How to Sharpen a Knife With a Whetstone?

How to Sharpen a Knife With a Whetstone?

Many knife owners are concerned about how to sharpen their knives. Fortunately, you can easily sharpen your knife blade at home with some simple tools.

Used for cutting vegetables, fruits, meat, bread, fish, herbs—the list goes on—kitchen knives are perhaps the most frequently used tools in your kitchen. With such regular use, the blade inevitably loses its sharpness over time. High-quality knives can be quite expensive, so when your knife becomes dull, the best option is to sharpen it.

This blog post explains how to sharpen your knife using a whetstone. Keep reading to learn not only how to sharpen your knife but also why it's beneficial to use a whetstone for sharpening. 

What is a whetstone?

A whetstone, sometimes referred to as a sharpening stone, Water Stone, Honing Stone, Grindstone, or Knife Stone, is basically a stone used to sharpen the dulled blade edges of steel tools such as knives, scissors or Chisels. These stones are typically cut into a rectangular shape and come in various sizes, with 8 inches being the most common size.

How to sharpen a knife with a whetstone?

Sharpening knives with a whetstone is a quick and effective method. The slightly rough texture of the whetstone works against dull blades to restore sharpness. All you need is a whetstone with two grit sizes, an angle holder, a dishcloth, and a dull knife. Use the whetstone to sharpen your knife blades and make them as good as new. Here’s How:

Prepare the whetstone

Soaking the whetstone in water for at least 45 minutes before each use ensures proper lubrication during the sharpening process. This practice helps prevent the knife blade from catching and reduces the risk of scratches. Additionally, place the whetstone in a grit holder or grindstone base for safe and efficient sharpening.

Prepare the knife

Now that your whetstone is fully ready, it's time to prepare your knife. Wash your knife properly to remove food particles and any residual oils. Make sure that the blade is clean and free from any debris, providing a clean surface for effective sharpening.

Maintain the angle

When sharpening with a whetstone, beginners often make the mistake of holding the knife at the wrong angle. Aim for a 15 to 20-degree angle for best results. Using an angle guide can help beginners maintain the right angle. Maintaining a consistent angle from start to finish is crucial to prevent the edge from becoming dull.

Start Sharpening with lower grit

Whetstones come with two grit sizes - one lower for sharpening and the other higher for honing. Begin with the lower grit, maintaining the angle, and gently sweep the blade across the stone. Cover the entire length for an even sharpening effect. After 15 to 20 strokes, flip the blade and repeat the process on the other side.

Flip and start sharpening with higher grit

When the blade feels sharp, flip the stone and repeat on the higher grit side. The finer grit smoothens the edge, giving it a razor-sharp finish.

Test the sharpness

Many people often wonder how to tell if a knife is sharp. The best option for this is the paper test, which is quick and easy. While there are various tests like the tomato test, nail test, or thumb test, the paper test is popular because it is straightforward and fast. All you need to do is take a piece of paper and cut it with your knife. If the knife cuts the paper easily and quickly, it means your knife is sharp.

Air Dry the whetstone

After each use, be sure to thoroughly dry your whetstone to make it last longer. Put the whetstone on a towel and let it air-dry for at least 24 hours. Once it's completely dry, store the stones in a towel or newspaper. This is the best way to protect your whetstone.

Why should you sharpen your knife with a whetstone?

Chefs recommend using a whetstone to sharpen knives because it gives better control over the sharpness of the blade, allowing for a more precise and effective sharpening process. Unlike electric sharpeners, a whetstone removes the least amount of material, which makes your knife blade last longer. A whetstone isn't just for knives; it's versatile enough to sharpen various tools like scissors, chisels, and axes.

How long does it take to sharpen a knife with a whetstone?

Fortunately, sharpening knives with a whetstone is a simple task, and in just 10 to 15 minutes, your knife's blades can be sharpened to perfection, making them as good as new. The required sharpening time depends on factors like the grit grades of the whetstone and the experience of the person sharpening the blade. 

How often do you sharpen knives with whetstone?

A pair of knives gradually loses its sharpness over time and use, requiring regular sharpening for easy and efficient cutting. In general, sharpen once or twice per year to keep your knife blades consistently sharp and maintain optimal cutting performance.


Can you sharpen ceramic knives on a whetstone?

A whetstone can't sharpen ceramic knives well as ceramic is too hard. It can damage the whetstone, and the blade won't get sharp. Use a diamond stone or rod for better results. 

Can you sharpen scissors with a whetstone?

Yes, you can sharpen scissors with a whetstone. Using a whetstone is a simple and quick way to sharpen the blades of scissors. However, be careful with your technique, as using a whetstone incorrectly can potentially damage your scissors

Can you sharpen serrated knives with a whetstone?

Sharpening a serrated knife with a whetstone is not recommended because these knives don't have a straight edge. Typically, serrated knives are sharpened using a ceramic or steel sharpening rod.

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