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Whetstone – Sharpening Your Tools for Life

Why Get a Whetstone?

Nobody likes wasting money!

And if you have ever thrown away dull scissors, knives, or razors, then you have needlessly wasted money.

The thousands of years old solution? A whetstone! This simple sharpening tool can keep your cutting tools sharp and safe while saving you a bundle over the long run.

Best Whetstone on the Market

Have a seriously damaged blade that needs repairing? Or are you just trying to get your paring knife to cut a little better?

Good news! The Finew Four-Sided Professional Whetstone Sharpener can help with both projects!

While many synthetic whetstones are double-sided, the unique four-sided design of Finew’s sharpening stone allows you to tackle many different types of projects and do them with precision. It also comes in a kit that includes all of the accessories you need to start sharpening your tools immediately.

What Exactly is a Whetstone?

The now archaic English word “whet” means “to sharpen.” Today, the term is mainly only used in the idiom “whet one’s appetite” and the more common name for a sharpening stone, “whetstone.”

Whetstones have been used for thousands of years across many cultures. They are primarily employed to keep sharp tools from becoming blunted, since dull blades are both inefficient and unsafe. Before the age of cheap and disposable consumer goods, damaged blades were also quite expensive to replace.

With the recent renewed interest in high-quality consumer goods, there has also been in a renewed interest in high-quality tools to keep those goods performing at their peak. Whetstones will ensure that all high-quality blades stay that way.

Advantages of Having a Whetstone in a Kitchen or Workshop

Having a whetstone on hand can save you tons of time and hassle!

What do you are in the middle of preparing a large meal and you notice that your knife is dull? Do you continue and risk having the knife slip and cut you? Do you press on knowing that all the chopping will take much longer?

If you have a sharpening stone at the ready, then you can quickly return your blade to its original glory!

Likewise, if you have one at the ready in your workshop or at your crafting station, you will be prepared for any chips or dullness in your scissors, knives, and other bladed tools. This is especially important if you make custom projects like woodcarvings. Why make your customers wait? Make sure you have a whetstone ready to go!

Chef’s swear by simple tips like this, including wearing compression socks for long days, and always having a whetstone nearby for a quick knife tune up.

What Tools Can Whetstones Sharpen that Other Sharpeners Cannot

Do you have a dull axe? A blunted butcher knife? An old chisel or other carving tool? An inefficient drill?

Hopefully you have a whetstone!

While there are lots of different types of sharpening tools on the market, only whetstones allow the flexibility to sharpen pretty much anything with a blade. There is no need to have 10 different sharpening devices when you have a whetstone!

In addition, once you get used to them, sharpening stones can be used to your blades to custom angles.

Types of Whetstones

In the broadest sense, whetstones can be divided into two categories: natural and artificial.

Natural:

As the name implies, natural whetstones are quarried rocks that are used to sharpen various tools. Typically, natural whetstones are relatively expensive, though they offer little (if any) advantage over artificial whetstones. They are more often prized for being rare and beautiful.

The most famous natural whetstones are Japanese waterstones, which must be lubricated with water instead of oil.

Artificial:

Artificial whetstones, sometimes called synthetic whetstones, are great because they are not terribly expensive to produce and offer a consistent particle size. This allows them to sharpen tools in an even way.

Though most people tend to want products that are labelled “natural,” most people are better off with synthetic whetstones since they offer a more even sharpening surface.

What are Whetstones Made Of

Natural whetstones are made of different types of quartz, often novaculite. Artificial whetstones are made of a ceramic like silicon carbide or of aluminum dioxide.

Different Grades of Whetstones and Uses

Like sandpaper sheets, whetstones have different grades, or grits, that indicate coarseness. Note that many sharpening stones are double sided, so they will have two different grades. Also, remember that lower grades are coarser than higher grades.

Coarse Stones:

Stones with grades under 1000 are considered coarse stones. They are used to get severely damaged tools back on the right track. For example, coarse stones can help get rid of nicks in the blade very easily.

Medium Stones:

Medium stones have a grade between 1000 and 3000. Lower medium grade stones can be used to revive extremely blunted blades. Higher medium blades can be used to sharpen a dull blade. It is important to note, however, that excessive use of medium stones will quickly wear down a blade.

Finishing Stones:

As the name implies, finishing stones help get a tool ready for use. They have grades from 4000-8000. They can be used more often and will help keep your knives, scissors, and razors working like new. A high grade will be useful for any precision or refining work you plan on doing.

Best Whetstone on the Market

You will often need to use more than one grit to sharpen a blade correctly. For this reason, we recommend using Finew’s Four-Sided Professional Whetstone Sharpener. It includes grit grades of 400, 1000, 3000, and 8000.

Since this whetstone comes in a kit, it includes everything you need to transform you damaged blades into safe and effective ones once again. The set includes a non-slip bamboo board, an angle guider, and a leather strop for follow-up polishing.

In addition, Finew’s whetstone can be lubricated with water and is ready to sharpen after soaking for just ten minutes!

Tips and Tricks to Using a Whetstone

Many people avoid getting a whetstone because they mistakenly think that they are too difficult to use. While it is true that you will need to develop a certain technique, with a little practice, you will be sharpening like a pro.

Thanks to the innovation of the internet, there are many videos and tutorials available to help you as you learn to sharpen your tools on a whetstone. As you practice, however, remember to keep the following things in mind:

  • Make sure the whetstone is secured to a solid surface before you use it.
  • Sharpen the tool so that the sharp edge faces away from you. Do this by running the blade along the whetstone at a 15-20 degree angle for kitchen knives. A blade guide may be helpful if you are unsure or if you are sharpening a tool other than a knife.
  • Keep your fingers out of the way of the blade!
  • Do not run the blade in a straight line. A wide circular motion will yield the best results.
  • Repeat this several times for each side of the blade.
  • If you have a very dull tool, first sharpen both sides of it on the coarser side of the whetstone. After that, finish it off of the finer side of the stone.

Do Whetstones Need to Be Soaked in Water Before Using Them?

Whetstones are so named because the word “whet” means “to sharpen.” It is unrelated to the more common word “wet.”

Despite the etymological difference, many people think the two are related because whetstones are usually soaked in water or covered in oil before use.

Why?

Whetstones usually work better when wet because this helps get rid of waste material that is created when a blade is sharpened. Some stones should be soaked in water, but others need to be covered in oil. The two yield similar results, but some natural stones should never be used with oil as it will damage them. Your stone will come with directions that indicate which is best for your particular stone but, when in doubt, use water.

Typically, soaking in slightly warm water for about a half an hour will do the trick. If you are not sure, just soak the stone until it stops releasing bubbles.

Technically, you can skip this step, but you will not have results that are as good. It will also make your whetstone wear out faster. Even though it takes some time, don’t skip this step if at all possible!

What’s a Slurry?

A slurry is a mixture of water and whetstone dust. You will see this pasty material begin to accumulate on your tool as you sharpen it. Though it may look gross and you may be tempted to rinse it off, don’t do it! The slurry is actually helping to sharpen the blade and should not be wiped off until you are done.

How to Clean and Store a Whetstone

One of the best things about whetstones is that they require very little maintenance.

You can rinse off your whetstone with water when you are done. Just make sure to soak it again before use. Also make sure you keep it away from extreme temperatures.

You can store coarse and medium whetstones in a water bath, but this is not recommended for finer stones.

You can also go over your whetstone with a specially made flat stone every once in a while. This will keep it even and sharpening like new.

Overview – Including The Best Whetstone

Whetstones keep your knives, scissors, razors, scythes, chisels, axes, and other blades in their prime! Sharp tools are much safer than dull ones, and taking care of your blades will save you time and money in the long run.

Our favorite whetstone available today is the Finew Four-Sided Professional Whetstone Sharpener. Not only does it include four different grit grades, but it also comes in a kit that includes everything you need to start sharpening your tools like a pro!

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