Knife sharpening : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) Preparation Forum : One Thread

I use a stainless steel Japanese-style all-purpose vegetable knife for cooking. It's given good service for over ten years. I have a sharpening block, a "King" #1200 (fine) which I use to sharpen the knife. I usually wet the block with water and begin sharpening on one side in small circles, sometimes alternating with longer straight glides on the block. Once in a while I'll flip the blade and sharpen the other side; but I usually focus on one side only.

My block seems to be not equally flat and sharp all across the surface. It is blackened in parts. The knife seemed to take forever to sharpen today, and kept picking up a blackish residue from the block which I had to rinse off the blade.


1. What is the best way (technique) to sharpen a Japanese-style knife on a block?

2. How does one keep the block in good condition?


-- Sally (, August 01, 1999


Similarly, I have a new machete that is in dire need of sharpening...once I straighten the dents in the blade. Any suggestions for sharpening with minimal equipment?

-- Mad Monk (, August 01, 1999.

Please go to the other forum's thread "You're only as sharp as your knife" (or something like that), where you will see a discussion of the merits of the Lansky Sharpening System and the Razor's Edge Sharpening System.

Their web sites' URLs are listed there as well.

-- GA Russell (, August 01, 1999.


Wash the block in warm water and soap, dry. The black residue is probably steel that is clogging the surface of the stone.

Mad Monk,

Beat the major dents, and use a " Mill bastard " file to sharpen what's left. Follow the same angle as the blade, and use a long stroke with the file held in both hands at a 90% angle to the blade. you'll feel when it's right, stand on the handle.

-- CT (ct@no.yr), August 01, 1999.


If anyone who inhabits any of Yourdon's forums knows spit about sharpening a knife, it's him. He is a professional at it, after all.


-- Wildweasel (, August 02, 1999.

Will add what I can in a couple of days. Am completley fried from recent trip to visit with a great bunch of folks.

-- Greybear (, August 03, 1999.


I'm looking forward to your views on knife sharpening.

-- GA Russell (, August 14, 1999.

Apologies for the delay. Have been tied up with that nasty necessity  work.

Sharpening Knives

Sharpening is the act of removing metal. Sharpen anything long enough and you dont have it any more.

The trick is simply removing metal at the right place in the right amount.

Ill leave it to others to discuss why one angle is better that the other. I will discuss the fundamentals of sharpening common knives.

For most common multi-purpose blades that are already shaped properly, sharpening should occur only along the edge area of the blade and up toward the thick part or top of the blade. One should not remove any metal back further away from the edge than about one- sixteenth of and inch or about the thickness of a quarter.

The metal should be removed from both sides of the blade so that the cutting edge remains in the center line of the blade. This is true for all blades except some special purpose blades and chisel ground blades.

If the blade has been worn appreciably or has been sharpened improperly, one may have to reshape the edge area and then proceed to sharpening. But that is beyond the scope of this brief discussion. Just dont be surprised if you give a blade to an experience person and they proceed to FILE off some metal. Reshaping is also required to remove knicks from the edge.

Different coarseness (or grits) of implements are used simply to remove metal faster or slower. Generally speaking, the faster the implement removes metal the rougher the edge it leaves. Thats why one starts with a course implement and proceeds to a smoother as one approaches the end goal.

When the correct amount of metal has been removed to achieve the correct shape and edge one proceed to polish the edge. This is often accomplished with very fine grit (or smooth) implements.

What one sees when a barber is stropping a razor is polishing of the edge to give the very best degree of sharpness.

Many discussions (and arguments) are sure to follow on the topic of which direction to move the knife over the sharpening surface and how many strokes to apply before turning the blade over to work on the other side. Suffice it to say, for now, that it is vastly more important the one remove the same amount of metal from both sides or it will be a very poor job.

There are many more tricks and tips that can be show and are very difficult to describe in writing. Find someone who know how and watch them. Mrs. Big Dog watched me sharpen a knife for about 15 minutes and took off like a whiz and proceeded to become pretty accomplished in a half hour or so. Practice on a old blade first.

A sharp knife is ALWAYS safer than a dull knife, for one does not have to apply as much pressure to cut and there is much less chance of slipping. (Also, Id rather cut myself with a sharp knife anytime that a dull one; the resulting cut is much faster to heal. This is the voice of experience speaking.)

One last word about knives. Just like the fact that you cannot swim with the fishes without getting wet, you cannot handle knives  using and sharpening  without cutting yourself sooner or later. Nothing in life is totally safe.


-- Got Stones?

-- Greybear (, August 16, 1999.

Accusharp offers the handiest knife sharpener I have ever used. With it I was able to put a razor edge on plainedge knives, machete, and ax.

The Accusharp consists of a plastic handle, finger guard and two tungsten carbide inserts. Each TC insert has four cutting edges. You may reposition the inserts three times before replacing them.

You may store extra TC inserts in the handle, which is held together with three screws.

-- Vlad (, February 10, 2000.

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