How To Sharpen A Knife On Stone

Would you like to learn how to sharpen a knife on a stone?

Nowadays, you will get quality knife sharpeners available everywhere. But sometimes it is not possible for you to sharpen your knife because of the unavailability of the knife sharpener. There could be several reasons you are busy, the knife sharpener is expensive, or out of stock.

In that case, you can use a stone to sharpen your knife to get results rapidly. If you are a newbie this article is for you. This article is mainly for those beginners who want to sharpen their knives by using a stone.

Knife Sharpening Angle

When it comes to sharpening a knife, the angle of the knife is always an important factor to decide. The more consistent angle you will get during sharpening, the more laser sharp edge you will get in the blade. So, correcting the angle is always important to sharpen a knife. 

For a European-style knife, the proper angle is around 20 degrees and for a Japanese-style knife, the proper sharpening angle to hold is 15 degrees.

Knife Sharpening Process

How To Sharpen A Knife With A Stone For Beginners

To develop this skill, you need to follow some steps by steps guidelines and practice a number of times. When it comes to sharpening knives with stone, whetstone always works best. So, let’s learn how to sharpen a knife on stone for beginners.

Step 1: Check Your Knife

Before sharpening your knife, you should check its sharpness. Try it by cutting a squashy tomato or chopping fluffy meat. What is the frequency of the resistance you are feeling now? If you feel like you need to exert too much effort, add additional grit. If you need to deploy less pressure, you should apply more pressure.

Also, the more you use your knife, the duller it will become. So, duration of use is another factor you should determine when you want to sharpen your knife.

Step 2: Choose Your Style Of The Stone

You should choose with what style of sharpening whetstone you need to use to sharpen your knife. You can use natural stone or synthetic stone that you can use with oil or water and even dry. Furthermore, you can use diamond stone that is coated with diamond on the metal surface.

For faster results, use softer stones that you can soak in the water. However, these stones do not last long like other stones on the market. The problem is these stones wear down earlier than others.

In contrast, oil stone is harder, least expensive, and has long-term durability. But these stones are not easy to clean and are a little messier to use. Finally, the diamond stone is long-lasting but comparatively expensive.

Step 3: Choose The Grit Of The Stone 

Different grit sizes of sharpening stone are available on the market, such as finishing stone, and medium and coarse stones.

If your kitchen knife is exceptionally dull, or it has nicks or chips in the blade. You should use a grit that is less than #1000 in size. This type of whetstone is recommended for a knife that is completely lost its edge.

Warning! Don’t use these whetstones for regular sharpening because it is highly abrasive. Don’t apply too much pressure, it might damage your knife because of low grit.

You can use the #1000 grit sharpener stone as you go to the sharpener. And without a question, this kind of whetstone is better than any other sharpener. When it feels like your sharpener is lost its edge and needs sharpening, you can use it. 

Warning! Medium-size grit is not recommended for use on a daily basis. With regular use, it can wear down your knife. And you can use it to sharpen your knife, not to maintain your blade edge.

If you want to polish, hone, and get a perfect edge for your knife, you should use a grit size that is around #4000 to #5000. However, it depends on how you use your knife for meat, it should be #4000 to #6000 grit. For cutting vegetables, it should be like #8000 grit.

Video Credit: Howcast

Step 4: Read And Follow The Instruction Manual Of The Knife

Checking manufacturer instructions about the stone can save it from wrong use. You will know recommended process about how to sharpen a knife on a stone. Also, you should follow and avoid a sharp knife.

A number of types of sharpening stones you can get in the market. It will guide you on whether you should soak your knife in the water or lubricate it with oil. Even diamond stones don’t need to be lubricated at all.

If you are using a water stone, you should soak your knife for at least 45 minutes before sharpening. Because stone that is too much dry can nick or scratch your blade. Make sure your stone is fully covered with water. After soaking in water, place the stone on the dump cloth.

If you are using an oil stone, you can use a spray to make your stone oily. You can use your finger to massage the stone after spraying oil onto it. Make sure that the stone is appropriately coated with oil. You can use honing or sharpening oil available on the market now. These oils are ingredients that will give smooth sharpening and save your knife from damage.

Warning! Don’t soak oil stone in the water, it can damage your knife. Don’t use cooking oil to lubricate your knife.

Step 5: Hold Your Knife At The Proper Angle 

Holding your knife at the proper angle is another important factor to decide when you want to sharpen a knife on a stone. The proper angle for sharpening European-style knives is a 20-degree angle, and the Japanese style is 15 degrees.

For a thick blade, you need a larger sharpening angle. For highly coarse stones, shallower angles are required. So, it is a good idea not to sharpen your knife too much.

If you are not sure about the angle of the knife, how to sharpen a knife on the stone. You can use this angle guide to shape a blade. Or you can use an IOS or android app. I personally use a bubble level app to measure the corner of the knife.

Step 6: Sharpening The Knife

Softly hold the handle of the knife in one hand and place another hand on the spine of the knife. At the time of pulling the steel of the knife toward you, the spine of the blade should firmly grasp. And rest your thumb on the blade. The place of your finger and thumb will be reversed when you push the blade from you.

At the moment of applying even pressure and holding a consistent angle, you should move the blade back and forth on the stone. To make sure that it would be sharpening the full length of the blade. And use a slight sweeping motion.

Then, to get a perfect edge, at least give 10 strokes on both sides of the stone. If you don’t get the sharp edge of the knife yet, then you need to give more strokes on the stone. Continuously switch one side to the other side and give some strokes each time until you get your desired sharpness.

Step 7: Test The Sharpness Of The Knife

After completing the sharpening procedure, you must examine the blade’s sharpness. So, test the edge of the knife by cutting, chopping, or slicing something. If you think you don’t need to sharpen it anymore, then clean the knife and stone.

Types Of Sharpening Stones

Types Of Sharpening Stones

Generally, there are four different knife sharpening stone names currently available on the market. Such as diamond stone, Arkansas stone, oil stone, and water stone. By considering price and quality, different types of people use different types of stone.

Diamond Stone 

It is the most expensive stone. It removes metal 10 times more than other abrasives on the market. Furthermore, it has the hardest abrasiveness than other knives. It is not necessary to maintain or flatten. Most famous for its durability. You can use any lubricant such as water, glass cleaner, or Krud Kutter. The material used in this is called micronized monocrystalline diamonds.

Arkansas Stone

Sharpening with Arkansas stone is another invaluable option for you. The material used in Arkansas stone is called Novaculite. It is the only natural stone on the earth. It belongs from Arkansas, USA. You can use this stone with water and oil. The grit range of this stone is from 400 to 4000.

Oil Stone

Oil stone is a man-made sharpening stone. You can use it with oil. This stone is structured with Aluminum Oxide or Silicon Carbide. The grit range of this stone is from 100 to 400. It is the cheapest stone on the earth. 

Water Stone

There are several varieties of water stones in the marketplace. One is a natural water stone and another one is a man-made or synthetic stone. 

Natural water stones have been mined from Belgium and Japan. The grit range of Belgian stone is 8000 (Coticule)  and 4000 (Belgian Blue Stone). The grit range of Japanese stone is from 400 to 10000. 

In contrast, synthetic oil stones are made by humans. It is prone to wear out. But it works faster than Arkansas and oil stone. The grit size of the synthetic stone is from 120 to 30000.

Why Sharpen With A Stone?

With a sharpener, you can sharpen both German-style knives and Japanese-style knives. You are never the same result from another sharpener that you get from a stone. For that reason how sharpening a knife on a stone is an invaluable skill to learn.

For quality sharpening, nothing better than a whetstone. Except for the water stone, most of the stones will not be worn out. But sharpening steel wears out after long-term use.

If you sharpen your knife on daily basis, and you have good experience with a sharp knife. A stone is a perfect fit for you. If you think you are a newbie, then begin your sharpening journey with other sharpeners.

Because sharpening with a stone required a good amount of training and skills. Otherwise, it will dull your knife instead of sharpening it.

How To Clean A Sharpening Stone

How To Clean A Sharpening Stone

After sharpening, you should clean the stone. Here is the step-by-step process of how you can clean your stone.

Step 1: Use a light toothbrush and softly apply the cleaner to the stone. Then, cleaning it in a small circular motion. After that, wait a few minutes.

Step 2: Soak your stone in moderately warm water.

Step 3: After soaking for a few minutes, quickly scrub it with a Scotch-Brite pad. Be cautious that you didn’t miss any area of the stone.

Step 4: Soak your stone again and dry it with a microfiber towel.

Step 5: Then, wait a few minutes until your stone is completely dry.


What angle do you sharpen a knife on a stone?

If you are using a Japanese-style knife, 15 degrees is the recommended angle to sharpen your knife on a stone. If your knife is German-style, you should point it at a 20-degree angle. Usually, 15 – 22 degrees are recommended for most knives.

Can you use a normal stone to sharpen a knife?

Yes. You can use a normal stone. It is an old sharpening technique to sharpen a knife. Even, some natural and normal stones are now available on the market. Such as Arkansas stone, and water stone.

Do you wet a stone before sharpening a knife?

To get a smooth sharpening experience, you should sharpen your knife with lubricant or water. When you get your stone wet, it reduces the chances of injury at the time of sharpening your knife.

What oil do you use on a sharpening stone?

You can use most of the honing oil on your sharpening stone, like vegetables and mineral oils. Some examples of vegetable oils are olive oil, corn oil, soy oil, rapeseed oil, peanut oil, etc. Some examples of mineral oils are baby oil, natural oil, food-grade oil, etc.

Final Thoughts

So, the bullet point answer is that anyone can sharpen their knife on a stone if they have knowledge about how to do it. And it is not even a Herculean task to do. 

The knowledge you have gained from this article to sharpen a knife can be applied to any type of knife. You can try this technique even when you sharpen a knife without a sharpener. Moreover, with a flat stone, you can sharpen a bread knife and the process is almost similar, but the shape of the stone is different.

Therefore, if you need any other information about how to sharpen a knife on a stone, you are most welcome to the comment section. We would really appreciate hearing from you.

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