norton 

        11 months ago from Ontario, Canada

        We have a stone sharpener and my husband has been using it. I have to learn how to do this and your pictures clearly show how.


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