Japanese water stones – both natural and synthetic – are known for their superior sharpening performance, not only for Japanese tools, but also on their Western equivalents. The loosely bonded abrasive grit is washed out very quickly, as it blunts during the sharpening process; this exposes new, sharp, particles that can get to work on the blade. Water stones are lubricated only with water! Never use oil!
Selecting the right sharpening angle is the next step in sharpening. For more detailed instructions on selecting the right angle, try reading this article. Regardless of the method of sharpening, a appropriate angle should be selected. This angle doesn't need to be exact but following some general guidelines is a good idea. Most knife manufacturers recommend a roughly 20 degree angle. Depending on the use of your knife, you can move up or down from that angle. A fillet or slicing knife is never used on anything hard so an angle a few degrees less will produce a sharper edge. On the other hand, a survival knife with various uses can benefit from a more durable edge a few degrees larger.
Clean the knives and stone. As soon as you've finished sharpening your knives, wash and dry the blades. You should also clean the stone according to the manufacturer's instructions. For example, if you have an oil stone, you might need to scrub it occasionally with a stiff fiber brush and soak it in oil. For a water stone, wash off any of the residue and store it in a dry cloth until you need to use it again.
Your immediate goal is to raise a burr on the side of knife opposite to the side you are sharpening and depending on the steel, the grit of stone and how you are doing, it will be either a very quick process or it will seem like it takes an eternity. Patience here will reward you, believe me. The sharpening process is incomplete with no burr creation on your first stone. (Yes, it is possible to stop at that magic moment without the burr forming but we are not there yet, we don’t even need to go there, ever, I am just mentioning it so those gifted sharpeners will be happy) . Think of the burr as the debris that is making the knife dull being forced down the blade towards the edge and over to the other side of the by your sharpening prowess. You form the burr, that knife will get sharp, no burr, you just need to look at your work. A Loupe is handy here, an inexpensive magnifying device with a light that allows you to see the edge very well, if you are not forming a burr, you are not reaching the edge. (Having a loupe also makes you look cool and scientific, like a Sharpologist).
Keep the stone submerged until the bubbles slow down or about 5 minutes then it's ready for use. Starting with the lowest grit which is 1000 on this stone, hold your knife at about a 15 degree angle and slide it away from you. It only takes light pressure along the strokes. You don’t need to push too hard. Gently slide from the tip to the base of the blade. After about 12 to 15 strokes, flip the blade over and repeat on the other side. Continue using gentle and even passes across the stone. Remember to hold the blade at about a 15 degree angle which is about half the height of your thumb. Keep the moves consistent and at the same speed.
If your knife is dull, we advise you to start with the diamond stone. After restoring the edge to original shape, de-burr the edge lightly with the ceramic stone in order to get a razor-sharp edge. Use no oil or water. Start by laying the blade flat on the stone, raise the blade spine approx. the thickness of the blade, and start moving the knife in circular motions.
Let’s talk about the tip of the knife, the burr needs to be formed here as well. Here is a simple trick that works, I like keeping things simple. As you get to the tip area of the knife, the front inch, raise your elbow so that it is parallel to the ground, you can also raise your sharpening angle very slightly but just raising your elbow will perform wonders and likely eliminate the tip sharpening area issue, it is an issue for some.
Diamond sharpening stones are becoming really popular because of their ability to cut fast. We tend not to recommend diamond sharpening stones/plates because a lot of damage can be done very quickly. Also diamonds are pretty sharp and at arato level they leave deep scratches in the blade that need to be polished out quite aggressively. Diamond stones can be used with and without lubricant.
Whetstone sharpener or sharpening stone has been here and there for a long time even before we born in the form of natural stone whatever they look like. Until today, the natural stone likely to be the most preferred options to sharpening things because of their versatility. As the technology improves, there are immerging new models and we are now not only having an option to the natural stone, but there are also other types considered better and more practical to use. The arrays can be bewildering to the inexperienced sharpeners that so often times many of them end up with a crap or wrong decision on stone type for their utensils.
You’ll know you’re reached a stopping point when you can feel the slight catch of the bevel on the edge of the blade, by carefully running your finger in the direction of the blade, or by cutting through a sheet of paper. When the knife cuts cleanly through the paper, it’s time to hone the blade. Read our guide for more information about honing vs sharpening.
1. Diamond Stones. I’ve used two, many years ago, to sharpen steel knives & found that the diamond coating wore away. They did work well at first, but then I was sharpening on the backing material. This puzzled me, because diamond is harder than steel, but have only recently read that the diamond particles are torn off the backing material because they stick to the softer steel. Diamond stones are recommended for sharpening ceramic knives only. This info about diamond stones & steel knives I got from an Edge-Pro article.
Clamp-style sharpening tools use a clamp with several holes with predefined angles. The stone is mounted on a rod and is pulled through these holes, so that the angle remains consistent. Another system is the crock stick setup, where two sticks are put into a plastic or wooden base to form a V shape. When the knife is pulled up the V, the angle is held so long as the blade is held perpendicular to the base. Several cutlery manufacturers now offer electric knife sharpeners with multiple stages with at least one grinding stage. These electric sharpeners are typically used in the kitchen but have the ability to sharpen blades such as pocket or tactical knives. The main benefit of using an electric sharpener is speed with many models that can complete the sharpening process in one to two minutes. The disadvantage is that the sharpening angle is fixed so some specialized knives, like a Japanese style Santoku, may need additional attention to sharpen to the ideal angle.
The stone is of good quality. It can be used with water or oil - but not both at the same time of course :) ... What I really want to mention is that Hayneedle has amazing customer service - no joke! My stone was shipped from the mfg. not hayneedle whse and there was a chip on one corner. They said - we can't have that! ... So they took care of the whole matter with NO cost to me and they were very friendly as if I was doing them a favor!
Heres why I wasn't impressed at first. I only used it for a few minutes on each side, which resulted in nothing. I watched a video online with a master chef using his stone, and he sharpened his knife for 10 minutes on each stone before moving up to a finer grit. I took this hint, and used sharpened my knife on each side of this stone for 10 minutes, which led to perfection.
However, because the Belgian Blue stone generally occurs in relatively wide columns with much thinner layers of Vielsalm Coticule on either side adjacent to the slate, the Belgian Blue stone is more plentiful that Coticule and thus, it’s somewhat less expensive. But, it’s also somewhat softer than Coticule and is not divided into different grades as Coticule is. Furthermore, because it is a softer stone than Coticule, it is sold without a substrate layer.