Despite the level of quality of a good custom knife, any time a knife gets used it inevitably begins to get a bit duller and lose its edge. Thus knowing how to properly sharpen a knife becomes an important skill for any knife owner. Here are a few methods to get you started:
Method 1: Take it to a knife maker! Most knife makers are happy to help you out and renew your knife edge back to where it needs to be. Especially if you bought the knife from them. Many knife makers have special tools to get the knife sharper then most individual knife owners will be able to accomplish with the tools available to them.
Also, many custom blades have a knife edge ground a certain way, and if you don't know what you are doing you may sharpen it improperly, which may effect the performance of your blade. Keep in mind that good high carbon steel custom knives may only need to be sharpened a couple times a year depending on their level of use and your requirements for how sharp the blade needs to be.
Method 2: Use a sharpening / water stone. Obviously the most common method for sharpening a knife, sharpening stones are very commonplace. There are many benefits to using them too, including their availability and fact that they remove a minimal amount of steel from your knife which helps the longevity of the blade. However, not all stones are created equally, and if you are serious about your custom knife, it pays to even have stones of different grits in order to get the blade edge to the proper sharpness (Think the different grits of sandpaper). You can buy a 5 dollar stone at your local Walmart, or you can purchase a high end Japanese stone for up to 100 dollars. Ultimately many stones for around 30 dollars are a very get choice and will allow you to keep your blade sharp for years to come.
Method 3: Electric Knife Sharpeners. You really should stay away from these for your nice handmade custom knife. They simply don't allow you the control you need to get the blade the proper sharpness, and they risk damaging your blade, or at the very least taking too much metal off of the blade. After you have sharpened a knife 10 times with one of these, you can see a very real loss of steel. That may be fine for the $10 knife from Walmart, but why risk it on your awesome new custom knife?
The blade pictured above was created by John Salisbury of JWSIII Handmade Knives, who has a custom knife store here on JustCustomKnives.com.