Knife Sharpening Experts: Sharpening Stones


There are so many kinds of knife sharpeners out there.  It could be exciting just to select one.  You could use an electric grinder but that’s pretty major.  Only professional sharpeners should go there.  Maybe you’d like an electric sharpener, the ones where all you’ve got to do is just swipe the blade through.  Perhaps you’d like a sharpening guide system where you’ve got a sharpening stone and an angle guide combined.  Ever thought of a sharpener on a key chain?  Imagine that. 


Most sharpeners are designed with speed and ease in mind.  Most things are.  A basic sharpening stone is not.  Using a sharpening stone isn’t fast.  But it isn’t very slow, either.  Would you believe that it could be the fastest, the cheapest and the most dependable way to sharpen a knife’s edge? 


So what are the “many” advantages of using sharpening stones over everything else?  Let us count the ways:


▪  It could be the fastest way to sharpen because you’ll do it right there where you are.  You needn’t go anywhere or wait to have it done for you.


▪  It could be the cheapest because you won’t have to pay for services rendered.  No gas money spent dropping it off or picking it up.


▪  They’re more reliable than electric sharpeners.  You can take them practically anywhere and not be dependant on electric outlets.  You needn’t worry about weakening your edges by accidentally overheating them.  Best of all, you needn’t depend upon a machine to do it for you because you’ll be able to do it yourself. 


Special note:  There are high priced electric knife sharpeners out there that claim “never” to detemper you knife edges.  I can’t speak on the reliability of such claims.  Just be very cautious if you decide to use one.     


▪  Sharpening stones are more dependable than  automatic sharpeners.  You’ll be one skilled individual if you’re able to maintain the same sharpening angle for both sides of the edge each time you swipe the knife.  Maintaining the right position from tip to heel isn’t so easy.  If you haven’t mastered it, the edge may seem sharp initially, but you’ll need to swipe it again before you know it.


▪  Many sharpening stones come in compact sizes.  They could fit right in your hand.  An axe stone, for example, looks like a really fat cookie.  A very safe cookie.  Some rectangular stones are like a little thin bar of chocolate that comes in a box (anybody hungry?).  And most of us have seen tiny sharpening stones in a special pocket on a knife belt holster.  Don’t forget the ones on a key chain.  Talk about handy.  Sure isn’t so easy with most other types of knife sharpeners.



▪  And best of all, you can take sharpening stones practically anywhere you need to go, except maybe underwater or flying through the air.  Really almost anywhere.  (Outer space isn’t recommended.) 


If you do decide to pick up a sharpening stone, you’ll have some choices.  There are water stones, oil stones and diamond stones (don’t get any ideas).  Each kind having its own varieties available and each with its own set of advantages.  Whichever type you choose, sharpening stones usually come in two halves.  One half has a coarse grade that’ll get your blade’s edge good and sharp.  The other half has a much finer grade for refining that edge to razor-sharpness.  This is real good for kitchen knives.  Just one stone can easily take care of many, if not most, of your every day sharpening needs.  


The most recent addition to sharpening stones is the ceramic sharpening stone.  Many people aren’t even aware that they’re out there.  They are only meant to sharpen steel knives.  They are not meant to sharpen ceramic knives.  Because they are much harder than steel, be sure to sharpen your steel knives carefully.  Metal comes off the edge much faster than all other sharpening stones and so sharpening happens much faster.


Using a sharpening stone to sharpen a knife is still the most dependable and reliable way to sharpen your blade edge.  It’s very simple.  Very effective.  It could be the fastest, the most inexpensive way to sharpen knives.  When you know what you’re doing, you’ll save your knives, too.  Be very careful.


Len Q. is a master blade sharpener and an adventurer who strives to protect the natural world.  If you would like to learn more about


            ?  Knife Sharpening:  How to Sharpen Knives, Maintain and Store Them

            ?  Tests for Sharpness, Steeling, Stropping and more

            ?  Sharpening Other Edges

               (i.e. Chain Saws, Lawn Mower Blades, Gardening Tools, Axes)


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