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How to Use a Sharpening Stone

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The truth about knives is that they tend to serve longer and perform better when you regularly sharpen and maintain them. You don’t need to expend all your energy on a knife before it cuts. Knives are expected to perform their functions without causing a problem to the users.

However, a dull knife does more harm than a sharp one, as users must force their way into slicing or stabbing. During this process of exerting pressure to perform these functions, the user may harm his or herself. Hence, regular sharpening is highly recommended.

Knife Sharpening Stone

The question now is, how can we sharpen our knives? One of the safest and most convenient ways to sharpen a knife is by using a sharpening stone. This article aims to show you the steps involved in using a sharpening stone to sharpen your knife for a safer, faster, and more efficient cut. Before we discuss how to use a sharpening stone, let’s quickly look at different types of sharpening stones.

Types of Sharpening Stones

Sharpening stones are special sharpening devices designed to sharpen the dull edges of metal tools through honing and grinding. They come in a wide range of sizes, shapes, and various material compositions.

Stones can be found in various grades, known as grit size, of the particles contained in the stone. This grit size signifies the density of the stone’s particles, and this determines the outcome of the sharpening result. There are different types of sharpening stones, and the main types are as discussed below:

Oil stones

This type of stone is the most commonly used sharpening stone, and many people learned to sharpen with this stone. Oil stones may be artificial or natural stones. They are available in varieties of grits and sharpen the knife blade very quickly. They can be double-sided with different grit size on each side (coarse and fine grit) for more sharpening options.

Oil stones use oil as a lubricant and this oil protects the blade from picking up shavings from the stone. Though the oil makes the whole thing messy and shavings can be caught up in it to cause injury to the sharpener.

Diamond stones

They are becoming popular in the world of sharpening stones due to their faster sharpening delivery. Diamond stones are more durable and can be used in special cases with or without lubrication oil. When oil is not available, water can be used as a lubricant, and they will still perform to the expectation.

They are more expensive than other types of sharpening stones in the market, but ideal for both small and large tool sharpening.

Water stones

These are available in both synthetic and natural materials like oil stones. Water stones can be found with a variety of grits, and they are known for their quick blade sharpening. They also provide sharper blade compared to oil stones and others. However, water stones can wear quickly and thereby require careful storage.

Ceramic stones

This type of stones tends to work fine with some knives since knives are made up of steel. Ceramic stones don’t require any form of lubricant, yet they provide sharpened blade edge. They can last long with proper maintenance and handling. The only issue with ceramic stones is that they sharpen at a very slow pace.

How to Sharpen your Knife with a Sharpening Stone

The best way to maintain your knife is by learning the correct use of sharpening stone. However, this stone sharpening technical-know-how only involves a bit of practice to master the skill, and once you are skilled in it, you will be able to sharpen your knives without wasting time. Below are the steps that you should follow:

Step 1: Selection and placing of appropriate sharpening stone

The first step to a successful use of sharpening stones for your knife is a proper selection of the right coarseness for your knife. This largely depends on the type of knife you want to sharpen. For example, some knives do not require the coarsest stone for a start. Select the proper coarseness to achieve the best result. Don’t forget you need both coarse stone and finer stone, as each of them performs different purposes.

Then, place your sharpening stone on a flat board such as a cutting board or any related countertop, ensuring the coarse grit is facing upward. To prevent the stone from sliding, put a wet paper towel under the stone.

Step 2: Setting the knife for sharpening

The angle at which you place your knife on the sharpening stone is vital for good sharpening exercise. Selecting the appropriate angle for safe and perfect sharpening is essential. However, many of the knife manufacturers make a recommendation of about angle 20.50 for safe knife sharpening.

Based on the type of your knife, it can be greater or less than the recommended angle. For example, a slicing or filet knife which has never cut anything can go on a lesser angle for sharper edge cut, while a knife that has been in use can sharpen safely on greater angle.

Step 3: Lubricate the stone

Sharpening stones need lubricant for effective knife sharpening operation. While some stones require oil, others require water for the easy floating of metal particles and as well as preventing metal fillings from obstructing the knife. Apply a few drops of water or oil directly to the sharpening stone based on the type of stone you are using.

Step 4: Sharpening the knife

Based on the state of your knife, it is advisable to start with coarsest grit size and gradually progress to the finest stone to your required sharpness level. Don’t forget the recommended angle for efficient sharpening. To arrive at the angle of sharpness needed, first place the edge of your knife against the stone at an angle 45 degree and then visualize half of your first placement (making an angle of about 22 degrees).

Then, slide the knife forward and backward across the edge of the stone with moderate pressure. Ensure you cover and flush the full length of the blade at a constant angle of 22 degrees. Support the knife with your second hand for stability. Repeat this process several times until you are satisfied with the sharpness of the knife. Turn the blade to other side and repeat the same process to balance the sharpness.

Step 5: Finishing up

Finish up your knife sharpening by honing the blade with a sharpening steel. Rinse the blade to remove any attached metal fillings and wipe dry the blade to check for inconsistent grinding. If there is none, enjoy your shining knife blade.


A knife is an essential tool, and only maintenance can make it efficient in its functionality and last a more extended lifespan. When you sharpen your knife, you save yourself time and stress involved in cutting and other uses. It is worth mentioning, that you should be extra careful when using sharpening stones as this extra care can guarantee safer, sharper, and efficient knife sharpness.

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