ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

How to Sharpen a Knife With a Whetstone

Updated on November 8, 2011
Kinfe to be Sharpened
Kinfe to be Sharpened | Source
Double Grit Whetstone
Double Grit Whetstone | Source

Maintaining a sharp knife is extremely important when working in the kitchen. A sharp knife ensures precise cutting, effeciency, and avoidance of injury. An optimally sharp edge improves speed and accuracy. This is a must for any cook.

While there are many sharpening methods out there, the use of a whetstone ranks superior. Using a whetstone alows you to easily and accurately shape the blade and sharpen it without removing too much material as many other sharpening devices can. Whetstones come in several different grit sizes. A coarse grit whetstone may be used for initial sharpening, or when a blade is damaged and the edge needs reshaping. The finer grit whetstones will help finish the sharpening process and result in a very sharp edge. This article describes the step by step process for sharpening a knife with a whetstone.

Here is the whetstone soaking prior to use
Here is the whetstone soaking prior to use | Source

Soak the Whetstone

The first step before sharpening is to soak the whetstone in water for approximately five minutes. This allows water to penetrate the porous surface. Water is necessary in the process to keep the whetstone lubricated. With softer stones, such as Japanese whetstones, the water and soft material form a slurry which assists in the sharpening process.


Next, place the whetstone in a pan or other container to catch any water and whetstone material that accumulate. I used the bottom of an old roasting pan. Keep a container of water nearby so that as the water runs off the whetstone, you can replenish it and maintain optimal lubrication.

Setup Before Sharpening
Setup Before Sharpening | Source
Coarse Grit Sharpening
Coarse Grit Sharpening | Source

Coarse Grit Sharpening

With the coarse grit side up, place the knife on the whetstone at an approximate 20 degree angle. Different manufacturers create their knives with different blade angles. For example, a W├╝sthof knife has a larger blade angle than a Shun knife. Check with the knife manufacturer and try to maintain this angle while sharpening. I start with the heel of the knife and only sharpen in one direction. There are variations here, but I choose this method to ensure consistency and to maintain the integrity of the whetstone. I will sharpen for 9 repetitions, then move down the blade trying not to overlap what I have already sharpened. I repeat this until I have reached the tip of then knife, usually 3-4 locations. I turn the knife over and repeat the same process. Once complete, I go back to the other side and repeat with 7 repetitions before turning the knife over. I repeat with 5, 3, and finally 1 repetition on both sides.

Fine Grit Sharpening
Fine Grit Sharpening | Source

Fine Grit Sharpening

I repeat the same process outlined above with the fine grit side of the whetstone. As you are removing less material, there is a little more leeway and mistakes are more forgiving. Upon completion, examine the blade and look for symmetry. Wash the knife well with soap and water prior to use.

Useful Tips

  • Apply a firm, even pressure as sharpening, allowing the knife to glide with ease.
  • Using a permanent marker, draw a strip along the blade edge just a millimeter up the blade. As you sharpen, the ink should be removed. This will help with assessing even sharpening.

Another Whetstone Sharpening Strategy


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • TurtleDog profile image


      4 years ago

      Thanks for the lesson! I just bought a Japanese stone combo and will sharpen for first time tonight.. great stuff voted up and awesome

    • hobbitinspiration profile image


      6 years ago from Monmouth, OR

      Thanks for the refresher. I need to hone my straight razor and this will help.

    • randomcreative profile image

      Rose Clearfield 

      7 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin

      I'd never heard of this before, but it looks like they are well worth the investment. Thanks for the tip!

    • SubRon7 profile image

      James W. Nelson 

      7 years ago from eastern North Dakota

      Good hub, Matt Stark. Those whetstones appear to be kind of expensive, and just today I find out why they're called a "wet"stone. Thank you!


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)