Knife sharpeners, also known as stone sharpeners, are a common tool found in kitchens today. But, your favorite stones set has a rich history to it – Something that I am elated to discuss in this blog! We’ll be talking about grit sizes, diamond whetstones, sharpening angles, types of knives, and dull blades that can use a little magic from knife sharpeners! But before that, a quick little history recap…
1. History Of Knife Stone Sharpeners
The first use of knives dates back to nearly 75,000 years ago in Northern Italy. And since then, dull blades have been sharpened and their sharp edges revived. The ‘moletas’ had knife skills that had never been seen before. They also offered knife sharpening services after arriving in America, which then kickstarted the idea of sharpening stones and the risk dull blades would carry, all the way back in 1886.
By 1910, the moletas had mastered the art of the entire sharpening process and had wheeled carts displaying their knife skills and hand-made stone kits. These stone kits were made with natural stones like Amethyst and Ruby and were easily available for prehistoric women and home cooks.
The moletas were known for their knowledge of angle guides and the importance of sharpening angles for dull blades. They taught people how to sharpen and hone a dull knife.
Eventually, the cartwheels stopped and transitioned to word of mouth, to a new digital age where sharpening stone kits and whetstone sharpening have become a common practice and a norm in every kitchen.
2. Types Of Professional Knife Sharpeners & Maintenance Tools
Whetstone sharpening has been around for the longest time. A sharpening stone is a kitchen essential that is used by both, home cooks and professional chefs across the world to sharpen dull knives.
Sharpening stones, also known as water stones, are a kitchen essential used by professional chefs and home cooks around the globe.
While honing rods take slightly less time to maintain knives than whetstones, they are incredibly durable and resilient and help bring back the cutting edges of your dull knife.
Electric Knife Sharpener
Electric sharpeners take lesser time than whetstones to sharpen dull blades but are much more damaging in the long run due to the abrasive motor.
The motor fit inside of electric knife sharpeners is built for electric knives that are used to carve and cut large roasts. Using electric knife sharpeners on stainless steel knives is not ideal.
They also don’t work on ceramic knives – Ceramic stones are a better fit. These sharpeners can affect the quality and durability of your knife significantly.
A honing Steel is a maintenance tool that is often purchased with sharpening stones. This long and slender rod is used to hone the blade and bring back the sharp edges of your knife. A dismantled knife is just as risky to use as a dull blade is, as it can slip and slide through foods and cause serious injuries.
3. Types Of Whetstones
Whetstones are some of the best knife sharpener stones out there and are used by home cooks and professional chefs. Whetstones are a razor sharpening tool that revives any dull knife or dull blades. These incredible tool sharpeners can not only bring back a kitchen knife blade’s cutting edge, but also that of a professional chefs knives.
Here are some of the most common types of whetstones:
Oil stones or a combination oilstone are readily available today. The name comes from its need to be greased with a thin layer of oil before putting them to use. The oil keeps your sharpening stone safe and durable.
Traditional whetstones, also known as water stones, need to be soaked in water before being used. This helps keep the blade robust, sharp, and sturdy. This stone is perfect for sharpening kitchen knives.
Diamond sharpeners also known as diamond whetstone are known for their durability and quickness to regain lost edges. Diamond sharpening stones can be used as they are. However, they’re a tad bit more expensive than the traditional and oiled ones. But, if you’re looking for the perfect sharpening stone, traditional whetstones are the most ideal kind!
4. Whetstone Grits And Their Uses
Understanding whetstone grits and when they’re ideal to use is crucial knowledge before making your purchase. The grit you pick for your flattening stone is determined by how dull the blade is. Let’s get into this in detail.
#1000 Grit or Less
A whetstone with 1000 grit is often used to treat kitchen knives with damaged blades. If you have significantly damaged blades, a sharpening stone with a grit of 1000 or less can make the sharpening process feel like an uncomplicated process. This is the most popular type of whetstone and is perfect for home cooks.
#1000 - #3000 Grit (Medium Stones)
A whetstone with #1000 - #3000 grit is ideal for quick sharpening of knives in a busy kitchen, which is why it is mostly used by professional chefs in restaurants. These whetstones are slightly less dense and coarse, making them perfect for sharpening special Japanese knives known for their cutting edge. Coarse grits are also excellent for sharpening kitchen shears.
#4000 - #8000 (Finishing Stones)
A stone kit with #4000 - #8000 grit helps you teeter on the cusp between sharpening knives and achieving a superfine edge grip. If however, you want to sharpen your blade’s damaged edge, then a sharpening stone with a #4000 or #5000 grit would work tremendously.
A whetstone with a #6000 grit helps in sharpening knives that are used for cutting, carving, or slicing up large roasts of meat. Whereas, an #8000 grit would be best if you use high-quality Japanese knives or knives that are used to cut large fruits and vegetables.
5. What To Look For In Knife Stone Sharpeners
Sharpening your knives has never been simpler with portable whetstones. These stones can fit in your kitchen drawer with ease. And, the best part? They don’t occupy a lot of space in the drawers.
Whetstones take anywhere from 5-10 minutes to sharpen dull knives, which is quite convenient.
Whetstones have the most versatile range of grit. They go anywhere from 1000 to 6000. Depending on the grit, the sharpening systems can get the job done with ease.
Whetstones can repair dull knives, fix chipped edges, sharpen all blades, and refine your knife’s edges. Whetstones can also work seamlessly on kitchen knives and shears with serrated blades that are dull.
A reputable sharpener set would run you anywhere between $50-$170.
6. How To Sharpen Dull Knives
Using sharpening stones is a quick and easy process to getting your favorite kitchen knife back on track. Here’s how you would go about it!
- Soak the sharpening stone in cold water for 10 minutes before you angle your knife on it.
- After the stone is soaked in water, rest the whetstone for a minimum of 5-10 minutes.
- Angle your knife against the stone at 20º degrees with the flat side of the blade facing upwards.
- Then, begin sweeping your knife from the blade, starting with the base first.
- Go back and forth without dragging the edge of the blade.
- When the base of your knife has revived its sharpness, you can flip the knife and move towards the tip of the blade.
- Angle your knife on the stone, apply gentle pressure towards the tip and gently sweep it back and forth. (This should sound like grinding sandpaper).
- Then, reposition the knife and flip it again at 20º degrees.
- With intervals, continue to alternate for 5-10 minutes, depending on how dull the blade is.
- Once the tip, edge, and spine of your knife’s blade feel smooth, you’re all set!
7. Knife Sharpness Test
Once you’re done using your stone kit, it’s time to test the sharpness of your knife. The tomato and paper tests will help you determine if your knives are sharp or whether or not the sharpening stones work for your knives.
- Pick a medium to large-sized tomato and place the spine of your knife on the surface (without the tip of the knife slicing into the tomato). A dull knife will struggle.
- Angle your knife and slice through the halved tomato. (Ideally, you should glide the knife at an 18-20 degree angle, as the edge should be sharp enough).
If your knife glides past the tomato, your knife is as good as new! But, if it’s still ‘cutting’ and ‘sliding’, that’s your cue to place it on the sharpening process for another 5-10 minutes.
- Use a sheet of parchment paper or construction paper.
- First, cut the top half of the paper, and then slice it at a downward angle.
If the paper cuts into clean and almost equal parts of two, your knives are sharpened and safe to use, too.
8. How To Care For Whetstones
Whetstones are much easier to care for than combination oilstones and diamond stones. This is because of a variety of reasons.
- First, oil stones and diamond stones have a reputation for making a dent in your pocket. But hey, at Dalstrong, we’re a combination of budget-friendly, yet show-stopping stone sets. So, we’ve got you covered.
- Diamond stones are also packed with a coarse grit which can damage your knife, and its blade, and cause wrist fatigue. This is another reason why home cooks and professional chefs have made the switch from diamond and oil stones, as well as electric knife sharpeners, to whetstones.
- Since whetstones have a smooth surface to keep your blades even and angled. So, you won’t injure yourself in the process of sharpening your knives. When it comes to maintenance, all you’ve got to do is have them soaked in water for no more than 10 to 15 minutes.
- We recommend that you only add a few droplets of water to the whetstone, to begin with. However, if your blade is quite rough, you can soak it in some cold water for a couple of minutes.
- Once the whetstone has done its job, pat it dry with a paper towel or let the surface of the stone dry at room temperature. Don’t place the whetstone back in its box when the surface is damp as that will significantly decrease its durability and result in molding. And, no one wants that.
9. Best Dalstrong Whetstones You Need
It’s time to pair your favorite kitchen knife with Dalstrong’s stone kit. The set includes two grits – 1000 and 6000. If you’re investing in a premium quality chefs knife, all you need is a whetstone kit to maintain it. Not a Dalstrong Pro, yet? Fret not. This whetstone kit comes equipped with a manual for an easy-breezy sharpening process.
- Made with premium corundum.
- Comes with a functional and portable storage box.
- Premium whetstone combination with a double-sided grit.
- This set may not work for you if you’re looking for grit that ranges between 7000 and 8000. (These stones are designed for refining damaged edges).
- If you’re looking for a diamond or oiled whetstone, this may not be the one for you. But, I still suggest that you try it as it isn’t built to fail at all.
Are you on the lookout for a premium whetstone knife sharpening stone? Then, we’ve got you covered. This Nagura stone and rust eraser is the perfect knife sharpener set for both, professional chefs and the novice! Made with premium quality corundum, this starter kit is perfect for razor sharpening and reviving dull edges. The whetstones are perfect for sharpening kitchen shears and scissors, as well. The rust eraser helps achieve a mirror-polished look and feel for your favorite knives.
- Made with premium quality Acacia wood for a smooth surface for dull edges, this is one stone kit to bag!
- The Nagura stone acts as a ‘conditioner’ for finishing the blade with an angle of your preference for when you cut and slice.
- If you’re on the lookout for grit that is less than 1000 or 6000, this stone kit may not be the perfect purchase. However, it is still an excellent set to regain the lost edge of your knife.
- This set comes with a higher price tag, so if you’re on a budget, it may not work for you. But, this rust eraser and sharpening stone are worth the investment! (I speak from personal experience).
Looking for convenience in a grit kit? Then this portable whetstone set is going to impress you! Designed and put engineered with premium quality corundum, this stone kit has two large whetstones to help you sharpen the edges and angle of your blade.
- Built for razor sharpening and achieving precision on every cut and slice.
- The 8000 gritstone is designed to provide dull blades with a mirror-like finish.
- If you’re looking for a stone kit that focuses on fixing chipped edges, I suggest a whetstone kit with a 400/1000 grit.
- If you’re looking for a combination oilstone, this one may not work for you. However, soaking whetstones in water rather than oil is much better, so this would still be a great purchase!
Designed with premium quality corundum for durability and resilience, this top-notch whetstone kit has a show-stopping grit of 400 and 1000 to fix chipped edges and repair blades that have lost their sharpness while chopping, cutting, and slicing. This premium knife sharpening stone set is the perfect gift for a cooking connoisseur, thanks to the elegant packaging and limited lifetime warranty. Still, need some convincing?
- This kit is designed with high-quality Acacia wood for all the sturdiness your knives need.
- It is quite easy to maintain for those who work with sharp knives daily – It could be home cooks or professional chefs.
- Comes with a 400 grit sharpening stone which is a bonus.
- Looking for a whetstone that focuses on refining the edge and spine of your knife? Then, you’re just in luck with our whetstone with 6000 grit.
- You might prefer a whetstone kit with a rust eraser, but we’ve got you covered.
A honing rod is a common purchase with whetstones, and for all the right reasons. This 9” inch honing steel, commonly known as a honing rod, is not only precision forged and wear-resistant but also made of premium quality, high-carbon stainless steel which is perfect to bring back the cutting edges of your favorite knives.
- Engineered with added chromium plating for stain and corrosion resistance, boosting its durability at the same time.
- The tiny grooves along the honing rod’s surface will help realign the blade on knives to prevent your knife from slipping and sliding on the cutting board, which is a big hazard.
- Honing rods do not sharpen knives, they only provide a better angle to an already sharpened knife, so if you’re looking for the former, scroll back up and check out our whetstone kits that make a great investment.
- If you’re on a strict budget, this rod may not work for you. But, we’ve got you covered with this 10” inch honing steel from the Gladiator series.
- You may prefer a handle made entirely with stainless steel instead of a fiber-resin handle.
And hey, if you’re a newbie to the whole sharpening system, check out Dalstrong’s video on how to sharpen your knife with a whetstone or read up about sharpening your knife with a whetstone in detail here. We’ve always got you covered!
10. Frequently Asked Questions
Is a sharpening stone better than a knife sharpener?
A sharpening stone, also known as a whetstone, is much better than other knife sharpeners, such as electric ones. This is because the abrasive motor fit inside electric knife sharpeners is quite damaging to the blade of your favorite knife. They often damage the already dull blades significantly.
What is the best stone for sharpening knives?
A traditional whetstone is the best kind for your sharpening system as they’re portable, robust, and incredibly durable. They also get the job done quickly, saving you a lot of time in the kitchen.
Do stones sharpen knives?
Whetstones sharpen knives at home with ease! The sharpening surface is designed with corundum which sharpens dull blades and revives the cutting edges. Whetstone stones also work on pocket knives!
Do sharpening stones work?
Sharpening stones work much more than electric knife sharpeners for a variety of reasons. The most important ones are the manual control you have over the sharpness of your knife and choosing the perfect sharpening angle.