A kitchen knife sharpener is an essential part of any serious cook’s arsenal. It allows you to make quick work of dull knives so that you can slice, dice and cut without slipping or missing your cuts. It’s also a great way to keep your knives sharp between sharpenings, so that they can continue to perform at their best.

There are a variety of types of sharpeners available, so it’s important to choose the one that best fits your needs. Some are designed specifically for specific kinds of knives, while others are more general, but both can make short work of dull blades and help you get the most out of your cooking.

The first step in sharpening is to choose the correct grit stone for your particular knives. There are many different grits, but Lau recommends a coarse one (usually the lower numbers) for your initial sharpening. Then, you can switch to a finer grit stone for finishing.

Once you’ve chosen a stone, use it to sharpen the edge of your knife using a series of light passes. This can take a little bit of practice, but it’s easy enough that anyone can do it. The key is to angle the blade between 15 and 20 degrees, while using even pressure with each stroke. You’ll want to be careful not to push too hard with each stroke, or you could damage your knife.

Alternatively, you can use a steel to straighten the edges of your knives that tend to bend during normal use. The bending doesn’t affect the cutting ability of your blade, but it will make them look less sharp and feel rough.

This type of honing is the most basic and straightforward way to make your blades sharper. It’s especially effective for re-enforcing a v-edge or convex edge, which are the two most common shapes for kitchen knives.

You can sharpen your knives manually with a whetstone, or you can get an electric sharpener to do all the work for you. Most of the time, a whetstone will be a more expensive option than an electric sharpener, but they’re also a lot easier to use and are more durable.

A whetstone is made of a flat piece of natural mineral, usually a granite or quartz stone, and it will go on working for a long time. It’s an affordable alternative to more specialized sharpeners, and it can be used on any knife.

When choosing a whetstone, choose a stone with a grit number in the range of 1,000 to 1,500. This is the grit that most chefs use for their initial sharpening, and it will be appropriate for all your knives.

Once you’ve found the perfect grit stone, use it to sharpen your knives using a series of light passes. This will take a little bit of practice, but you can make it a regular part of your routine.

A sharp knife makes quick work of a wide range of tasks, from peeling and trimming vegetables to chopping herbs. Its sharpness is also a good indicator of the quality of the blade, so it’s worth taking the time to maintain your knives. Dull knives can be dangerous, and they can’t cut food as evenly. It’s also harder to sharpen a dull blade, and it’s more likely to slip or miss the cut when you try to apply force.