Knife Sharpening Questions

Joined Jan 31, 2002
I have recently been put in a situation that made me realize how little I know about maintaining my knives. I've just begun working in a kitchen that was well equiped, circa 1985, but hasn't been very well maintained since then. Every kitchen I've been in has always had a stone ready to use. This one has a stone, your standard, black-based tristone... but it's perfectly dry. The cooks that have been working there for years use it, just by sprinkling a little water on it and sharpening away. This seems to make things very dirty, and I'm pretty sure the stone should be oiled. Here's where the questions come in... How do I tell if a stone is diamond or oilstone? If I were to get oil for this stone, need it be oilstone oil, or is mineral oil sufficient? What do I make of the previously unfamiliar but recenlty observed practice of soaking a stone in water before sharpening? Anyone's guidance is appreciated... I really don't have the cash to go investing in my own sharpening system, and need to use what they've got at work. I would seek the guidance of my elders at work, but, experienced and proficient as they may otherwise be, these guys keep let their dexter russels fend for themselves in a stainless steel drawer and have been known to grab steak knives from the dining room for want of a pairing knife (and to tourne potatoes with it, nonetheless). I am, understandably, hesitant to seek their advice on the care and feed ing of my precious, expensive, Macs. Thanks so much.



Staff member
Joined Mar 29, 2002

is many things about sharpening you are asking.

Summary. If the stone is dry and has been used dry, use it dry. No water. No oil. If it's been used wet, use it wet, no oil. Used oiled, use oil and nothing else. It's becoming the most common practice to use stones dry, though some stones can only be used wet, such as Japanese waterstones.

If you have the skill, you can get a good edge with what's there. If the stones are no longer true (dished, rounded and such), it's time to replace it or have it retrued.

Joined Jan 31, 2002
I read about half that article... will be spending some more time looking at that stuff later today... Great Resource, though. Thanks so much for refering me.

Joined Oct 13, 2001
This is a great faq posted by phatch.The only thing I can add is to start your practice on your cheaper knives and get the hang of it!A good sharp knife makes the job better and much more enjoyable so dig in and welcome to the world of good tools.Peace, Doug.....
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