Sunday, January 9, 2011

Neat trick for sharpening knives

I'm sharpening Mom and Dad's kitchen knives, which haven't been sharpened in a long time.  What was always hardest for me when using a whetstone was keeping a consistent angle on the blade.

Here's a neat trick I learned today - use one of these:

A half inch binder clip put on the blade (not the sharp side, duh) will keep things at a consistent angle.  No fuss, no muss.

It's a bit sad that it took so long to learn this trick, but better late than never.

And remember - it's the dull knives that are dangerous.  With tricks like this making it so easy, there's no excuse in not sharpening every six months or so.


Patrick said...

Yes, I could probably look this up, but I trust your judgement instead of trying to weed out the real from the fakery...

What whetstone do you recommend or even better.. use (if they aren't the same)?

Borepatch said...

Patrick, this may be more useful (to me) as a visual aid, helping me keep the knife at a consistent angle. It doesn't feel like I'm scraping the binder clip across the whetstone.

IOW, it may be "fakery" for someone with a better feel than I. But it works like a charm for me.

Alas, I can't make any sort of informed recommendation on a whetstone. Mom and Dad's is 40 years old; mine if a good 15 years old and I can't remember where I got it.

You'll want one with two different coarsenesses (one on each side).

Patrick said...

I apologize if I was not clear on the original. The real vs the fakery was about whetstones, sharpening, gimmicks, etc. I understood the binder clip perfectly and think it is a great idea, which I should have said the first time.

So basically any whetstone would work, right? I've been wanting to sharpen my own knives but have never bothered. This binder trick kind of gives me motivation.

Hat Trick said...

Totally off topic.

I just saw that there is a forecast for 3-5" of snow for Atlanta. Are your new neighbors ready to ship you back to MA yet for bringing winter south with you? :-)

The Czar of Muscovy said...

Disagree on the binder clip recommendation. A binder clip is at a 40-50° angle. A primary edge on a knife should be 20° (or less on Asian-style blades).

Recommend instead doing your primary bevel with a stack of 2 pennies. Then, after you've worked up the burr, go up to 3 or 4 pennies to get a nice secondary angle for razor-sharpness. If your knife blade's width exceeds that of the pennies--like a kitchen knife--a standard matchbook also provides the correct angle.

But a binder clip is much too steep, and you'll wind up dulling your edge over time.

Borepatch said...

@Hat Trick: Just call me "Al Gore" ...

@Czar of Muscovy: I wasn't clear. You CLIP the binder clip to the knife. That makes the ~45° angle into ~22°. The penny trick is pretty neat, too.

Agree that the whole binder clip is much to great an angle.

The Czar of Muscovy said...

Gotcha! That makes sense.

Jim said...

I bought a kit that comes with a jig to set the angle, and while I do like the spectrum of stones it came with the jig is uncertain. I'll try this in its place.


James McAllister said...

Would this work on any type of knife? I'm looking at some culinary knife sharpeners and I don't have very steady hands. Definitely going to try this trick out. Thanks!