Lesson 8: Knife Sharpening
Knife, also known as Yanagi. Yanagiba is a descriptor
of the thin, graceful blade-style of this excellent sushi
knife. Meaning Willow Leaf in Japanese, the Yanagiba is
the essential Asian slicing knife for sushi with a one-sided
grind that allows for the finest edge possible.
Sharpening Knives on Oil Stones
When sharpening Japanese sushi knives use three different
grades of knife sharpening stones: rough grain (arato), medium
grain (nakato) and superfine grain (shiageto). Rough grain
is used for adjusting the angle of the edges and reforming
the shapes. Medium grain is used for further shaping and
sharpening the blades. This is the most frequently used stone.
Superfine grain is used for eliminating fine scratches caused
by medium grain stone and for obtaining a razor sharp edge.
How to sharpen your knives Correctly
For medium grain and superfine grain stones.
1. Place the oil stone on a kitchen towel
or paper towel laid flat on a flat surface. Smear a thin
layer of stone oil over the stone
2. With the tip pointing away from you,
a right-handed person should start to sharpen on the right
side of blade. A left handed person should start to sharpen
on the left side of the blade.
3. Hold the knife tightly. Draw the edge
backward and forward at an angle of 10-20 degrees as the
illustration on the bottom of the page shows. It is best
to sharpen starting with the tip of the edge first, then
the middle part, then the lower part. On each step, when
you feel the burr at the side opposite to the one you are
sharpening, it is time to move to the next part to be sharpened.
4. Repeat the same process for the other
side of the blade. However if you have a Yanagi sushi knife
with a bevel on one side and flat on the other side of the
cutting edge of the blade, then the flat side needs a lot
less sharpening. For every 5 or 10 strokes on the beveled
side the flat side will only need one or two strokes and
when the burrs are gone, you are finished. The powder that
forms on the stone is essential to the sharpening process
and should not be rinsed away.
5. After sharpening, the knives should
be washed in water and dried completely with a soft towel.
The stone can be wiped with a clean rag or paper towel.
Sushi Knife Sharpening Tips
Oil the stone well before each use. .
Apply long and even, straight back and forth strokes.
Do not use circular or diagonal motions.
Place fingers over the portion of the blade to be sharpened.
Always keep fingers on the blade within the width of the
stone, and never outside, (hanging over the stone).
Cleaning your Sashimi Knives
Keeping your knives spotless is just as important as sharpening
them. Apply cleanser on a sponge or wet cloth to clean and
polish. You may want to use a little brush on the joint area
where the blade and handle are connected. Pour hot water
on both sides of the sushi knife to disinfect it. Do not
use bleach. Use a clean dry cloth to wipe and dry it. For
less frequently used knives, apply oil very thinly after
the knives are sharpened, cleaned and dried. Wrap the knives
individually with paper or cloth kitchen towels.