How to Use a Whetstone

How to Use a Whetstone

In any kitchen, a good knife is the most important tool. However, keeping the knife razor-sharp, even when it regularly strikes hard surfaces, can be very difficult.

One of the easiest and most affordable ways to keep your knives razor-sharp is by using a whetstone.

In this article, you’ll learn how to properly use a whetstone to sharpen your knife.

Sharpen your Knife with a Whetstone

Getting up and started with a whetstone is easy, and as you gain experience, your skills improve drastically, and you start enjoying using this tool.

To use a whetstone to sharpen your knife, follow the steps provided below:

Leave the whetstone submerged in the water for at least 10 minutes.

whetstone submerged in the water

Because of two different variants which differ on the basis of grit, whetstones provide different types of sharpness.
Coarse grain whetstone: These have fewer grains that are larger to remove metal off the knife easily.
Fine grain whetstone: These have more grains that are smaller to provide better sharpness.

Sometimes, a whetstone will consist of both these different types of grains.

Place whetstone on a non-slip surface

Place whetstone on a non-slip surface

Instead of placing the whetstone on a marble surface on which it’ll easily slip, place it on a surface such as a towel that will prevent it from slipping when you try to sharpen your knife.

Hold the knife properly

To get to the right angle, follow the steps provided below:

  • Place the whetstone at a 90o angle in relation to the whetstone.
  • Half this angle to get to 45o.
  • Half again to get at an angle of 22.5o.

For normal knives, an angle close to 20o will work perfectly. But if you use a special kind of knife, such as a japanese knife, then search for the correct angle to sharpen it using a whetstone.

Sharpen the Knife

Sharpen the Knife

To sharpen the knife, simply run the blade across the surface of the whetstone. Apply a gentle pressure on top of the knife and run it across the surface of the whetstone a few times.

Make sure that you repeat it the same number of times on both sides of the knife.

Repeat the same on the fine side

Repeat the same on the fine side

Once you’ve scraped off the excess metal using the coarse side, you can turn the whetstone to the fine grain side to sharpen it perfectly. Again, run both sides of the knife the same number of times across the fine grain side.

Testing the knife

Testing the knife

You can then test the knife by cutting into a fruit or vegetable. Don’t test it with your finger, as you may bruise or cut yourself.

Note: For fancy knives such as the sashimi knife or the japanese knife, you’ll have to search the proper grind procedure.


If you have a knife collection for your kitchen, then a whetstone can be a great gear, as it enables you to sharpen many types of knives with complete ease. Whenever you need to sharpen your knife, you can pull out the whetstone and run the knife across both the sides until you get the desired result.


Q. Is a whetstone better than a sharpener?
A. When it comes to results, yes. Whetstone provides better sharpness to your knives. However, you need to get used to using a whetstone to sharpen your knives. There is a bit of a learning curve to it.

Q. How long should you soak a whetstone?
A. You can soak it in water for 5-15 minutes before using it. However, ensure that you keep the stone on a non-slip surface like a towel so that it doesn’t slip while you sharpen the knife.

Q. How many times should I sharpen a knife before purchasing a new one?
A. You should sharpen your knife every few months. And you should replace it after 1 to 2 years of use. If you don’t use it professionally, then the knife may last longer than 2 years.

Q. How long does it take to sharpen the knife using a whetstone?
A. It doesn’t take a lot of time. You need to soak the whetstone for 10 minutes, but after that, it only takes a few minutes to reach the desired level of sharpness for the knife.

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