Do you really need to buy the best whetstone in the market? Do you really need a whetstone?
These are some questions that most household cooks or any person in charge of the kitchen often ask to themselves. Having a sharp knife to use is really important, and whetstones make this possible. Even a popular chef like Chef Gordon Ramsay has stressed the importance of having a sharp knife by sharpening it before and after using it.
Whetstones aren’t only used by people who cook. Whetstones or sharpening stones are used by a lot of people to sharpen their tools and blade that they are applying for work.
If you are among the many people who use the sharpening stone, then this article is undoubtedly for you, though I will be focusing more on its usage in the kitchen. I will share everything I know about whetstones and the best products that are available for you in the market.
|KING KW65 1000/6000||Easily cracked|
|Sharp Pebbles (Editor’s Choice)||Durable|
|Norton Oil Stone||Very Durable|
|TAIDEA 3000/8000||Loses grit fast|
|DMT Three 6-Inch Diamond Whetstone Set||Very Durable|
KING KW65 1000/6000 – The Perfect Balance Of Smoothness And Abrasiveness
This sharpening stone is a double-sided whetstone; one side features a 1000 grit, and the other a 6000 grit size. Now, is it affordable? Not quite; but it’s still reasonably priced; you’ll get excellent value for the price, that’s for sure. Easy to use (well, once you figure it out) and with an outstanding sharpening performance, what else could you ask for?
I like the fact that the package also includes a plastic base. As far as safety goes, it’s better than having to hold the stone in your hand as you work.
While I do think that a plastic base might not be the best solution out there, as it may slip, if you don’t apply too much pressure – which you shouldn’t be doing, anyway – you should be fine.
But if you’re not quite experienced in using sharpening stones altogether, there’s one thing you should keep in mind – the instructions it comes with are written entirely in Japanese. Luckily for you, there are plenty of videos on YouTube that will help you get the basic idea of how everything works.
Sharp Pebbles (Editor’s Choice) – Use It Both Inside And Outside Of Your Home
This Waterstone by Sharp Pebble is double-sided sharpening stone; one side features a 1000 grit, while the other is a 6000-grit side. I love the fact that these two are combined, as they eliminate the need for buying two separate sharpening stones.
This way, when you’re done with using one side, all you need to do is flip the stone and put it back into its base.
Speaking of the base, you’ll be glad to know you don’t get one, but two stands with this stone. The rubber (or silicone) base goes inside the bamboo one, to make sure there won’t be any sliding while you’re working your blade to perfection.
And when I say “blade,” I don’t mean just knives; this stone is suitable for scissors, razors, and even axes.
Now, what I want to know is how do I access the eBook promised by the manufacturer? While the bundle did include a detailed guide to angle sharpening, and a user manual, as promised, there’s no mention of the eBook, whatsoever.
It’s not a huge deal-breaker for me, but I’m just curious to know what happened.
Norton Oil Stone – You Get An Entire Sharpening Bundle
Norton abrasives 100/320 combination of India oilstone can also be a good choice and best beginner whetstone. The stone makes use of oil for sharpening but to help you save some time Norton has prefilled it. This was a good move by Norton as it hastens the process of sharpening by skipping oil soaking. It has a grit combination of 100/320 but a very durable stone.
You can use the oilstone on chisels, kitchen knives, woodworking plane blades, and precision instruments and it produces strong, keen, long-lasting edges.
The dual-sided oilstone has a 100 coarse grit for repairing steel blades and the 320 fine grit sharpens and maintains the blade for a smooth-cutting edge and long lasting sharpness.
As opposed to water whetstones that require you to pre-soak the stone, the Norton oil stone is pre-filled with oil to save time and eliminate the need to pre-soak it prior to use and the lubricant stays on the surface during sharpening. The oil also prevents metal from bonding with the abrasive surface by flushing away dislodged abrasive and metal chips.
To clean the stone, use kerosene with a stiff brush. Let it dry for a day and then soak the stone in oil.
TAIDEA 3000/8000 – Best Japanese Style Grinder
The Taidea whetstone is an ideal sized whetstone at seven by 2.4 inches. It is very effective in sharpening your tools. This stone works so well when fully lubricated with water. This is certainly a great addition to households and restaurants alike.
The dual-sided whetstone is made of high-grade corundum and the 2000 coarse grind can repair a damaged blade and the 5000 fine grit finishes and polishes.
For quick and easy sharpening for all types of knives and tools like kitchen knives, hunting knives, chisels razors or an ax, the whetstone has a silica gel non-slip base that stays secure on the kitchen countertop or work platform.
To get the best results from this best whetstone for the money, soak it in water for about 5 to 10 minutes and keep the stone slightly wet during the sharpening and polishing process.
Taidea offers a 3-year warranty and lifelong customer service. They also supply other grit combinations such as 1000/3000 and 2000/5000 whetstones.
DMT Three 6-Inch Diamond Whetstone Set – If You Want To Feel Like A Pro
Using the strength of industrial high precision superior mono-crystalline diamonds, Diamond Machining Technology (DMT) have created a durable longer-lasting flat sharpening surface that will efficiently sharpen, hone, deburr and polish almost any type of knife or cutting tool. The DMT set contains 3 one-sided whetstones that have extra-fine, fine, and coarse grits which means you have a complete sharpening system at your fingertips.
Each diamond whetstone has a wide surface that can accommodate a variety of knives and tools and it can be used to sharpen straight and convex blade edges.
There are no messy oils needed and you can sharpen your blades dry or just add water.
A great gift for any chef or knife enthusiast – the diamond stones are displayed in a beautiful hardwood box and they are easy to clean.
DMT is the best whetstone brand and committed to providing the diamond sharpeners in the marketplace so if their whetstones are found to be defective, they offer a 100% replacement guarantee.
This is a great diamond stone to use without needing an oil lubricant. DMT whetstone is very suitable for all type of edged tools. It has a very flat surface coated with industrial diamonds in uniform spaces to ensure that your tools are equally sharpened in all areas of the edge.
Lansky Puck – Best for Outdoor Adventures
It is an excellent pocket-sized stone, which makes it a perfect fit for those of you that are always on the go. The fact that it’s suitable for various tools, as well as axes, only further proves my point – if you’re big on camping, you should have one of these included in your equipment.
The stone is also double-sided, with a 120 grit on one, and 280 grit on the other side of the stone. Due to the size and shape, it’s rather comfortable to hold, and easy to use.
I’ve thought about buying this one in addition to the sharpening stone I’ve picked out for my kitchen knives so that we can have one for our future camping trips. If we ever get around to going on one, that is.
One thing I didn’t like is related to its size; I feel like your fingers will always come up over the edge while you’re using it, and I don’t think you want them to be that close to the blade.
As mentioned earlier, whetstones are unique stones, natural or synthetic, that is used to keep tools and bladed instruments sharp and usable.
Whetstones have been around for quite some time. They are often used to sharpen weapons such as swords and axes, and daily tools such as the ordinary kitchen knife.
Types of Whetstone
Whetstones that are made of natural stones have three categories. These natural stones can be found in several quarry sites around the world. Belgium, Japan, and the United States are on top of the list that has good quality and highly-valuable natural stones used for making whetstones.
Including the best Japanese water stones, the oil stones, and the diamond stones are the natural stones being used to create whetstones.
Type 1: Oilstone
Oil stones are the most common whetstones used by Westerners. The oil stone makes use of oil as you sharpen your tools. This oil will help remove the swarf while you are busy sliding your tools on the stone.
These stone cut or sharpen more slowly than the other stones but can produce a polished edge nonetheless. Also, because you make use of oil, sharpening your tools using this stone can be a bit messy.
Type 2: Water stone
Water stones are still gaining popularity in the Western world, but it has been fairly popular especially in Japan where the best water stones come from. Water stones, like the oil stones, can either be natural or synthetic.
However, with its limited supply of synthetic water stones are widely used. It uses to water to remove swarf which is not messy compared to oil stones. They also sharpen faster than oil stones.
One disadvantage though of being able to blades faster is that water stones wear down more easily compared to other stones.
Type 3: Diamond Stones
Diamond stones are the most expensive among the whetstones. It can sharpen the fastest, and it is also very durable being able to remain its flatness for a long time. Diamonds used in these stones are not valuable diamonds but industrial diamonds.
You can choose from either holed diamond surface or the continuous surface. Holed diamond stones are the most commonly used while the continuous is used when you are sharpening a tool which has points and might get caught in the holes.
Type 4: Ceramic Stones
Ceramic whetstones are meant to be used without water or oil, which means they can be used almost anywhere and are ideal for chefs or cooks who have limited working spaces. They will give you a very sharp blade and as their surface is very hard they will maintain their flat surfaces over the long-term, but as they have a fine grit, they can break if you drop the stone.
The secret to a whetstone’s success lies in its grit. The grit of the stone makes a blade sharp by shaving off the metal on the blade while it is applied to the grit’s surface to produce a new sharp edge.
Grit ranges can start as low as 240 and as high as 8000. When it comes to the grit range, the higher the number, the finer the grit. The different types of grits that are available are indicated below in the basic Japanese grit guide.
- Coarse grit: 200-800
- Medium grit: 800-1500
- Fine grit: higher than 1500
- Less than 1000 grit is typically used to repair knives with chipped edges
- 1000 to 3000 grit is used to sharpen dull knives
- 4000 to 8000 grit is used for finishing and refining a knife’s edge
A good base will help prevent the stone from sliding around as you sharpen your knife. Most bases are rubber silicone, plastic, bamboo or hardwood. A rubber silicone base will ensure the stability of the stone. Plastic can be used around water, but bamboo and hardwood bases look beautiful but may not last very long if they get wet.
Handy Sharpening Tools
A handy tool for any home, a whetstone is known for its superior sharpening, honing and polishing abilities for all types of knives and cutting tools such as:
- Kitchen knives like a bread knife, a butcher knife or a cleaver
- Hunting knives
- Pockets knives like a Swiss army knife
- Tactical or bushcraft knives
- Garden tools like shears
- Woodworking and art knives
How to Use Whetstones
When using the budget whetstones, it is important to soak it in some lubricant before using. Oil stones need to be soaked in oil and water stones in water.
Diamond stones don’t need to be soaked, but you still need to put some lubricant on it to make the sharpening process smooth and get rid of the swarf. Usually, water is used as a lubricant for diamond whetstones.
7 Steps In Using Whetstones
- Apply the necessary elements needed for the stone to sharpen; oil for oil stones and water for water stones.
- Place the stone in a flat surface with the coarser side of the stone up first.
- Tilt your blade 10 – 15 degrees angle and using light pressure slide it back and forth in the entire body of the stone. Do not forget to apply oil or water as you are sharpening.
- Remember that you should start sharpening the tip of the blade and sliding it to the base as you cover the entire surface of the whetstone. Do this on both sides of the knife.
- Repeat the steps till you notice a fine edge developing.
- After doing some several profiling sharpening with the coarse grit turn the fine stone side up to sharpen further the tool of the blade.
- Do the steps till you are satisfied with the sharpness of your tool or blade.
As you sharpen always be careful when handling the whetstone and your tool you can never be sure when handling edged tools. Clean you whetstone by removing the grinding residue using running water.
This video shows the right way of using a whetstone.
Whetstones vs. Sharpener vs. Honing Steel
When it comes to sharpening blades or tools, you will probably encounter the terms sharpener and honing steel being thrown around. I will try to teach you how these terms are different to each other.
A sharpener can be anything that will implement sharpening of a tool or blade. You can use a pencil sharpener to sharpen it and exposed the lead which is the part that makes it possible you to write or draw things. In essence, whetstones are also sharpeners as it sharpens bladed instrument. You can also call whetstones as sharpening stones.
If you have been watching cooking competitions or cooking shows, then you have probably seen the chef sliding the knife in a steel rod. This rod is called then honing steel. Many people think that the chef is sharpening the knife using the rod. However, this is a wrong assumption.
Honing steel does not really sharpen the knife. But you might ask why knife do appear to be sharp after sliding it in the honing knife? The answer to this lies in what makes the knife dull.
There are two ways why a knife becomes dull.
A knife gets dulled because it is no longer sharp and because the blade is no longer aligned. Whetstones help make the knife sharp by shaving off some parts of the blade to create a sharper edge. The principle is similar to a pencil sharpener where bits of wood and lead are removed to produce a sharper pencil point.
On the other hand, honing steel pushes edges of the blade in line to make it sharp again. There are no bits of the knife or blade remove, but the physical property (blade alignment) is returned to its normal state. You can have a sharp knife but if the edge of the knife is not aligned, it will still not cut as sharply as it should.Honing and sharpening should be done altogether to produce a sharp-edged knife.
Here is a video that demonstrates the proper way to hone a knife.
Choosing Your Whetstone
Many whetstone varieties are depending on the manufacturer available in the market. These stones could be natural or synthetic. It is important to note that the natural stones usually have a higher quality than the whetstones made out of synthetic materials.
Aside from the horde of manufacturers available, there are also three types available for you to choose from.
Though it might seem an easy task to buy a regular slab of whetstone as it is merely a flat stone used to sharpen blades, manufacturers made it a point to include extra stuff on their products to lure you in buying them.
I think it is good to choose a best whetstone for knife sharpening that takes advantage of these add-ons and below are the three important things to look for in a great whetstone.
- The base is a feature that you should consider when choosing a whetstone. A good base will help prevent the stone from sliding around as you sharpen your tools. A stone with a rubber silicone base is usually a good choice as rubber will ensure the stability of the stones.
- Grit is another factor you need to consider. The grit of a stone is the reason why your tool becomes sharp. It is the component that shaves off the metal to produce a new edge. The higher the number of the grit the finer it gets and the better it sharpens your tool.
- Durability: A whetstone must be strong enough to withstand your usage. You should look out for cracks or check if the stone that you are looking is chipped. Cracks in stones are serious concerns as they can indicate that the stone is not suitable for long uses.
ConclusionI prefer Sharp Pebble’s Sharpening Stone.
Its grit range is just adequate, and it has the right size for the tools I want to sharpen. It is also very affordable. It is easy and safe to use especially with its angle guide that locks the edges in place as you sharpen it. This is a marvelous product that is professional grade but can be used by most households.
I have shared my thought on what I think is the best whetstone. However, there is no right or wrong choice when buying whetstones. If you follow the guide on how to choose a whetstone and incorporate your preferences, then you will certainly be able to decide what whetstone is the best for you.
Did you like reading this article? Do you have more information about whetstones that I missed? Can you suggest other whetstones?
Please share it in the comments section and don’t forget to share this article with others who might find this useful.
- 1 How To Choose The Best Whetstone for A Crazy Sharp Knife 2019
- 2 KING KW65 1000/6000 – The Perfect Balance Of Smoothness And Abrasiveness
- 3 Sharp Pebbles (Editor’s Choice) – Use It Both Inside And Outside Of Your Home
- 4 Norton Oil Stone – You Get An Entire Sharpening Bundle
- 5 TAIDEA 3000/8000 – Best Japanese Style Grinder
- 6 DMT Three 6-Inch Diamond Whetstone Set – If You Want To Feel Like A Pro
- 7 Lansky Puck – Best for Outdoor Adventures
- 8 Best Whetstone Buyer’s Guide
- 9 Conclusion