How to Sharpen a Knife with a Whetstone – Beginners Guide

It is very hard but necessary to keep the knife in tip top shape but it requires some practice. Learning about the best way to sharpen the knife is not very difficult. Figuring out how to sharpen a knife is key to maintaining your knife which means keeping it sharp and safe because a dull knife puts your life in risk of injury like you will need to apply more force to achieve your desired cuts. 

Hard Pressing down will slip your knife and cause damage to you. The dull knife also slows down your work and does not provide you accurate cuts and create difficulty for you.

Way to Sharpen a Knife

It may be a speculative thing for you to sharpen a knife with stone, but it is the best way you can use it yourself. You may be persuaded to take your knife to a professional knife sharpener or may get you curious regarding the electric knife sharpener or how to sharpen your knife with rod or steel. 

The manual sharpener is easy to use and control and you can easily use it at home. It is a quick and handy way to sharpen your knife in your kitchen in a short time. If you don’t have any sharpener then you can also use a mug to sharpen your knife.

There is no specific solution for knife sharpening, you will need to consider various methods and feel how comfortable you will be after using those methods. By this way you will get the best way to keep your knife sharp. 

If you prefer to do things yourself at home then you should move to sharpening your knife with whetstone. If you want to take the easy way out, a manual or electric sharpener is the way to go. But if you are not comfortable with this method and/or don’t want to learn how to sharpen knives at home, you can hire a professional sharpener. It is not expensive advice but the cost can be based upon how you will use your knives.

How to Sharpen a Knife with a Whetstone

Sharpening a knife with a whetstone is one of the best ways in sharpening methods. But it requires practice but once you get expert then you will be able to keep your knife sharp while saving time and money. In whetstone, the “whet” means sharpening that requires a soaking, you need to read instructions of the manufacturer before using it.

In order to start, you need a two sided whetstone having a coarse grit on one side and fine grit on the other side. For different knives, various edges of the knife are applied on stone along different angles. It depends on the production specification, normally use 22 degrees. 

With the 90 degree angle, the knife moves straight up and down, its half will be 45 degree and one more half of that will be 22 ½ degree, you can also get guidance by the following image. 

If you become worried with half angle then calm down! Consult the technical info that comes with your knife and check the manufacturer to confirm the angle that you should use.

  • First of all place the whetstone on a cutting board or your countertop having a coarse grip face up then place a wet paper towel or kitchen towel at the bottom of the stone to prevent it from sliding.

  • Grasp the knife with your one hand by their handle and catch the edge of the knife against the stone, initial point and with the cutting edge which meet the stone at the angle of 22 degree. You can also steady the blade with the opposite hand as well.

  • Applying slight pressure, slide the blade forward and across the whetstone, covering the entire length of the blade and resting the blade at a 22-degree angle against the stone.

  • Repeat the same process for at least 10 times and then move the knife on the other side and give 10 strokes on the whetstone.

  • Now flip the whetstone over to the finer grit side and give each side of the blade 10 strokes.

  • The final step is to finish your knife using a steel, this sharpening steel hone your blade and then rinses to dry the blade and remove all metal particles.

Most people sharpen their knives 2 times a year if they use their knives on a daily basis. We have described three ways about it.

Use an Electric Sharpener

High quality electric sharpener is also an option for sharpening a knife but we did not recommend using it because these sharpeners remove a huge amount of material from the edges of the knife. 

If you sharpen your knife multiple times, you’ll lose half a centimeter of width, throw it off balance, and render useless any blade with a bolster. Even its best model will give you sufficient edges. 

If you think that you can change your knife after a few years and you will be happy with those edges then it will be a good choice for you.

Send it out to Professional

This is a great option if you have a good sharpener near your living area and you are able to pay for this service as well. If you sharpen your knife many times a year just like me then it will be a little bit expensive for you. 

Some people other than experts use a grinding stone which takes away much more necessary material from your blade and reduces its lifespan.

Use a Sharpening Stone

This is the best method as compared to others because it not only gives you the best sharp edges but also removes the least amount of material from your knife. It comes with fine enough grit which enables your knife to take hairs off your arms when you have done your work. 

Furthermore, I am not kidding regarding the significance of knife sharpening as your sharpening process will create your strong bond with knives and a knife that’s treated with respect, will behave much better to its owner. But it is necessary to know how to use a sharpening before starting so you can efficiently use it.

That’s where we come in. Get yourself some whetstones (also commonly called waterstones), follow the instructions and practice. You won’t believe what a difference a sharp knife can make to your cooking.

Shopping and Maintenance

When buying a whetstone, be sure to buy a bigger one. It should be at least two and a half inches wide, eight inches long and one inch thick. Whetstone comes in a variety of grit sizes from 100 to 10k plus. 

The lower the number, the more material your knife will remove. The higher the grit, the sharper the edge you’ll get, but the more strokes it will take to get there. Our recommendation is to have two stones in your kit.

One stone is a medium-grit round 800 to do heavy sharpening jobs and the other stone is about 2000 with a finer grit to make the edge razor sharp. A very fine grit stone (8,000 and above) will leave a mirror-like finish on your blade, but most cooks won’t notice a difference in terms of cutting ability.

King Medium Grain Sharpening Stone 800 Grit

If you only have a budget for a single stone then we will recommend our audience to buy a whetstone having grit 1000 to 1200. Two sided stones are also available but usually these sharpeners are available in inferior quality. You will also need a strong fixer to repair any instability on your sharpener stone.

Norton Abrasives Flattening Stone with Grooves

You should carefully dry your stone after every use and wrap it in a kitchen towel and store them in a grease free environment. Oil can soak into the porous material, ruining its ability to thicken and your chances of finely chopping your onions for this soup. 

Don’t forget, to hone your knife on steel after each use, it will actually not take off any material from the blade. Although it will align the blade and enable you to make slices easily.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does a Whetstone Need to be Wet?

Yes, it is necessary for whetstone to be wet in order to be used and it should be soaked for at least 45 to 50 minutes.

What is the Difference Between a Whetstone and Waterstone?

There is no difference between both terms. Both words are used for the same thing in different regions.

Are Whetstone Hard to Use?

It requires practice to use a whetstone properly, you can also get guidance from tutorials regarding how to use it which will protect your knife from damage. However, if you want to take knife care seriously, it’s worth investing in a whetstone setup.

Do I Need to Clean My Whetstone?

Yes it is a good practice to clean your whetstone since small particles of metal from knives can scatter the surface. In order to clean it you can use a soft cloth squeeze in the oil and rub it on the surface of the knife. Then wipe it with a separate paper towel before washing and drying it.

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