This article will narrow down on how to sharpen your knife with a rock. This practice may be new to so many people while indeed it has been in existence. Most of the time we have a file at hand, and that is how we get our knives sharp within a few minutes. But what if you forgot to carry your file to the campsite? Will you stay hungry because your folding knife is blunt and you can’t cut anything?
What do you need to know about sharpening knives using rocks?
Knife sharpening stones are known as whetstones and are made using synthetic or natural materials. The whetstone can be used while dry, with water or with oil. Once you are set, you only need to run your dull blade over the stone until it feels new. There is a right procedure on how to sharpen a knife with a rock. Keep reading to get the fine details on how to do this right.
When Does Your Knife have to be Sharpened and for What Reason?
Your kitchen knife becoming dull is a normal occurrence regardless of the quality of steel your knife is made of. It happens when the metal at the primary edge of the cutting edge of the blade rolls over to either one side or both sides of the blade.
The main reason why you have to sharpen your knife or knives is to remove the fatigued metal that has rolled over. By doing this, you expose the fresh and strong steel underneath it to give the ‘new’ blade a fresh start to work with you as you get ready to cook. The feeling of working with the ‘new’ blade is simply thrilling. I call it the taste of sharpness.
Which is the Right Way to Go, Fast or Slow?
At times, you may be in a hurry to get things done. But again there is no need to hurry only to find out that in the long run, your knife is not sharp enough. The right way on how to sharpen a knife with a rock is doing the process gradually. This allows you to take long strokes which are even from the heel to the tip of the blade.
Procedure 1: Select a Sharpening Stone
a. Examine your knives
Check out the knives you intend to sharpen. Knowing how dull they are will help you determine the grit size of the sharpening stone. The easiest way to determine how dull your knife is should be by slicing through a tomato or a fruit.
The resistance that you experience will be an indicator of how blunt your knife is, and so you can easily decide on how much sharpening is needed. Also, the rate at which you use your knife is an easy way of determining how much sharpening is needed.
If you use your knife daily, it is likely to be duller than that of another person who uses his or hers once in a very long while.
b. Choose the right type of stone
There are two types of stones, the natural and synthetic. You can also use the stone you choose while dry, while soaked in water or oil. Stones soaked in water are soft, and this makes them ideal if you want your knife to get sharp faster.
The only disadvantage of this is that the stone will get worn out very fast. Stones soaked in oil are the cheapest, yet they are made of a very hard material which makes them last for a longer period of time. Working with them creates a mess that is difficult to clean though.
You can also choose to use the diamond stone that is the most expensive, yet you can be sure that it will serve you best for the longest time possible. In order to use a diamond stove while camping, you must have carried it from home.
c. Decide on the right grit of the stone that is perfect for sharpening your knife
There are different grit sizes among the whetstones. The grit sizes are coarse, medium, and fine. If your knife is extremely dull, use a coarse stone then finalize the sharpening process using a stone with a fine grit. A medium grit stone is ideal for a knife that is not too dull or one that you had sharpened recently.
Procedure 2: Prepare your Knife for Sharpening
For every knife, the manufacturer gives clear instructions on how you should go about the knife sharpening procedure. Make sure that you go through the instructions in the manual just to be sure that you will not end up messing things up in the long run.
You need to learn how to hold your knife right while sharpening. The right angle is 20 degrees. If the blade is either larger or thicker, you might have to use a larger sharpening angle. For a coarse whetstone, tilt your knife to a lower angle to avoid sharpening off the blade too much.
Soak your water stone in water for about 45 minutes to allow it to soften up. This prevents your blade from getting scratched. Pour water over it instead of submerging it in the water. If you are using an oil stone, lubricate it by pouring some oil, just a little on it and make use of your fingers to massage the oil all over the stone. For the lubricating oils, using cooking oils are not recommended. You can easily get horning oil or sharpening oil which is specific for lubricating knife sharpening knives.
Place your sharpening stone on a damp piece of cloth. The purpose of this cloth is to hold the stone in place as you sharpen your knife. An old piece of cloth is better since you can be sure that the grit will ruin it so you cannot wash it off.
Procedure 3: The actual deal, sharpening the knife
Hold the knife against the stone at an angle of 20 degrees. Let the edge of the blade face away from you and place the fingertips of your other hand on the part of the blade that is almost flat. The position of the fingertips on the blade enables them to control the pressure you exert on the blade easily as well as the direction of the blade as you sharpen it.
Slide the blade down the sharpening stone in a path that forms an arc. To make it evenly sharpened, draw the whole blade against the stone, from the heel to the tip. Continuously do this until the blade is sharp. Keep the blade lubricated or wet depending on the type of stone you are using. Turn the knife over and proceed to sharpen the other side the same way you sharpened the first side. Feel it with your fingertips to ascertain its sharpness. Be very cautious to avoid hurting yourself.
Sharpen your knife on a stone with a finer grit for polishing up purposes. This is appropriate for knives which were initially dull, and so you had to use a sharpening stone with a coarse grit. Do this from heel to tip on both sides to ensure that the blade is evenly sharp and to enhance its balance. The number of strokes you use to sharpen each side should be the same.
Procedure 4:Test the knife for its sharpness
Once you are done sharpening your knife, and you feel convinced that you have done your best, it is only right that you test it just to be sure that it is sharp enough. Wash it clean and dry it. Hold a piece of paper up and then slice it down.
If the knife cuts through with no strains, then that is an indicator that your knife is sharp enough. If you experience some resistance while slicing up the paper, you will have to sharpen your knife a little more.
Final Procedure: Clean your knife and sharpening stone
Just as it is after completion of other tasks, you should clean up your tools of work and store them to be used another day. After you are sure that your knife or knives are sharp just as you want them to be, clean them and dry them up.
That leaves them ready for use or storage. You can as well go ahead and use the knife to cut your meat, onions or tomatoes as you prepare your food in the wilderness.
I believe that you have learned how to sharpen a knife with a rock as has been outlined in this article. Working with sharp tools has always been so efficient, and that is the same case with working with a sharp knife. Follow the simple steps and remember to ensure your safety first.
Leave a comment on the article and let me know if I have left any important detail especially on enhancing safety when sharpening a knife using a rock. Feel free to ask any questions if you are stuck or if you need clarification on any of the procedures.