1. With a Sharpening Steel
Types of Sharpening Steels
Chromium-plated stainless steel
Sharpening steels with a chromium-plated, grooved surface deliver a fine re-sharpening result and are relatively immune to damages.
This is a specialty steel to hone Japanese Steel.
Sharpening steels with a diamond coating of the blade deliver a particularly fine re-sharpening result. The average life span is shorter, though, because the coating tends to wear off over time.
2. With a Wetstone
Types of Wetstones
A Diamond Sharpening Steel or a traditional Butchers Sharpening Steel is used to quickly true the edge of the knife and maintain a sharp edge. It does not sharpen but helps put a fine hone on a sharp blade.
1. Most stones are "whetstones" and they require a light coating of oil or water. Both oil and water help cut the steel and keep it cool during sharpening Japanese knives require using a very fine whetstone or ceramic sharpening steel (1000 grit or finer). These should be used with water maintain a 20 degree angle during sharpening. As the knife becomes sharp, gradually press lightly for a razor edge.
2. If the knife is very dull or damaged start with the rough side of the stone (or a Diamond Sharpening Steel).
If your knife is fairly sharp and in good condition you should use the fine side of the stone (or a Diamond Sharpening Steel).
3. Hold the blade of the knife at a constant 20 degree angle to the stone.
4. Make light even strokes, use the same number of strokes on each side of the blade and sharpen in one direction only. We prefer to cut a slice off the stone. Use the whole blade of the knife from heel to tip.
5. Do not over sharpen your knife.
6. Finish your knife with a dozen strokes on the sharpening steel (or diamond sharpening steel) again a constant 20 degree angle. Make light, even regular strokes on the steel alternating with both sides of the knife and steel . Use the steel often and you will rarely have to use a stone.
7. Test your knife on a piece of paper, it should easily cut ribbons.
8. Remember, Practice makes Perfect, you will gain experience practicing your knife sharpening and it will help you determine how much sharpening is needed to keep your knives sharp.