Knife sharpening, everyone who owns a knife should know the basics:

Iv’e posted two ways to sharpen an already sharp knife as well as one to sharpen a dull knife.  All are professionally sound methods and with the information provided I leave you the option to sharpen as you see fit.  Just keep in mind that the steel and stropping methods are for already sharp knives and not necessarily for very dull knives.

First: Sharpening with a Steel

The technique he portrays is very professional way of using the steel.  Both arms do not move at the same time and it’s consistently stroked.  There’s no over-stroke or under-stroke and the size of the steel as explained is pivotal to safety.  I prefer the round point-contact over the flat oval shaped steel for small knives and the oval for larger kitchen knives.  I would prefer this method in a pinch while working in the kitchen.

Second:  Strop Sharpening

I’ve sharpened some knives in my time and I have to agree with this gentleman.  Stropping is the way to go on an already sharp knife.  Still everyone should know how to use a strop and a steel.  Either way, the strop is always going to be the most effective and the least damaging to your blade.  I’ve used steels and done 3 or 4 solid passes at approximately the 15-20 degree angle that is recommended, but his point about angle is a good one.  You never know at what point you are sharpening at too steep of an angle as there’s too much movement even if the steel is placed straight up and down.     The strop, as he states later on, allows give and also is not grinding on the steel of the knife.  I would use this method for personal carry/self-defense knives as well as for larger bowie knives.  The steel is still a good tool, but with large pretty knives my opinion drifts towards a good leather strop on a beautiful San Mai or Damascus steel blade rather than steel on steel.

Here’s an excellent informational video on stropping I found helpful:


Whetstone Sharpening: Dull Knife Sharpening Method (My opinion but still good for sharp knife sharpening)

Good information entailed here.  Good technique on sharpening and good use of the marker to show which type of angle you are attacking consistently.  I like the option to descend or ascend in grit depending on the condition of the knife as well as the information regarding the types of stone and their corresponding uses.  I would use this method for a very dull knife of any size as well as to better hone an already sharp knife.