Tell me how to sharpen kitchen knives and what I need

It’s a choice, and you’re right, which is why they shouldn’t call it a honing rod. A honing rod should be of a steel equivalent in hardness to your knife. BUT, I like ceramic rods BECAUSE they also sharpen a little bit, so I can hone or touch up the edge as needed.

Knifewear is a small Canadian retail shop that sells Japanese knifes. They have some very good YouTube videos on sharpening and general care if anyone is interested. I splurged and bought a handcrafted knife. I have sharpening stuff at home for my knifes but I bring in the fancy one for them to sharpen ($10).

Supposedly King makes very good stones.

Get a 1000 stone and I guess maybe a 4000. I only ever used the 800 a few times to remove chips. Ok so the thing about sharpening is there’s many ways to arrive at the same goal. I watched so many youtube videos I ended up confused.

Almost everyone will mention the correct angle. use coins to measure if you must so you can have a gauge

As to how much pressure, you can use your cooking scale to measure. People seem to prefer 2-4 lbs. Don’t take it as gospel I’m sure you will find what is comfortable.

One thing I will warn you is I have cut my fingers before. I don’t think it’s from pressing on the edge - i think it’s the particles picked up while sharpening that rest on the knife. I wore kevlar gloves for a while. This no longer happens to me. I may just be more careful.

A question I put to the sharpening subreddit, but maybe you can answer it too: what’s up with cardboard? I can get a knife so stupid sharp, and it will keep working through most tasks, but if I cut a few feet of cardboard the edge immediately goes from ridiculous to ordinary (but still stupid sharp by most standards.) Has anyone found a way for that to not be the case? Five passes on the strop brings it right back but I’m curious if cardboard is just a thing or if I’m actually doing something that could be improved.

Some cardboard has glue in it? Like corrugated? Or coatings? Maybe not so much dulled as clogged with stuff that a steel or strop unclogs it on a microscopic level?

Could be. It’s an old thing with me and my dad, who also liked knives but pre-internet he was working from a much shallower pool of knowledge. Cardboard just wrecks an edge, and I’m just curious as to why. The fibers? As you postulate, the binders? No idea, but it’s definitely a real-world thing. I can cut printer paper forever without it messing with the edge, but a few cuts through cardboard it slaps the top 20% off the edge immediately.

I have found this to be so. as well, with using a knife, shitty or otherwise, cutting open a box with tape. Is it the glue? Or in some cases that the tape has fiberglass in it. So many variables. So little time. :)

Paper is bad too, my mother used to sew clothes and we would get punished if we dared use them for paper

Reddit’s theory is that it’s because cardboard is “dirty” so there are a lot of minerals among the fibers, essentially making it a low grade sandpaper.

I got a stainless steel knife from Japan that I finally sharpened after using it for 2 years. It had been doing great, but started failing on finely sliced green onions which I use a lot.
I had tried many years ago on stones, but things didn’t come out well with other knives. The problem was the lbs of pressure I had been using and not keeping track of the burr

Need to practice more with stones or look into and practice with this other method. I find repeated motions very relaxing, so don’t mind the trial and error.

Looking forward to going back to Sakai and picking up another (and maybe visiting the shop were my current favorite was made).
Thanks for bumping thread and recent info.

So I decided to purchase a strop. I was looking at one that seemed okay. Then I read some reviews and it seems that it had extremely thin faux leather. On a strop? Bullshit.

Ended up ordering this one. Should be here tomorrow.

Eh, looks good to me. I’m blessed by having a home ground where a bunch of Amish live (free offcut tack leather) and a half ass woodshop where there’s tons of flat but useless wood. That’s exactly what I make, and 20 bucks seems fair. The thickness of the leather is pretty unimportant, if you’re using it correctly the leather should accrue zero wear, just keep it doped up with the compounds, and don’t think you have to maintain a white/green color for it to work, it will take an enormous amount of swarf before you notice a difference.

Last note, don’t go crazy. Stropping is about keeping/taking a sharp knife to other levels, not about sharpening a knife. Example would be my current pocketknife which is a friggin’ razor, but I broke down some boxes with it and lost the god-cutting edge to the regular very-sharp edge. Five strokes on either side had it back to god-cutting no problem. If twenty strokes aren’t getting it done, then it needs to be sharpened for real, not stropped.


Understood. I have stones and have been sharpening my own reasonably well. But the strop will keep that to a minimum.

Don’t strop 'til you get enough.

Last note: when stropping use a very, very flat angle. Consider that the leather is soft so it will tend to curve and wrap around the edge of the knife, so don’t strop at 20 degrees if your knife has been sharpened at 20 degrees. Strop at 10 or less, the curve from the pressure will find the edge.

Thanks for the info. Always appreciated.

Thanks for the stropping tips, Houngan!

Aw thanks, that means a bunch. All I ask for is a star to guide the ship and a bunch of people that are smarter than me about everything else. It’s so nice to have a place where I can ask darned near any question and get an intelligent answer.

It’s also a lot more fun to ask here than just google it, even when some reddit sleuthing could probably yield an answer. Less craigslist, more concierge.

100% Absolutely. 110%. I’d much rather hear what people on here say about something than try to navigate the AI generated review sites and the obviously shill sites of real humans.