Good morning, i just replied to someones post and then decided to copy and paste my reply into this post to make it a wee bit easier for people to find, in the event that someone is needing a little guidance on how to sharpen things properly. I frequently get asked how to sharpen things and I often see people struggling away with wet stones and all sorts of sharpening components, and also some very blunt knives and tools, so i thought id write this post.
I hope this helps point people in the right direction:
"Hi, im a Cabinet Maker and Joiner so sharpening is pretty important for me. I own two Tormek wet stone grinders and a massive Wadkin profile grinder and a few Spyderco ceramic wet stones (i take these out to jobs with me when fitting work) thus am rather too well equipped to need anything else.
The thing that people dont seem to understand is the difference between a ground and polished edge and a rough edge that cuts on a burr. most cheap knife sharpeners (the pull through type) just strip metal off the blade and leave a thin and very rough wire edge on the cutting edge (a burr) this gives the effect of a rough and serrated edge that will cut meat for a brief period but not much else, this is the type of edge that is normally worked with in the catering trade, the other problem is that as soon as that burr comes into contact with anything of any substance it will be blunt within seconds as the burr just folds over and leaves you with a blunt edge.
The best way to easily sharpen anything is to read a book on how to sharpen things well and you will always be able to get a good edge, albeit very slowly, at times, depending on what sharpening media you have to hand at the time. try this one: The Complete Guide to Sharpening: Amazon.co.uk: Leonard Lee: Books
Stainless steel kitchen knives can be a nightmare to raise an edge on as they are often made of very crappy tough steel as opposed to hard steel, these knives are designed to be sharpened on a Chefs steel and will usually only ever produce a rough old burr type edge.
I looked into a basic knife sharpening tool, for a friend, some time back as people are always asking me what to use in their kitchens as they wish their knives were as sharp as mine. I found this sharpening device, its not cheap, but its extremely convenient for someone who just doesn't want to go to the effort of doing a more thorough job or doesnt have the time or understanding to do it in a more refined manner ;Amazon.co.uk: salter electric knife sharpener
Ive used one of these too and it was an old and well worn device but it still produced a very serviceable edge on a knackered carbon steel blade and a very blunt stainless steel blade ( i could shave with both)and it did it in seconds without grinding half the blade away. Its a good little tool because it uses lots of little revolving ceramic bars to do the sharpening at a set angle and so nearly anybody can use one and get good results without needing to think or really know anything much about what they are doing.
kind regards, Olaf "