First thing we must say is that there is no right way to sharpen a knife. There are bad ways, but not one right way. I’ve seen carpenters put a razor edge on chisels and axes with a stone they picked up off the ground. It’s more of learning what you have, and using it to get the most out of it.
Even though I have several motorized sharpeners, I’m not keen on using them for culinary knives, unless you really know what you are doing. I mainly use them for my wood turning tools and to recondition carving chisels. They are a belt sander type, a low rpm grinder with various wheels, a Work Sharp 3000, and an older Woodcraft wet sharpener. I mainly use a various grades of ouachita stones when I want to do it right. But, now I prefer a Lansky most of the time.
Use DMT Diamond Stones
I’ve been using the DMT diamond stones. I think they offer a lot of advantages to other sharpening devices. The most important is that I find I can get the knives sharper and need to sharpen them less often. Less sharpening on a knife with a forged bolster means you are less likely to sharpen a hollow into the blade over time.
You lubricate diamond stones with water, rather than oil, which is nice. If you’re used to water stones, diamond stones don’t require soaking in water prior to use. Just pass it under the faucet and go to town. Diamond stones cut really quickly. It takes only a few strokes to sharpen the edge vs. dozens of stokes with oil stones. While making fewer strokes, you have less risk of slightly changing your sharpening angle if you free hand your sharpening, as I do. And it goes so quickly that sharpening is less of a hassle. So you are more inclined to maintain your knives better.
Diamond Stones Don’t Dish Over Time
The stones I use have different grits on either side. Therefore, about five strokes per side of the blade on the fine stone, then about seven strokes per side on the extra fine, and you’ve got a razor sharp edge. The diamond stones don’t dish over time and require flattening, as oil stones and water stones do. By the way, what do you use to flatten an oil stone? A big diamond stone. Swarf doesn’t build up and clog the surface of the stone, as tends to happen with oil stones.
My preference is for large sharpening stones. I think they give you more surface area to work with when sharpening large knives, such as knives 10 inches long and longer. I know some people consider knives that big to be a small machete. But I learned my knife handling in restaurant kitchens, where bigger translated into more efficiency.
If you want to use a simpler method…
Go with a pocket-sized sharpener. For example, the Sharp-X is the perfect, pocket-sized sharpener for shaping and maintaining a razor-sharp edge on all your outdoor and kitchen knives.
The pivoting X-base folds out to improve safety and stability during sharpening for a more precise edge. Set at a universal 22 degree angle, the coarse tungsten carbide bits reshape a dull blade quickly, while the fine ceramic rods finish the blade to a razor’s edge.
The rubberized TPR finger hold ensures a non-slip grip and four 3M® rubber foot pads secure the X-base to most any flat surface. After use, the Sharp-X folds down flat for storage.
We hope you liked our mini guide on the best method for sharpening knives for food smoking. Don’t forget to check out the Bradley Smoker Blog for more cool hunting and fishing tips and tricks all year round!