Are you one of the many people who love the idea of using the tried and true method of getting your knives into peak condition only to struggle with whetstones? If so, this article is for you!
What is a knife sharpening stone?
Before grinders came along the main way that people went through the process of sharpening knives was to use a sharpening stone. They had a single stone that was hard enough to take material off a dull knife and turn it back into a sharp edge.
Today, the equipment has become much more advanced, however, there are still people who use the old way to sharpen knives, tools and more.
How to use a whetstone in sharpening knives.
Whetstones today still largely follow the same process that was used hundreds of years ago. By running edges across the stones at the correct angle, you are able to work the sharpening process.
Newer stones however require a little more knowledge.
There are largely two groups of stones that are used. Whetstones and oil stones.
Whetstones are largely used as a catch-all word, however, referrs to stones that are placed in water and become wet before use. The soaking process helps keep the stone as a usable surface for longer. Over time the stone will wear and become uneven and must be replaced.
Oil stones act in a similar way. Instead of soaking in water, a small amount of oil is applied to the coarse faces of the stones. This is an easy way to sharpen knives for those with a lot of blades.
If you’re struggling with a sharpening stone, then likely you’re having one of a few problems.
Even the best sharpening stones require patience and skill regardless of the different types of stones out there. To be helpful we’ve addressed the top 3 common problems sharpeners of all kinds from a beginner to an expert face.
Common problem 1. Removing too much material off the edge.
If you are seeing a large number of metal shavings under your sharpener then likely the culprit is too much pressure on the knife as you run it across the stone. You shouldn’t have to put an immense amount of force on the knife in order to get a sharpened edge.
Common problem 2. Incorrect angle.
If you spend a good amount of time working your everyday kitchen knives across the stone and still aren’t getting the blade where you want it is likely you don’t have the knife at the right angle.
Also if you look at the face of the blade and notice scratches you probably have the wrong angle of the knife on the sharpening stone.
Use an angle guide or purchase a level to help you get a feel for what it should look like.
Also if your sharpening stone looks more like a U than it does a flat stone, then you may need to use a flattening stone to get all you tools back in order.
Common problem 3. The one size fits all approach.
We see this a lot with beginners, they purchase a single or two sided stone (also called a double sided) that comes in one or two grits. While they are great, they wont handle all of your sharpening needs.
These stones work by working your way to a more fine grit from a more rough grit at the beginning. Each time you step up you are getting a better edge meaning a more sharp knife.
Using traditional methods can be fun, but comes with a high difficulty.
At its just sharp, we see the advantages and disadvantages of flat stones. For most beginners, though a sharpening system becomes a much more manageable system to help each person achieve a huge difference the first time with just a little guidance. Our systems utilize similar wet and oil stones without having to worry about getting the edge just right by hand.
If you’re interested in diving into the world of sharpening…
Check out our sharpening systems designed to help you sharpen your kitchen knives, your pocket knife, chisels, scissors, and more! Plus you can even plug in your strop attachments for honing as well with just a little prep!