If you like to fish or eat fish, you will need a sharp fillet knife, and also learning how to sharpen a fillet knife will make things easier. A sharp knife will allow you to filet fish quickly and smoothly. There are numerous types of this knife available, but the most important thing is to ensure that the edge of your knife is sharp and well maintained.
The proper way to sharpen a fillet knife is to grind the blade against a whetstone. Another option is to use a diamond honing rod to sharpen the knife, keeping the fillet blade edge sharp after every usage.
As with any knife, it can become dull with continued usage. In some cases, the damage can be through misuse or accident. The most common way to damage a fillet knife is by washing it with a dishwasher machine or when sharpened the wrong way.
What is a fillet knife used for?
A fillet knife is a long, thin, flexible steel blade knife designed to cut different fish and types of meat. It has a curved blade and is typically 10 – 18 inches in length; it allows the user to both debone and skin fish and meat without separating the meat from the bone or skin.
It has a flexible blade that allows precise cuts to remove the flesh from bones without tearing up the surrounding flesh for eating. Choosing the best fillet knife means you will be more efficient when preparing your meals.
It is an essential tool for any angler. A sharp fillet knife can make the difference between a long, exhausting day on the water and a good outing with friends or family.
How to Sharpen a Fillet Knife
There are many ways to sharpen a fillet knife. Some methods are easy, while some can be very dangerous and can injure if not done correctly. Here are the best practices to use:
Using a stone
The first step to sharpening a fillet knife is determining whether it’s a single-bevel or double-bevel knife. The difference between the two is that single-bevel knives have edges that have a V shape look. In contrast, double-bevel knives have edges with a U shape. You can sharpen single-bevel knives more aggressively than double-bevel knives.
Use a whetstone or an electric stone but hone it first to tough up the blade edge; if that fails, you can now go for a full sharpening with a stone or diamond file. Here is a step-by-step way to use the stone.
Get a flat surface to place the stone, and it can be the top of your cabinet or any furniture with a leveled surface within the house. It will allow you to have a comfortable grinding when you start without hurting yourself.
Now hold the knife at a 20-degree sharpening angle over the whetstone with either your right hand or left, depending on the one you use. Use your fingers to put slight pressure on the knife as you begin to move the blade on the stone.
Only move the blade in one direction on the stone and not back and forth, as this can damage the knife’s edge if you aren’t an expert yet.
After sharpening the first side of the knife, turn to the other side to do steps 1 and 2 with the same angle and motion.
For a very sharp knife, repeat the steps over till your desired sharpness is reached.
When you shop for a sharpening stone, you will notice a wide variety of prices and qualities. A higher price is not a better quality stone. Try to know the best stone to use before going for one.
Using a steel
A steel sharpening tool can help maintain the edge of your knife by straightening out any small kinks or bends in your blade. The steps below will help you know how to sharpen your knife using steel properly and how to hold the fillet knife so you won’t hurt yourself.
To sharpen using steel:
- Hold one end of the steel and place the other end against your knife, equally far from the tip as from the handle.
- Make sure that the angle of the blade is at 20° from parallel to the steel.
- Begin to sharpen until you produce a burr, then move quickly over the entire blade.
- Continue sharpening until you have a very thin edge sharp enough to slice through fishes.
To protect yourself, especially if you are a beginner using steel for sharpening, don’t put the knife direction towards you as a mistake can lead to a severe injury.
Using Electric Sharpener
To use an electric sharpener, insert your knife into the slot at an angle away from you, then give the knife a slight clockwise motion to sharpen the blade. Change the angle to sharpen another side of the edge. After doing that, use your hand to move your knife back to its original position. Now try the blade out on paper or other softer surfaces to see if it sharpened adequately.
An electric sharpener is simple to use, safe and convenient; the sharp knife will be easy to clean because its sharpness will prevent it from sticking into fish meat.
Sharpen with AccuSharp Knife Sharpener
AccuSharp Knife Sharpener will provide you with everything you need for sharpening any kind of knife, including your fillet knives up to 30 degrees. It comes with a comfortable grip that makes it easy to use.
To sharpen with AccuSharp Knife Sharpener, set the AccuSharp Knife Sharpener on a flat surface and carefully place your knife blade against the AccuSharp’s V-shaped notch at a 20-degree angle. Push through the notch to sharpen.
For smooth blades, hold the first inch of the blade near the handle. For serrated edges, hold about mid-blade against the V-shaped notch.
Please remember that opinions on knife sharpening vary widely and what might work best for you is different from what another person might prefer. Ultimately, it’s up to you to determine how sharp your blades are and whether to sharpen them with any sharpening tools.
Best fillet knife sharpening angle
A sharpening angle of 12 to 16 degrees is perfect for getting the best results from any fillet knife. Getting the best angle depends on two factors: the type of steel and the style of the blade. Generally, most knives have a 20-degree primary bevel and an included angle of 30 degrees to 35 degrees.
The secondary bevel (or micro bevel) for such a knife is usually 10 or 15 degrees, which effectively sharpens the edge to the same 20-degree angle as the primary bevel.
There’s 40° for standard knives, 15° for Japanese-style knives, and 20° for European-style knives.
These are the uses of a fillet knife.
- They can be used for Skinning, deboning, filleting, butchering, scoring, and gutting fish
- Removing the head of a deer and cutting away its shoulder meat
- Getting around bones and removing them from a fresh fish allows the user to slice along either side of a fish’s spine
How to Clean and Maintain Your Fillet Knife
- Wash and dry your fillet knife immediately after using it to prevent the accumulation of meat on the blade.
- Clean with soap and warm water after using it to get rid of grime.
- It would be best never to put them in the dishwasher or leave them next to wet items.
- Never place it in an open-air when not being used.
- Never leave in the sink with water on it overnight.
- Never boil in water.
- Always hand-wash in warm, soapy water.
- Wipe the blade down with a paper towel soaked in vegetable oil after every use
Boning knife vs. Fillet knife
The world of knives has many varieties that vary in size, length, sharpness, handle material, blade construction, and cutting edges. A boning knife can be a versatile knife in some hands, while some see it as not a good fit for their areas of expertise. A fillet knife can be used to fillet fish but does not do well when used to accomplish other tasks, like cutting chicken bones.
A fillet knife is for filleting fish. It is longer than the average boning knife and is narrower, so you can work more efficiently on smaller pieces of meat or fish. A boning knife, on the other hand, is used to remove bones from poultry or pork, so it has a straighter blade than a fillet knife. It typically has a straight-edge blade that is thin with a rectangular handle. It is also used in place of sharp paring knives for small detailed cutting jobs.
They are both great for boning out your meat, but if you want a little more flexibility for very tender fish, go with a fillet knife, while boning is for cleaning fish that are hollowed out.
Frequently Asked Questions
How often do you sharpen my fillet knife?
The sharpening frequency varies, depending on how often you use your fillet knife. We recommend sharpening your fillet knife before storing it for an extended period.
How can you tell if a fillet knife is sharp?
It’s pretty easy to tell if a fillet knife is sharp. Look at the tip; if the point is not sharp or if it has a curve instead of a point, you will indeed need to sharpen your knife. A dull blade does not slice; it only drags and tears at the flesh of your catch. It creates torn flesh and lost pieces of your catch; a dull blade also increases the effort and time you take to clean and file your catch.
How do you hold a fillet knife?
A good grip on the handle of a fillet knife is essential, so your fingers are out of the way of the blade. Make sure to hold the knife with your thumb flat on top of the edge and three fingers curled around the handle. This proper grip keeps your hand steady and allows you to work quickly and efficiently.
Do knife sharpeners ruin knives?
No. Although some sharpeners are less convenient than others, none are dangerous to your knives or should damage the working edges. All sharpeners create little micro-serrations on the edge of the knife. Most knife sharpeners are just not sharp enough, which leads to inconsistent cutting. While they can be frustrating to use, they’re also rough on knives.
Fillet knives are very versatile and can be used to fillet a variety of fish. And with this post on how to sharpen a fillet knife, you can sharpen these knives after every usage to always get the best and cleanest cut possible. Whenever your knife is very dull, go through each step slowly and carefully.