How to Sharpen Mac Knives

Written by matthew mclaughlin
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How to Sharpen Mac Knives
(BananaStock/BananaStock/Getty Images)

Manufactured in Japan, MAC knives are a unique product, but these carbon alloy, handcrafted knives require special attention and maintenance. While most commercial knives are cut at a 20 degree angle, MAC knives are set at 15 degrees. This difference offers users and chefs less resistance and quicker cuts, but also requires them to take great care when sharpening the knife. The best way to sharpen these special knives is the traditional Japanese method of using a water stone.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Japanese water stone
  • Mac knife
  • Container of water
  • Towel
  • 15 degree sharpening guide rail

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    Prepare the Stone

  1. 1

    Fill a container with cold water and place the stone in the water. Be sure the water covers the top of the stone so that it is immersed.

  2. 2

    Leave the stone in the water for three minutes, and then remove it and place it flat on a dry towel.

  3. 3

    Let the stone lie on the towel for a few minutes. Sprinkle a few drops of water on the top of the stone as additional lubrication immediately before use.

    Sharpen the Knife

  1. 1

    Place the knife on the stone at a 15 degree angle. This angle can be achieved by using a 15 degree sharpening guide rail. This is a device that can be purchased at any fine kitchen supply store. To use the sharpening guide rail, clip it on the centre of the dull side of the knife. When the knife is flat on the stone, the sharpening guide rail will raise the knife 15 degrees.

  2. 2

    With the sharpening guide rail still on the knife, push the knife away from you, then toward you in smooth, rhythmic motions. Be sure to apply firm, but not extreme, pressure by holding the handle with one hand and placing your index, middle and ring finger on the flat of the blade. Push and pull in a circular motion across the stone, being sure to cover the entire area of the blade.

  3. 3

    After 7-8 motions, flip the blade, keep the 15 degree angle by ensuring the guide rail is still on, and proceed with the same motion of rhythmically and steadily moving the blade back and forth over the stone.

  4. 4

    Repeat this entire process until the blade is sharp and smooth. You can tell that the blade is sharp if the edge is not curling to either side.

  5. 5

    Clean the knife in hot, soapy water and dry.

Tips and warnings

  • If you do not have a sharpening guide rail, according to Umamimart, placing two quarters underneath the blade will give you the proper angle. To ensure sharpening at the same angle with each stroke, the sound of the blade on the stone should remain the same. If it changes, your angle has changed.
  • Do not wipe any residue that accumulates on the stone while sharpening, as this substance helps the process.
  • Do not touch the blade to test the edge after sharpening.

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