How To Use A Whetstone for Sharpening Knife?

  • katrin moul
  • By katrin moul
  • Published: January 5, 2022
  • Last Modified: May 14, 2022
how to use a whetstone
Kitchen knives are important tools for preparing food. Constant use makes your knife blunt day by day that is unnoticeable to you. Once your knife was sharp, now it is dull.
A blunt knife is an obstacle to chop, slice, and dice food. While preparing food with a blunt knife, there is a chance of missing the mark and not cutting straight. Apart from this, a blunt knife is difficult to use. The best way to sharpen kitchen knives is using a whetstone. What you need is patience and a little practice on how to use a whetstone.

What is a Whetstone?

Whetstone or Waterstone is an abrasive flat stone. It is used for sharpening your blade’s edge. A knife’s abrasiveness should be paralleled to a wet stone knife sharpener.
A lower grit such as 300, is used for a severely damaged blade. A 1000 gritstone can polish your knife nicely. You can use a 6000 grit whetstone to make your knife razor-sharp.
It is noticeable, the more the grit, the finer the surface of the whetstone is. It is important to choose the right wetstone knife sharpener and know how to sharpen a knife with a whetstone.

How To Choose A Whetstone?

A whetstone usually comes with a different grit on each side. You should have a whetstone that ranges from 1000 to 6000 grit.
There are three basic types of whetstone available in the market.

Coarse Stone:

Coarse stone for knife sharpner
This whetstone is made of less than 1000 grit. It is used to revive the edge of a severely damaged blade. However, you should know how to use a whet stone and make sure that you are not using a coarse stone for normal sharpening.

Medium Stone:

Medium stone for knife sharpening
This stone is available between 1000 to 3000 grit. Your knife is not extremely blunt but it has lost its edge. You just need to sharpen it. Then you can use a medium grit stone.

Finishing Stone:

whetstone from Amazon
This stone ranges from 4000 to 8000 grit. Finishing whetstone is used for making your knife razor-sharp.
Selecting a whetstone depends on the number of grit. For chopping a meat knife, you can use a whetstone that does not consist of more than 4000 grit. For cutting vegetables and fruit, you can use a stone consisting of 8000 grit or more. Now, let’s have a look at how to use whetstone.

How to Use a Whetstone

You are ready to how to sharpen a knife with a whetstone. You know, it is better to practice with an older knife of lesser quality so that you will not get worried about damaging your top-quality German or Japanese knife while using a whetstone. Let’s begin with how to use a whetstone.
Photo Source: Just Machete
  • Whetstone or Waterstone is porous. It needs to be submerged thoroughly underwater before you use it to sharpen a knife.
  • Keep the whetstone fully saturated with water until the air bubbles stop coming out from the stone.
  • You must want to prevent the whetstone from being slipped while you are using it. Place a rubberized shelf liner or a wet towel on a table underneath the stone. This will prevent slipping off the stone.
  • First, place the coarse grain of stone facing up. You can lay the stone in any direction as you wish. The best way to lay the stone is facing perpendicular or horizontal to your body.
  • Now, you have to find out the correct angle for how to sharpen a kitchen knife with a stone.
  • Japanese and carbon knives can be sharpened at a 15 degrees angle but Western and stainless steel knives can be sharpened at a 20 to 22 degrees angle.
  • To find out the correct angle is tricky. Once you have found the correct angle, hold the knife at that angle.
  • Hold the knife with your dominant hand and use your other hand’s tip finger to hold the flat of the blade. Pull through the blade against the coarser side of the stone.
  • Put light pressure on the blade and draw the blade along the stone from hilt to tip. Repeat the action at least 8 to 10 times, depending on how much your blade is dull.
  • Flip the knife and repeat the same action for the opposite side of the Blade.
  • If you see a build-up of greywater on the stone, it indicates that the process is working. You have to keep the stone wet all along, so continue to spray water on the surface of the stone.
  • After sharpening both sides of the knife with a coarser grit side of the stone, flip the stone over to the finer grit. Repeat the same action to polish your Blade.
  • Finally, hone your knife with a honing tool and be sure that any remaining metal particles are removed.
Now, you can enjoy the results the next time while preparing food and you are well aware of how to use a whetstone.

Can I Use Oil With My Whetstone?

A whetstone doesn’t need to be lubricated with oil. You can use water instead of oil to make your sharpening stone lubricant. Using oil helps to hold some of the grits of a sharpening stone. But it actually creates a paste that clogs the open pores of the stone.

Pros of How to Use Whetstone

  • A whetstone is used for both Western and Asian-style knives.
  • It can also be used for sharpening other tools such as paring knives, meat cleavers, kitchen shears, or even gardening tools.
  • The whetstone is the best of all sharpeners as it sharpens a variety of knives.

Cons of How to Use Whetstone

  • A little bit of practice is needed to achieve mastery over how to use a whetstone.
  • Sharpening knives with whetstone may take away a bit of metal from your knife’s edge.
  • It is more or less time-consuming.

Additional Tips or Whetstone Pro Tips

Frequently Asked Question of how to use a whetstone

Q: Can you use a Whetstone dry?

Ans: You can use a whetstone dry. But you are recommended to use water while you are sharpening your knives. Water will make your stone lubricant.

Q: Do you need to soak a whetstone?

Ans: Whetstone is the best tool to sharpen your knife. It is better to soak a whetstone thoroughly underwater for a few minutes.

Q: How long do you soak a whetstone?

Ans:You have to submerge your whetstone underwater for 10 to 15 minutes before using it to sharpen your knives.

Q: Is a whetstone better than a sharpener?

Ans: Yes, The whetstone is the best of all sharpeners.

Q: Do I need a 400 gritstone?

Ans: Yes, you need a 400 gritstone if your knife is extremely blunt.


The use of whetstone to sharpen knives is an age-old tradition. Among sharpening tools, whetstone is the best to take care of your kitchen knives. Using whetstone yields the most razor-sharp results.
There is a wide range of sharpening stones with a variety of grits along with rubberized shelf liner and stands to hold your stone in place when you sharpen your knives.
I think this article will help you to achieve command over how to use a whetstone.

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