July 27, 2017

Make Your Knives the Sharpest They Can Be: 5 of The Best Whetstones For Your Blades

Best Whetstone

You might perceive whetstones as just piece of polished rock with a rough edge on one side and a smooth edge on the other. Simple right? Totally wrong, especially if you don’t know what this wonderful tool’s used how. Whetstones are more complex than that.

If you’re a toolsy guy/girl and want to know more about whetstones and the best whetstones available in the market, you’re lucky to have come across this post.

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  • For more information about the product listed, you may look on Amazon.com.

WHAT IS A WHETSTONE?

A whetstone is a sharpening tool used for blades. Whetstones are one of the oldest forms of tool used by men. Ancient men used to sharpen their spears using simple whetstone. Nowadays, whetstones are made with high-quality materials.

Over time, a weapon or any edged tool can get dull, making it inefficient and dangerous to use. Whetstones come to the rescue by honing these weapons and tools to make them sharper (and deadlier). Indeed, whetstones are as old as time because archeologists have found whetstone artifacts dating back to the Stone Age.

In the Roman era, they have perfected the art of using a whetstone. Just take a look at the weapons they’re wielding in movies!

Kidding aside, the early Romans sure did a great job in revolutionizing whetstone production. Also, Japan has been vigorous with swords, blades, and whetstones as well because of their outstanding quarries.

Best Whetstone

Whetstones are made of different types of minerals and stones since different grains will affect their sharpening efficiency. Some whetstones are flattened pieces of stones comparable to small bricks.

To know more about the using a whetstone, the different types of whetstones and some pointers on choosing a whetstone, read on below.

USING A WHETSTONE

If you’re a novice at sharpening blades and want to learn how to use a whetstone, you might find the video below helpful.

DIFFERENT TYPES OF WHETSTONES

Oil Stones

Oil stones are mostly utilized in Western civilization. Novaculite, Aluminum Oxide, or Silicon Carbide makeup oil stones. Oil is also used for metal filling.

Novaculite is the most common mineral used for making whetstones. Quarried and processed in Arkansas, these stones are isolated into different grades related to the density and finish of the stone.

Best Whetstone

Washita stone, the coarsest of them all, is rarely used today because it is very soft. Finer grade options are the Soft Arkansas, Hard Arkansas, Hard Black Arkansas and Hard Translucent Arkansas. These stones have a polished end. When used, it cuts slowly through the knife.

On the other hand, Aluminum Oxide oil stones are the most commonly used throughout the world. These stones cut faster and produce a finer edge on tools and knives. They are graded according to their texture: fine, medium, and coarse.

They appear brownish or orange in color and are often confused with Arkansans stones, but the point of distinction seems to be the coarser texture of the Aluminum oxide oil.

When it comes to cutting speed, the gray-colored Silicon Carbide is the best. In the grading system, these stones are labeled fine, medium, and coarse. Compared to Indian Stones, Silicone Carbide don’t produce a fine edge, but the fast cutting makes it ideal for sharpening.

Oil stones are prized for their cheapness and wide availability. The only disadvantage of these stones is the slow cutting rate.

Water Stones

Water stones are new to the Western world but have garnered a huge following because of its many advantages. Though water stones are available in both natural and synthetic materials, only synthetic materials are going to be discussed here because of its wide availability.

Best Whetstone

Synthetic water stones are made of Aluminum Oxide. This material is also used in Indian Stones. The difference between the two is the binder that holds the abrasive in the water stone -- it’s much softer compared to Indian Stones thus making it faster for cutting because the old abrasive material is replaced with sharp metal.

You won’t have a problem with fast cutting with a water stone. They remove the metal filling quicker, and they’re a breeze to clean up.

However, they aren’t perfect (nothing is perfect in life) because it’s much softer, so it wears down quickly, causing the stone to be uneven. You need to flatten it to bring it back into shape and use it again.

Diamond Stones

From the word itself, this whetstone type contains small diamonds attached to the metal plate (how fancy!). Because diamond is known as the hardest mineral on Earth, this whetstone is the hardest of the three. Anyhow, not all diamond stones perform or function exactly the same.

Diamond stone styles can be classified into two types. The first common type has holes in the surface to capture the metal filling -- it’s simple to use and cuts very fast. The second type has continuous diamond surface without any holes.

Best Whetstone

Via Sarpeningsupplies.com

A continuous diamond surface is ideal for sharpening tools that have points that might get caught in the recess of the non-continuous diamond surface. Both are available in monocrystalline and polycrystalline diamonds. The Monocrystalline is more preferred by users because it's proven to last longer.

The perks of using a diamond stone lies on it’s very fast sharpening capabilities and the flatness that is held by the diamond stone.

As a matter of fact, an extra-coarse diamond stone is used to flatten oil and water stones.

As you may have predicted already, diamond is not cheap, so this whetstone is the most expensive of the three. It’s an investment, I know, but it can last a lifetime.

CHOOSING A WHETSTONE

If it’s your first time buying a whetstone, it’ll great if you have a buying guide that lets you know important features and characteristics a reliable whetstone must have.

All you need to know about choosing the best whetstone is in the clip below.

AN OVERVIEW OF OUR TOP FIVE WHETSTONE PICKS

  • For more information about the product listed, you may look on Amazon.com.

A MORE ELABORATE REVIEW OF THE TOP 5 WHETSTONES

#1 - KING Japanese Sharpening Stone Whetstone

KING Japanese Sharpening Stone Whetstone Combination Grit, 1000/6000

Via Amazon.com

Mostly made of ceramic, this whetstone is a low cost, great performance product. It has a dimension of 7.2 x 2.5 x 1 inches and a 1000/6000 grit, making it an excellent sharpener for stainless steel and carbon knives.

However, it is worth noting that other blades like the clip-point and the trailing-point type don’t work well with this whetstone because the tip of the blade is slightly bent.

To use this wonderful sharpener, immerse the grit side (rough side) of the stone for 2-3 minutes before using it, then splash the other side (smooth side) of the stone with water. If you will not do this, the whetstone will easily crack and break apart.

To give you an idea of how durable this thing is, I accidentally dropped this stone in the 1st floor of our house and... it’s still intact!

This stone is great for sharpening knives, not to mention that it did a great job in honing my sword collection too.

The only disadvantage is the cleaning process. Clean up is a bit of a chore because it’s a water type stone, so you just have to rinse it a bit longer than oil stone.

PROS

  • Low cost, great quality
  • Durable
  • Synthetic
  • Great with any knife material

CONS

  • Clean-up takes time
  • May not sharpen other blade types

#2 - Premium Knife Sharpening Stone Two-Sided Whetstone

Premium Knife Sharpening Stone 2 Side Grit 1000/6000 Whetstone

Via Amazon.com

This complete knife sharpening kit comes with #1000/ #6000 grit. Its base is made up of bamboo, and it also comes with a knife sharpening angle guide, instruction manual, and complete eBook manual. Moreover, it measures 7.2 x 2.2 x 1 inches.

This durable and long lasting whetstone will sharpen ANYTHING -- be it kitchen knives, pocket knives, swords, or razor blades. Even an axe is no match with this whetstone!

Upon purchasing this product, you will get a non-slip bamboo base made with silicone to ensure that the stone stays in place and won’t move around for your sharpening convenience.

If you’re a beginner and want to learn how to sharpen with a whetstone, this product is a great option because it’s easy to use, assemble and is user-friendly. Note that this stone is a water type stone, so you have to apply water while sharpening your tool -- no need to buy honing oils.

This award winning products have also been put to the test (though I didn’t drop it at my building this time). Durability and functionality is top notch!

PROS

  • Durable
  • User-friendly
  • Can sharpen anything
  • Easy to clean
  • Premium quality

CONS

  • High cost

#3 - Whetstone Cutlery Two-Sided Whetstone

Whetstone Cutlery Two-Sided Whetstone Stone

Via Amazon.com

With a measurement of 7 x 2.25 x 1.125, this whetstone is the largest among the five. It is two-sided and rectangular in shape.

The upper side is dark green in color with a 400 grit; this side returns edges to their original shape. Conversely, the lower side is light green in color and is perfect for finishing, smoothing, and polishing edges.

Admittedly, this product worked very well with my pocket knife made out of American steel (which was very sharp to begin with). I highly recommend this whetstone because it’s made of premium quality materials for sharpening like the rest in our list.

Furthermore, it even sharpened my kitchen knife to the point that I was surprised when I sliced a tomato skin in strips effortlessly.

  • Here’s a useful tip: before using this stone, soak it for 24 hours first. You will notice air bubbles emerging from the stone. When this happens, turn it several times.

The only con (which is not necessarily a con for some people) is that this whetstone is huge so it can take up a lot of storage space. Some people looking for whetstones to polish big blades like katanas and swords will find this product very useful.

PROS

  • Durable
  • Can sharpen anything
  • Low cost

CONS

  • Hassle to clean
  • Quite bulky

#4- Culinary Obsession Two-Sided Professional Grade Knife Whetstone

Culinary Obsession Two-Sided Professional Grade Knife Whetstone

Via Amazon.com

Are you familiar with the phrase “Happy Wife, Happy Life”? Well, it also applies to whetstones. Sharp knives make happy wives! Kidding aside, this sharpening stone will make any knife sharp as a katana, hailed as the sharpest blade in the world.

Upon purchasing this stone, you will receive a web link. It’s a interactive video instruction that will guide you on how to use, clean, store, and maintain your whetstone. You will most likely skip that instructional video (like what we did at first because we’re kind of lazy), but trust me; it’ll be of great help.

To prevent any trouble when sharpening your knives using this handy whetstone, you can use the knife angle guide manual. This product also features a non-slip bamboo base to secure the whetstone in place.

No need for honing oils! This stone is very very easy to clean because it’s made up of Aluminum Oxide (corundum) so the grit and metal particles just wash away with water.

What we loved most about this whetstone is its compact size that fits like a glove in your hand.

PROS

  • Durable
  • Can sharpen anything
  • Easy to clean
  • Premium quality
  • User-friendly
  • Compact

CONS

  • High cost
  • May easily break due to size

#5 - Bora 501057 Fine/Coarse Combination Sharpening Stone

Bora 501057 Fine/Coarse Combination Sharpening Stone, Aluminum Oxide

Via Amazon.com

This whetstone is proven to sharpen any type of tools and blades. Similar to the Whetstone Cutlery Two-Sided Whetstone, this one also features two sides. The smooth side of the stone is for honing and touch ups, while the rough side is for sharpening.

The Bora is a very simple whetstone and is ideal for bench work. My dad gave me one five years ago, and I’m still using it up to this day -- very durable indeed. You can also locate the “Care & Use Instructions” below the box upon purchasing to learn how to make it last.

If you don’t want to put a hole in your pocket by buying one of those water stones, this stone is a great choice because it’s budget friendly and is equally durable as water stones.

Also, you won’t need special tools to flatten this whetstone unlike the water stone -- just douse this stone in mineral oil, and you’re good to go.

Be careful with this stone because it’s small and lightweight so it might gradually break over time.

PROS

  • User friendly
  • Can sharpen anything
  • Low cost

CONS

  • May break down during prolonged use

SO...

WHAT IS THE BEST WHETSTONE TO SHARPEN YOUR BLADES WITH?

The best whetstone is *drum roll* the KING Japanese Sharpening Stone Whetstone.

It’s the best regarding price and quality. You would expect the King Whetstone to be expensive because it’s made out of premium quality materials like ceramics, for instance.

Any knife aficionados will love this two-sided whetstone wherein the rough brown side (1000 grit) greatly sharpens very dull knives whereas the smooth side (6000 grit) will polish the edge of any blade to sweet perfection.

Remember, any whetstone works great. It just depends on what blade type are you going to sharpen with.

Did you find this article useful? Have you had any experience with using whetstones? If you can recommend other whetstone brands, feel free to comment below. Don’t forget to share this post. Cheers, mate!

    Jade Evans

    Hi there, I’m Jade, a person passionate about cooking and all things food-related. My kitchen inspirations were my mother and grandmother who have always regarded cooking as an art. As a mother of two daughters, I find it hard to keep up with my cooking sometimes, so I sought the help of other food bloggers to curate fantastic and hearty dishes for you, my readers. This blog chronicles my food ventures, original recipes, and cooking tips to inspire and ignite the inner foodie in you.

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