All You Need to Know About Whetstone

All You Need to Know About Whetstone

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Are you a professional chef or someone who loves spending time in the kitchen cooking different meals? Are you unaware of how to use a whetstone? If that’s the case, you must be aware of how different kitchen tools such as knives can play an important part during the cooking process. If you want to sharpen your kitchen tools perfectly, then learning about Whetstone can be a great thing. We cover it all from how to use a whetstone to more.  

What is a Whetstone?

A whetstone, also known as a sharpening stone, is commonly used in the kitchen to sharpen the edges of all steel tools. As a fine-grained stone, it can help sharpen many things, including knives, scissors, and plain blades. Besides sharpening kitchen tools, you can also use a whetstone to sharpen razors, chisels, hand scrapers, and scythes, an agricultural tool for mowing grass, wondering how to use a whetstone the easy way?

Different Grits of Whetstone

A whetstone grit refers to the coarseness that the Whetstone has. In simple words, different grit grades are used when sharpening different kinds of tools. The grit grades can be according to your requirements for sharpening a particular tool.

1. Coarse (under 1000)

Do you have damaged or chipped knives at home that need to be taken care of? A coarse grit will help you repair the blade easily in less than no time.

2. Medium (1000 to 3000)

It can be quite a hassle when you want to cut a piece of chicken, but your knife doesn’t allow you to. Using a medium grit whetstone will face no problem sharpening your dull knives at home.

3. Finishing (4000 and above)

Ranging between 4000 and 8000 grit grades, this grit range will help sharpen and finish the knife. 5000 grit grades will be perfect for finer finishing, while 6000 to 8000 are suitable for super-fine finishing.

Sharpening Stone Pros and Cons

Pros

When you use good-quality sharpening stones, they will provide you with a knife blade that is sharp and easy to use. Don’t know how to use a whetstone? Let us give you some good news. The best part about sharpening stones is that even if you don’t know how to use them, you can easily learn how to use them in less than no time. Also, they are easy to use and set up, so if you want to give your knife a quick sharpening before you get to work, it shouldn’t take much time. Moreover, sharpening stones is relatively inexpensive, so you won’t have to set aside a budget for investing in them.

Cons

While sharpening stones offer superior results, sharpening your knives with them can take a little longer when compared to synthetic sharpening stones. If you want to sharpen your knives the right way, you should know how to use a whetstone.

Moreover, when you don’t have enough experience with sharpening stones, it can become tricky to handle them as they require a lot of practice and steady hands during the process. These stones can also wear out over time, which means that you will have to invest in new ones. Also, some sharpening stones can be quite expensive, which means you will carefully choose your preferred stone.

Types of Sharpening Stones

When wondering how to use a whetstone for the first time, you must know the different sharpening stones around you. The three different types of sharpening stones include:

1. Oil Stones

Popular as one of the oldest stones for sharpening knives and blades, Oil stones are artificial stones with certain particles. When these particles are bonded together, they end up forming a stone. When you need to sharpen a knife, you can oil the stone before you get to work.

2. Water Stones

Water stones can be natural or artificial, depending on which one you end up using. Just like the name suggests, when you have to sharpen your knives, it is a must to lubricate the stones with water. Only when you lubricate the stones with water will it work properly.

3. Whetstones

Made with bonded abrasives, Whetstones are a reliable stone for sharpening knives and blades. It offers a consistent grit size, leading to effective and sharper fastening compared to other stones.  Read on for more on how to use a whetstone.

Different Methods of Knife Sharpening

What to do when you don’t know how to use a whetstone? You could try out the following methods:

1. Coffee Mug

This might sound unusual but trust us to say that this method works perfectly. Turn your coffee mug upside down and run your knife across the surface. Keep running the knife until you feel that the blade has been sharpened.

2. Sandpaper

If you don’t know how to use a whetstone, you use sandpaper as it is usually lying around. Start with the coarser grit when using sandpaper, and then continue for maximum sharpness.

3. The spine of Another Knife

Suppose you don’t know how to use a whetstone; how about using the spine of another knife as a honing device. Just run your knife across the spine of the blade so you can get the sharpened knife and get back to work.

4. A Manual Knife Sharpener

Also called a pull-through sharpener, a manual knife sharpener can be the easiest and cheapest way to sharpen your knife. Instead of asking people how to use a whetstone, you can use a manual knife sharpener. Such a sharpener has two slots, a coarse grit that sharpens and a fine grit that polishes.

How to Choose a Whetstone

If you don’t know how to use a whetstone, then you might not be aware of choosing a whetstone as well. When choosing a whetstone, ensure that you balance the cost, quality, number of stones, and grits to ensure that you have picked something good. If you want a good whetstone, then it is recommended that you opt for stones from 120 and 240 grit.

How to Use a Whetstone

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Step 1: Soak your Stones

Read on to get a step-by-step guide on how to use a whetstone. When working with whetstones, the first step should be to ensure that you soak your stones into the water. Please leave them in water for a few minutes before use. You will have to leave a coarse grit in water for 15 to 20 minutes, while frit grit whetstones only need a few minutes.

Step 2: Step up Your Station

Once the soaking is done, set the Whetstone on a towel on the kitchen counter. You can also keep a container with water nearby if you require water during the sharpening process. Make sure that the stone has been placed correctly.

Step 3: Sharpen the First Side

When you begin the sharpening, start from your lower-grit stone. Then, place the heel of your knife on the far edge of the stone and gently drag the knife over the surface. Keep moving the knife at the same angle so you can move towards sharpening the tip of the knife.

Step 4: Check the Sharpness

If you’re done sharpening the first side, then make sure you check for the sharpness again. Run your thumb across the edge of the blade to feel the burr from the handle to the tip. If the side is sharp enough, you can move towards the next side.

Step 5: Sharpen the Second Side

Maintain the even angle of 15 to 20 degrees as you start working on the second side. Make sure that your hand is firm but gentle at the same time. Continue repeating the strokes until the second side is also sharp enough.

Step 6: Fix the Stones

After you have sharpened both sides, your stones might develop grooves in them, obstructing the sharpening. If you want to fix the stones, use a low-grit stone fixer and push it back and forth so you can create a flat, new surface.

Step 7: Clean Up  

Use the same towel to clean up your knife and stones after the sharpening process. Allow the stone to dry for a day, and then wrap up the clean stone in a good fabric cloth.

Step 8: Hone and Test Your Blade

Once you have sharpened your knife, you can hone your blade to get alignment. Once the honing is done, check the blade for sharpness as well. You can ever try slicing a tomato to see for yourself how good the knife is working after being sharpened. If you can rip through the tomato, then it means your knife is as good as new.

How do I Know When to Sharpen my Knife?

If you run your fingertips down the knife blade, the knife should feel sharp with certain edges. If the blade is well-defined with a distinct edge, then you are good to go. However, if you feel that the blade is dull or round, you might need to sharpen the knife.

How to Store and Care for Whetstones

Once you have used and cleaned your whetstones and know how to use them, you should store them in a place where they will be safe from damage. Wrap your whetstones in a cloth and then store them somewhere safe in your kitchen.

Alternatives to Using Whetstones

1. Electric Knife Sharpeners

When you use electric knife sharpeners for sharpening your knives, you will be able to get the work done within a few minutes without trouble. Electric knife sharpeners are known for sharpening your knives without flaws or breakage.

2. Professional Service

If you don’t have enough time on your hands or don’t know how to use a whetstone, professional service can be the best option. With professional service, you won’t have to worry about doing things yourself, and someone else will do it for you.

FAQS

1. Can You Use a Dry Whetstone?

When you use a dry whetstone, the stone will quickly slow down and become useless. Also, a dry stone will require more effort later on during the clean-up process. When you use a wet whetstone, you will wipe off everything.

2. How Do I polish my Kitchen Knife?

Do you want to polish a kitchen knife at home? Take your knife and rub the blade with a rag after soaking the rag in white vinegar. After that, dry the kitchen knife with a dry microfiber cloth.

3. What are Other Ways to Sharpen my Kitchen Knife?

If you don’t have a whetstone to sharpen your kitchen knife, you can use several other methods. These methods include using a ceramic mug, opting for a professional service, using an electric sharpener, utilizing sandpaper, and using the spine of another knife.

4. How do I Maintain My Kitchen Knives?

When you want to maintain your kitchen knives, always keep your knives clean and dry after use if the knife gets a dirty wash, it with warm soapy water regularly without a gap in between.

5. Can I use Oil with My Whetstone?

If you want to opt for oil with your Whetstone, it can be a great and effective lubricant. When you use oil as a lubricant, you will see the results of good efficiency and great the sharpening process will turn out to be. This is important to learn if you want to know more about how to use whetstone.

6. Does a Whetstone Need to be Wet?

The sharpening process will automatically improve when you use lubricants like water or oil on a whetstone. Compared to a dry whetstone, a wet whetstone will help float away from the swarf, keep the waste material away, and prevent the stone from clogging up.

7. How to Maintain a Whetstone for a Longer Working Life?

Maintaining your Whetstone is no less than a necessity as when you maintain them, they will last for a long time, along with providing better sharpening. Make sure that you sharpen the knives at the right angle, avoid sharpening bulky tools with thick edges, level your stones before you sharpen, flip your stone end to end before use, and use sufficient oil and water during every cleaning.  

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