Sharpening Stone (Whetstone Sharpener) Buying Guide
As there no one expecting to waste money on something useless for a new sharpening stone, thus this buying guide is substantial for everybody who wants to start his or her venture into the sharpener world.
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.
Besides of the quality, of course, there are other things to consider when shopping a proper whetstone that would meet our needs that are relating to the type, size of the stone, and the stone grit grade. Nevertheless, it is impossible to recommend which model or type is best for every sharpener because everyone comes with different needs and requirements. The only need-to-know by beginning sharpeners are the basic things that will help them to narrow down their consideration. If it is you, read on our sharpening stone buying guide to find out some basic needs you have to pay attention before spending any penny on it.
A razor-sharp tool and blades require more than one grit stone
For the sharp edges, you can’t rely on one stone. Other than, you need several grits of stone. It is also hard to define of how many phases to pass through to yield like of the expected results depending on the utensils or tools materials and shape.
For the common sharpening purpose, generally, people tend to use two phases. In the first phases, they use the coarse stone to shape the edges then jump to the finer stone. In application, these of the two phases can be extended with the grit stone in between. It might be varying in the number of grits or mesh in different types of sharpening stone.
For a quick jump, you can see on the chart below made by Steve Bottorff described on his popular book Sharpening Made Easy: A Primer on Sharpening Knives and Other Edged Tools. The book tells many things about knife sharpening, sharpening system and DIY guide how to sharpen razor-sharp edges. If you want to surf deeper into the world of the sharpener, then it is one of a must-read book for you. For you who dwell in the Mainland or around the United Kingdom, you can buy the book through the link below.
Speed Vs Sharpness Chart Comparison
It is sometimes too confusing on understanding the right sharpener that right to our tools. Then using the chart above you can consider on what is the right stone. Green, red, yellow and blue line they consist of the most familiar and affordable models of sharpening stone to purchase. You can see the performance of each stone in the chart. Silicon Carbide, Aluminum Oxide, and Arkansas they are typically used with the oil (Oil Stones). Waterstones (Synthetic Waterstones) are generally made of Aluminum Oxide too, then people also use oil in place of water with their Waterstone or use water on their Silicon Carbide sharpening stone in place of oil. In this group, Waterstones is the most preferred because of its easy for sharpening edges in shorter time.
The purple line denotes the diamond sharpening stone that is cuts faster than the rest of the models. Diamond stone requires only a spill of water and it is good for some specific job when the water is limited or freezing during the cold weather.
Ceramic sharpening stones slotted in between of all kinds. They cut not so faster but can sharpen the edges as perfect as Waterstones and Diamond Stones.
Finding the right size stones
You need the right size of sharpening stone that fit the type and size of your blades and tools. In general, 6-inches stones are the smaller models and 8-inches are the larger ones. The stones larger than 8 inches are work best for big-sized blades and tools. You may also find sort of ‘pocket knife sharpener’ out there. Most of the credit card sized sharpening stone are smaller than 6 inches and ideal for on the go sharpening not for regular basis.
The width and length of the stone also determine how effective it will cut. The width of the stone is less important. The longer is better. How does it work? The longer you make strokes on the surface will reduce the strokes across your stone, making faster and consistent cut on the angle.
3 Common Types of Sharpening Stones
It is better to understand the difference in sharpening stone materials before you are going to make any decision. Among the available options in the market today, Waterstone, oilstone and diamond stone are the most common type of sharpening stone. Each of stones comes with advantages and disadvantages. Waterstone and oilstone are available in natural and synthetic models. Synthetic are the most common and easy to find as man makes them. As the use of natural stones (e.g. original Arkansas or Japanese natural whetstones) is has diminished in popularity, they are beginning to rare in the market. Artificial stones have a more consistent particle size and controlled with a tight mechanism in providing high-quality sharpening stone.
If you don’t have a problem with the water-lubrication system in your working environment, Waterstones is the most common and affordable models to obtain. They are available in various abrasive grit grade from coarse to extra fine mesh. They generally made by Aluminum Oxide, which provides faster cutting. The downside of the Waterstone, they wear down more quickly as the impact of the old abrasive materials that break the stone itself. It is why Waterstone requires frequent flattening to keep it evenly. It is recommended you have one of diamond stones to help you for regular flattening become easier.
Oilstone is the most popular sharpening stone. They made of different materials including Silicon Carbide, Aluminum Oxide and Novaculite. Oilstone tends to be slower to cut the edges than the other sharpening stones.
Let’s start with Arkansas. If you have heard about Arkansas oilstone, it uses the Novaculite stone that mined in Arkansas. The most expensive of Arkansas stone is the Hard Translucent model that begins to rare in the market. If you want to shop for Arkansas, they are available in different grade starting from Soft Arkansas, Hard Arkansas, Hard Black Arkansas and Hard Translucent Arkansas. The finest grade of Arkansas can shape such of mirror polishing edges.
Oilstones made by Aluminum Oxide are the most popular models. They can cut faster and give a fine edge on tools and blades. The example of the stone is the India Stone made by Norton.
Another disadvantage of oilstone, they are messier to clean up than Waterstone.
Diamond sharpening stone delivers fast cutting and sharp edges. They are tougher in material and doesn’t flatten. Therefore, it is the best way on investment if you want such of the sharpener that easy to maintain and practical to use. Diamond sharpening stone doesn’t require water other than a spill. It is also applicable to use with lubrication if you wish to.
The disadvantage of diamond sharpening stone, they considered as the most expensive model. However, if you have such of ceramic knives, diamond sharpening stone can give such of a polished edge.
We’ve gathered numbers of diamond sharpening stone you can find here.