Of all the tools used in for survival, a knife is one of the most important ones. Knives help in cutting food, cord, etc. One of the most basic things that can be done to ensure that the knives are in a good condition, is to make sure that they have good, sharp edges.
Importance of having knives with sharp edges
When a knife cuts through food like tomatoes or fruits with ease, without the need to apply more pressure or struggle to get it through, it means that the knife is working well.
A sharp knife is safer to use than a dull knife. When more pressure is applied on a dull knife to cut through food, chances are that it will slip and the person using it will end up getting hurt.
Best Techniques to Sharpen Knives
1. Using Knife Sharpening Stones
This is a popular knife sharpening technique. In this method, the knife is rubbed at an angle on a coarse stone. A knife should be first sharpened on a stone with a coarser stone, followed by sharpening it on a finer stone.
Sharpening a knife on a whetstone requires some level of skill. This method is time-consuming, but the results are great, and the ensures a good lifespan for the knives. It can be used on knives which are very dull and get them back in good shape.
There are a variety of whetstones that are available, such as Waterstone, Oilstone, and Diamond Stone.
Waterstones need to be wet with water before it can be used to sharpen a knife. A good soak for about 45 mins prior to usage can give good results. Waterstones are made of either natural or synthetic material, and they are a lot softer than the other varieties.
When a knife is sharpened using a Waterstone, the water dissolves the grit in the stone, which produces mud that helps in grinding away the metal on the blade. Waterstone is the cheapest of the lot. Sharpening a knife on a Waterstone is faster, as compared to using any other kind of stone.
It is important to make sure that the blades are sharpened only in one direction, either top to bottom, or bottom to top, always. Also, both sides of the blade must be rubbed a same number of times, to ensure that there is equal wear on both sides of the knife.
Oilstones are like Waterstones, except that a mineral-based oil is used to lubricate the stone, instead of water. This method is the slowest of all, and not usually preferred.
Diamond stones do not need any form of lubrication. Diamond stones have pieces of diamond on them. This is the fastest way of sharpening knives, but it tends to scratch and erode a knife, reducing its lifespan very quickly.
2. Using Knife Sharpening Steel
A sharpening steel is usually a long steel-rod shaped tool with a handle. The advantage of this tool is that a knife can be sharpened very easily with a few strokes. However, it is difficult to sharpen very dull knives using this method.
3. Knife Sharpening Jigs
When a knife is sharpened using a whetstone, it is important to keep the knife at the correct angle, about 22 degrees from the stone, to achieve correct sharpening, without degrading the quality of the blade. It is also important to place the stone on a flat surface, on a damp cloth or tissue, so that it stays in place.
A Knife Sharpening Jig helps the user to hold the knife at a correct angle by default, thereby, reducing the stress and effort required for sharpening a knife. The stone mounted on the jig is held steady always, making it much simpler to use.