Came across a great article on eGullet.com today that explains, in hyper-detail, how to sharpen knives.
Now, if you just can't get enough of cooking shows like Good Eats or cookbooks like Cookwise, this is your kind of article. The author doesn't just tell you how it's done, but why it's done. As luck would have it, I married into the family of the master of how it's done.
When my wife and I lived in an apartment in Virginia so many years ago, my brother-in-law Bill came to stay with us for a short visit. He found the dull chef's knife in my kitchen drawer inexcusable, so he set to work sharpening it. An hour and a half later, he presented me with the sharpest blade I've ever held.
It was only after I went to cooking school that I learned just how righteous his indignation was. I should have been ashamed much more than I was. A dull knife's a dangerous weapon.
Bill died in a plane wreck not long after that knife-sharpening visit. To this day, I keep my blades sharp in his honor. Rest in Peace, Bill.