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126-cj-knifeQ. What is the best way to sharpen my knives? — Louis, Kaukauna

A. At one time, the best way to sharpen knives was to use a whetstone. A whetstone typically has three distinct stones of differing grit or coarseness, and by going from the coarsest to the finest with the appropriate amount of pressure at the correct angle in both directions, a beautifully sharp edge could be achieved. The use of a whetstone almost seems like a lost art, as most people have gone to the use of knife grinders. The advantage of a knife grinder is they are set up at a perfect angle every time. The disadvantage of a knife grinder is you must make nice smooth strokes, or you can put little scars in the edge of your knife. The other caution with using a knife grinder is to not allow the edge of your knife to get too hot which could damage the steel. Just like a knife should never be put through a dishwasher because of the damage done by the intense heat, the same is true with a knife grinder. The consistent use of a steel while working with your knives is the best thing you can do to maintain the edge on your blade. The steel trues the edge of your blade and allows it to function at its best.

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