There is nothing more important in the kitchen than a good knife… except perhaps a set of good knives.
I discovered this several years ago when I happened to impulse buy a set of WÜSTHOF knives in a closing-down sale. That purchase opened my eyes to the difference between a kitchen knife and a good kitchen knife. I have never looked back.
However, that was years ago now. My WÜSTHOF knives have been used almost daily since then, and it’s fair to say that they are not quite as sharp as they used to be.
That is not a criticism of the WÜSTHOF quality. It is merely a fact that is true of all quality things – proper maintenance is the key to longevity. Cars need oil changes, leather lounges need conditioning and good knives need sharpening. The fact that it has taken me until this point to feel the need to sharpen my WÜSTHOF knives is an indicator of just how long they have stayed sharp. It is only now, approximately five years since I purchased the knives, that I feel the need to sharpen them.
Learn A New Skill – The WÜSTHOF Whetstone
I will admit that I was intimidated by the proposition of sharpening my knives. I considered using the excellent WÜSTHOF sharpening service, but I didn’t want to part with my precious knives for too long. I also felt that knife-sharpening was a skill that I would like to have. After all, my knives will eventually become dull again. Most manufactures of high-quality knives recommend sharpening them once or twice a year to maintain the cutting edge, so that is now my aim.
I considered all of the options available, but ultimately the choice was simple – a WÜSTHOF whetstone was the most consistently recommended way of sharpening my WÜSTHOF knives. Countless websites and YouTube videos convinced me that it was quick, easy and the best way to reinstate the razor-sharp edge that so impressed me when I first purchased the knives.
A Secret Weapon – WÜSTHOF Sharpening Guide Slider
Still in the back of my mind was the concern that I may make a mess of things and do more harm than good. I couldn’t bear the thought of doing lasting damage to my favourite kitchen items through an amateurish performance with the whetstone. Fortunately, WÜSTHOF had just tool to ease my troubled mind – the Sharpening Guide Slider.
Time and time again, the take-away message that I had received about knife sharpening was that a consistent angle was all-important. If I could master the angle, I would sharpen the knife back to its original razor-like glory. There was no way known that I would master a 14-degree angle just by feel, but the Sharpening Guide Slider took all of the guesswork out of it. All I had to do was rest the knife on the guide, gently hold it in place and then slide the knife along the whetstone.
After about two or three goes I was already more confident. I was beginning to understand what the correct angle felt like and how it sounded as the knife passed over the whetstone.
The Sharpening Guide Slider gave me the confidence to feel like I was doing a proper job of sharpening my precious knives. It allowed me to jump into the otherwise intimidating task of using a whetstone with confidence and most importantly, it helped me to produce an excellent edge on my first ever attempt at sharpening a knife. I highly recommend novices (like me) give it a go.
Best of all, after using the slider for a while I felt confident enough to try sharpening a knife without it. Sure enough, I could feel the angle that I was supposed to use. The result was a sharp knife. It wasn’t quite as sharp as my slider-guided knives, but it was still a passable result.
The Results – WÜSTHOF Whetstone
I don’t mean to toot my own horn, but I think I did a pretty great job of returning the edges of my knives to their razor-sharp state. I used the simplest technique that I could find after many hours of watching knife-sharpening videos and I found it easy to do. I suggest you Google “how to use a whetstone” and then find a technique that works for you. The photo below shows just how sharp my WÜSTHOF knives are now. They are definitely back to their ultra-thin slicing best!
The WÜSTHOF whetstone was excellent for the job. I used the coarse side for about 12-15 passes on each side of the knife, then the fine side of the whetstone for another 15ish times. I’m sure the result isn’t perfect, but for a first attempt it is pretty great! I intend to use the WÜSTHOF whetstone about twice a year to really maintain that sharp edge, so I’m sure I will quickly get better at the job.
Because the edge of my knives had slowly dulled over time, I hadn’t noticed how different they had become from their initial state. The knives were still cutting well, but they weren’t the extremely sharp knives I had fallen in love with. Now that I have sharpened them with the WÜSTHOF whetstone, I can really see the importance of regular knife maintenance. The sharpening has made a huge difference, and now that I have learnt my lesson it won’t be another five years before I do it again. Now that my knives are once again razor sharp, I intend to sharpen them with the whetstone twice a year.
A whetstone is an easy way to sharpen quality knives, especially when using a guide slider to learn the feel of the optimum angle. The WÜSTHOF whetstone and Sharpening Guide Slider was an excellent combination to use and it quickly gave me the confidence to properly sharpen my knives. The results speak for themselves – my WÜSTHOF knives are as sharp as they have ever been. Now that I know what a difference it makes, I will never let them get dull again.
Sharpening of knives is something that should become routine for all owners of high quality kitchen knives. For those without good knives, do yourself a favour and invest in a set. And while you are at it, pick up a whetstone and guide slider!
Disclosure – WÜSTHOF provided Blog of Dad with the WÜSTHOF 4450 Whetstone and a WÜSTHOF Sharpening Guide Slider free of charge, for the purpose of review. The views expressed in this post are entirely my own views, based on my experiences with the WÜSTHOF products. For further information, please visit my disclosure statement.