Taking their names from the word “whet,” meaning to sharpen a blade, whetstones have been used for thousands of years to keep knives, razors, scissors, and bladed hand tools reliably sharp. Chef Pro Knives helps you keep your kitchen knives razor sharp by offering natural and artificial sharpening stones from Zwilling J.A. Henckels, Shun, Kitchen IQ and Wusthof. Sharpening whetstones are available in a number of grit sizes, with the finer the grit the finer the finish.
Knife whetstones are available as either natural stones or artificial stones. Natural stones are rarer and ten to be more expensive for a number of reasons. Many of the ancient quarries have been exhausted and it is hard to find natural high-quality whetstones with a consistent particle size and density. Artificial knife whetstones on the other hand are relatively easy to make to a high quality with a consistent particle grain. Synthetic whetstones are generally considered to be of equal quality to natural whetstones, and users may find them easier to use thanks to the consistent, even grain.
Several different grades of sharpening whetstones may be used while sharpening a single blade. A rough 400 grit whetstone may be used to remove imperfections in the blade before a finer grit is used to actually sharpen or cut an edge into the blade. Many whetstone knife sharpeners are sold with two different grits on opposite sides, to decrease the time it takes to repair, sharpen, and hone a knife’s blade.
Whetstones are often used in conjunction with water to produce a slurry from the material that is removed from the blade. This slurry helps to polish the blade. Some whetstones are used with oil, but not all. Please check your individual whetstone to see whether or not oil is recommended as using oil will ruin other whetstones. Typically, once you use oil as a lubricant, you should only use oil from then on. American knife sharpening whetstones (such as Arkansas Stone) that are marketed as oil stones, are designed to be used with an oil. Most Japanese water stone knife sharpeners will be ruined by oil and should only be used with water. Again, you have to check your individual whetstone for which lubricant is recommended.
Also available for knife sharpening are diamond bench stones, which are designed for fast sharpening. While diamond bench sharpening stones tend to have a high initial price point, they lost longer than either oil whetstones or water stones. Thus, they are a good long-term investment.