How to Use a Pull Through Sharpener

A pull through sharpener, also known as a manual sharpener or a rod sharpener, is a simple and effective tool for sharpening kitchen knives. If you're looking to give your knife a quick tune-up, a pull through sharpener can be a convenient option. Here's a step-by-step guide on how to use one:

Gather your materials. In addition to your pull through sharpener, you'll need a towel or cloth to protect your countertop and a honing rod (also called a sharpening rod or steel). It's also a good idea to wear protective gloves to avoid any accidental cuts.

Select the appropriate sharpening slot. Most pull through sharpeners have multiple slots for different types of knives. Select the slot that corresponds to the type of blade you're sharpening. For example, a slot labeled "fine" is typically used for sharpening kitchen knives without removing much of the blade, while a slot labeled "coarse" is used for serrated or heavily damaged blades.

Pull the knife through the sharpener, using a back and forth motion. Make sure to apply even pressure as you go, and pay attention to the blade's edge. You should aim to sharpen the entire length of the blade, including the tip.

Use the honing rod to finish. Once you've sharpened both sides of the blade, you can use the honing rod to fine-tune the edge. To do this, hold the rod vertically with the tip resting on a cutting board. Place the blade against the rod at a 20-degree angle, and draw the blade down the length of the rod. Repeat this process on both sides of the blade.

Test the sharpness. To test the sharpness of your knife, try slicing through a tomato or a piece of paper. If the knife glides through smoothly, it's sharp. If it tears or requires too much force, you'll need to repeat the sharpening process until you achieve the desired sharpness.

Using a pull through sharpener is a quick and easy way to keep your kitchen knife in top condition. With a little practice, you'll be able to sharpen your knife like a pro in no time.

For a detailed guide with everything you need to know about (Japanese) kitchen knives read our ultimate kitchen knife guide here. 

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"Nothing says I love you better than a real sharp knife"

Chef Michael Ruhlman