Sharpening Stone Buying Guide
Types of Grit
Many of the sharpening stones on the market are two sided for the cook’s convenience. One side is typically a very coarse grit and the other is a fine grit that is used for polishing and finishing. The best way to get a good shape on the edge of your blade is to use a coarse grit. Once you have that edge, the fine grit can refine the edge until it is perfect.
You should not start off using the fine stone, especially if the knife is dull to start with. The coarse stone will shape it and get it back into the right condition. As you use finer stones the edge of your blade will continue to improve. What determines how fine of a stone you use and how many is how fine of an edge you want or need on the knife.
Size of Sharpening Stones
The size of the knife or tools you will be sharpening and the type of blade it is, will determine the size of the sharpening stone that you need. If the sharpening stone is 6” it is considered a small stone.
8” is a very common larger size and a generous sized stone is usually 10-12”. If you want something that is readily portable, you can get a pocket sized stone that is 3-4”. These are good for toolboxes, tackle boxes and other portable scenarios. The very small, pocket sized stones are not usually recommended for regular sharpening but do well in a pinch or spur of the moment sharpening job.
If you’re sharpening non-kitchen items like chisels, planes and other woodworking tools you want to make sure the stone is as wide as the blade you are sharpening.
Other Features to Look For
- Versatility – It is much more beneficial to get a sharpening stone that will work with the majority of your knives and tools. You don’t want to have to keep upgrading and choosing new and different stones to take care of the tools you have. The objective is to get a sharpening stone that will stay with you even as your needs change and develop.
- Ease of Use – Learning how to use a sharpening some requires practice and focus. Stones that need to be flattened often or soaked and cleaned can be very frustrating for beginning sharpeners. Another problem is if the stone takes a long time to create an edge. If that is happening take a look at the grit because a finer grit will take longer to shape an edge than a coarse grit will.
- Budget Conscious – Everyone has a budget that they have in mind when it comes to purchasing a sharpening stone. You get what you pay for is usually true in most things but this doesn’t mean you have to get the most expensive stone, only that you need to do your research and look at the different factors of the sharpening stone rather than just looking at the price. There is a variety of prices available when it comes to sharpening stones so finding one that fits your budget should not be a problem. You want to get the best stone you can for the money you want to spend.
Types of Sharpening Stones
There are many different types of sharpening stones on the market. We’ve outlined the different types below as well as listed some of the advantages and disadvantages of each of the different kinds.
Oil Stones – Oil stones use oil as a lubricant that will keep the metal particles from embedding into the surface of the stone. These metal particles are kept in solution and never glaze or clog the surface of the sharpening stone. If this happens it can make the stone useless in terms of sharpening anything. All sharpening stones run the risk of clogging so this is a problem that you need to watch out for.
Most oil stones are made from silicon-carbide or aluminum oxide. Natural oil stones are also called Arkansas stones. The coarse and medium grit stones remove material rapidly from the edge of the blade. The surface of these stones is hard and do not wear quickly. They will stay flat for a long time. There is a good variety of different grits available in oil stones. One of the drawbacks to oil stones is that they result in oily fingers which can ruin the project you are working on.
Water Stones – A lot of professional chefs use water stones and believe that they are far superior for sharpening plane irons, chisels and other general shop sharpening tasks. They have a very good feel to them and fast action. There is a wide variety of different grits available.
The finer grit stones leave a super sharp, fine, polished edge that is very difficult to achieve with diamond or oil stones. A couple of drawbacks to water stones are that they wear quickly and have to be flattened occasionally. In addition they can be very fragile and will need to be handled and stored carefully.
Ceramic Stones – These lifetime stones are one of the most popular to get when you want something that will last decades. You do need to maintain them properly to get this long life, but it is worth it to have something worthwhile that will last a long time.
Ceramic sharpening stones can be used dry, without water or oil, and that makes them a great choice for using when you are away from your kitchen, home or shop. They can be kept clean with soap and a scrubby. You will get a very fine, sharp edge when using the finer grits of a ceramic stone.
The surface of these stones will remain flat for a very long time due to the super hardness of the sharpening stone. A couple of drawbacks to ceramic stones are that they usually are available only in the finer grits. If a ceramic stone has a coarser grit, it will glaze with continued use and can lose its effectiveness on tougher, duller knives and tools.
Diamond Stones – Bond diamond material to a metal substrate and you have a diamond sharpening stone. You want to make sure that the steel plate in a diamond sharpening stone is flat before you purchase. They are fast cutters and very long lasting. They are by far the best type of sharpening stone for perfecting carbide tools.
Diamond stones can be used dry with no need for water or oil. They tend to be more expensive than the other types of sharpening stones.
There is a big difference in the different sharpening stones that are on the market. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that just because the brand name is good, the sharpening stone is automatically good. You will need to do your due diligence to check the factors we have listed and also look at customer reviews and comments to see what people are saying about the stones you are interested in.
Buy high quality sharpening stones from a company that has thorough instructions on how to care for them properly and use them properly. A good quality sharpening stone will last a lot longer than a cheap one, as much as 2 to 10 times longer.
They will also be a lot better to use because the results you get from a high quality sharpening stone will be much better and more efficient when you use the knives or tools after sharpening them.
- Culinary Obsession – http://culinaryobsession.com/
- Kota – http://kotakudus.xyz/info/best-sharpening-stones-.html
- Corsoe – http://www.corsoe.com/