When attempting to choose a whetstone for sharpening your favorite knife, the number of choices can be mind boggling. In fact, sharpening stones are divided into four distinct categories consisting of natural whetstones and manufactured whetstones which, in turn, are divided into two other categories consisting of oil stones and water stones. Then, there are numerous different varieties of natural whetstones consisting of several different materials that are quarried from different places around the world as well as several different types of man-made whetstones!
To use a whetstone you run the knife's blade back and forth across the stone's surface and due to the constant friction with the stone, which acts like a piece of sandpaper, the knife's edge becomes razor sharp and has a brilliant mirror shine. If you are a beginner at using a whetstone it can a take a while to master the sharpening process, so here is a video to help you with your sharpening stone skills.
All stones require either water or oil as a lubricant to sharpen the knife. We prefer water stones because they’re easier to use, less messy and don’t have the possibility to go rancid like oil does. If you choose a water stone, all you have to do is either add water to the stone before placing the knife on the surface, or soak the stone in water for 10 minutes before use. You’ll want to read the instruction for the stone you purchase to find out how to use it properly.
Once you’ve decided to start sharpening your kitchen knives with a sharpening stone, you’ll need to take the necessary steps to actually get going. These steps include finding and buying the best sharpening stone for use at home, learning the basic technique involved in doing the sharpening, and then practicing enough times to get it right. (For the sake of the knives, we don’t recommend using your best kitchen knives for practice!)
Furthermore, Novaculite consists of several different layers of stone of different densities, grit sizes, and colors. Thus, the red Novaculite layer (aka Washita Stone) is the both the softest and most coarse while, the next most coarse/hard grade is the grey/white Soft Arkansas stone; both of which cut relatively fast for a hard whetstone material and thus, they are an excellent choice for refining a bevel. Then, the next grade of coarseness/hardness is the hard Arkansas stone which is used to polish the bevel rather than define it and, last there are the grades of Hard Black and Hard Translucent Arkansas stones which are used for extremely fine honing and polishing of a cutting edge. Plus, it’s also the primary material in “Charnley Forest” (English) and “Turkey” oilstones.

Sharpening is a skill that is vital for chefs and cooks but often undermined by many. Even the best knives will eventually lose its cutting edge, and it is important to have a set of sharpening stones that suit your sharpening needs. For those who are still new to sharpening, read our page on "How to sharpen your knife" to learn about the fundamentals of knife sharpening and watch some videos of several different Japanese sharpening professionals, with their own personal tips.


This table outlines Shapton's recommendations for the choosing from the variety of stones in their line, the right grit sizes, and the gradations in which they should be used, to properly sharpen different kinds of knives and tools. The Japanese names for the various knives and tools are listed in parenthesis, which can be helpful for matching a blade with the right stones when one knows the Japanese name for the tool.
I give Sharp Pebble a top rating for two reasons. First, the company emailed a user guide for me to review and learn how to best use its product while it was being shipped to me. Wonderfully proactive. Second, the sharpening stone did a terrific job restoring the edge on my kitchen knives that had been woefully neglected. Ever rent a house and every knife in the kitchen has the edge of a butter knife? I was almost there. Now, the knives are cutting beautifully. I have only one suggestion for Sharp Pebble. While the stone includes a useful angle guide that can be attached to a blade and the guide gives clear steps on prepping the stone and how to hold the blade when sharpening, it does not illustrate the manner in which the blade needs to be moved across the stone. I had to go to Youtube to get some tips on the exact method. I have historically been very bad at putting an edge on a blade due to ignorance primarily. But with the help of the video and a good stone, I did an effective job. The base does a great job of holding the stone in place and is attractive in the kitchen.
Independent of all the different kinds of surface one can use to shape, clean, and sharpen tools -- and perhaps independent of whether said surface is motorized or not -- I have to admit to being a bit lost as to what grades of abrasive exist in what media which should be used for what part of the task, and so on. "Fine" and "extra fine" seem to be defined differently for every manufacturer or medium, and not all of them give numeric values on the abrasive scale which might make them comparable... and I'm not certain whether 600-grit diamond is really equivalent to 600-grit wet/dry sandpaper on a surface plate and how either compares to any of the natural stones which are referred to only by name..
Modern synthetic stones are generally of equal quality to natural stones, and are often considered superior in sharpening performance due to consistency of particle size and control over the properties of the stones. For example, the proportional content of abrasive particles as opposed to base or "binder" materials can be controlled to make the stone cut faster or slower, as desired.[7] Natural stones are often prized for their natural beauty as stones and their rarity, adding value as collectors' items. Furthermore, each natural stone is different, and there are rare natural stones that contain abrasive particles in grit sizes finer than are currently available in artificial stones.[citation needed]
Sharpen your dulling knives and other tools quickly and easily with a choice from the best knife sharpener selection at Academy Sports + Outdoors. The handheld knife sharpeners feature large, ergonomic handles that generally fit either hand safely and securely, and finger guards that are full length to protect your fingers. The sharpening blades are often made of diamond-honed tungsten carbide for quick restoration of extremely dull blades or ceramic rods for a polished finish. A handheld knife sharpener tends to be small and portable, perfect for use out in the field when you need a professional knife sharpener to sharpen your hunting or fishing blades.
I really appreciate that it comes with the rubber bases! I am beginning my own woodworking shop after graduating from woodworking school and having sharpening stones is important as a first step. These are not the highest quality stones out there, but they are great value - reasonably high quality for a good price. In addition to this 3000/8000 stone I have a 250/1000 stone from Lee Valley. Together with these I've sharpened all the plain-edged knives in the house and will soon be moving on to the chisels and plane blades after I put a hollow grind on them with the bench grinder.
This was the first Whetstone that I've ever purchased. After reviewing several 'how-to' videos, I jumped right in to use it. I found the process nearly meditative and the BearMoo stone extremely effective! The first knife I sharpened was very dull with small, jagged edges. The 1000 grit side effectively removed the jagged indentations and created a nice cutting edge. The 4000 grit side made the knife razor sharp. The process took nearly 40-minutes.
Sharpening is a skill that is vital for chefs and cooks but often undermined by many. Even the best knives will eventually lose its cutting edge, and it is important to have a set of sharpening stones that suit your sharpening needs. For those who are still new to sharpening, read our page on "How to sharpen your knife" to learn about the fundamentals of knife sharpening and watch some videos of several different Japanese sharpening professionals, with their own personal tips.
Any stone is composed of particles of abrasive material that are bonded, or sintered together. The blade is passed across the stone, the steel is worn away, thus creating the edge. However, at the same time, the stone is also worn away to reveal new, coarse particles. As a general rule, the softer the stone, the more rapidly it will wear and will be more aggressive in use. Harder stones don’t wear as fast. Over time, the edges of each particle within the stone tend to become slightly rounded. Particle size may be smaller, although the finished edge is very sharp, it takes much longer to hone the blade.
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.
The 8,000 grit Kitayama is definitely a popular 8K stone, it is my favourite, and the feedback has much to do with that. It is silky smooth and feels creamy when you use it. When reaching refinement levels of 6k and above, polished bevels/edge are inevitable, and often sought after. The level of polish from this particular stone is very beautiful, assuming that you have done some refinement prior to this but it is a wonderful 8,000 grit stone.
The answer to the question of how to choose a single whetstone from among the many is actually one of both purpose and expense. Indeed, as the old adage says: “You get what you pay for” – This is certainly the case with sharpening stones. In fact, as a general rule, a high quality, natural, whetstone is significantly more expensive than a man-made whetstone but, they also tend to produce a noticeably finer edge than man-made stones do. On the other hand, man-made whetstones (with the exception of diamond hones) are very affordable and, just like natural whetstones, they too are available in different grits for different stages in the sharpening process from cutting the initial edge bevel to polishing a finely honed edge.

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