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In praise of the whetstone

In praise of the whetstone
Have you ever seen a butcher or a chef sharpen his knife before using it?
Usually he uses a special tool, a long thin cylinder made of very hard metal.

And in a smooth and elegant gesture, he very quickly passes the edge of the knife against the rifle, which makes a very characteristic noise, and in a few seconds the knife is again well sharpened, ready to slice.

I am very impressed by this sharpening gesture which seems very simple, but is not at all, there is a question of blade angle, direction, and intensity of pressure to obtain a nice edge or thread on the knife, and not to crush it completely.
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Last modified on: June 5th 2021

In praise of the whetstone

So I always envied it, but I almost never got it right, and yet my son who is in the business showed me several times "Look dad, it's easy, you put the tool like this, the knife like this and go!

sharpening tool

But nothing to do, I can't sharpen a knife properly with a that...

And yet I have, like you perhaps, a good set of knives at home, and since there is nothing more painful than a knife that cuts badly when you cook (a knife "just good for ruining your appetite" say the cooks), as soon as the need was felt I called a sharpener. He sharpens well, he uses a grinding wheel, but each time I have to go and come back, not easy.

So I was overdoing it when it came to sharpening, until I finally switched to the sharpening stone.

If you're not familiar with it, it's very simple: it's a stone (some of them natural) with a fairly long rectangular shape, which you simply wet generously before passing it gently flat over the knife blade, from the thick side towards the edge.

sharpening knife with stone

That's all there is to it! No need for any particular skill, the gesture is very simple, I can do it by myself that's to say, and above all very efficient: the stone, very fine in texture, polishes the blade in a way, and as you work flat, no or few risks of dodging the edge.
You just have to re-wet the stone from time to time and rinse the blade to eliminate the stone and metal dust that forms.

All this to say that if you have difficulties sharpening your knives, the sharpening stone may be the solution you need.

If you are thinking of buying one, you will find artificial ones, which are made in Asia from silica powder, very very cheap, but not much better than that.

And if not, for a much better quality, did you know that we have in the Pyrenees the last whetstone factory in Europe, which extracts from a local quarry and shapes natural whetstones of exceptional quality?

sharpening stone from the  Pyrénées

Well I admit that before I saw it in a "Faut pas rêver" topic, I had never heard of it! But they're out there, making great stones, not very expensive, that will last you at least a lifetime.

natural sharpening stone quarry

See their site, they have dealers in quite a few corners, I bought mine here, and before you kid me on that, no I don't have any stock or percentage with them :-).
Note that the stone comes with a little instruction manual, very pictorial and very well done.

In summary: Not comfortable with a tool to sharpen your knives? Try the whetstone, and in this case let yourself be tempted by a beautiful natural stone from the Pyrenees.

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