If I Can, You Can: Sharpening Knives with a Whetstone
Now, I hope title of this entry isn’t too misleading. I certainly do not mean to suggest that I am an expert knife sharpener whose knives can cut paper and all that. I claim only this much: 1. My knives are sharper than when I started. 2. I didn’t damage them. 3. I’ll get better as I get practice.
When my knives first started getting dull, I did basically nothing about it. Ignoring a problem–or let’s call it waiting and seeing–can actually be a great first step. Many problems go away if ignored, and with others, taking a little time will help you avoid panicking and spending too much money on trying to fix it. (Obviously, I’m not talking about roof leaks here. I’m talking about minor household annoyances, parenting problems, etc.) I looked into have them sharpened professionally, but it turns out I had just missed a semiannual sharpening event at our local Joanne’s.
Besides, I didn’t really want to pay to have it done. So I started doing research on whetstones and water stones vs. oil stones and so on and trying to figure out what kind of whetstone to buy.
Which was my first mistake. Fortunately, I never actually got around to making the purchase. Then I had this conversation with my father:
Me: I’m thinking of trying to sharpen my knives with a whetstone. But I haven’t gotten around to buying one.
My father: I have one you can have.
See how easy that was? Then I only needed to buy some honing fluid, which I ordered from Amazon. Asking around to see if I could beg, borrow, Craigslist or Freecycle some supplies should have been my first step. With something like this, you never really know what exact supplies you like until you get started anyway.
Then I consulted a few how-to sites, watched a couple of videos, and gave it a try. They’re sharper, and I figure with practice I’ll get better at getting them very sharp.
What about you, readers? What skills are you trying to learn? What services are you “insourcing” these days?