How to Use a Knife Sharpener for Your Fishing Knives
Outdoor activities are a great way to get some fresh air and exercise to stay healthy. And they can be fun to, especially when it comes to doing something you love. If you’ve given thumbs up to fishing, then you’re in for quite the experience. Not only is it exciting, but you also engage all motor functions and give your body and mind a great workout.
While a large part of fishing has to do with equipment and how to catch your prey at the right time, cutting up fish is also part of the experience. This is especially the case if you’ve gone fishing for a few days and want to cook some fresh catch. This is where you want your knives to be razor-sharp. Sharp knives do not only perform better but are also safer. And for this, you’ll need to get a fishing knife sharpener. As not all knife sharpeners are made the same, it’s good to know how to use each one.
How to Use a Knife Sharpener?
These sharpeners are usually handheld, pull-through knife sharpeners that are extremely convenient and simple to use. A manual knife sharpener needs to be positioned on a clean, flat surface and it needs to be held with your non-dominant hand. There is a handle that you can grip on securely with all your fingers behind the heel and you place the handle in the slot.
The side of the blade should be facing downward and the area above the heel should be inserted into the slot. If a manual knife sharpener has multiple sharpening slots, start with the coarsest one first. When you have the knife in the correct slot, pull it towards you.
Make sure the entire blade passes through, and apply some pressure when pulling it towards you. Ensure that the tip of the blade gets in contact with the sharpening blades in the slot.
Each pull-through should take between 1 or 2 seconds, and it shouldn’t feel stiff or too swift either. Repeat this step until there are small metal filings on the edge of the knife. When you have the blade sharpened, wash it with soap and water to remove the filings.
Also a popular choice for its convenience and ease of use, an electric sharpener is an even better option than a manual one. All you need to do to start sharpening is to place the sharpener on a clean and dry surface and plug it in. Turn it on and get a hold of your knife with your dominant hand with all your fingers on the handle placed behind the heel.
Place the knife into the sharpening slot with its face downwards and the area above the heel into the slot. Push the blade down as far into the slot as it can go. This will ensure that the blade makes proper contact with the grinders. Again, with a manual knives sharpener, pull the knife towards you with slight pressure. Lift up the knife near the end so that the tip makes contact with the rotating grinders inside the slot.
Each pull-through should be between 1 or 2 seconds and it should be done for each side. Usually, you’ll need to pass each side of the blade twice to sharpen it. If you’re working with an electric sharpener that has a successive sharpening slot system then you should start with the coarsest one and work your way up. Once done, wash the knife gently with soap and water.
While this isn’t as convenient of a solution, a honing steel handle is still an effective one. Whilst holding the handle of the honing rod with your non-dominant hand place the top of it against a clean and flat countertop. Make sure you put enough pressure onto it to keep it securely vertical against the counter.
Take your knife with the blade facing downwards and place the heel of the blade at a 15° angle against the honing steel rod. Gently pivot the knife whilst maintaining the 15° angle with its tip pointing upward. Make sure you apply minimal pressure as you pull the knife’s blade down against the rod. Again don’t forget to maintain the 15° angle at all times.
While sliding the knife down the rod pull it gently towards you so that the whole length of the blade gets in contact with the steel before you reach the bottom. Do this in one smooth and quick motion.
Repeat the previous two steps with both sides of the blade. You can use the same hand to hold the rod just position the other hand on the other side when switching the side of the blade. When you’re done, gently clean the blade to remove metal filings.
To sharpen your fishing knife with a whetstone, start by soaking it in water anywhere from 5 to 10 minutes. The coarser the whetstone the more you have to soak it in water. Place the whetstone perpendicular to the edge of a countertop with its side up. Make sure you have it on a rubber mat or a damp cloth before you start sharpening.
Whilst holding your knife parallel with the countertop with the blade facing away from you handle it anywhere between 15° and 20°. Having it placed against the whetstone gently press your fingertips against the side of the blade. Put minimal pressure onto the knife with both hands and gently draw the edge of the blade against the whetstone.
While pulling the knife toward you make sure every bit of blade gets in contact with the whetstone. To sharpen the other side of the blade repeat the current and previous step with the blade facing you. Do this until you feel a bit of a burr on the edge of the blade. When done, wash the knife the same way you did with all the other methods and you’re good to go.