Sharpeners are everywhere and with many shapes and sizes. You can use many of them, from the expensive electric machines to the cheap small manual ones and everything in between.
But when it comes to using the stones, you must learn how to use a whetstone correctly.
Have you ever seen a video for Nusret Gökçe and wondered how he perfectly slices the chops of meat?
Do you want to know what the main advantage does he have besides his massive talent and professionalism?
The simple answer is a sharp knife that is the bold truth. You can’t slice steak perfectly without using the right sharp knife.
Of course, having a heavy-duty knife that is well-known for its features is a must. However, an expensive knife with a dull blade is worthless.
Here comes the role of the whetstone that will restore the glory and sharpness of your tools.
So be ready to revive your blades to be even better than before. Give yourself the chance to read about the best way to sharpen your knives with the perfect whetstone in the market.
Sharpening stones or whetstones can be regarded as the most traditional way to sharpen your knives. Not only is it the most traditional one, but also it is the most popular way to sharpen your blades despite all these modern tools.
How to sharpen a knife with whetstone?
If you are a beginner, you may have zero experience in using these types of stones in the process of sharpening, which you don’t have to be afraid of as it is not a challenging task to do.
First of all, in case you don’t have a whetstone and you are looking forward to buying one. There is some sort of things you should be looking for in it.
As a beginner, you should look for a double-sided stone. One side should be a 6000 grit, and the other side should be 1000 grit.
For all the starters reading this, bear in mind that with every lower number, the stone becomes coarser.
When you increase the grit, you will get a sharper blade; however, it requires extra strokes.
If you can afford it, it is really recommended to buy a complete set with different sizes and tools. You can have a look at the best whetstone sharpening set for more options.
But as a beginning, a double-sided one is more than enough.
Let’s move to the other tools needed in this process,
The required tools
- The knife
Gather your tool because we are going to revive your knives back
Step 1 Submerge your whetstone
Some whetstones require water before using, while others not. If you own one of those who need water, start by putting them in water for a while.
It recommended leaving it for a minimum of 45 minutes until there are no longer air bubbles on the surface.
If you own a stone fixer, then you should put in water as well.
- The more you leave it in water, the better it will be in the process.
Step 2 Set the whetstone for the process
After submerging the stones, place them over a towel and keep the bowl of water aside as you need to wet the stones from time to time during the process of sharpening.
- Don’t soak in the water during the process, just a few drops
Step 3 Adjust the angle
Many people may consider this part as the difficult one, and actually, it is. But likely it is not impossible to set the right angle.
There are just a few things you should know before setting the angle.
The first thing is that smaller angles will result in having sharper edges; however, these edges will not be durable enough.
On the other hand, the bigger angles will do the exact opposite, which is giving you a less sharp blade yet a durable one.
The second thing you need to know is that the easiest way to sharpen a knife is to place it in a position between vertical and horizontal, which is from 15 to 20 degrees angle.
Finally, you should maintain the angle throughout the process to end with a good sharp shape. Any change in the angle could be dangerous and may result in damaging the blade.
Step 4 Start sharpening the knife
It is preferable to start with the lower grit first. All you have to do is to adjust your angle and do the famous back and forth motion.
The pressure comes on the back motion when you are dragging the knife. It would help if you started with the side that is closest to the handle and end with the edge point.
- Gently grasp the knife yet with a firm grip.
Step 5 Repeat the process
Remember when I mentioned previously to end with the point of the edge? Every time you reach the point, this marks one stroke. It would be best if you repeated it as long as you need it.
- After multiple strokes, you will see silt water over both the stone and the knife. It would help if you were glad as seeing this liquid means that you are one the right track.
Step 6 Search for the signs of burrs
Seeing burrs is a sign for you to head to the other side. It should take from 30 to 40 strokes per side to get these burrs.
- If you don’t want to sharpen your blades over, you can stay with 10-15 strokes.
Step 7 Sharpen the other side
While you are wetting your stone and knife with drops of water, don’t forget to maintain the same angle with the other side.
- Remember to end the stroke with the tip of the knife over the near-edge of the stone.
Step 8 It is time to switch the stone
If you have a complete set or a double-sided whetstone, it’s time to use the finer-grit one, whether it is separate on or in the same whetstone.
Step 9 Repair the whetstones
With many strokes, you will be able to see grooves in the stone because of sharpening.
That is why it is always recommended to buy a stone fixer so you can fix the stones once again. Having grooves on the stone will hinder the process and delay the effectiveness.
All you have to do is to put the stone fixer against the whetstone stone, then push it back and forth.
This motion will result in creating a new flat surface thanks to the grinding part.
Step 10 Clean up the mess
After finishing the sharpening process, place the stone and knife over a towel to dry thoroughly.
- Keep in mind that the grit doesn’t come out of the towels. So, try to make a special one for this purpose.
Step 11 Hone your blades
The final step in this process is to hone your knife over honing steel so that you can have an alignment shape.
- Test your knives by cutting a hard tomato or chop some onions.
This method of sharpening may have a lot of steps, but it is really worth it. You will be the complete controller of this process. You can adjust the angle and the sharpness of the blade.
What grit whetstone for kitchen knives should you use?
This kind of questions, is essential to know its answer even than having an expensive set of stones.
We all know about the Japanese whetstones that don’t only work for the Japanese blades but all other sharp blades.
Before talking about the right grit to use, you should know about the range of their sizes.
The first range is less than 1000 grit, which is mostly used in repairing the chipped edges of knives.
As for the second range, which is from 1000 to 3000 grit, it is mainly used for sharpening dull knives and other steel tools.
The last range of 4000 to 8000 grit are called the finishing stones. This type of stone is made specifically to refine and leave a mirror polish over the knife’s edge.
Before using any size of the pre-mentioned grits, you should identify the type of your blade firstly. For example, you shouldn’t apply more than 6000 grit on knives for cutting meat to prevent any bending in them.
After understating the different ranges and identifying your blade type, we can start talking about the right grit for you.
In case you have some chips over the knife-edge, and you want to grind them off, you should go with the whetstones that range from 120 up to 400.
Are you looking for a standard sharpening?
Then don’t hesitate and go with stones that range from 700 and 2000 grit.
As a final touch, you may need to remove burrs and fine scratches that are resulted from coarser stones.
In this situation, you may need to use whetstones that starts from 2000 grit and higher. However, keep in mind that stones that are more than 1000 will not have any considerable enhancement over the edge.
If you are a beginner, you can stick with the 3000 up to 6000 grit.
On the other side, if you are expert enough to master the finish, then definitely go with the finished stone with a size of 8000 grit.
Do you feel lost?
Let’s summarize it all in one simple paragraph. You will mainly need a range of three stones. The first one is for grinding the chips off, while the second one is for the primary sharpening and ending with the last one for the honing part.
As for the size, the bigger the stone is, the more effective it will sharpen. Nevertheless, it is a combination of the price of the stone and the quality, so you should get a bit of both of them.
How to sharpen a pocket knife with a whetstone?
Pocket knives or folding knives are types of knives that everyone should own one or two of them. They are easy-to-use and practical. Most of them are lightweight and come in a neat design.
However, sharpening pocket knives can be challenging for some of us, as the blade is way shorter than normal knives, and they can also be serrated.
I have talked before about the best pocket knives and how they are important for everyday carry. There is also a whole article about how to sharpen your pocket knife in general.
You can use folding knives simply in everything; you can open boxes, prep veggies and even cut ropes with it in the forest.
In case you want to sharpen your pocket knife with a stone, you should follow the following steps.
The required tools
- Lubricant oil
Step 1 set up the stone
Most of the whetstones need only water to be ready to use. That is why you should submerge it in water for a minimum of 45 minutes.
If your stone needs to be lubricated by oil, then you should buy look for a one online or in the local hardware store.
- Lubricants are used to prevent filling the stone’s pores with grit.
Step 2 adjust the angle
You may think that this part is the hardest just as the previous one, but in the case of the pocket knives, it is way easier.
The important thing to know is that every blade has a particular angle that should be maintained during the whole process.
As for the bevel edge, most pocket knives should be sharpened at a bevel edge of 25 to 30 degrees angle
Step 3 match the knife with the stone
It’s time to get the whetstone to the battle and start the professional sharpening.
Keeping and maintaining the position of the knife is an important part. It would be helpful if you made the blade in the opposite direction of you at the right angle,
- If you still feel that you cannot find the right angle, you can buy an angle guide; however, it is not always helpful with curved blades.
Step 5 start the process of sharpening
All you have to do in this step is to glide your knife along with the stone. Try to do the steps in a regular motion. You should start from the bottom and end with the head of the stone in a smooth motion.
Repeat this process for a minimum of 12 times until you get a sharp blade.
Step 6 its time for the other side of the knife
After the required strokes, you should flip the knife to the other side and do the exact same steps with the same angle maintained.
Step 7 get the finer side of the stone
If you have a double-sided stone, you will need in this step the finer side, or you should use a fine stone if you have a one-sided whetstone.
Use the same angle and run your knife along with the stone so that you can remove any burrs away from your knife. At this point, you will notice a fine polish over your blade.
- If you don’t have a fine stone, you can use a honing steel rod, which is also easy and quick to use.
- You can check this article about A Complete Guide to The Best Honing Steel, which helps understanding its uses and the best one to get.
Step 8 Give your pocket knife a try
After removing the burrs, you are almost finished. Now it is time to test your knife by slicing a paper, or you can try to cut some veggies with it.
Sharpening a pocket knife is not impossible; you just need to know what it the right angle for your knife. Try this method and save your folding knife from being damaged.
Where to buy whetstone?
After reading the steps, you may ask yourself “where can I buy a whetstone?”
Well, you may think that it is hard to find a whetstone, but actually, it is the opposite.
Sharpening stones are easy to find. If you are not one of those who love shopping, you can buy it online, as there is a bunch of online stores that sell whetstones.
If you have King of Knives in your country, you can find them there easily.
Also, you can find them at Chef’s Armoury. If you don’t have these stores around you, you may also find them in local hardware stores.
You can also look at stone’s home center, where you can find a bunch of tools that will help you in sharpening.
Starting with the nearby stores is always a good idea.
Should I keep a Whetstone grit guide?
If you have a memory of a goldfish, then you should definitely keep a chart with you.
You can print a one and keep so that you can look at before every use. Try to print a one that is not complicated yet contain all the information you will need. Look for a one that includes the material of your knives
Knife sharpener vs. whetstone
People always wonder which is better to invest their money in, should you buy a sharpener that will get the job done quickly without the fear of the wrong angle or should you buy a sharpening stone?
Well, the simple answer to this question that in the matter of sharpening quality, the whetstone is 100% a winner.
But when it comes to the time and effort, you may exert a bit more effort using sharpening stones than other sharpeners, especially if we are talking about electric ones.
Undoubtedly, there is a difference between both of them, and it is important to understand this difference carefully.
Without further ado, if you have zero experience in sharpening, you may feel that sharpening stones is a hard task for you. But if you have a good experience in using the stones, then definitely you should get a one or two for your knives.
You can always check kitchenzad for different articles about sharpening tools.
What grit whetstone for kitchen knives should you use?
We all have kitchen knives, and this particular type of knives is the one which we use every day. On a daily basis, we eat breakfast, lunch a dinner in which you must use a knife.
Maybe you will use a knife to cut some chocolate over your oatmeal in the morning, or you are going to cook a turkey for your family in the evening or any other food. You will even use a knife to cut your avocado toast into a half.
That is why kitchen knives for cutting various types of food are the most affected ones due to the excessive exposure to heat and pressure and of course, hard surfaces, especially if you own a glass cutting board.
All these factors will eventually lead your knives to be chipped or, even worse, completely damaged
At this situation, you will need a sharpener. If you are using a whetstone, go with the 4000 up to the 6000 grit.
The higher grits will smooth the edges excessively that may result in blending. After finishing the sharpening part, you can use honing steel for the alignment of the edge.
Are colors a determining factor in a whetstone?
If you look at any whetstone, you may find that they may differ in colors. You will find many colors like red, brown, and others.
However, you have to keep in mind that colors are not a measuring factor when it comes to whetstones.
You can find the same color in different grade and different classification. The texture is the defining factor in these stones.
If you are looking for a coarser surface, then look for the soft stone.
What is the ultimate goal of using whetstones?
Ideally, we use sharpening stones, whetstones, water stones, and others to create a razor-sharp layer for our different knives that range from paring knives and hunting ones and everything in between.
Check this video for more learning instructions:
We recommend watching videos before applying, so you can learn the correct technique of running a blade over a stone.
If you like our content and you want to tell us about your experience in this field, feel free to leave us a comment or send us an email.
Tips for maintaining a sharp knife
All the following steps will support maintaining your knives for a long time.
- Always cut your foods over a cutting board.
- Try to hand-wash them instead of throwing them in the dishwasher
- Do not leave your knives in the sink for a long time; soaked knives don’t last.
- Remember to sharpen your knife from time to time gently.
- Do not cut meat on a ceramic plate.
In this article, we have tackled different aspects of the whetstones. After reading this article, you should be able to know more about these stones and decide whether you can do it or not.
The tricky part is to define a consistent angle and abide by it the whole process. Consistency is the key to success in the entire process.
Learning to use whetstones as sharpeners need practicing, and practicing in general takes time. You can fail at the beginning, but after several attempts, you will nail it.
There is also a super important note which is that you should take care of your knives even after the sharpening process so that it can last for a long time.