Sharpening tools part 3: Whetstones

  • Whetstones are the best way to maintain your knife
  • Most Whetstones you find today are Ceramic
  • Natural Whetstones can still be bought but are expensive
  • Whetstones have different grit ratings (explained in an up coming post) which determine the finish on your knife
  • While difficult to master, the rewards are well worth it, persevere!!!
  • Whetstones can be used to sharpen all knives apart from serrated knives
  • We  a selection of Whetstones at Soho Knives, click here
  • Visit our Official site at SohoKnives.com to see our wide range of knives
Minosharp Whetstone

Minosharp Whetstone

Hello and welcome to the third part of our Knife Sharpening Tools series. Each part will take a look at the four different items you can use to sharpen and maintain your knives.

In part three we take a look at Whetstones.

In part one we took a look at Honing Steels, if you missed part one you can find it here

In part two we looked at Diamond and Ceramic Steels, if you missed part two you can find it here

Finally, next week, in part four we will talk about Pull Through Sharpeners.

A Whetstone is the best way to sharpen your knives.

Why?

I will give two reasons (though there are more and I welcome anyone who wishes to leave some!); the first is due to control, the second is to do with the edge it leaves on your knife compared to a Diamond steel.

Control

There is a greater amount of surface area of your knife on the Whetstone at all times compared to a Diamond steel.

‘What does this mean?’

It means your sharpening will be more even for a start AND any irregularities in your technique will not be as damaging to your knife as they will be less pronounced.

Edge quality

A Diamond Steel will create a sharp edge – no doubt, but on a microscopic level, the knife will look like it has tiny teeth, so it will ACT sharp but not TRULY be sharp. The coarser the Diamond Steel you use, the more pronounced these teeth will be and the quicker your knife will become dull.

With a Whetstone, you knife will ACT sharp and BE sharp.

What this means is the edge of your blade on a microscopic level will appear more even, less jagged. This will mean your knife stays sharper longer for improved performance.

Below is an example of the starting and finishing positions of the knife when using a Whetstone.

NOTE: The angle is not correct, the pictures merely illustrate the necessary movement of the knife.

Starting position of the knife

Starting position of the knife

Note the starting position at the tip of the knife, this is where you make certain of the angle you wish to keep as you sharpen.

The angle on Western Knives and Japanese Knives differ, but generally speaking, 20 to 22 degrees is for Western and around 16 degrees for Japanese Knives – or pick up some angle guides for Japanese Knives here.

End posisiton of the knife

End position of the knife

I’ve moved my hand from the top of the knife so you can see the end position. By having the knife on an angle at the start, by pushing the knife upwards you end up in this position.

A final word on the angle, you shouldn’t worry yourself too much about keeping to the factory angle, if it’s a few degrees out, don’t worry. The most important part is keeping the angle the same for the whole length of the blade.

You can also sharpen in sections:

Knife starting position

Knife starting position

Knife end position

Knife end position

Using this method is easier but, besides taking more time, makes it harder to maintain the same angle across the blade. But try both and see which suits you.

So that’s that on Whetstones, check out our selection here

Visit our Official site at SohoKnives.com to see our wide range of knives.

Agree? Disagree? Let me know in the comment section below.

Until next time.

3 responses to “Sharpening tools part 3: Whetstones

  1. Pingback: Sharpening tools part 4: Pull Through Sharpener | Soho Knives·

  2. Pingback: Whetstones: It’s all in the grit! | Soho Knives·

  3. Pingback: 6 simple steps to keep your knives looking their best |·

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