There is almost nothing worse than while you are cooking, one of the knives you are using decides not to cut anymore. It is cause for frustration and for some maybe even more than it should. That is why I am sure you agree with men when I say that you need a good knife sharpener, and there is nothing better than whetstones. They are cheap, easy to use, and I am sure you will get the hang of using one.
What is a whetstone?
A whetstone is a fine-grained stone that people use to sharpen their tools. While we use them in the kitchen to sharpen knives and blades, there are multiple applications for it. Carpenters use it to sharpen their tools as well, and there are several uses in the agricultural field. Either way, a whetstone is an ideal tool to sharpen blades, and that should say it all. That we use them mostly for our kitchens, it is an entirely different story.
Why go for a whetstone and not an electric sharpener?
As you may very well know, we also have the option of choosing an electric sharpener. The one thing that is certain is that the sharpening process does go faster with it. However, there are some disadvantages that make the electric sharpener more inconvenient than a whetstone. Here is what you need to know:
- Whetstones are a lot cheaper than electronic sharpeners – a lot of people shop for items while considering budgetary factors. If you do not want to spend too much money on an electric sharpener, a whetstone is the next best things. Moreover, some people may say that it is actually better, but we are talking about preferences here.
- They occupy less space – an electric sharpener, while efficient, occupies space in your kitchen, especially if you like to have it ready at all times. Your kitchen counter must already be packed with more essential electronics, which is why you may find this inconvenient. A whetstone, on the other hand, is a small rock, basically, and you can store it wherever you want. It occupies very little space.
- You can damage the knife – if you do not have much experience in using an electric sharpener, chances are that you are going to damage the knife you want to sharpen. It may take some time to balance your pressure. If you press the knife too little in the sharpening slots, the knife will not be sharpened, and if you push too hard, there will be scratches all over the blade.
- Your knife will have a more extended lifespan – since the process of sharpening a knife with a whetstone takes longer, you will not scratch as many metal particles off of it. That means the knife will last longer. The electronic sharpener does not take that into account, and it will scrape as much as it can until the knife is not blunt anymore. However, until that happens, the knife will already lose some weight, so to speak.
As you can imagine, there are pros and cons for every existent item in this world. The whetstone makes no exception. While it represents an efficient way of sharpening a knife, it can take a while. Also, you need to learn how to use it for optimal results. Other than that, the whetstone is an excellent product.
Whetstone buying guide
Buying a whetstone is not difficult. However, you need to look at the specifications since not all of them are the same. Just follow the steps below, and you will have a better understanding that will help you make the best choice for you.
Step 1. Choose the type of whetstone you need
Whetstones come in different forms, and each of them is designed to have a certain level of efficiency. There are categorized as coarse stones, medium and finishing stones. The difference between them is the number of grits. Here is when you need each of them:
- Coarse whetstones – the number of grits is under 1000, and it is the best choice when you have a knife that is really damaged, as in blunt. The knife can also have nicks, but the coarse whetstone can handle the job very well. Even if the knife has lost its edge entirely, this type of whetstone will make it sharp Chances are that the bluntest blade can become as new again. You could say that in this case, the coarse whetstone represents the big guns when it comes to sharpening a knife. The only thing you need to remember that this will never give the knife a finished look because it is too abrasive.
- Medium whetstones – this time, the number of grits is between 1000 and 3000. It can be used on knives that lost their edge, but they are in better shape than the ones mentioned above. You can use it as your regular sharpener. This is the most commonly bought type of whetstone. While this is ideal for sharpening your knives, it is not suitable for providing maintenance.
- Finishing whetstones – the number of grits is between 4000 and 8000. This is the finest stone, and it gives your knives that perfect finish. It is ideal for sharpening fruits and vegetable knives, as well as for the ones that you use to cut meat.
Step 2. Select a size
Not all whetstones are the same size. However, this is a matter of preference. Just remember that whetstones become blunt as well sometime in the future, and if you are working in a restaurant, for example, you will need a bigger stone than the one you buy to use at home.
Step 3. Make sure that it is double-sided
Since we can use all types, some manufacturers chose to put two types over each other and create a more versatile product. That is a brilliant idea since most people need more than one kind of whetstone depending on what knives they have around the kitchen.
At the same time, you can go for a whetstone that is placed in a case or something like that. That way, you do not have to place the stone directly on your kitchen counter and scratch it. If you see any other additional features, you can decide according to your preference. The most important factors have been laid out above anyways.
What are the best whetstones?
On the internet, you will probably find hundreds of whetstones from many manufacturers. The best idea is to not get confused and follow the steps above. That way, you will be able to make the right choice. You can also read some whetstones reviews online to see what other products people find most useful. That way, you will buy a product that is already vouched for. In the meantime, take a quick look at the products below. Maybe you will find something that you like.
Whetstone Cutlery Dual-Sided Knife Sharpening Stone
This particular whetstone is ideal for you if you have knives around your kitchen that are almost unsalvageable. That is because this is a double-sided whetstone, and they are both coarse. The first one is a 400-grit stone, while the other side is a 1000-grit stone. They are designed to return even the worst knives to their original shape. The stone is made of durable silicon carbine, and it should last for a very long time. However, for a smoother finish, I recommend at least another medium stone.
To use it, you need water and not oil like other products. You need to soak the stone in water for 5-10 minutes, and then lubricate it with some more water as you sharpen your knife. The good news about that is that you do not need to spend money on honing oil. The Whetstone sharpening stone is versatile. Not only your knives will get a new clean sharpening. You can also use it for scissors, pocket knives, blades, razors, gardening tools, and basically everything that has some sort of blade.
Overall, this is an excellent product. I do not recommend it for regular sharpening, but more for saving old knives and other blades that do not need a fine finish. It measures only 7 inches in length, 2.25 in width, and it is only 1.125 in height. It will fit almost anywhere in your kitchen.
Culinary Obsession Whetstone
If you want something for regular use in your kitchen, then this is the product you want. It is a deluxe product that is designed to be used for the knives that you use every day. That is because it is a double-sided whetstone, but the grits are 1000 on one side, and 6000 on the other. You have the 1000-grit coarse that can sharpen your knife efficiently, but you also get the finishing 6000-grit stone for a smooth finish. You get the best of both worlds.
The package will include a video that will teach you how to use the stone, which I find most useful. After all, it is a skill that you need to learn. A PDF file is also provided. Another nice touch from the manufacturer is that the stone arrives with a bamboo base for extra height and comfort. That will also keep your counters risk-free. Lastly, you will receive an angle guide that will help you perfect any blade.
Just like the previous product, this one uses water as well. You do not need any type of oil, so no extra expenses. The stone is made of professional grade Corundum (aluminum oxide), so water will work just fine. Plus, it is way easier to clean after.
Unimi Whetstone Knife Sharpener
Last but not least, the stone from Unimi is another product that you may like. It is yet another double-sided whetstone, only that this time, the stones are medium and finishing. The grit numbers are 2000 and 6000. Use the first one to give your knife a sharp edge and the second to provide it with a smooth finish. You cannot fail.
The manufacturer used Corundum to produce this whetstone. It works on pretty much anything that has a blade, it resists corrosion, heat, and friction. Just do not try to sharpen serrated blades and ceramic knives. You will damage both.
Just like with the two previous products, you do not need oil for this one either. Just use water and clean easily after. As a bonus, you will receive a non-slip silicone base for a safer sharpening, but it is good for your kitchen surfaces as well. No abrasions. Overall, the product is easy to use, and since it is small, you can store it anywhere you want without bothering you.
To be honest, I cannot recommend one product from the ones above because I cannot possibly know what you need exactly. If you need to revive some old knives, you need the Whetstone Cutlery, for example. So, I will make my recommendation based on common needs, which is why I am going with the Culinary Obsession Whetstone. It has both a coarse and a medium side, which makes it ideal for all your knives. Plus, the bamboo base is a nice touch. I think it is one of the best whetstones you can buy in this price range.
The frustration of having blunt knives is easy to get rid of. All you need is the right tool to make them sharp again. While I cannot argue the fact that an electric sharpener is the easiest way to go, when it comes to knives, especially expensive ones, time is not the only factor. Quality is also an issue, and electric sharpeners are not doing very well in that department. They are built for speed, not finesse. But whetstones are, and I am sure that one of the products above will satisfy your needs. Click here to buy on Amazon
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