When Becky and I took a cooking class, the chef lamented how he had damaged (I believe “ruined” was his exact word) a knife by trying to sharpen it himself. Between that, and all the difficulty I’ve had sharpening hand plane blades freehand (ie without a guide/jig/fixture), it was with quite a bit of trepidation that I attempted sharpening 2 of our good knives tonight.
Both had become incredibly dull, now that the cheap knife sharpener had become deformed with use. It has since been relegated to the circular file (AKA trash).
However, I am happy to report that the experiment was a success! I only needed to start with the 1000 grit stone, and worked my way through 4000, then up to 8000. Both knives sliced a fresh tomatillo (small green tomato-ish Mexican vegitable/fruit) without really even being able to notice that it was there.
Buoyed by that success, I tried sharpening the cleaver. I think I did a pretty good job, but because the cleaver has such a quick transition from edge to 1/8″+ thickness, I definitely felt the tomatillo.