Sharpening your knife is as important as honing it. You can find a variety of sharpening options on the market. However, using a sharpening stone offers the best and most effective results. Therefore, to prolong your knife’s durability and edge, you have to learn how to sharpen a knife with stones.
Undoubtedly, there are many different types of knives and knife sharpening stones. Nonetheless, the basics of sharpening a knife using a stone remain pretty much the same. Here’s how to correctly sharpen your knife with stone.
When Should You Sharpen Your Knife?
An average knife in a regular home kitchen should be sharpened every 1 to 6 months, depending on the use and blade quality. Sharpening will restore a dull or damaged blade edge. However, you may also encounter ceramic knives with a longer-lasting edge.
In this case, you may go for months before you need to resharpen the knife. Furthermore, depending on how much and how often you use your knife, you may have to hone it daily. During or after using the knife, Honing should be done to maintain the edge’s sharpness.
Why Should You Use Sharpening Stones for Your Knives?
Generally, a sharpening stone will yield better results. Unlike honing, sharpening your knives using a stone restores the edge’s sharpness and function. If you have a damaged or dull knife, a sharpening stone should be the tool you use for restoration.
Furthermore, unlike other sharpening methods, sharpening stones offer far superior results with almost any type of knife. They provide great edge sharpness and allow your knife to retain its edge for much longer.
How Long Does It Take to Sharpen a Knife With Stone?
Sharpening a knife with a stone should take you about five to ten minutes. This is because you are expected to sharpen it while it’s still somewhat sharp.
However, if your blade is already dull or damaged, it may take you significantly more time to sharpen the knife adequately.
Is a Whetstone Better Than Sharpening Steel?
A sharpening stone is better than sharpening steel. This is because a sharpening stone will give you better sharpness and edge retention.
However, sharpening steel also comes with its advantages. Sharpening steel creates tiny grooves along the blade edge to give it more traction for cutting.
How Many Different Types of Stones Are There?
You can find a variety of sharpening stones on the market. However, the four common types of sharpening stones include water stones, oil stones, diamond stones, and ceramic stones.
As their name suggests, water stones are first soaked in water for a few minutes before sharpening your knife. Soaking them in the water removes the swarf for effective sharpening.
Water stones are primarily made from synthetic materials like aluminum oxide, although you can find natural ones.
A water stone works for any knife and offers a higher cutting speed. But, it doesn’t provide a long-lasting edge compared to other stones.
Oil stones are made from silicon carbide, aluminum oxide, or novaculite. Like water stones, they are soaked in oil to remove the swarf before sharpening.
They work best with mineral oils which tend to be light and don’t harden or go rancid. But, unlike water, they can be a little messy. These types of stones work for most knives and offer a quicker cutting rate and more affordability.
Ceramic stones are built using hard materials like vanadium oxide to handle the harder and brittle ceramic knife blades. But, you have to take extra care using a ceramic stone.
Due to the hard and brittle build, a ceramic stone will easily break on impact. These stones work best not only for ceramic knives. They are also excellent for, fillet knives, paring knives, boning knives, and meat cutting knives.
Like ceramic stones, diamond stones tend to have a harder surface to take on tougher blades. In fact, a diamond blade is harder and more powerful than a ceramic one.
While you can find home and professional kitchen options, most diamond stones are used for industrial purposes. Additionally, they tend to be more expensive. Yet, diamond stones are extremely durable and long-lasting due to their rugged and brittle finish.
Here’s How You Can Sharpen Your Knife With Sharpening Stones
Different sharpening stones have different needs when it comes to using them. In fact, some stones even have a pretty steep learning curve. Nonetheless, you can perfect the various skills for using any sharpening stone. The key is to practice! So, here are the basics of how to sharpen a knife with stones.
Step 1: Soak the Stone
If you are using a water stone or oil stone, start by soaking it under water or oil, respectively. You should soak your stone for about 5 to 10 minutes. This allows the swarf to effectively slip from the knife to clear the surface for better sharpening. If you use dry stones like ceramic, you can skip this step.
Step 2: Place Your Stone on a Cloth
Next, remove the stone from the water or oil and place it on a damp cloth on your counter. Doing so allows the cloth to absorb any extra moisture from the stone and prevents slippage during the sharpening process. So, if you are using a dry stone, dry cloth or non-slip countertop surface is more than enough.
Step 3: Position the Knife
Unlike an electric knife sharpener, a sharpening stone undergoes a two-stage sharpening process, i.e., coarse and fine sharpening. Start by sharpening the knife on the coarse side of the stone before moving to the finer side.
Depending on the knife you are sharpening, position it at a 15 to 20-degree angle and hold it against the surface of the stone. The lower side of the knife should be on the top surface of the stone (it should be as if you want to cut the stone).
Step 5: Start Sharpening
Apply gentle pressure on the knife and move it in a smooth motion towards the left across the stone. Continue with this movement until you start to notice the edge sharpens. Once done, turn the knife to the other side of the blade and repeat the step.
Step 6: Move to the Second Sharpening Stage
When done, turn the stone around to the finer grit side. Repeat the sharpening step for both sides of the blade. When done, use a paper or tomato to test the sharpness of the blade. It should be able to slice through seamlessly. If you are not satisfied with the results, repeat the sharpening steps.
Learning how to sharpen knives with sharpening stones is one way to guarantee the best results in the kitchen. As mentioned before, unlike other sharpening methods, a sharpening knife offers the best sharpening results and maintains a longer-lasting edge.
Nonetheless, sharpening a knife with a stone isn’t as easy as it seems. While we’ve shared the basics on how to sharpen a knife with stone, you still want to practice to perfect the craft. Different sharpening stones for knives will have different needs and techniques, and so will the knife you intend to sharpen.
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