Sharpening is pretty straightforward. Begin on one side at the heel (back) of the knife, with the stone as low as it will go. Using light pressure, move the stone down the edge, at the same time going up the rod. Stop as you reach the tip. Be careful not to rotate the stone around the tip or you can grind it off. Go slow... speed comes with experience. It doesn't take long to learn the technique and pick up the pace, it will take longer to "unlearn" a wrong technique.
After learning the above, the second technique is for setting a bevel on a very dull knife, lowering the angle, or fixing some minor damage. This technique is "scrubbing" the stone, (usually a coarse stone), up and down as you move the stone down the edge. Again, start slow, use light pressure, and pay attention... you can remove metal faster than you realize.
Things to watch for during sharpening
Some additional points to watch for during sharpening include:
- Look at what's happening on the knife. Make sure metal is being removed where you want, and not being removed where you don't.
- Don't set too low of an angle. Rare, but make sure the stones aren't contacting the clamp or screws.
- Wipe the blade between stones, and especially between strops, so that you don't cross contaminate them.