Most Asian style knives are honed to a 17° angle, making them slightly sharper than Western style knives, which are generally sharpened to 20°.
Why? Because Asian foods are softer; therefore the blade edge can be sharper as it doesn’t need to cut tough foods.
Sharpening your knives at a 15° to 20° angle will provide the best results when preparing food.
Sharpening your knives at an angle lower than 17° will make them super sharp, but will mean they will dull much quicker. The opposite is true for sharpening to angles greater than 22°. Your knives won’t be as sharp but the cutting edge will last a lot longer.
Traditional knife sharpening steels are suited to regularly honing knives that are already sharp to keep them in that condition.
If you need to restore blunt knives use a whetstone to produce a new edge, and then hone with a sharpening steel.
- Place the steel tip down on a damp cloth - The damp cloth will stop it slipping
- Place the blade at the top near the sharpening steel handle - The angle between blade and steel should be 15°-20°
- Pull the knife down and across the steel - The movement should be a slight arc
- Repeat this action on the back of the steel - This will sharpen the other side of the blade
- Repeat steps three and four at least five times - up to ten times will ensure maximum sharpness. It is very important to maintain the angle of 15-20° and to run the full length of the cutting edge along the steel from the hilt to the tip of the knife
When your knives are fully sharpened, maintain a sharp edge by storing your knives in a knife block or magnetic knife holder to prevent them from dulling.
Whetstones, also known as sharpening stones, are considered one of the best ways to sharpen knives. Not all whetstones require lubrication with oil or water; check the instructions for the stone you purchase.
They come in a variety of different grits (how fine or coarse the surface is) to help you sharpen and hone all kinds of knives.