Viola Wüsthof warns

Attention: blunt!

Welcome to the WÜSTHOF Cutting Academy's special topic "Sharpening & Grinding". Our guest: Viola Wüsthof - as a scion of the Wüsthof knife family she is the ultimate expert for sharp blades and provides us here with all important tips & tricks for resharpening chef's knives. Here is her first hint: 
Should your knife lose cutting power, please sharpen it as soon as possible. If you work with a blunt knife, the risk of injury increases enormously, because you automatically use more force and therefore slip easily when you apply it to the food. This is dangerous. With a sharp knife, on the other hand, you can easily achieve precise cuts. And you work safely - cut by cut. 
Even high-quality blades lose their ideal sharpness through everyday use. That is quite normal. This is why we answer the important questions on this page: How do I test the sharpness? And: How can I restore it if necessary?
Sharpness Testing
With paper or "French fries"

To determine whether your knife is still sharp, we recommend the paper test at home. Simply take a piece of paper, hold it in the air in front of you and cut through the sheet with the knife and a bold movement. If the blade glides through effortlessly, the blade is still sharp. If not, you should sharpen it.

At WÜSTHOF every knife must pass the French Fries Test. French fries? It's like this: In the final quality control, we make the ultimate test of sharpness with every knife - only if the blade slices effortlessly through a rectangular piece of foam (we call it French fries) - is it allowed to go on sale.

From Viola Wüsthof

7 golden grinding rules for home

  1. choose your personal favourite method of grinding (see below)
  2. pay attention to a well-groomed workplace, relax and enjoy the meditative effect of the sharpening process
  3. check in advance the ideal grinding angle (15 - 20°)
  4. sharpen the entire blade. In the case of a full bolster, sharpen as far as possible to the end of the blade.
  5. both sides must be sharpened - except for serrated knives with a one-sided sharpening
  6. test your result on a piece of paper
  7. practice makes perfect: be patient and practice - without fear of making a mistake

The honing

When honing with the honing steel you straighten the burr of the blade. This gives the cutting edge its extremely pointed shape again and allows it to slide ideally through food. It is not sharpened, but "only" brought back into shape. To keep your knives always sharp, you should regularly use the honing steel.

The Sharpening

Once the blade is blunt, it must be sharpened. In contrast to sharpening, this process removes material and gives the knife a new, perfect sharpening - and makes it ultra-sharp again. WÜSTHOF offers several possibilities for sharpening: Sharpening rods with diamond or ceramic coating, whetstones, mechanical hand tools or the new automatic table sharpening system Easy Edge.

Use honing steel and sharpening stick

The optimum grinding angle

With a little practice you can easily operate a sharpening steel or sharpening stick: Take the handle of the sharpening stick in your left hand and the knife in your right hand (left-handers vice versa). Now alternately stroke both sides of the blade 6 to 8 times with light pressure along the entire length of the coating. Pay attention to an angle of 15 to 20° - already done.  

If you feel unsure, you can also place the stick with the tip pointing down on the worktop. Hold the handle firmly and pull the blade over the coating as described above. With both methods it is important that the stick is longer than the blade of the knife.

Sharpening stone

A soothing ritual

Sharpening with the whetstone or sharpening stone is a particularly gentle and effective method of sharpening your knives. The stones have two different sides: one with a fine grain and one with a coarse grain - for coarse grinding and fine sharpening. With the coarse side you grind off unevenness from the cutting edge. After that, the other side of the stone is for fine grinding - the knife becomes sharp. By the way: The finer the grain, the finer the sharpening. 

For many, working with the whetstone is a special ritual. The sound of the 20 to 30 blade triggers soothes the senses and the sensitive motion sequence provides a moment of relaxation.

Sharpening stone

With even strokes to the sharp blade

Here too, practice makes perfect. It is particularly important that you always maintain the same angle of 15 to 20° between the blade and the whetstone when sharpening. The WÜSTHOF sharpening aid will help you at the beginning - it gives you stability and ensures a perfect result.  

Before sharpening, the stone must be immersed in water for about 10 minutes to allow it to soak up the water. Then place the stone on a non-slip surface. You start with the rough side and pull the blade over the stone several times in both directions with light pressure - without lifting it off. Start at the tip of the blade and pull the blade evenly to the end. After 4 to 5 strokes, work on the other side of the blade. Then turn the stone and repeat the process with the fine side of the stone - the knife is sharp again.

Easy Edge

Automatic sharpening system

With the WÜSTHOF Easy Edge your knives sharpen almost by themselves. As soon as you have started the electric knife sharpener, you pass the blade along the flexible grinding belt. The precisely coordinated interval programs and the preset sharpening angle ensure that the blade gets the ideal, razor-sharp finish - almost as precisely as the laser-controlled sharpening process (PEtec) in our production. The special feature is that the built-in system automatically collects grinding residues.

Thanks to the intelligent One Touch technology you can use the sharpening system intuitively and truly "easy". Three grinding programs keep your cutting edges permanently sharp:

  1. shaping (high intensity) - brings damaged blades back into shape
  2. sharpening (medium intensity) - restores the sharpness of dull blades. 
  3. fine sharpening (low intensity) - keeps the blade sharp by slightly touching up.

Mechanical hand tools

Quick and easy to use

The WÜSTHOF range also includes many mechanical knife sharpeners. They are suitable for kitchen and chef's knives and are easy to use: Even inexperienced hobby cooks can easily sharpen their knives with them. Simply place the blunt blade vertically with the back end in the neckline and pull it straight up to the blade tip with light pressure - that's how easy it is to operate these useful tools and you will quickly enjoy the sharp blades on your WÜSTHOF knives.

Academy live reviews

Episode 1
Hummus-Bowl - finely chopped vegetables with Epicure
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Episode 2
Aubergine salad - precise cuts with the Classic knife series
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Episode 3
Gnocchi pan - perfectly prepared with Classic Ikon
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Episode 4
Chicken skewers - real craft with Crafter knives
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Episode 5
Fine curry - harvested and cut with Urban Farmer
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Episode 6
Handmade fish fingers - every cut fits with the Classic Series
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Episode 7
Red cabbage salad - precisely prepared with the exclusive Aeon series
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Episode 8
Wok vegetables - with finely portioned fillet thanks to the Butcher Knife
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Episode 9
Salmon on baked potato - prepared with Classic Ikon Crème
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Episode 10
Spicy lamb chops - precisely cut with Classic knives
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Episode 11
Grilled fruit salad - slicing with Crafter knives
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Episode 12
Fresh monkfish - precisely filleted with Epicure knives
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