Sharpening stones are a particularly useful tool. With their help, you can relatively easily restore your kitchen knives and bring them back to their original sharpness. Even garden tools such as axes, hedge trimmers or the blade of your lawn mower are no problem. We have summarised what you need to look out for and how you can use a sharpening stone as simply as possible.
Choosing the right type of sharpening stone will be easy with our large sharpening stone test 2021. We have prepared and analysed the most important information. We have also compared different types of whetstones with each other and listed the respective advantages and disadvantages for you to make your purchase decision as easy as possible.
- 1 Weekly newsletter with the best personal finance tips
- 2 Summary
- 3 The Best Grindstone: Our Choices
- 4 Buying and evaluation criteria for whetstones
- 5 Decision: What types of whetstones are there and which is the right one for you?
- 6 Guide: Frequently asked questions about whetstones answered in detail
- Sharpening stones are great for sharpening blades and knives on your own. There are four different types, namely natural stones, water stones, oil stones and diamond stones.
- When choosing the right stone, the grain size is important. Here, the coarser the grit, the duller knives can be sharpened. Finer grits are suitable for regrinding and refining the blade.
- Double-sided whetstones are particularly recommended, as they are relatively inexpensive and kill two birds with one stone.
The Best Grindstone: Our Choices
Buying and evaluation criteria for whetstones
If you are buying a whetstone for the first time, you should know what to look for when making your purchase to make it easier for you, we have analysed and prepared the most important criteria for you. The criteria that help you find the right whetstone for the right purpose:
Area of application
The first question to ask is, what do I want to grind in the first place? It can be a wide variety of products. In principle, almost anything with a blade. Certainly, most people first think of various knives such as kitchen knives, pocket knives, Japanese knives, survival knives and many more. But not only knives, but also various garden tools and implements can be sharpened with whetstones.
You can sharpen axes and hatchets, garden and all-purpose shears, hedge trimmers and even lawn mower blades yourself. Your children's ice skates are blunt? No problem, you can sharpen them too. So what you want to use your sharpening stone for is important in the selection process of your purchase.
You should make sure that the manufacturer specifies what kind of blades it can be used for.
Ceramic knives, for example, require a diamond stone for sharpening, as ceramic blades can break easily.
Once you know what product you want to sharpen, the next step is to determine what your goal is. Do you just want to resharpen something or, for example, is the kitchen knife so dull that it can no longer be used?
As mentioned above, the grit determines whether something is pre-sharpened or re-sharpened with the whetstone. But there can be other reasons why it makes sense to buy a whetstone. When cooking, it is much easier to work with a sharp blade. A dull blade is very tedious and makes kitchen work much more difficult. Furthermore, "safety first" applies. It is much safer to work with a sharp blade. If the knife is blunt, you will automatically apply more pressure to achieve the desired result. Therefore, you are more likely to slip and cut yourself.
Knives last longer if they are sharpened regularly. Prevention is better than cure.
There are four different types of whetstones offered by manufacturers. Depending on the area of application or intended use, they all have their individual advantages and disadvantages. We will explain these in more detail later. The four types of whetstones are:
- Natural stone
- Water stone
- Oil stone
- Diamond stone
Natural stones are quarried from various mountains around the world and later shaped to be used as sharpening stones. The two best-known stones are the Arkansas stone and the Belgian chunk. Since natural stones have different grain sizes depending on where they are quarried and are difficult to work with, they are rarely used.
When speaking of water stones, most people mean Japanese water stones. These are completely soaked, i.e. completely submerged in water for about ten minutes, so that all air bubbles can escape. A normal water stone is only wetted with water.
Oil stones are used in the grinding process with an oil abrasive. Therefore, the best results are achieved with this type of stone. An oil stone can also be used with water, but the final result is better if oil is used.
These are stones on which a synthetic diamond coating is applied to a carrier plate. Due to the diamond particles, the material is very hard and does not wear off.
Grinding stones are available with different grain sizes. There are stones with coarse, medium and fine grit. Depending on the result you want to achieve when sharpening your knife, you should pay attention to the value of the grit when buying. Basically, there are three different types:
- Grinding stones with coarse grit
- Medium grit whetstones
- Grinding stones with fine grit
Grinding stones with coarse grit
These are best for making very dull blades sharp again. The grit value here is between 150 and 800. Coarse grit whetstones are usually used for preliminary sharpening. If a blade is damaged, this can also be repaired with a coarse grit.
Medium grit whetstones
If the knife is not yet completely dull, it is best to use a medium-grit whetstone. These stones are also commonly used for sharpening. Here, the grit value is between 800 and 1000.
Grinding stones with fine grit
To give a blade the finishing touch and make it really sharp, you should use whetstones with a very fine grit. The value here is between 1000 and 6000. There is still room for improvement, but from 8000 upwards you will notice almost no difference. Stones with a very fine grit are also called polishing stones.
Type of cut
There are different ways to use the whetstone. With water, oil or dry. However, this also depends on the material of the stone. Grinding fluids are good for cooling the cutting edge, ensuring better steel abrasion and generally achieving a better result when grinding.
There are types of stone, such as diamond stone or ceramic stone, that are used dry and do not require grinding fluid.
Water is used most often because it is available to everyone almost free of charge. Another advantage is that it basically does not make a mess and is not an additional odour nuisance, as can sometimes happen with grinding oils.
If you like to work with an oil stone, you should be aware that once treated with oil fluid it is almost impossible to get the oil out of the grindstone completely.
Decision: What types of whetstones are there and which is the right one for you?
Once you have decided what you want to sharpen and how sharp you want your blade to be, you need to consider which type of whetstone is right for you.
All types have their advantages and disadvantages. The following overview should help you with your decision:
|Type||Area of application|
|Natural stone||various knives except ceramics and serrated blades, tool blades|
|Water stone||Japanese knives, various knives except ceramics and serrated blades|
|Oil stone||particularly damaged knives and blades, various knives except ceramics and serrated blades|
|Diamond stone||various knives and blades including ceramics and serrated blades|
In the following section we will go into a little more detail about the different types of whetstones and their advantages and disadvantages.
Guide: Frequently asked questions about whetstones answered in detail
What is a whetstone?
How much does a whetstone cost?
|Two-grit combination whetstone||€40-160|
How do I use a whetstone?
- First you should check the condition of the blade you want to sharpen. Is it already completely blunted or does it still have some residual sharpness? Depending on the condition, start with a coarse-grit whetstone for the preliminary sharpening or a medium- or fine-grit whetstone for the final sharpening. You can find more detailed information on the different stones and grit sizes above under the criteria.
- Next, prepare your whetstone accordingly, depending on the type. For a water stone you soak it for ten minutes until all air bubbles have disappeared and for an oil stone you prepare it with a suitable grinding oil
- Now comes the exciting part. What is the best way to move the knife over the whetstone? Quite simply, it is all a question of the right angle. The usual recommendation from experts is about 20°. Here's a little tip: put your thumb under the back of the knife. This should roughly correspond to the angle.
- Once you have determined the right angle, you are ready to start. The entire blade is dragged from the end of the whetstone to the beginning of the whetstone above it. In other words, the end of the blade is pulled along the entire whetstone in your direction with light pressure until it reaches the tip.
- The sharpening process is repeated until a kind of burr appears on one side of the blade. Once this is the case, turn the blade over and repeat the process again until a burr appears on the other side. Next, if you need another sharpening, change the grindstone to a finer grit and start again with the same steps until you see a burr on both sides of the blade.
To give your knife the perfect finish and optimum sharpness, you can then remove the blade on a leather belt, also known as stropping.
Which whetstone is suitable for which knife?
For resharpening or knives that only need a little sharpening, whetstones with a grit of 800 to 1000 are suitable. If you want your blade to be extra sharp, use a grindstone or polishing stone with a grit of 1000 upwards for best results.
Which is better, whetstone with oil or water?
How do I straighten my whetstone?
What alternatives are there to the whetstone?
An alternative is a second knife. It is important that the second knife has a harder steel than the knife you want to sharpen.
Image source: mikeosphoto/ 123rf.com