- Whetstones come in a range of grits
- less than 1000 grit is typically used to repair knives with chipped edges
- 1000 to 3000 grit are used to sharpen dull knives
- 4000 to 8000 grit are finishing stones and are used to refine your knife edge
- If you are using your knife to cut meat it is best to stop at between 4000 and 6000 grit as you can bend your knife edge on the muscle and sinew
- Visit our Official site at SohoKnives.com to see our wide range of knives and for all of our Whetstones click here
You’ve probably seen a number – say 1000 – on the side or top of the Whetstone you just bought and are at a loss as to what it all means, or even worse the person who sold it to you, didn’t know or forgot to mention it. Which ever of these scenarios sounds about right, you are left with a stone and no idea how you should be using it, well let me enlighten you dear reader.
The number on your whetstone represents the coarseness and the lower it is the coarser it is.
Each grit grade will sharpen your knife differently, and I will list below what each number range means and how you can use it to keep your knives nice and sharp.
number range: Less than 1000
A Whetstone with a number less than a 1000 is primarily used for knives which are damaged. If your blade has any nicks or chips in the blade, then these stones will get rid of those for you in no time.
If your knives have also completely lost their edge then these stones will also get it back for you.
These Whetstones are brilliant for damaged or extremely dull knives, but due to their abrasiveness they shouldn’t be used for general sharpening as they don’t leave the best finish on your blade edge.
number range: 1000 to 3000
The 1000 grit stone is considered your basic, go to, sharpening stone. If your knives have lost their edge and need a good sharpen, then this is the grit you should start with.
You shouldn’t use this stone often, as it will wear your knife down. The 2000 and 3000 grit stones can be used more often if you are the sort of person who likes to sharpen a bit more regularly as they are less coarse, but again, they are designed for sharpening and not maintaining your edge.
Once you get into a routine, you will get to know how often you need to use your medium stone.
NOTE: A little bit of advice I was given by a Chef; a 3000 grit whetstone is ideal for a boning knife and you don’t need to go any higher as refining your edge more will bend the knife on the muscle and sinew of the meat, meaning more frequent sharpening.
number range: 4000 to 8000
now your 4000 and 5000 grit stones are like the bridge between your sharpening and superfine finishing stones, the latter giving you a super refined edge.
You can actually use these stones as finishing stones in their own right however and perhaps for Western knives which typically have a cutting edge similar to a ‘U’ rather than a ‘V’ shaped edge, a 5000 grit stone may well be as far as you need to go.
but if you want to go for the 6000 or 8000 super fine stones then go for it!
The only bit of advice you should follow is this: If you are using your knife to cut meat, then you can happily stop at 4000 or 6000 grit. If you are only using it for vegetables or fruit go all the way to the 8000.
This is because the refinement you get from a 8000 grit stone is such that your knife edge has the potential to bend whilst cutting through muscle and sinew.
So that’s Whetstone grits explained. Hopefully that gives you everything you need to know.
We have a selection of whetstones on our website, spanning the whole grit range.
Stones require patience to learn and skill to use, but with a little practice you will get there and it will be well worth it – have a look here to get an idea on how to use one.
Until next time.