Have you ever tried slicing meat with a dull knife? If so, you probably know how frustrating it can be. It not only ruins your cooking experience but also can be highly dangerous at times.
So are we supposed to buy a new knife every time? Of course not. Like every other problem, we have a solution for this one too. But what is that? You guessed it, whetstones!
Whetstones are fantastic tools to sharpen your knife for a smooth kitchen experience. But, most of us don’t know how to use a whetstone. It could be because many of us find it intimidating, or we are just lazy to do it. So, we go on with our dull knife wrestling with a piece of meat. But we are here to help you put your days fighting with blunt knives behind you.
How to Use A Whetstone
For a pleasant cooking time, a sharp knife is a must-have, among other things. And what better way to sharpen your knife than using a whetstone?
However, this can be a labor-intensive process and takes time to master. But with the right tricks and tips, you can become a pro in no time. Say bye-bye to your blunt knives and learn how to use a whetstone.
1. Prep Your Stone
This is an optional step but can be useful for beginners. Before working on your knife, you can soak your whetstone in water for at least 10-15 minutes. Most people keep it submerged for one whole day. But the soak time entirely depends on you.
Soaking the stone helps to reduce the heat produced by the friction. So, if you keep your stone lubed, it will surely provide you convenience while working.
2. Secure the Whetstone
The next step is critical, and you should never skip it. You don’t want to keep your whetstone on a regular surface and start grinding. It is a huge mistake made by many beginners. It is vital to make sure that your tool stays in place while you’re working on it.
You can place the stone on a towel or a rubberized shelf liner to secure your tool on the countertop. Some whetstone comes with stands or holders that ensure the stone stays in place.
A typical whetstone comes with two sides. One side consists of the coarse grain that helps to grind your cutleries. And the other side contains refined grains that are useful for smoothing and refining the knife. However, the first step is to put the stone with the coarse side up.
3. Placing the Knife
The proper placement of your knife is essential. Place your cutter at a 15-20 degree angle with the sharp side of the blade facing away from your finger. It is crucial to maintain the same position throughout the whole procedure.
However, the angle might differ depending on your knife type. For instance, you have to maintain a 15-degree angle for Asian knives but 20 degrees for other classes. So, it is important to know your knife type and the pitch.
After you have mastered the proper angle, the next step is pretty straightforward. Place your hand on the flat part of the blade. Keep an eye on your fingers and keep them straight and away from the edge. Now all you have to do is drag your knife back and forth, maintaining maximum contact with the whetstone.
Try to draw the knife against the stone from tip to hilt several times. However, never push the knife with forceful pressure. You should always maintain an even and light pressure on the blade for the best results. You don’t want your knife sharp towards the end but dull at the tip.
Moreover, for a smoother experience, you can also keep adding water from time to time. The wet surface helps you to maintain even pressure giving the best outcome.
5. Repeat on the Other Side
No one wants a knife sharpened only one side only. It is the same as having a blunt knife. So, repeat the same procedure on the other side as well. However, remember not to sharpen one side more than the other. Try to maintain the same pressure and evenness on both sides for the best results.
6. Check the Sharpness
After you have finished grinding, you should consider checking the sharpness before wrapping up. To see if the knife is sharp enough, run your finger on the edge of the blade perpendicularly. It is essential to position your fingers perpendicularly because otherwise, you might cut your finger.
Common mistakes that beginners Make
You got yourself a brand new whetstone, watched multiple videos, and read many articles to learn how to use it. You think you are ready to end your blunt knife days. But, as soon as you finish working, you realize that the knife is still not sharp.
Why did that happen? Well, the question is pretty easy to answer. Just learning how to use it is not enough. You need to be careful about not making mistakes that can make your blade worse than before.
So, here are some common mistakes that people make on their first try. We will also share some tricks that will help you to have a screamingly sharp edge.
i. Inconsistent Angle
Mastering consistency can be challenging for a beginner because you don’t have the muscle memory to realize if your angle is right or wrong. So, it is quite understandable that you might remove too much or too little metal from your blade and make it even worse.
So, what can you do to maintain the right angle? Use a sharpy. Take the sharpy and draw a line on the edge of the blade. Now, as you are sharpening, you can easily understand how deep you should go. Use nail polish remover or acetone to remove the mark from the blade afterward.
ii. Inconsistent Pressure
If you are new to this, it will be hard for you to understand how much pressure is the right amount. So, for this next trick, you will need a weighing scale.
Bladesmith professionals suggest that you should be applying 8 lbs of pressure on a very dull knife. But how will you know how much pressure is 8 lbs? This is where your weighing scale comes in handy.
Take the scale and put down the knife, and press on it. Put pressure until you reach 8 lbs on the machine. Now you will have the muscle memory to understand how much pressure you should be putting in.
iii. Choosing the Wrong Whetstone
Whetstones come with low, medium, and high gritstone. Depending on your knife, you should choose the right grit. If the blade is exceptionally dull, you should start on a low grit.
However, for knives that aren’t to
o blunt but need a little sharpening, go for the medium grit. But, for a fairly sharp blade that needs a simple touch-up, use the high gritstone.
There you have it. Now you know how to use a whetstone. So, what are you waiting for? Get your whetstone and start practicing. We firmly believe you will be a pro in no time following these steps.