American Blade Club

3 Knife Sharpening Myths

Knife sharpening is, on its surface, a simple thing. That hasn’t prevented a few myths from popping up, though. Here are five knife sharpening myths, busted.

Myth: You Need Expensive Knife Sharpening Tools

Fact: Quality knife sharpening stones, sticks, oils, and other gizmos can help quite a bit. However, you can’t buy your way to sharpening success. Technique is 90 percent of it. Humans have been sharpening knives without manufactured products for centuries. How did they do it? They knew how to work an edge.

Here are knife sharpening tips for the uninitiated. All you need are some junky practice knives, a sharpening stone, a Sharpie and some patience to get started.

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Myth: Diamond-Infused Knife Sharpening Stones Last Forever

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Fact: Diamonds might be forever, but knife sharpeners are a different story. Here’s DMT with the answer:

For those that use stones on a daily basis and maintain them properly, the diamond will likely last for a few years. For those that use them less frequently, it’s likely the stone will last from ten to twenty years.

Still, you can’t beat the value of a $40 knife sharpener that gets the job done over several years.

On that note, if you use water on a stone, always use water. If you use oil, always use oil. Oil and water don’t mix, and that goes for knife sharpening, too.

Myth: Using a Sharpening Stone Dry Works Faster Than Using It Wet Because It Removes More Metal

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Myth: Electric Knife Sharpeners Can Sharpen Almost Any Knife

Fact: Electric knife sharpeners can sharpen most knives, but that doesn’t mean that they should

Electric knife sharpeners have fixed angle positions. If your favorite knife’s edge is set at 20 degrees, and the electric knife sharpener is set at 15 or 30 degrees, you might need a new favorite knife. 

The type of grind is also left unconsidered with electric knife sharpeners. For example, a blade’s convex edge will be reset by a sharpener tuned to a flat grind.

Edges aren’t set by accident. They are tied to the purpose and performance of a knife.

Matching the knives you intend to sharpen to the features of an electric knife sharpener is important. So is learning how to use manual knife sharpeners!