Knowing how to sharpen a Kai knife will amp up your overall kitchen experience. A Kai knife is just your regular ol’ knife to the average Joe. However, to the experienced, Kai knives are not your everyday run-of-the-mill kitchen knives. They are well respected in the culinary field and should be cleaned and sharpened. That is why we have created this guide: to tell you just how to sharpen your Kai knife like a pro.
The sharpening technique we are about to guide you through is a traditional Japanese technique and guarantees the effectiveness and longevity of your Kai knife. Sharpening your Kai knife is best achieved with a whetstone (or grindstone). We recommend the Kai Combination Whetstone.
Here, we will show you the techniques for blades that require grinding on only one side and blades that require grinding on both sides.
Soak the whetstone in water for seven to ten minutes before starting the sharpening process. This is to keep the knife’s edge cool enough during the grinding process. You will notice that tiny air bubbles will begin to appear as you insert the whetstone into the water. When these bubbles stop, the whetstone is ready for use.
Position the damp whetstone on a countertop or work surface vertical to your position (i.e., with the width of the whetstone facing you). Ensure that a rubber base is placed under the whetstone to stabilize it.
How to Sharpen Kai Knives With Blades Ground on Both Sides
Place the Kai knife in the middle of the whetstone at an angle of 45 degrees. Then, elevate the knife off the whetstone at an angle of 15 degrees. The blade should face you.
Begin to grind from the blade’s tip to the broader end of the blade. Apply pressure with your fingertips as the blade grinds against the whetstone away from you. Then, release this pressure as you pull the blade towards yourself.
Continue this motion while applying and releasing pressure until your knife is sufficiently sharpened. An average of five grind passes should do the trick.
Flip the knife over and repeat the same motions on the opposite side of the blade (preferably with the same number of grind passes). Rinse the Kai knife and whetstone with clean water and pat dry.
How to Sharpen Kai Knives With Blades Ground on One Side
Place the Kai knife on the whetstone at a 45-degree angle. Ensure the edge of the knife is facing you.
Begin to grind from the tip of the blade to the wider end of the blade. Apply pressure with your fingertips as the blade grinds against the whetstone away from you. Then, release this pressure as you pull the blade towards yourself.
Continue these motions until the entire length of the Kai knife blade is sharpened. You’ll know the knife is sharp when you can feel a slight burr on the opposite side of the blade.
Lay the burred side of the blade flat on the grindstone. Grind this side over the whetstone with some pressure until the burr disappears. Finally, rinse the Kai knife and whetstone with clean water and pat dry.
As an alternative, you could also check out the Kai Diamond & Ceramic Knife Sharpener. This device sharpens blunt Kai knives in three easy steps.
While the Kai Diamond & Ceramic Knife Sharpener might feel more comfortable for some people, it is not compatible with a range of Kai knives. Oppositely, the whetstone method can accommodate all variants of Kai knives.
Now that you know how to sharpen a Kai knife, you will be able to chop foods effortlessly in the kitchen and increase the life expectancy of your Kai knife. For more information regarding kitchen knives check our Kai knives review.
Gary Portman is the founder and main author of knivesadvice.com Using the knowledge he has gained through the years, he aims to help people choose the best knife based on their needs. You can find more info about Gary here.