The description below is for a method of knife sharpening known as ‘Wire Edge Sharpening’ using a water stone
Find a flat, stable surface to put your stones on. The choice of what grit to use depends on how much work needs to be done to the knife.
- Immerse the stone in water; you should see bubbles coming out of the stone.
- Once the stone has stopped bubbling, it’s ready to use.
- Begin sharpening the knife by laying its bevel flat on the stone’
- Draw the knife backwards and forwards on the stone with the blade facing away from you.
- Use slow firm movements.
- Check the bevel of the knife regularly; if the knife is polished above or below the shoulder you need to adjust the angle you are holding the knife.
- If the top of the stone gets dry, wet it down with a few drops of water.
- Using your nail, carefully feel the opposite side of the knife edge for a burr, or wire edge, along the whole length of the edge.
- Once a wire edge or “burr” has developed, repeat on the other side of the blade.
- Change to a finishing stone and use the same technique as on the coarse stone. This won’t produce as much of a burr.
As a final step, use a leather strop to buff and further hone the knife edge. The back of a leather belt will work (I bought one in a second hand shop for £1 that does the trick). Run the knife up and down the strop 20 or so times.
The knife should be able to cleanly slice down through a sheet of paper held in the air between finger and thumb.