Sharpening Ryoba – Western bevelled knives
Before reading this page we highly recommend reading Sharpening Stones - All You Need to Know
Using a stone to sharpen a knife is a simple process that's easy to learn but difficult to master. For most knives that fail the tomato test we recommend using a series of three stones to bring your knife back to an excellent edge. The 3 grits we recommend are roughly 400, 1000 and 3000.
In terms of the 3 grits the 400 stone is used to reshape the edge back into an apex and is the stone that generally sees the most work. If your knife is especially blunt you need to persevere until there is a cutting edge before moving forward.
The 1000-1200 grit stone is used to refine the edge created by the 400 stone. You can create a totally legitimate edge with a 1000 grit but continuing with a 3000 grit stone with refine the edge further and give you longer lasting sharpness. For the fan boys you can continue with finer and finer stones but the point of diminishing return sits at about the 3000 stone. A quick use of a stropping material will further enhance the edge.
Depending on your knife you will need to hold the blade at a 10° to 20° angle to the stone. Rule of thumb is a German knife or a thicker blade requires an 18° to 20° angle. Thinner Japanese blades can go down to 10° or less , but unless you have a lot of experience with thin blades, a minimum of 15° is recommended.
A smaller angle gives a sharper edge. A greater angle is not as sharp but the blade is less prone to chipping, so think about the purpose for which the knife is used for before deciding on the angle. Remember high quality blades with a high HRC (hardness rating) can hold a smaller angle.
In terms of sharpening a basic V-bevel take a look at our video below. It shows our technique we use for our professional knife sharpening service.
Ryoba style blades come in a variety of styles. Don't panic, detailed advice on how to sharpen hybrid, offset, hamaguri and other style blades is on its way.
Knife Sharpening Video
If you'd like to learn how to use professional sharpening stones, watch our instructional video on knife sharpening.
Sharpening Kataba – Single bevel knives
With knives such as Yanagiba, Deba and Usuba becoming more and more popular we are working on a series of videos to help you sharpen these blades at home. Please be patient but while you wait we do offer a professional sharpening service for these blades.