How to Sharpen Your Knife on a Whetstone

How to Sharpen Your Knife on a Whetstone: Simplest Guide and Steps

In camping or outdoor recreation, a knife is a thing you cannot ignore the importance. Whether to cut an item, foods, small woods, or anything, a knife is a must. So, having a sharpened knife is also important. But to sharpen your knife, you need some practice and guidelines. In this article, we will discuss how to do that.

Though by the passage of time people have invented many ways to sharpen knives, the most classic and traditional way which is using whetstone is still popular among most of the professionals. From kitchen knives to knives from survival kits can be sharpened using whetstones. It’s not only effective but the way of sharpening is very satisfying.

There are many steps and also ways to sharpen a knife with a whetstone. We will be knowing everything that we might need to know.

How to Sharpen Your Knife on a Whetstone

Sharping the knives can be very essential along with camping saws, in times of camping.  A sharp knife will cut a lot more easily than a knife that doesn’t have a proper edge. So, here are my tips you can follow to sharpen your knife.

Understand Your Knife Type and whitestone

Before we get into the steps, we need to know about what kind of knife you are using and what types of whetstones you will need in the process.

Types of Knives: Santoku and Chef’s Knife

Most of the chefs and kitchen cooks use two types of knives. One is the Santoku knives and the chef’s knives. Both are made of metal or ceramics. In modern days, most of them are made of corrosion resistant metals like steel. Santoku knives are a bit thinner.

So, you will not have to provide a lot of force to sharpen them.

Santoku and Chef’s Knife Sharpening

But the chef’s knives are thicker and you may need to spend a little more time to sharpen them.

Types of Whitestone’s Grits

Now if we talk about whetstones, you will have to get stones of two grit types. If you want more advanced sharpening then you might need three of them. You will need 1000 grit stone if you want to repair any chipped or bent knife edge. This one is for the extremes.

A 1000 to 3000 grit stone will be needed to sharpen dull knives. When you will feel that you have to give a bit force to cut through the vegetables or any foods then you will have to get this one. And finally, you will need a 4000 to 8000 grit one to refine the edges. This will give your knives the final sharpness.

A stone holder will also be necessary to hold the stones on the right place because the stones might move a lot while sharpening.


Whetstone Sharpening Guide: Steps You Can Follow

Now we will be going through the steps of sharpening the knives.

Step 1: Lubricant for Sharpening Your Pocket Knife

If you are going to sharpen your knife with a Whitestone, then you should use lubricant to soak the stone for better performance.

As you get your stone in hand you will need to get a tray where you can easily accommodate three of your stones. Fill the tray with water and then place the three stones on the water.

Keep in mind that the stones must not be submerged underwater, it will just be soaking. Now get your stones wet and leave them for five minutes.

After five minutes take the high grit one and rub it on the middle-level grit one by placing them face to face. What this will do is the surface of both stones, will get flat and you will not get any even sharpening by using them.

Pro Tips: Make Sure of the Even Surface

  • When you rub them keep your eyes on the surface of your stone. Rub them one against another and make sure the surfaces of the stones are even.
  • You can use thinned dish washing soap for rubbing and soaking the white stone. It will do the job more quickly giving a smooth finish.

Step 2: Sharpening the Knife Following Angle, Part, and Motion

We will be working on the lower grit sized one. Place it on the stone holder. Now take your knife on your hand and place it gently on the stone.

Make sure that the knife handle and the stone are 45 degrees apart from each other. You don’t have to be pin-point accurate anyway.

Now gently raise the thicker part of the knife apart from the stone. Please make sure that the knife and the stone are now at an angle of 15 to 25 degree.

knife sharpening angle chart

Now gently place your index and middle finger together on the knife and start rubbing in back and forth.

While rubbing it you have to follow a certain motion. Try starting from the bottom of the knife and after each cycle goes a little bit higher and gradually go to the top. On this step, you will have to face the sharper part towards you.

Pro Tips for Knowing the Perfect Angle and Motion of Your Knife

  • Each kind of knife has a certain angle. You should understand and know what their angle is. Like a pocket knife, angle varies from 25 to 35 degrees.
  • Understand which angle will be perfect for sharpening their edge and put the knife on the stone with that angle.
  • Getting the right move is not always about knowledge, it actually about the experience. If you follow the steps we are discussing rightly for a couple of occasions, you will get a touch on the motion.

After one or two rounds flip the knife and put the thicker part of the knife against you and keep the knife at the position as it was. By applying the same pressure on the sharper part again rub the knife on the stone. You are now done with the first step.

Step 3: Omitting the Burr of the Knifes

Now if you take the knife on your hand and inspect you will see that there are some very thin metal parts sticking out over the sharp edge of the knife. These are called burr.

This happens when both of the sides of your knife do not get the same amount of pressure.

To omit the burr, take the higher grit stone and using the same method as you used on the lower grit stone. This time rub it gently and do not apply a lot of pressure on the knife. Different amount of pressure might again raise the same kind of problem.

Keep rubbing it gently back and forth and do keep inspecting the sharpness by gently gliding your finger over the sharp edge. You will feel the burr if there is any. And when you may feel that the knife is sharp enough try cutting any vegetable or a dry paper. The knife will cut smoothly if it’s sharp enough.

Pro Tips: How Can You Improve Sharpening Skills

  • In many knife sharpening basics, you will know how to omit the burs properly. watching these videos and article will get you more knowledge.
  • Keep the process simple and slow. Don’t overdo anything or don’t try to make the process quicker.

Western Techniques of Knife Sharpening (Or the Japanese)

Western vs Japanese Style Knives Sharpening

Now keep in mind that the method we have come to know is the western technique of knife sharpening. There is another way of sharpening a kitchen knife and that is Japanese way.

This Japanese way is the same as the western.

The only difference is when you are going to place the knife on whetstone keep it at 45-degree angle to the stone. This way the process gets a little bit faster. But the thing is you have to use a pattern that suits you.

How to Sharpen a Knife Showed in Different YouTube Videos

There are many videos, you can get a quick look to understand the process more easily. However, these videos may show different techniques and tips, which will help you to know more about the steps. But, the guide is the right way we feel.

Here are the videos and links of videos over the internet you can watch.

Precautions to Take Before Sharpening Process

A sharp knife can be dangerous if you handle it without care and cautions. So, here are some of my tips to avoid any dangers that can lead you into any unnecessary injuries in the process of sharpening.

  • Be very careful while handling any sharp object
  • Keep rubbing alcohol closer that might help you in case of emergency
  • After using the stone, make it dry by keeping it in the open air and keep it in a dry place where any fungus can nor grow
  • After sharpening wash the knife so that any stone particle is not left on the knife that might get into your food
  • Always remember to use a stone holder

Precautions to Take Before Sharpening Process


Last Few Words

So, you’ve seen that sharpening a knife is a very easy and quick process that you might get it done in your kitchen. Go through the steps mentioned. You’re done.



About the Author Joaquin Phoenix

Leave a Comment: