Even the best kitchen knives require sharpening from time to time. Repeated use wears the knife’s blade and makes for a dull, difficult surface. Dull knives can be hazardous in the kitchen and are more likely to lead to accidents than a sharp one.

There are several tools and gadgets available to make knife sharpening quick, safe, and easy. The following tools are generally recommended for straight-edged kitchen knives. It is generally best to have serrated knives sharpened professionally.

Sharpening Stone

A whetstone or sharpening stone is one of the simplest and oldest tools that can be used to sharpen kitchen knives. It is also able to sharpen scissors or razors. Whetstones work by removing a very fine layer of the knife’s surface and making the blade sharp once again. Many whetstones have one coarser side and one finer side—ideal for sharpening kitchen knives. The stone can be used wet or dry. First, place the stone flat against a stable surface. Then place the knife’s blade at a 10 to 25 degree angle to the coarse side of the stone. Pull the blade across the stone. Turn the sharpening stone over so that the finer side is up and repeat the process.

Sharpening Steel

A sharpening steel is another tool that can be used to sharpen kitchen knives. Many are designed to be narrow and thin enough to fit in a standard knife block on the kitchen counter. To use a sharpening steel, hold it point down with the tip resting on a stable surface. Hold the knife sideways across the sharpening steel with the top of the blade (the part nearest to the handle) resting against the sharpening steel. Hold the blade at a 22 degree angle to the sharpening steel and slide it along the length of the sharpening steel. Repeat this ten times. Next, switch to the other side of the blade, and repeat ten more times.

Knife Sharpener

Many manual and electric kitchen knife sharpeners are available in kitchen and house wares stores. While each operates slightly differently, the process generally involves sliding the blade of the knife across a sharpening surface. The surface can be made of many different materials such as ceramic sharpening stones or tungsten carbide blades. High quality knife sharpeners can be very convenient as they are often equipped with safety precautions and grips to make the process easier. Following the instructions closely ensures that knives will be ready for use once again. With the right sharpener, kitchen knives can always be sharp and ready to take on anything in the kitchen.

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