Boning knives are engineered to cut raw meat or poultry from the bone. As they work near the bone, the blade gets dull over time and fails to slice the meat. Thus, the effectiveness of the knife reduces, and sharpening becomes mandatory. So, the question is how to sharpen a boning knife.

Whetstone, honing rod and electric sharpener are common tools for boning knife sharpening. The side of the blade needs to be placed over the tool at a 12°-20° bevel angle. Then slide the edge along the surface. Continue the process 5-10 times on both sides. This will produce a new and well-sharpened cutting edge. 

This comprehensive guide discusses the required steps to sharpen a boning knife like a PRO.

What to Use to Sharpen a Boning Knife?

You can remove metal from the blade to create a new edge using 3 tools: a whetstone, honing rod and electric sharpener.


Whetstone is the most effective tool for sharpening a boning knife. However, it requires practice. Once you are familiar with the process, controlling becomes effortless. You can decide when to start and stop without hesitation. Moreover, changing the bevel angle is convenient for the ultimate result.

You will find 2-grit sides in a whetstone: 1000-grit and 6000-grit, allowing you to sharpen and polish the boning knife using a single tool.

Honing Rod or Sharpening Steel

Professional experts and chefs prefer honing steel, the go-to choice for boning knife sharpening. This steel performs faster and does an efficient job.

But they remove more metals per pass. For this reason, be careful enough when using honing steel for sharpening a boning knife.

Electric Sharpener

Another efficient tool for boning knife sharpening is an electric sharpener. These are automated devices and damn intuitive.

They come with multiple slots for specific uses. One slot removes metals from knives while the other polishes the edges. Slots number can vary based on the design.

However, they have a few drawbacks. These devices are less flexible to use compared to whetstones or sharpening steel. Sharpening a thin boning knife is challenging as the device can remove more metals from the sides.

Moreover, electric sharpeners don’t provide good results if a boning knife has a prominent curvature. 

How to Sharpen a Boning Knife – Step-by-step Guide

Sharpening a boning knife is relatively straightforward. Use the correct tool and follow the right steps.

Using a Whetstone

This method is the longest but the most popular one. A whetstone can also be used to polish or finish a boning knife.

Step 01: Choosing the Correct Whetstone Grit

Selecting the right whetstone grit is crucial. You might be wondering what grit my whetstone should be. Can I use any whetstone?

A boning knife can be flexible, while others can be stiffer.

For stiffer blades, buy a whetstone of 3000-grit. On the other hand, a 1000-grit whetstone is ideal for flexible blades. Remember, lower grit means rough texture.

Step 02: Setting Up the Workspace

Place the whetstone on a flat and solid surface. Make sure it is stable and free from wobbling on the surface when working.

Soak the whetstone in a water bowl for 15-20 minutes. In addition, keep the bowl closer to your hands so you can wet the whetstone when sharpening. This way, waste will not be able to stick to the stone. Moreover, you can sharpen more effectively.

Step 03: Hold the Boning Knife on the Stone with Correct Bevel Angle

Use your dominant hands to hold the boning knife on the whetstone horizontally. The angle between the boning knife and whetstone should be 12°-20°. 

Thinking about how to find the right angle? Here is the trick,

  • Place the blade parallel to the whetstone and lift the spine slowly. Once the bevel is flush with the tool, you get the ideal angle. 

Now, consider that sharpening a single bevel boning knife is different from double bevel one. Equal sharpening of both sides of the blade is necessary for a blunt knife of single bevel.

On the contrary, sharpen the front side of the double bevels boning knife at an angle. Then, provide a few passes to the back side keeping completely flat on the whetstone. Here, the prime target is to align the blade for sharpening the front side.

Step 04: Start Sharpening One Side Simultaneously

Start sharpening one side of the knife. Thus, controlling the bevel angle will be easier. Ensure the whetstone surface is wet.

Keep the blade edge away from you. Next, put 3 fingers over the blade’s side facing up near the tip. Bring the knife towards you, focusing on the tip area. This method applies to various boning knife blades that are solid, curved, flexible, or straight.

Continue sharpening the top to toe at least 5-10 times. Then, if the boning knife is double beveled, flip it and follow the same procedure to the other sides.

  • Fewer repetitions may be required for thinner blades. Whereas thicker blades need several repetitions.

Step 05: Use a Honing Steel to Create a Smooth Finish

Hold the knife with one hand and use the other hand to grab the sharpening steel. Swiftly move the knife away from you while turning the honing rod. Do this a couple of times on both sides of the blade. This way, you will get the desired finish.

Finally, rinse off the boning knife. Why? The sharpening process produces a lot of dusty metal powder on the blades or edges. If you don’t rinse off the knife, the dust can get into the meat or food.

After rinsing the knife under running water, dry it thoroughly with a soft and clean kitchen towel.

Step 06: Sharpness Testing

Different methods help you tell whether the boning knife is still sharp or dull. Try cutting different types of food. If you see that the knife is cutting vegetables smoothly, then it is sharp. While if you need to provide several back and forth of the blade, more sharpness is required.

Using a Sharpening Steel

A honing steel is good enough to realign the knife’s edge and remove minor nicks and chips. The steps are the same as using a whetstone. Follow the below tips and tricks when using a sharpening steel.

  • Choose a non-slip and stable surface to place the honing rod
  • Position the tip downwards
  • You will find the right angle by aligning the blade on one side of the rod
  • Maintain a constant swiping motion when sharpening the knife from top to toe
  • After sharpening one side, follow the same process on the other side

Using an Electric Sharpener

If you want a faster and easier method to sharpen a boning knife, an electric sharpener is the best solution.

Step 01: Plug the device into a power source. Then turn it on.

Step 02: As mentioned, electric sharpeners have multiple slots. Slide the knife into one slot carefully. Run the blade only once at each slot. Avoid pressurizing when doing so. The machine is efficient enough to handle the sharpening process automatically.

Step 03: If bevel angle adjustment is required, adjust accordingly to get a nice and uneven cutting edge.

Step 04: Turn the device off and unplug the cord once sharpened. You should have a well-sharpened knife like the new one.

How to Keep a Boning Knife well-sharpened for Many Days?

Taking good care of the boning knife will guarantee long-lasting, effective service for an extended period. Some tips include:

Regular Sharpening is the Key

Sharpen the knife regularly. Even if you don’t use it for cutting meat. A wide range of methods can be followed for sharpening, such as whetstone or electric sharpener. Choose a method that meets your preference.

Cleaning & Drying

Rinse the knife using warm water after each use. Don’t use the dishwasher. Take enough time to wash the knife with your hands. Clean and dry them completely with a soft and clean kitchen towel. Thus, rust and corrosion can be prevented easily. No worries. If you are using a knife and want to get rust off any kitchen cutlery, you just need to make it clean.

Apply Honing Oil

Apply honing oil lightly to the blade. As a result, the blade’s metal will not get dull quickly. The sharpness of the blade will remain razor-sharp for several days. Add several drops if required during the sharpening procedure.

Store the Knife Safely

Choose an area to store the knife where moisture and heat are unavailable. A block or stealth is a good choice for storing when not in use. This way, the blade will be protected from accidental damage and unnecessary wear.

FAQs on How to Sharpen a Boning Knife

When to sharpen a boning knife?

Check the sharpness of the boning knife. Look for any nicks or unevenness. Try cutting a raw piece of meat. If your knife fails to cut smoothly and shows resistance, it is time to sharpen your boning knife.

What is the ideal bevel angle for a boning knife?

The bevel angle of a boning knife relies on the knife type you own. Most boning knives have a bevel angle of 12°-20°. If you are unsure regarding the angle, better consult with the manufacturer.

What is the safest method to sharpen a boning knife?

Whether you use a whetstone, a honing rod, or an electric sharpener, all these methods are the safest until you take precautions during the sharpening process. Be focused when sharpening. Avoid rushing and keep your fingers clear of the blade.

Final Words

In order to keep your boning knife razor-sharp, there is no other option except sharpening it regularly. This comprehensive guide showed several methods of how to sharpen a boning knife. By following the tips mentioned above and tricks, hopefully, your knives will remain sharp and provide the best performance for many days.

If you are not confident handling the DIY sharpening process, visit a professional sharpener for assistance.


Oliver aka Arannyk Monon is a versatile content writer, editor, and content strategist. He has been writing for the last 10 years to help people get the actual information that they are searching for on Search Engines. He has proven expertise in Kitchen, automotive, camera, hosting, and other technical topics.

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