Whats the difference when sharpening a knife with these items?

Whats the difference when sharpening a knife with these items?

Knife sharpening is the process of making a knife or similar tool sharp by grinding against a hard, rough surface, typically stone, or a soft surface with hard particles, such as sandpaper. Additionally, a leather razor strop, or strop, is often used to straighten and polish an edge.

Handheld sharpener

Handheld sharpener

Whetstone Handheld sharpener 

Finishing sharpening with the special whetstone made by Takeda a Japanese knifemaker and blacksmith. This waterstone is thought to be handheld and moved during sharpening, while the knife rests on a boerd. The amount of control of the angle during sharpening is very good. Please note that the wooden part proruding from the stone is not the handle, it is only for safety reason.
Whetstone Handheld sharpener 

Carbon steel honing rod (the ones i see professional chefs using)

Carbon steel honing rod

I want to buy a good sharpener, but not sure which is better or if there really is a difference.

Best answer:

honing rods don't sharpen, they just hone the edge

handheld sharpeners are faster, easier, but not as accurate

whetstones give you the cleanest/sharpest edge, but take skill to use properly.

Another idea for you

For each use you can use a Honing "steel", steel being in parenthesis because many are ceramic.

The best way to think of the knife edge is as a microscopic version of saw blade. The Honing Steel re-aligns small variations in the teeth.

Larger knicks or damage need to be worked out with a more aggressive stone.

The pull through knife sharpeners give a decent edge, but are set to a particular angle. So if your knife, scissors or anything else it's supposed to sharpen don't have that blade angle it cuts a lot of material from your knife and the edge doesn't last as long.

The best solution to sharpening is to use a sharpening block. These can be rough diamond stones, arkansas stones, oil stones or water stones. If the knife is in bad shape you may need to use a lower grit stone, like a diamond stone, to start. It's important when you run the knife down the stone to keep the same angle as the blade. Once you get to a medium stone you can go with oil-stones, like Arkansas, or diamond and water stones. I love water stones and feel they give the best edge overall. As with all the stones you can get dual stones to hold down cost. I personally have oil stones, diamond stones starting at 80 grit, and water stones from 400 to 8000. When you rub a knife or chisel against an 8000 grit water stone you end up with a mirror finish.

For a basic set I would by a Honing Steel, a coarse diamond stone, and an 400/800 combination water stone. This will give you great results.

The other part of the equation is choosing materials when buying knives. My favorite kitchen knifes are made of High Carbon Steel. They resist the discoloration of Carbon Steel knives, but are easy to keep a razor sharp edge on.

Stainless steel knives are cheaper, hold an initial edge longer, but are harder to sharpen and keep in great shape.

Read more: Which one better, Stainless steel Knife or Carbon Steel Knife?

Stay away from knive that claim to be sharp forever. These usually are stainless steel with micro -serrations. They work great at first, but when they start to become dull they can't be sharpened back to original condition.

The other choice is ceramic. These knives keep their edge forever, but are expensive and price themselves out of many peoples budget.

Lastly, don't think the knife you buy is as sharp as it can get. When I buy a new knife I always test it, then sharpen it. After sharpening everyone has performed better than when shipped.

Read more:

Knife Sharpening Tricks

Best Knife Sharpener Guide

Knife sharpening


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