Polishing up knives should be safe and easy to do to maintain a knife’s sharpness. Sharpening tools such as an electric sharpener or a sharpening stone, among others, can be used. However, the use of whetstones and stones remains the safest and inexpensive method so far.
And in this article, I am going to tell you all about using a Whetstone to sharpen your knives the right way.
How to tell when a knife needs sharpening.
The best way to determine whether a knife is no longer sharp is the paper test method.
The paper test involves a folded piece of newspaper or a single sheet of printing paper and the knife in question. Using the knife, slice through the newspaper from the top and out to the side. If the knife is blunt, it will drag through the piece of paper, leaving ragged edges.
How to sharpen a kitchen knife with a Whetstone
A blunt knife in the kitchen is more dangerous than a sharp knife. Having this in mind, it is undeniably important that one sharpens knives whenever they show any signs of dullness.
How can you tell when it’s time to sharpen the kitchen knife? Easy peasy! With time the razor-sharp edge blade fades, thus demanding the user to put in a lot of force to get the job done.
Preparing the whetstone
Note that before any preparation, you should ensure that you have the correct information. You can achieve this by going through the manufacturer’s manual. Some may require lubrication.
These are the necessary steps for preparing the sharpening stone;
- Dampen a piece of cloth, say a towel, and place it on a flat solid surface then place the stone on top of it. This is to secure the stone from slipping or sliding during sharpening.
- While placing the coarse side should be placed on the upper side. When sharpening, the knife is initially swept through the coarse side to get it back to its correct shape.
- Pour some oil on the stone and spread evenly. Use the approved lubricant. However, this step is only relevant for the oil stones, and the case does not happen for the water sharpening stones. For the water stones, water is used instead. This is achieved by either submerging the stone in water or splashing the top of the stone.
Sharpening a kitchen knife does not necessarily require the attention of a professional. Whetstones are more precise; however, it may be difficult to achieve your goal at your first attempt. You require practice to perfect the art.
After preparation of the stone then one can comfortably commence the sharpening process. You may follow these simple steps;
- Hold the knife’s blade down at a 90-degree angle and then, with care and precision, adjust its position till it is at a 25-degree angle. Away from you, move the knife’s edge down the stone on the coarse side and, in a semicircular motion, sweeping it along the length of the stone.
- While working on each side carefully and in the same direction, do this for about 10 strokes. Make sure that the strokes are made in the same direction and not back and forth.
- Repeat the same steps on the stone’s finer grain side or a finer stone if the stone is not double-sided.
- Clean and dry the kitchen knife after sharpening.
- Wrap the stone in a kitchen towel and store it in a dry, non-greasy place. On the other hand, put the kitchen knife in a knife block, magnetic knife strip, or guards if placed in a drawer.
How to Find the Right Whetstone Buyers Guide
When in the market for a whetstone to sharpen knives at home, restaurants, or butcheries, one should consider some factors. These are;
The size of the stone depends on the knife’s blade size. These stones come in different sizes; some are small enough to fit in the pocket, whereas others are large. In this case, one should pay more attention to the length of the stone other than the width; however, both dimensions are important.
For instance, a longer stone will be appropriate; otherwise, the same will do if the knife is small. If the knife is thick and wide, the stone should be wide to provide ample space for stroking.
Whetstones are numerous and are made up of different materials. Stones such as water stones which mostly exist naturally are the easiest to clean and use as compared to others.
Oil stones can last for a longer period, therefore, commonly purchased by customers. Diamond stones, on the other hand, are harder and do not require any lubricant. Their hardness is enhanced by the small industrial diamonds attached to the stone.
Types of grit
The stone’s grit can either be coarse, medium, or fine, with each type of grit having a purpose. For reshaping the blade, the 220 grit is recommended, while the 300grit is ideal for blunt knives. 1000-1200grit is best suitable for kitchen knives, and a high grit size makes sharpening occur at a fast rate.
Invest in a quality, long-lasting, sharpening stone. Many quality stones are sold at ridiculously high prices, and one should go for the one that they can comfortably purchase without straining themselves. Go for your money’s worth.
In conclusion, sharpening knives should be something that is carried out regularly. Moreover, it is an enjoyable and easy process, especially when using whetstones. Whetstones have proved to be safer than other sharpening methods so far and affordable at the same time.
Whetstones, whether natural or artificial, vary in material and grit sizes. Some may have coarse and fine grain on both sides, while others have coarse grain or fine grain. Most importantly, ensure you read and understand the manufacturer’s directives before embarking on the sharpening journey.
It is wise to go for a cost-effective, versatile, and durable stone and has the best features to fit the purpose.
Q1. Can any stone sharpen a knife?
This is not entirely the case. It is not just any stone, but one requires a smooth and flat stone to render the blade sharp and safe to use.
Q2. Is it necessary to wet a sharpening stone?
It may be the case for some sharpening stones, such as the water stones, whereby most need to be completely submerged in water while others demand a few splashes of water. One should exercise more caution when dealing with whetstones and consider learning and understanding the correct preparation methods.
Q3. Is 1000grit whetstone enough?
The grit size is sufficient. It can bring blunt knives back to their edge and is most suitable for kitchen knives, pocket knives, and other grinding operations.
Q4. Which sharpening stone is the best?
Some of the best sharpening stones include;
- Sharp dual-grit Diamond knife sharpener
- Sharp pebble Premium Whetstone knife sharpening stone
Q5. Can olive oil be used on a sharpening stone?
It is neither ideal nor safe for one to put olive oil on the stone. Although oil whetstones require oils as an abrasive, you cannot use just any kind of oil. Instead, ensure you have the correct information before making any preparations.
Q6. Can I use 3 in 1 oil on a sharpening stone?
There is not much of a difference in performance when one incorporates the 3 in 1 oil or the manufactures choice of oil. It perfectly lubricates the stone due to its low viscosity, thus prevents the stone from the load.