Best Sharpening Stone 2019: Reviews & Buyer’s Guide!
A whetstone is a block of naturally occurring or synthetic rocky material with an abrasive surface used for sharpening blades. Also known as sharpening stones, the use of whetstones can be traced back to prehistoric times.
The prefix "whet" comes from a period of time when that was the common word for sharpening. It has nothing to do with applying liquid on the stones to "wet" the surface prior to sharpening.
But to keep a blade sharp, you need a good and well-maintained whetstone for the task.
This in-depth guide walks you through all the essential information you need to not only select the best whetstone but also how to use it and maintain it in the best working condition.
Here's our expert's recommended top 3 sharpening stones:
Best Sharpening Stone Reviews
I promised you earlier to help you choose the best knife sharpening stone. It’s time to honor that promise.
So, here are my detailed reviews of top 10 whetstones on the market.
1. Sharp Pebble Premium Knife Sharpening Stone
Sharp pebble is a relatively new company with a reputation for producing premium quality whetstones.
It’s pleasantly surprising that they have gained so much popularity in a very short period. If they don’t let the standard drop, they should dominate the kitchen utensils market for a long time.
The premium knife whetstone has two different sides with two different grit sizes. That means you are getting two different stones at the price of a one.
While the blue side (1000 grit) can be used to restore the knives to their original sharpness, the white side (6000 grit) can be employed to give the blade an exceptional finish.
Not only this thing comes with a bamboo base, but it also includes a plastic substructure to secure the stone in the base.
As if that wasn’t enough, the bamboo base also has a rubber bottom to provide additional traction.
If you are a rookie at this, you are gonna love the angle guide. Aside from maintaining the correct angle all the time, it also provides additional protection to your fingers.
However, if you are proficient at this, you may prefer the free-hand sharpening which allows you to use your thumbs as the guide.
Since this one is a water stone, it needs to be soaked before use. Furthermore, to counter the dwarf, you gotta douse it regularly while sharpening.
It’s worth mentioning that the white side retains water for a longer time and thus doesn’t need to be lubricated as often as the blue side.
The softness of the finer side is both a blessing and a curse. A curse because it causes the stone to wear away pretty fast.
A blessing because the erosion removes old abrasive material and exposes new ones, which leads to improved cutting rate.
2. Sharpton Ceramic Kuromaku #12000
Regarding performance and materials, there’s literally no difference between this one and Sharpton pro-US version, which costs twice as much as this one.
The only difference is this one includes no warranty. So, if you are okay with having no warranty, which you’ll probably never use, then the kuromaku ceramic stone is a no-brainer.
Individuals with a busy life will appreciate the fact that this guy requires minimum maintenance. Since it’s a ceramic sharpening stone, no need to soak it in water or lubricate with oil before use.
On top of that, it doesn’t create much slurry eliminating the need of keeping additional water on hand.
When it comes to giving the blade a hair-popping edge, this thing works like a charm. At 12000 grit, this is one of the best knife sharpening stones out there with the capability to make your knife as new as the day you bought them. Moreover, it works super fast and creates burr in double-quick time.
Apart from being used to store the stone, the included plastic case works as a stand to prevent a skid, while you are working on the knives.
There’s also a rubber bottom on the plastic case so that the stone doesn’t walk across the counter during sharpening.
Unlike other water stones, you won’t need to flatten this thing after every use. It has a harder surface than the others and requires to be leveled only once in a while. Nonetheless, it would have been better if the sharpening stone set came with a flattener.
Since it’s the Japanese version, the instructions are also in Japanese. It would have made things a bit easier if they were in English.
Another thing you need to keep in mind that, ceramic stones aren’t shatterproof and must not be dropped on a hard surface.
3. Utopia Kitchen Double-Sided Knife Sharpening Stone
If you are someone who’s unwilling to compromise on quality and at the same time loathes spending big bucks on a stone, then you should certainly check this out.
Because believe me, quality whetstones do not come any cheaper than this. Moreover, they haven’t cut any corners to keep the price low.
The 600/1000 grit combo gives you a lot of options. Knives that are extraordinarily dull or have completely lost their edge can rub shoulders with the 600 grit side.
Meanwhile, the finer 1000 grit side can be utilized to put an edge on the regular knives.
That said if you wish to give the blade a super smooth finish, you gotta buy yourself a higher grit stone.
For stones below 3000 grit aren’t that great at honing the edge. A leather strop could be a viable alternative to help you fine-tune the blade.
A sudden slip during sharpening can cause you to cut your thumbs. Thankfully, the non-skid rubber bottom will make sure it doesn’t.
The base is as sturdy as it gets and doesn’t require you to use a wet towel underneath.
Even though manufacturers permit usage of oil, you’d be well-advised to avoid them. Frequent usage of oil hardens the stone, which leads to diminished effectiveness.
Although it is recommended that the stone is waterlogged for a while before use for the sake of better performance.
Regarding size, this thing is 7 inches long and should accommodate medium-sized knives easily. However, the knife could slide off the stone while sharpening longer blades.
So, if you aren’t paying attention, it may lead to a change of angle.
4. Naniwa Chosera 5,000 Grit Stone
Since the age of samurai, the Japanese people have been perfecting the art of sharpening blades. So, it doesn’t come as a surprise that most of the well-known whetstone manufacturers are based in Japan.
Chosera 5000 grit is also manufactured in Japan and comes from a very reputable company called Naniwa Abrasive MFG.
Performance-wise, it’s impossible to find a flaw. Fully capable of giving the blade a smooth reflective finish by dint of grit as high as 5000. Moreover, it allows you to put a sharp edge on blades without much hassle or time.
Though incapable of working on sushi knives, it is a cut above the others when it comes to grinding regular kitchen knives.
This stone is pretty soft. That means it gives away new abrasive substance easily. As a result, the stone cuts quickly and takes fewer swipes than others to sharpen the knives.
When it comes to aesthetics, it fails to score a point with me. The stone is grey colored and looks kinda pale (don’t get deceived by the picture).
Moreover, due to being almost black, the particles build-up can’t be easily seen. I wish the stone color had been white or some other bright color.
I am not a huge fan of the plastic base that it comes with. It’s not up to the scratch and often fails to keep the stone in place. But that shouldn’t be a deal-breaker as you can always put something underneath the base to make the stone stationary.
There’s a misconception among some people that this one is a splash and go stone (means no soaking). It isn’t and needs a few minutes of soaking prior to use.
A disclaimer: you may have to wet the stone regularly during work as this one has quite an appetite for water.
5. Tatara Sharpening Stone 3000 & 8000 Grit
Tatara, a Japanese company, manufactures a wide range of kitchen products including knives and sharpening stones.
They are renowned for producing the best water stones available. This stone is no exception and loaded with plenty of attractive features.
One of the most significant advantages of this stone is its versatility which allows you to sharpen knives, chisel, sword, and other stuff with equal effectiveness.
That’s why the 3000/8000 grit combo makes it the ideal stone to lengthen the expiration date of your kitchen cutlery and other instruments.
Let me inform you though that, while the 3000 grit is perfectly able to bring an elegant edge to your kitchen knives, it’s not coarse enough to fix blades that are nicked or gone through years of abuse. Nevertheless, the 8000 grit is impressive and manages to provide the blade a mirror sharp smoothness.
I recommend putting the stone in water for a while before you get started. Getting saturated boosts its performance markedly. And one more thing, the blade leaves residue on the surface, which needs to be washed off with water to maintain the effectiveness.
The non-skid bamboo case that comes with the stone is of good quality. It’s on par with other quality holders and looks solid enough to inspire confidence. However, the absence of a gripping surface is surely a problem.
If you are a rookie at sharpening, the angle guide should get you started. Helps you with the angle and safeguards your thumbs from the vicious edge of the knives.
What bugs me most is that the stone wears away pretty quickly. In addition, you need to use a flattener frequently to keep the surface smooth.
6. Smith's Tri-6 Arkansas Tri-Hone Sharpening Stones System
Having been around since 1886, they know the market very well. Though smith’s produce a variety of kitchen utensils, they are best known for their sharpening products.
What makes them stand out is their innovativeness which allows them to constantly offer something new and interesting to the consumers.
What makes this product truly special is the incorporation of three different stones. While the finer one is a natural Arkansas stone, the coarse one and the medium grit stone are made of synthetic materials. Moreover, when it comes to durability, this unit can give the best diamond sharpening stone a run for its money.
When you pick up the unit, you will notice a coarse stone with low grit. Be careful and don’t use it unless the knives are badly messed up.
Typically, the medium grit stone should be more than sufficient in reimposing the edge. But if you are looking for a razor-sharp finish, the higher grit stone has got your back.
Unlike my previous recommendations, oil has a significant role to play here. By rubbing oil over the surface, you can remove the residue and keep the stone in good condition.
Thankfully, the manufacturers have been considerate enough to include a free bottle of honing oil with the package.
You’ll also be getting a plastic case to keep the stone from sliding and slipping. It’s got rubber feet on the bottom to keep the base stationary.
Overall, this one is pretty sturdy and shouldn’t skate away during work. The fact that this thing also includes an angle guide makes the whole package all the more attractive.
The only issue I have with this stone is its small size. Likely to have adjustment problems, especially if you are accustomed to big stones. Though small blades such as pocket and hunter knives won’t present any difficulties, the larger blades are a different thing.
7. King Kw65 1000/6000 Grit Combination Whetstone
The root of King, which is a subsidiary of Matsunaga Corporation, can be traced back to Japan. I think the name “king” befits them as they are truly the leader in this industry in terms of sale and quality. Their products can describe in three words: quality, durability, and versatility.
I don’t want you to have any misconception about its ability; this thing isn’t meant to fix blunted or dented blades.
That’s because this thing is a finishing stone and designed to fine-tune the edge rather than fixing it. To whet knives that got knick in the edges, you’ll need something with a far lower grit.
However, this 1000/6000 grit combo is an excellent choice for regular maintenance and ideal for making short work of knives that are average dull.
So, if you have knives that aren’t chipped or terribly blunted and requires routine sharpening, then this one is the right fit for you.
The included plastic case works as a holder to keep the stone firmly planted on your countertop. It secures the stone and prevents it from sliding so you can go about working the blade without any worries.
Regarding material, it’s a synthetic stone and mostly made of ceramic. Therefore, unlike the Arkansas tri-hone sharpening stone, you won’t need any expensive oil to lubricate the stone. But you can moisturize the stone with water for smooth performance.
Since the stone is quite soft, the blade could dig into the stone if too much pressure is applied. So, caution is advised while you are polishing the edge.
Another thing that I’d like to warn you about is the packaging. A lot of people have complained of poor packaging and receiving chipped stones.
8. Chosera 1,000 Grit Stone
I bet you can’t go wrong with Naniwa stones. These stones make blades so sharp that it will cut through literally everything.
On top of that, these stones are insanely easy to use. In fact, you can use the stone even if your sharpening skills stink.
You don’t wanna buy a stone every year. Nor do you want to get a stone that takes ages to put an edge on the blade. You want something that’s durable and cuts fast.
Luckily, Chosera 1000 grit, which is probably the best for kitchen knives, fulfills both the criteria. Due to being remarkably hard, it wears very slow, and cuts swiftly.
There’s a plastic base attached to the stone (contrary to the description), which does a decent job of holding the stone in place. Could it have been better?
Yes. But that’s not a huge problem and could be quickly sorted out with a piece of cloth. There’s also a cleaning stone to help you prepare the surface for sharpening.
However, if you have something that’s heavily damaged, then you will need a lower grit stone like 400-600 grit. This one is ideal for medium grinding and blades that haven’t lost their sharpness completely.
Being a splash and go stone; this one doesn’t need any soaking. That means you won’t have to spend those extra minutes preparing the stone.
So, if you are someone who is time-conscious and would benefit from skipping all the prep, you should go for this stone.
In my opinion, the price seems a bit excessive. But then again when do Naniwa stone come cheap? After all quality products tend to be expensive. So, if the price doesn’t put you off, this one could be a really good choice.
9. Bearmoo 2-IN-1 Sharpening Stone 3000/8000 Grit
Let’s just get the elephant out of the room immediately; the product description is misleading.
There’s no way in hell this thing’s a 3000/8000 grit combo. In truth, this should be something around 800/1200 grit. They have probably done this to avoid copyright issues, but surely not cool.
So, what’s this thing doing in my best stones list? Despite the misleading description, I recommend the Bearmoo stone for three reasons.
First, it cuts really quickly and forms burr super fast.
Secondly, it sharpens extraordinarily well and can breathe new life to knives that you have lost all hope for.
Third, this thing comes at an incredibly low price.
Weighing 19.75 oz, it’s pretty heavy. That’s a good thing as it helps the stone to remain in place while you are pushing the blade across the surface. And what’s more, you will also be getting a silicon base and two rubber holders with the stone to ensure that the stone doesn’t scoot around in the middle of work.
Avoid buying honing oil for this. Yes, oil is allowed, but water works much better on this.
Considering its brittle nature, it’d be better if you didn’t soak the stone for too long lest it gets too weak to work on. 5-10 minutes of immersion should help you achieve the desires result.
I like the fact that they have included an easy-to-understand manual guide explaining the whole process.
The user guide is pretty detailed and super helpful. It will tell you to use the entire surface, so the stone remains flat and you don’t have to use a lapping plate.
Being 7-inch-long, the Bearmoo stone allows you to whet large knives easily. However, it would have been very helpful if the stone were an inch wider.
Not that it’s not wide enough, it’s just that working on an extensive stone seems a bit more fun.
10. Super Ceramic Water Stone #400 Grit
To be honest, I’ve got no clue as to why this one is called a super ceramic stone, and neither seems to have anyone else.
Made by Naniwa, this stone is of Chosera series. In terms of performance and materials, it’s pretty similar to the Chosera1000 grit.
There are a lot of features that I like. To begin with, it’s a 400 grit stone, which is really coarse. That means knives with dents or visible imperfections can soon return to work.
So, get ready to put wicked edge even on the dullest blades of yours and have them gleaming.
For the very same reason, it fails to be a finishing stone. To get the right finish, you should get yourself a leather block and strop the blade with it.
Another thing you need to be aware of is that this stone needs to be squared from time to time. Failure to keep the surface level can hamper its performance considerably.
Another cool feature is that it’s a splashing go stone. That means no immersion or preparation before use.
However, you should keep water at hand while sharpening so that you can remove the swarf build-up easily.
The only real flow that I found in this otherwise great stone is it takes a bit longer than others to remove particles.
Compared to other stones, they require some extra swipes. So, if you have 4-5 extra minutes to spare, then this shouldn’t be a big issue.
The plastic base isn’t the greatest but discharges its duties reasonably well. Does what is required of it which is to keep the stone tightly secured during the work.
Something else to pay attention to is its width which is large enough to accommodate long and huge chef knives.
#1 Sharpening Stone Holder
POWERTEC 71013 Sharpening Stone Holder
The attached base isn’t well-equipped to hold the stone properly? Well, that’s about to change now.
To help you secure the stone firmly, I have decided to review the best stone holder in the market.
But do we really need one? Yes. Not only a sharpening stone holder improves your sharpening experience, but it also makes the process a lot safer.
Unstable holders make it difficult to rely on the stone as they can cause serious injury. But with the Powertec holder, your fingers are safe as they could get.
Now the rubber bottom here offers remarkable traction and can work on any surface. Thanks to this guy, there’ no chance the stone could slide off the surface.
Moreover, the holder raises the stone, which increases mobility and allows you to perform free-hand sharpening with ease.
Due to not being stainless steel, it’s susceptible to rust. That’s a bit of a bummer considering you are expected to work around water most of the time.
That said cleaning rust is incredibly easy as you can wipe the rust off the holder with a clean piece of cloth.
Another thing that I am highly impressed with is its ease of use. To lubricate the stone with water, you won’t even have to remove the stone. You can submerge the holder in water with the stone attached to it.
Regarding size, it can accommodate stones that are 5-1/2” to 9” in height. So make sure your stone falls into the range before you make the purchase.
A word of caution; the rubber stinks badly during the first week. Nonetheless, it eventually goes away with enough time.
Best Sharpening Stone Buying Guide
A proper buying guide helps you to make the right decision. That’s why here I will talk about the thing that you need to consider before making a pick.
Types of Whetstones
Whetstones come in three varieties; oil stones, diamond stones, and water stones.
Below I have devoted an entire section detailing the various types of sharpening stones to help you pick the best one. So, there’s no point in repeating myself here.
That’s why I’m just going to go through the advantages and disadvantages of each stone quickly.
Advantages of Oil Stones:
- Able to establish a crazy sharp edge on the blade
- Relatively inexpensive
- Hardly needs any flattening
Disadvantages of Oil Stones:
- Cutting speed is a bit slow
- Requires expensive oil to lubricate the stone
Advantages of Water Stones:
- Cuts faster than the oil stones
- Unlike oil stones, they require only water to lubricate the stones
- Easy maintenance
Disadvantages of Water Stones:
- Needs frequent flattening
- Wears faster than other stones
Advantages of Diamond Stones:
- The cutting rate is unparalleled
- No flattening needed
- Able to function as a flattening stone
- Extremely durable
Disadvantages of Diamond Stones:
- Costs a lot of money
Grit range is the most critical aspect of a sharpening stone. It tells you all you want to know about the stones and help you decide whether it suits your purpose.
There are various types of grit range. Here we will take a look at them.
Under 1000 Grit
If you have knives that are extremely blunted or seriously damaged, then you need something that’s very rough.
In this case, I recommend 250-600 grit stones which are coarse enough to repair the exceedingly dull or damaged knives.
The medium grit stones are ideal for regular maintenance and knives that have partially lost their edge.
Though you can’t fix nicked up blades with these, they are great or preservation of the kitchen knives and carpentry tools.
Mostly known as finishing stones, these guys will help the blade to acquire a fine edge.
The finer grit will make your knives so sharp that the blade will stick in the cutting board while you are slicing vegetables.
You don’t want the holder to slide all over the place while you are working on the blade.That’s why you need a base that prevents slipping and keeps the stone in place firmly.
Therefore, make sure that the sharpening stone set includes a non-slip base before you make the purchase.
Size and Weight
For ordinary kitchen knives or carpentry tools, you don’t need a very long stone.
However, stones that are long come in handy while sharpening large knives.
That’s why you should get something that fits your needs.
Regarding weight, the more a stone weighs, the better. It gives the stone stability and prevents it from skidding.
Different Kinds of Sharpening Stones
There are various kinds of synthetic and natural whetstones available, and each has their own sets of pros and cons.
Let’s have a look at them!
Water Sharpening Stones
While natural water stones consist of quartz, artificial water stones are typically made of Silicon Carbide and Aluminum Oxide.
Performance-wise, synthetic stones are considered superior to the natural ones. For, they are not only faster in removing particles but also allow you to maintain consistency of particle size.
The astounding beauty of natural stones compensates for what they lack in performance. Moreover, the fact that natural stones are distinct and extremely rare makes them even more appealing and valuable.
It goes without saying; these stones cost a lot of bucks.
Best water sharpening stone:
So, unless you are in the habit of collecting, there’s not much point in buying a natural stone.
Oil Sharpening Stones
Similar to the water stones, oil stones also come in both artificial and natural materials.
What makes them different from the water stones is that they need to be lubricated with oil instead of water.
The oil removes the metal particles build-up retaining the effectiveness of the sharpening stone.
Whereas natural oil stones are usually composed of Novaculite and Coticule, synthetic ones are made of either aluminum-oxide or silicon-carbide.
Best Oil Sharpening Stone:
Diamond Sharpening Stones
Diamond whetstones are head and shoulders above all the other stones.
Thanks to diamond being the world’s second hardest material, it cuts incredibly fast and lasts a very long time. And what’s more, they can also be used as a flattening stone.
There’s a problem; big price-tag.
A diamond stone costs a far more than any other whetstones.
However, despite being on the expensive end of the spectrum, they are worth every penny due to their durability and superior performance.
Best Diamond Sharpening Stone:
How to Use a Whetstone to Sharpen a Knife
1. Wet the surface of the sharpening stone by using either water or oil. Consult the last section of this guide to identify which liquid to use
2. Place the whetstone on a flat surface such as a chopping board or countertop. If the surface is too smooth, you can place a wet towel on it first to hold the whetstone in place once you start sharpening.
3. Hold the knife by the handle on one hand and place the blade on the whetstone, point first. Use the other hand to apply pressure on the blade and correct the angle at which the blade and stone meet so it is roughly 22 degrees.
Remember that 90 degrees is when the edge of the blade is perpendicular to (straight up on) the whetstone. Leaning a perpendicular blade by half will make the angle 45 degrees. Reduce that angle by another half and that makes roughly 22 degrees.
4. With moderate pressure, move the edge of the blade across the surface of the whetstone, maintaining the angle of contact at 22 degrees
5. Count up a dozen strokes across the whetstone, ensuring that the entire edge of the blade comes into contact with the whetstone each time
6. Flip the knife and repeat another 12 strokes on the other side of the blade
7. Use a fine grit sharpening stone to hone the blade to the best sharpness
How to Clean a Sharpening Stone
To keep your whetstone in top shape and effective in sharpening your knives, you need to ensure it is always clean. The method you use to clean your whetstone depends on whether you wet it with oil or with water.
Cleaning a Sharpening Stone Which Uses Oil
If you use oil to wet your sharpening stone then the best way to clean it is by using honing oil.
1. Apply a layer of honing oil on the surface
2. Rub the oil in a circular motion over the entire sharpening surface to remove filings and dirt
3. Rinse the stone by holding it under water until all the grime and dirt have been washed off
4. Dry the whetstone using a piece of cloth or paper towel
Cleaning a Sharpening Stone Which Uses Water
If you use water while sharpening blades on your sharpening stone, use warm soapy water to clean the surface. A normal household detergent should suffice. Use an old toothbrush or an ordinary kitchen scouring pad to scrape off the dirt. Use a combination of lengthy and circular strokes to ensure all the dirt and metal filings are removed. Rinse the stone under water and dry it.
What Grit to use for Kitchen Knives?
The grit of a sharpening stone refers to the degree of coarseness the stone has. The coarser a whetstone's grit is, the lesser the effort needed to achieve a sharp edge. However, coarser sharpening stones tend to take off more material from the edge of a blade and can decimate your knife's blade too quickly.
The coarser a sharpening stone's surface is, the lower the grit value. To understand sharpening stone grits, we classify them into different groups:
1. Coarse Grit Sharpening Stones
A very coarse whetstone, one with a grit of 500 or thereabouts, is not useful for actual sharpening of knives. Such stones are designed for rougher work such as setting a new bevel edge on a blade or repairing knives with chipped edges.
2. Medium Grit Sharpening Stones
Medium grit whetstones have a grit value of around 1,000 to 1,500. This is still too coarse to use for fine sharpening of blades. As such, medium grit sharpening stones are usually used for sharpening very dull blades or knives with a newly set bevel edge. A medium grit sharpening stone will remove enough material to restore a cutting edge. However, the material will not be so much that the edge will be worn away after just a handful of uses.
3. Fine Grit Sharpening Stones
Fine grit whetstones have a grit value of around 4,000. An edge sharpened with a fine grit sharpening stone is going to be very sharp. Such knives are ideal for cutting through tough items like sinews and ligaments. This is the kind of sharpening stone to use with your kitchen knives when you need to strike a fine balance between sharpness and durability.
4. Super Fine Grit Sharpening Stones
To achieve the sharpest edge on a knife you need a super fine grit sharpening stone. This requires a grit rating of between 6,000 and 8,000. This is good enough to sharpen a blade to a mirror-like smoothness and then honing it to a razor-sharp edge. In the kitchen, a blade with such an extra fine edge is useful for cutting through delicate ingredients such as seafood.
What is the Best Oil to Use for Sharpening Stone?
Before you use a sharpening stone, you should ensure the surface is sufficiently lubricated. To achieve their abrasiveness, the surface of a stone is porous. Sharpening a blade on it without lubrication will not produce an even gradient on the edge. We use either water or oil to ensure that the sharpening happens in a way that is more even and consistent. A whetstone that is used while lubricated also lasts much longer than otherwise.
Lubricating a whetstone with water is pretty straightforward. It is when it comes to selecting the best oil for your particular type of sharpening stone that care should be exercised.
Oil is an excellent lubricant for sharpening stones as it has much lower surface tension compared to water and will easily spread to fill the pores on the surface. However, the density and viscosity (how thick the liquid is) of the oil will determine whether it is an ideal choice or not.
The Best Oil for Fine Grit Whetstones
Fine grit whetstones require very fine oils which can easily filter into the small pores. WD-40 oil, a kerosene-based lubricant is ideal for such stones. It is preferable to use WD-40 oil sold in a squeezable bottle or tube rather than in a spray can. The latter variety is likely to contain environmental pollutants such as fluorocarbons.
The Best Oil for Coarse Grit Whetstones
If your whetstone is more coarse than fine, it is okay to use more viscous types of oils to lubricate the surface. Mineral oils such as 3-in-One are ideal for the purpose. If a thick oil has too much surface tension, you can add automatic transmission fluid on top to help it spread more evenly on the surface. This is called "cutting the oil".
Last Word on Using a Whetstone
To keep your knives sharp, you need a good whetstone or even a set of them. Whetstones are made from different materials and each variety is suited to particular tasks.
As has been set out in this definitive guide, you need to take care of your whetstones on top of using them correctly each time you sharpen a blade.
Why We Need To Use High-quality Sharpening Stones?
It doesn’t matter if your knife is expensive or cheap, new or old, it can still get dull.
Using blunt knives is not only inconvenient but a bit dangerous too. The bluntness makes them unpredictable and prone to slipping, often resulting in minor cuts.
So, if you value the well-being of your fingers, you must keep your blade razor-sharp.
But why not use an electric sharpener?
First, electric sharpener requires cautious handling as too much pressure could lead to a scratch or dent.
Secondly, they are way more expensive than the stones. So screw them.
In contrast, whetstones are very affordable and incredibly easy to use.
Here's a video guide to use a sharpening stone:
Best Whetstone Sharpener:
Moreover, when it comes to putting an edge on the blade and giving the knife a fine finish, sharpening stone is in a league of its own.
Sharpening Stone Brands in the Market
Being familiar with the top brands makes it easier to choose the right sharpening stone. So, let’s get to know the high-quality sharpening brands out there.
They have established a firm foothold in this industry in a very short period. Despite being a relatively new company, they have managed to build a loyal fan base of their products.
Packed with incredible features, their products are guaranteed to make sharpening a comfortable experience for you.
Sharp pebble stones tend to be versatile allowing you to get your money’s worth out of it.
What I like most about their products is that they are beginner-friendly and incredibly easy to use. They also tend to include an angle guide to make things a bit simpler for you.
If you have had more than one stones, then chances are one of them is from Naniwa Abrasive MFG.
Their chosera stones are probably the most popular sharpening products due to the material, durability, and top-notch performance.
Naniwa stones are comparatively pricier than the others and sit on the expensive end of the spectrum. But when you consider its superior performance and high-quality material, the price seems hardly unreasonable.
Sharpton is well known for its Japanese water stones.
Their products are geared towards simplicity and making the whole process less time-consuming.
Sharpton stones require little or no preparation before use and create minimal slurry. As a result, you can devote your undivided attention to the sharpening.
Moreover, these stones work real fast and produce burr in no time.
The performance, generally speaking, is outstanding, exactly what you would expect from a reputed brand.
King boasts an enviable track record of producing some unique water stone sets over the last couple of years.
Keep in mind that the stones made by them are more of a finisher than a sharpener.
Though their effectiveness is limited with the extremely blunted blades, they can work wonder with the regular kitchen knives.
Almost all their products are synthetic and geared towards performance.
They have been producing kitchen products since 1886.
The fact that they have survived so long in this highly competitive market speaks volume of their high standard.
What separates them from other companies is the novelty their products bring.
For example, Smith's TRI-6 Sharpening Stones System features both natural and synthetic stones to give you a unique experience. Now that’s something unprecedented and attracts consumers to their brands.
What Sharpening Stones Should I Start With?
If you’ve got no prior experience of sharpening and looking forward to buying one, you should choose something simple and low maintenance.
It should be neither high-priced such as diamond stones nor something that requires expensive oil such as oil stones.
Getting a regular water stone would be the ideal solution as they are easy to maintain, simple to use, and reasonably priced.
If you ask me, I’d recommend the Sharp pebble Premium Stone which checks all the boxes as the ideal choice for beginners. Moreover, it also features an angle guide to assist the rookies in keeping the angle and pressure constant.
Nonetheless, these are mere suggestions, and ultimately it all comes down to which stone you feel most comfortable with. So, go with the one that you think is best whetstone for you.
Different Uses of Sharpening Stones
Whetstones can be a lot of help in our day-to-day life. Here we will talk about their various applications.
Fixes Damaged Knives
Finding a chip on our knives often makes us wonder, should I get a new one?
If you have a coarse whetstone, the answer should be a definite no.
Sharpening stones are remarkably good at repairing blades with chipped edges and scratches.
A disclaimer: To fix severely damaged cutlery, the stone must be coarse and below 1000 grit. Otherwise, you might find it exceedingly difficult to get the knife back to shape.
Restores Lost Edge
A knife without its edge will squash tomatoes instead of slicing them. To make the knife functional again, you gotta bring its edge back.
If you have a whetstone, you can use it to remove the particles and get the edge back.
Akin to fixing a damaged knife, you need to use a coarse stone here. The rougher the stone, the better, as it will remove the particles sooner.
Gives the Blade a Refined Edge
In order to get a smooth finish, a stone with a higher amount of grit AKA finishing stone is needed.
Grinding the blade with a finishing stone will make it unbelievably sharp and make slicing vegetables a breeze.
How to Take Care and Maintain Sharpening Stones For Long Uses
Taking proper care of the sharpening stone can go a long way to ensure longevity. Here are a few tips to help you with the maintenance of the stone.
Remove the Metal Flecks
Metal flecks can diminish the effectiveness of the stone drastically. Thus, it’s imperative that you get rid of the embedded mineral filings the moment they start to pop up.
To flush out the metal flacks, apply honing oil on the stone surface. You can use a brush to spread out the oil evenly.
Eventually, you’ll see the metal flack emerging from the pores of the hard surface.
Once the metal flecks start appearing, get a damp towel and wipe the surface gently with it. Make sure that no metal flecks are left behind before washing the stone with water.
Get Rid of the Dirt
Once you spray the WD-40, which is an oil spray with the capability of penetrating stones, onto the whetstone, the dirt will start to materialize.
If you have something that’s really old and has been unused for a long time, you may find yourself in need of an abrasive tool to break up the dirt buildup.
Finally, get a damp cloth and wipe the grim off the surface of the stone.
Flatten the Whetstone
To keep the surface even, you got to flatten the stone regularly.
Usually, a flattening plate comes with the package, which you can use to make the surface flat and smooth.
In case, it isn’t included, you can buy it from any local hardware store.
Frequently Asked Questions on Whetstone
To help you gain further knowledge of whetstones, below I have answered some of the most commonly asked questions about sharpening stones.
1. What grit whetstone should I get?
Sharpening stones come in a variety of grits. You must pick the grit according to your needs. For example, if you are looking to fix extremely blunt or chipped blades, go for under 1000 grit. To give the edge a refined finish, you will need a stone with more than 3000 grit.
2. Can you use vegetable oil on a sharpening stone?
I’m afraid not. You must only use oils that are approved for whetstones.
3. How do you flatten a sharpening stone?
To flatten the stone, you can use either sandpaper or lapping plates.
4. How long should you soak a whetstone?
Unfortunately, there’s no hard and fast rule regarding this. The soaking period varies from stone to stone. However, 10-15 minutes of soaking should do the trick.
5. Are diamond sharpening stones good?
Yes, they are great for sharpening blades. Cuts remarkably fast and doesn’t require frequent flattening. The only drawback is they are costly.
6. What's the difference between honing and sharpening a knife?
Sharpening as you can guess brings the edge back to the blade. While honing fine-tunes the already sharpened edge and makes it more deadly.
7. What angle should you use to sharpen a chef's knife?
It depends on the material of knives and how sharp you want the blade to get. In most of the cases, 20-degree angle to each side of the blade should do the job. No matter which angle you choose, see that the angle is constant.
8. How often do you need to sharpen a knife?
If you hone your knives regularly, then once in a year should suffice.
That’s about it.
I’d consider this article a success if you learned a thing or two about whetstones.
Now, do your knives a favor. Get a sharpening stone, help them remain sharp. And Let me know if you liked my best sharpening stones reviews in the comment section.
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