Hone Lasting and Sharp Fillet Warriors with a Fillet Knife Sharpener

August 19, 2021

Filleting a redfish or tuna for the first time can be a harder task than it looks. You're going to cut through slippery and sharp bones. If you're not careful enough, it can cause an injury.

Of course, you want to get the best results if you're working on such a meticulous process. So what do you need to make safe and good fillets?

An exceptionally sharp and durable knife.

And what's the secret to a long-lasting and sharp knife?

The sharpener.

Even the best and safest fillet knives need proper maintenance. If you can't find and use the right fillet knife sharpener, the knife won't function the same amazing way it did the first time.

Learn in this article the qualities that make an excellent fillet knife sharpener and how to use it properly.

How to Find the Right Fillet Knife Sharpener

The market offers various sharpening tools, and with a quick skim, most of them look promising. Some brands even sell a fillet knife with a sharpening tool and sheath, an all-in-one package.

Choosing the right sharpening tool can be tricky, but you can make it easy with adequate knowledge. Here are factors you should look into when finding the right sharpener for fillet knives.

Manual vs. Electric Sharpener

Knife sharpeners are classified into two main categories: manual and electric sharpeners. Which one works better for your fillet knife?

It depends on your sharpening needs.

A manual fillet knife sharpener focuses on quality and skills. Let's say you decide to use a whetstone to sharpen your fillet knife. Here are some things to consider.

  • How's your ability to sharpen a knife by hand? Manual sharpeners give you more control over speed and precision than electric knives. They also allow you to calculate the right sharpening angle.
  • You can find affordable and high-quality manual sharpening tools in the market. You can get a good one for only $10 to $60.
  • Manual sharpening requires more time than electric sharpeners.
  • They are relatively more portable and easier to store than electric sharpeners.

An electric fillet knife sharpener, on the other hand, focuses on the machine's capability. If you choose this type of sharpening tool, here are the things you should know.

  • Thanks to its strong abrasives, an electric sharpener requires only minimal time and energy than manual sharpeners.
  • Are you worried about setting the wrong angle? No worries! The machine does all measurements and offers preset angles.
  • Some electric sharpeners are maneuverable, but they're still not as portable as manual tools.
  • Unlike manual sharpening, you don't have much control. Generally, the machine's strength and quality determine the results.

Tips on Sharpening Fillet Knives Properly

Even with the best fillet knife sharpener, sharpening is not an easy task, and it takes practice to master the right techniques.

Below are some pointers to give you a good start.

fillet knife sharpener whetstone

Manual Sharpening: Whetstone

If you're sharpening a fillet knife with stone, take note of the following tips to do it the right way:

Determine the type of sharpening stone to use.

Sharpening stones are classified into four types: oil stones, water stones, diamond stones, and Arkansas stones. Most professionals use diamond stones for their strength, durability, and fast results.

Use the right side for the right knife quality.

Sharpening stones have a fine (smooth) side and a coarse (rough) side. The quality of your knife determines which side you should use first. For example, if your knife is brand new, you can sharpen it using the fine side. But when the blade is older, you have to use the coarse side to hold an edge.

Use the correct grit.

Each knife sharpening stage has a corresponding grit. If your fillet knife is old and very dull and has chipped edges, use a 300‒400 grit to create an edge. Then, proceed with a 4000‒8000 grit when polishing and refining the blade.

Get the right angle and motion.

A consistent angle is one of the most important things in knife sharpening. To find a good fish fillet knife sharpening angle, hold the blade at a 20-degree angle across the stone.

When it comes to the motion, think of the direction when using a fillet knife: slice by pulling. Make the same motion when sharpening, and move in one direction. Don't go back and forth.

electric fillet knife sharpener

Electric Sharpening

Do you not have enough time to work on your sharpening skills with a whetstone? Then, an electric knife sharpener is a better option for you.

You get two sharpening stages.

Electric knife sharpening involves two stages, namely, honing and sharpening. However, some sharpeners (usually the more expensive ones) come with three steps, the extra one being polishing/refining. The third step is optional and depends on your preference.

Rely on the instructions provided.

Unlike manual sharpening, you don't need sharpening skills to get the job done. Instead, simply follow the instructions on operating the electric tool, and you're all good!

Cooperate with the machine.

Relying on the electric device doesn't mean you have to do absolutely nothing while sharpening the fillet knife. Once you insert the blade on a slot, use only minimal pressure in holding the knife as the machine sharpens it. Additionally, complete the number of passes required per slot to achieve the desired sharpness. 

fillet knife sharpener honing rod

Manual Sharpening: Rod

How about a sharpening rod or steel? Before choosing this method, note a couple of important facts about this tool.

It is best used as a honing tool for the fillet knife.

If you're sharpening an extremely dull knife for the first time, we don't recommend this one. A sharpening rod is better to use with an already sharp knife that needs edge realignment and maintenance.

You need two tools to sharpen your fillet knife.

To achieve the best results, we recommend sharpening a fillet knife with a rod and a filing tool. The filing tool serves as an instant retouch when the fillet knife needs it after slicing or cutting through several fillets.

Use the sharpening stone angle.

With a sharpening rod, you may use the same angle (20 degrees) as when sharpening a fillet knife with a whetstone. Note that the direction of sliding the knife should be away from your body.


We hope this information has helped you prepare the razor-sharp fillet knife for your redfish or tuna dish. Various knife sharpeners have different benefits to offer, and it depends on your needs to know which one works best.

Here's to hoping you ace your fillets unscathed and feeling completely satisfied!

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