Having a sharp knife is a lot safer than a dull knife in the kitchen. A sharp knife never slips off the surface of vegetable or anything you are cutting, which can save you from any potential cuts. Then, how can we keep our knife as sharp as it is out of box? Knife Sharpeners
First, you should understand the differences between sharpening and honing a knife.
Sharpening means grinding the blade edge and removing metal to form a new edge. In contrast, honing means maintaining the sharpness of a blade and straightening the deformed edge. So, one of the important tips here is to not sharpen your chef knife too often. It will damage the blade rather than sharpening it. Unlike sharpening, you can hone a chef knife just before every use. But, honing is not capable of sharpening a dull blade.
You can send your chef knife to a professional knife sharpening service a couple of times a year to make your knife sharp. You can then maintain the sharpness of your blade by using a honing steel at home. However, if you want to sharpen your chef knife at home, you can still do it by using a whetstone. Just remember that you should understand some rules regarding sharpening a chef knife before grinding your knife on a whetstone.
First, you should understand the term grit. When you are looking for a whetstone, you will come across terms like 300 grit or 1000 grit. What is grit? It means the size of the individual particles of abrasive in the sharpening stone. For example, a stone with a finer grit having small particles is used for polishing the edge.
Next, once you understand grit, sharpen your chef knife by starting with rough sharpening and ending with fine sharpening. The fine sharpening can be considered as a part of the honing stage.
Rough sharpening means grinding a blade with coarse grit. (Western whetstone; 300 or below coarse grit/ Japanese whetstone; 800 or below coarse grit) It abrades metal away quickly, producing an edge with more prominent micro-serration. After your blade is roughly sharpened, the fine level of sharpening is followed with a fine grit (Western whetstone: 600 or above grit, Japanese whetstone: 1000 or above).
You should check the instructions of your whetstone at home on how to use it. Each whetstone might have different directions. Usually, you can slide each side of your blade about 10 times on the coarse side first, and then slide each side of your blade on the fine side about 10 times. Most whetstones have dual side with one side being coarse, the other fine. So, you do not need to buy two whetstones for sharpening a chef knife.