Smith’s guide on how to sharpen a knife blade
Get the edge with Smith’s sharpening tips
Depending on how often and how you use your knife, what grade of metal the blade is made from and the environment in which you use it, your knife will, every now and again, need a sharpen.
In the early 1900s, the knife grinder was a man in high demand with the majority of knives and other metal blades in daily use made from low grade, fairly soft steel, which dulled quickly and lost their edge.
However, with today’s high-grade metal blades, and the ability to sharpen your own blades at home or at the workshop, the knife grinder is no longer in demand.
Since 1886, Smith’s has been a leader in the world of home sharpening tools. Based in Arkansas, USA, Smith’s is passionate about passing on the best tools and sharpening techniques to their customers.
Here’s some general sharpening tips and techniques from the experts at Smith’s:
- The secret to a nice sharp blade is consistency of the angle of the knife on the abrasive surface. This should be equal on both sides of the blade if required
- Alternate the sides of your blade frequently and check your progress often
- Remember that every time you sharpen your knife or scissors, you are removing metal from the blade
- Look after your sharpener during both use and storage and protect the sharpening elements
- Always use sharpening fluid when sharpening blades on a flat stone
- Smith’s recommends using lubricant whether the sharpening stone can be used wet or dry. This keeps the pores of the stone clean and clear, dissipates frictional heat and helps to achieve a smooth sharpening action
- Always use a non-petroleum-based honing solution or water to lubricate the stones
- To avoid damaging a sharpening stone, lubricant should always be used
- Once you use oil on a natural, synthetic or diamond stone, it’s difficult to return to just water for lubrication
- Only use enough lubricant to keep a visible layer on the stone while you are sharpening. When the pool becomes murky, pat and lightly wipe with a rag and add clean fluid
- After every use, use a small amount of fluid and wipe clean and dry
- After three or four uses, Smith’s suggest giving your sharpening stone a soapy wash to remove any swarf (debris build-up). An old toothbrush is perfect for the job
- Before you attempt to sharpen your pride and joy, practice on an old knife first
- Regular sharpening will help keep the blade in the best condition. Sharpen as soon as you notice it’s not working as well as it should be
- Always keep your sharpener where you usually use your knives or tools. You’ll be more inclined to sharpen a dulled edge as soon as you notice it if you sharpener is close at hand
- Remember to reverse or replace your abrasive materials regularly to ensure a proper sharpening process