A sharp knife is a safe knife! Yes, it’s true. The most common cause of kitchen injury is actually a dull knife because it requires more pressure while cutting. By adding additional force to compensate for a dull blade, you decrease your control over the knife and increase your chance of injury.
Whether you feel most comfortable using a honing steel or sharpening steel, hand-held knife sharpener, electric knife sharpener, or a whetstone, these tips and tricks will help you keep your WÜSTHOF knives sharp and performing at their best.
Honing Steel and Sharpening Steel
Place the honing steel pointing downwards with the tip of the steel resting on a nonslip surface.
Begin by tilting the knife so there is a 14-degree angle between the edge of the blade and the honing steel. If sharpening an Asian styled knife, tilt the knife to a 10-degree angle.
Hold the angle and run the blade down the steel from the “heel” to the “tip” of the knife. Gently pull the knife towards you while gliding it downwards, ending with the tip of the knife at the bottom of the steel.
Place the knife on the other side of the steel and repeat the process 6-8 times while alternating sides.
While the technique for using honing steels and sharpening steels is the same, knowing when to use each of these tools will help to prolong the life of your knives.
Honing realigns the microscopic teeth on the edge of the blade and prolongs your knife's lifespan. The best way to avoid a dull blade is to maintain your blade's edge by regularly honing your knife.
Sharpening takes a small amount of steel off the blade, creating a new edge.
We recommend using a honing steel for regular maintenance and a sharpening steel when your knife needs an edge reset.
Pro Tip: Always hand wash your knife after honing to remove any excess steel from the blade and keep your knife looking its best.
Hand-Held Knife Sharpener
A quick alternative to using a steel or whetstone, both hand-held and electric knife sharpeners have pre-set angles to help guide your knife while sharpening.
Start by choosing the appropriate sharpening grit for your knife. The coarse slot sharpens dull edges while the fine slot hones and polishes the blade.
Place the hand-held knife sharpener on a flat surface. Hold the knife sharpener with one hand and the knife handle with the other.
Fully insert the blade into the slot perpendicular to the counter.
Use only the weight of the knife and slowly pull the knife toward you through the appropriate notch.
Avoid pressing down and exerting too much pressure on the knife as this can remove excess steel from the blade and compromise the edge of your knife.
Repeat this process, always pulling the blade from the heel to the tip – never back and forth – through either the coarse or the fine notch.
Pro Tip: Use the fine slot to regularly hone your knife and realign the edge. Only use the coarse slot to sharpen your knife once or twice a year.
Sharpen your knife like a professional! WÜSTHOF whetstones use a combination of high-quality abrasive grits for both honing and sharpening your knife. The coarse grit is used to grind the edge of your knife while the fine grit is used to realign the microscopic teeth on the blade.
Submerge the stone in water for approximately ten minutes.
Place the whetstone on a flat, slip-resistant surface with the coarse side facing up.
Hold the knife handle with your dominant hand and lay the tip of the blade on the end of the stone.
Evenly position the blade at a 14-degree angle to the stone.
While maintaining the angle, slowly slide the blade across the stone from the tip of the blade to the heel.
Turn the knife over and repeat the process on the other side of the blade.
Once complete, flip the stone over to the fine side and repeat the process. The fine side will remove any leftover steel.
Finally, rinse the knives off in hot water and immediately dry.
Pro Tip: Continuously pour water on the whetstone while sharpening. Small particles are released and form an abrasive substance when in contact with water.