As many of us know, knives are a great tool for many activities, and for some, they are a critical piece to their arsenal, especially if you go camping, hunting, fishing, or simply like to make furniture.
A nice that is of high quality is an extremely useful item however if you have a blunt knife, then it is useless and funnily enough, can be far more dangerous than a sharper knife. The knife blade is naturally going to become blunt, simply because the more you use it, the quicker it is going to go blunt.
It will take you a lot longer when you are cutting, the cut might not be as clean and instead of the knife cutting straight through, it might slip and slide which can be frustrating. Using a Japanese water stone can be an effective tool for sharpening your blade. We will now look at the things that you should think about if you do decide to buy a water stone and we will look at some reviews of them as well.
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The Buying Guide
Now we will look at what customers should be looking at when purchasing a water stone. Each stone will offer the user different things like how quick you can sharpen, how it feels when you use it, and so on, and that is extremely important. Other things will affect your decision too.
The reputation of the brand
If you are a newbie and are looking at getting sharpening stones, then most people will not buy a stone that is not from a brand that they do not know or even a super expensive natural whetstone either.
With some of the stones, the types of results you can get will vary greatly. Hence why it is a good idea to always buy a stone that is from a well-known brand. They are a well-known brand because they offer a consistent result and a good rating when it comes to grits and that is super important for these stones.
The basic sharpening stones are usually made from silicon carbide. The further up you go in quality then that is when they are made from aluminum oxide however the best and highest quality ones are stones that are from Japan.
The hardest material that you are going to find on a Waterstone is Silicon carbide, however, that is not necessarily good. You want your knife to be hard however it will also need to be soft so it can wear away as you use it.
As the stone itself wears away, this then reveals more polishing elements of your chosen stone. The Waterstones from Japan are natural stones and because of this, they are the best quality ones that you will get anywhere in the world.
They cost a significant amount more than synthetic stones and if you like the idea of a tool that is specialized then this is the one for you.
Usually, you will want your stone to be nearly identical to the length of your knife that you will be sharpening. For example, if you have a knife that is 9-inches long, then having a stone at is around 8-inches is ideal. The longer the stone is, the better, however close enough is good enough in this instance.
The different stone grade and their uses
A knife that goes dull quick or one that has a blade with chips on it then you are going to need a rough stone and it will need to be grade around 120 to 140 grit. The medium stones are around 700 to 3000 grit however they are often used for knives that require to be sharpened regularly.
If you do happen to use a knife that needs to blunt easily, a rough stone between 120 to 140 grit is ideal. The standard stones have around 700 all the way up to 3000 grit and are used on a regular basis when getting your knife constantly sharp.
If you want to buff and polish, then you must use an exceptionally smooth water stone, and they have a grading of between 3000 and 10,000 grit and people usually buy these to save their money. With each set, you get one medium, smooth, and rough whetstone.
Advantages of Japanese Waterstone
First, the water stone is going to take the bare minimum off your knife to make it sharp while others can take far too much off your knife however these Japanese ones do not.
Another advantage is that you are using water and that is fun because it can be done anywhere in the house and it is easy to clean up.
Because these stones are so good, they can be used to polish your chants with ease.
They have several other uses too. They can be used to sharpen anything from chisels, razors, and scissors. Whether it be polishing or sharpening these flexible stones are super easy to use and they do not need any oil to help with sharpening either.
What specific stone can be used for what?
If you are looking for rough sharpening, for example, to get rid of chips, or if your blade is dull, then stones that have between 120 to 400 grit are perfect. However, some people use stones that have a grit grading between 120 and 240.
If a normal run of the mill sharpening is what you are after then stones that have a grit grading of between 700 to 2000 are normally used. However, some use stones with a grit of 700 to 1200 t get the job done as well.
If you want to get rid of the little scratches that are left behind by stones that are thicker but also want to polish a surface, then a stone that had a grit starting at 2000 is great. While there is no specific limit for grit, experts have stated that stones that have a grit rating above 10,000 do not give a significant improvement to the knife. Another neat fact is that for grit gradings over 8000 there is no standard Japanese measurement for them so if you want a finer grit from a stone, you will just have to take the company’s word.
If you happen to be a beginner when it comes to sharpening, then we suggest a stone that has around 3000 to 6000 grit whereas if you have some experience with sharpening then a finishing stone that has around 8000 grit is perfect.
If you are going to be doing a fair volume of sharpening, then you are going to need three stones, one to hone, one to sharpen, and one to rough-grind.
If you happen to only sharpen now and then and you happen to know that there will not be a need to remove a chip that is on the edge of the knife, then a combination stone is perfect. The size of the stone that you choose will largely depend on whether you lean toward cost or speed. You can work a lot faster with a big stone, and with a small stone, it is naturally going to take longer.
What exactly are the Japanese Water Stones?
They are usually known as one of two names, Japanese Waterstones, or Japanese whetstones. They are a block of stone that is in the shape of a rectangle and there are used for sharpening knives as well as polishing stones too. The grades that come with the stones refer to how big or small the grit particles in the stone are.
The advantages of using Japanese Waterstones instead of other methods
There are numerous advantages, and these include that the Waterstone is a flexible item and they can be used to sharpen a lot of things, and they are not limited to just sharpening knives. They can sharpen other things too like razors, chisels, and scissors. They can be used to polish your knife not just to sharpen them.
The Waterstones can sharpen and polish knives not just from Japan but other knives that are made all over the planet too. However other tools that are used for sharpening knives from Japan can not be used as they might become damaged. You also do not have to purchase any oils and use them to help sharpen the knives.
What are other Sharpening Stones Options?
There are other options when it comes to sharpening or polishing your knives. We will list them now.
There are many different types of whetstones and the stone is usually made from materials from quartz, for example, novaculite. They are dug up from various locations on the planet but main from Belgium, Lebanon, and Syria.
Then there are diamond plate stones. This one is a steel plate that is covered with grit made from diamonds and is a type of carbon. It is coarse, and it can easily grind many types of metal. The diamond plate is usually set on a plastic base.
Next up are the artificial stones. These are becoming popular as people preferred stones simply because the companies who make them can adjust the size of the particles and have a say in the properties of the stone.
The Pull-through sharpeners. They are so easy to use but can easily chip certain styles of knives like Japanese knives as they are thin and easy to break.
Lastly are oil stones. With these stones, you use oil rather than water. Experts recommend you not to use oil on any Japanese stone as it greatly limits how effective they are.