Sharpening Stones Have Become More Popular In Recent Years. These Three Show Off The Variety Of Stones Available Today And What They Can Do.
The knife sharpening stone is one of the most useful, and misunderstood, tools in the kitchen.
Firstly, it doesn’t need to be exclusive to your kitchen knives as most stones can also sharpen your hunting, whittling, and EDC knives. Additionally, the variety of modern stones is so vast the right stone for you could be the wrong stone for your neighbor.
Whether you call it a sharpening stone, a whetstone, or even an Arkansas stone, they are all excellent tools to improve the performance of your knives.
What Is A Whetstone?
The word “whetstone” is interchangeable with “sharpening stone”. The term “whet” comes from the Old English term “hwettan” which means “to whet or sharpen”, and the name has carried through to the present day.
You can find whetstones for sale in numerous places online and in stores ranging in price from $20-25 all the way up north of $200 or $300. No matter the price or the material, they all do the same thing: sharpen and polish your knives.
What Is The Best Sharpening Stone?
That all depends on what you are sharpening.
For a set of kitchen knives made from German steel, a double-sided waterstone might be all you need. Moreover, you might need something more rugged especially for outdoor tools. Good extra-coarse stones cover you here. Finally, precision tools require their own stone. Tepulas makes knockout systems engineered for the odd shapes of some tools.
Rest assured, no matter what you sharpen, there’s a stone out there for you.
How To Use A Whetstone
Different whetstones require different technique to use them properly. We touched on this topic previously, if you like to more please see our piece on how to sharpen a knife.
Suffice to say, the easiest way to learn how to use your sharpening stone is to use it. Well … that and read the instructions. Do this and you’re on the path to staying sharp.
3 Best Sharpening Stone Options
There’s something incredibly satisfying about sharpening your own knives on a stone. The sound hits just right, and seeing the metal come off the dull edges of your knives feels good to watch. Sharpening stones come in a variety of materials and grits.
These three sets of stones are an excellent example of what is available today and are great entry points if you’re interested in using whetstones for your knives at home.
Arkansas Wood Mounted Kit By Best Sharpening Stones
The Arkansas stone has a long history, dating back to prehistoric times. The proper name for the material is novaculite, from the Latin word novacula which means “razor, sharp knife, or dagger”, it has been mined for years in the Ouachita Mountains in Arkansas and Oklahoma, as well as Japan and West Asia.
These stones are oil stones, so you will need to buy honing or sharpening oil to get the most out of them. This set by Best Sharpening Stones (www.bestsharpeningstones.com) will have you and your knives covered.
The soft, gray stone is meant to repair damaged or heavily dulled edges. The white hard stone gets your knives back to a fine edge, and the black stone is extra-fine and polishes and hones your knives. To give you an idea of how particular the black stone is, it was traditionally used to sharpen medical tools and straight razors.
The price for the set ranges based on which of the three sizes of stones you choose, all of which come mounted to wood block for easy transfer and secure sharpening. The MSRP of the smallest set is $52.95, and the MSRP for the largest set is $72.95.
Smart Pebble Premium Whetstone 2 Side 1000/6000 Waterstone
This is the type of stone I use at home for my own knives, and I love it! This double-sided stone from Sharp Pebble has a coarse 1000-grit side to make a burr and shave off nicks and damage, and it has a fine 6000-grit side to finish and polish the knife edge. It’s made of aluminum oxide and comes with an angle guide and a non-slip bamboo base.
Unlike the oil stones, this waterstone needs to be fully waterlogged to perform at its best. To do that you’ll need to fully submerge the stone for 10-15 minutes to fully let it soak. Once it’s soaked you can sharpen away and get your knives back to pristine condition.
The thing I love most about using this stone is how simple it is. You soak, you sharpen, you clean up, and you’re done. My knives always feel and perform better after using this stone. With an MSRP of $40.99, it’s affordable and a great tool to keep in your kitchen.
Lansky Deluxe 5-Stone System
Rather than just a single stone or set of stones, Lansky has made an all-encompassing sharpening system that features five different stones and hones.
Designed for all straight-edge knives, the 5-Stone System features an angle guide with four settings and five different oil stones. Ranging in grit from 70 to 1000, you can do everything from reprofiling damaged knives to polishing and finishing your blades.
The set also comes with guide rods, honing oil, extra-long clamp screws for thicker blades, and a compact carrying case to store it all. Most importantly, it comes with a multi-angle clamp to hold the blade safely and securely.
The system has an MSRP of $62.99.
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