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One of our favorite food geeks, Alex of French Guy Cooking, is at it again. This time, he breaks down the process of knife-sharping and looks at the tools involved, the physics involved, and he even does a little kitchen hack to create a stop for his whetstone on his sink divider.

[youtube=https://youtu.be/rWYIU1L_8vA]

As is often the case, there are some useful comments. In the video, Alex sharpens at a 15-degree angle. One of his viewers, vinny142, writes:

That 15 degrees is not critical, in fact, there are different angles for different kinds of knives. Filet knives have a 10 degree angle, general kitchen knives 20 degrees. Some chefs even have a personal preference that “just works” for them. Also, this was sharpening: the act of making sharp. Not to be confused with honing, the business with the big iron stick that you see butchers using all of the time in movies. Remember, the really thin edge that Alex mentioned, that curled over? He doesn’t polish it away completely, in fact that very thin edge is what does the cutting, and as you cut, you push that thin edge from side to side and it gets bent all over the place. Honing the blade against a honing steel straightens the sharp edge so it aligns with the direction of cutting again. If your knife doesn’t cut properly, don’t sharpen it, hone it first. If that doesn’t help, then you can sharpen.

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Gareth Branwyn is a freelance writer and the former Editorial Director of Maker Media. He is the author or editor of over a dozen books on technology, DIY, and geek culture. He is currently a contributor to Boing Boing, Wink Books, and Wink Fun. And he has a new best-of writing collection and “lazy man’s memoir,” called Borg Like Me.

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