What is a whetstone?
Yes, you can pass your knives through an electric sharpener or a pull model, but it will never be the same as sharpening it by hand. The main tool you need, in addition to the knife, is a sharpening stone. What is a whetstone? It is a rectangular block that you scrape at an angle to help refine and straighten a blade. It basically acts like sandpaper when you slide your knife over it. I have also just realized that “sharpening” does not mean wet but means “sharpening”. Go figure.
How to use a whetstone
To use a whetstone, it must be… damp. Immerse it in water until no bubbles escape, about 5-10 minutes. A 20 degree angle is the perfect height at which to grind your knife. Since eye angles haven’t been something you’ve probably done since high school geometry, stacking a few cents helps you know how high to hold the knife. Then just scrape it off. Slowly slide the knife (on both sides) against the whetstone. The stones usually have a coarse side and a thin side, so if you really go into town with a dull knife, start by being coarse and then go to end.
Take an inventory of the knives you have in your kitchen. Any knife, except a serrated knife, can be sharpened with a whetstone. You will enter the groove of running the knives along the stone and it will become an almost meditative act. Like a Buddhist monk who tends to a Zen garden, you focus on the shots and the angle and your muscles will remember how to operate the knife properly. That way, even if you start ordering takeaways again every night and never cook again, you will at least have extremely sharp knives.
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