How to Sharpen on a Water Stone Like a Master

The pleasures of a sharp knife have motivated lots of home cooks to learn how to use a sharpening stone. Chowhound ukjason uses a well-soaked 1,000-grit water stone, carefully holding the knife at a 15-degree angle while honing. Still, even with a stone, ukjason can't get the blades as sharp as those on new knives fresh out of the box. Is it possible to achieve factory-level sharpness at home?

There's nothing fundamentally wrong with ukjason's sharpening method, tanuki soup says on Chowhound. But with practice and a few tweaks, anyone should be able to become a honing master.

The key is to practice. Get a cheap knife made of relatively soft steel, Chemicalkinetics says, and go for it. First, make sure you can feel a "burr," a tiny raised line of metal at the edge of the blade you can only feel after you've properly sharpened one side of the knife all the way to the edge. Unless you've raised a burr on your knife, "chased" the burr from side to side and then removed it, you haven't sharpened correctly, scubadoo97 says.

Also, sharpen on stones with progressively finer grit, up to 4,000. And as the grit gets finer, use lighter and lighter pressure. After that, your blade should be just like new.

Discuss: Why can't I sharpen my knife like a factory edge

Photo by Flickr member Thirteen Of Clubs under Creative Commons