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There are lots of different sharpening stones available on the market. It can be quite daunting knowing the best or the right one to choose. In reality, sharpening a knife on a stone is fairly simple and common to most types of sharpening stones out there. 

These are the main points to consider.

Using alternating strokes, you sharpen one side and do exactly the same to the other side.

Make sure you angle the blade correctly to the bevel that is on there already, keep the pressure and movements constant.

Whilst you are sharpening the blade, do look where your hands and fingers are, to avoid any accidents.

Sharpening Stone Technique

Make sure you are in a comfortable position, you will be there for a little while. Think ahead is the key and place your stone on a flat, steady surface. Have all the items you need within reach. If you are outside and need to sharpen your knife, the same principles apply, for a flat surface you may find a stump or log to use, make sure it does not move though. Always work at a comfortable height as well, if you are bending or over reaching, it could cause an accident, i.e. slip of the knife.


You may read on the web or watch videos to learn how to sharpen a knife, do watch a few, as techniques may vary. Start with the coarse grit of the stone you are using and place the blade edge on the surface of the stone so that the very edge is touching the stone. Do see what grind you blade has, so you know which angle to use to sharpen. There is a little tip to check the angle of the blade, if there is a little gap between the blade and the stone, you would need to adjust so it is flush. Check your angle as you don't want to take too much metal off your knife and possibly make it dull and blunt.  


Now you have the correct angle, you are ready to start. Start at one end of the stone and finish at the other end. Moving you blade across the whole length of the stone. You don't need to press too hard, but not too softly either, think that you need to skim the surface of the stone. As the move the blade, you may need to angle the end of the knife slightly, this is done by lifting the handle, as most blades made for the outdoors have a curve near the tip.

This will need practice, and after a while, it will get easier.

When you have done one side, turn the blade over and repeat on the other side. Take your time and watch where your hands and fingers are. If you need to wet or oil your stone, please do so, as this will make it easier to sharpen the blade. Once you feel that you have the edge you need, swap the stone for a higher grit and repeat.

Sharpening  a knife on a whetstone
Sharpening  a knife on a whetstone
Sharpening  a knife on a whetstone

Polishing and Stropping

Now you should have a sharp blade, after using the right grits of stone, you would have noticed that the blade will start to shine more as you where sharpening. This is where you would finish off by using a strop, normally it is leather. This finishes the sharpening by removing a slight burrs made during the sharpening on the stones. But does not grind the blade down any more. Get yourself a polishing compound and sparingly apply to the leather, the leather would be best to be fixed somewhere, so it doesn't move, like on a board or tied at both ends. Normally I would strop a blade ten times for each one time on the stone. So if you used seven passes on the stone, it would be seventy passes on the strop, But a good fifty to a hundreds times would be ok. Always drag the blade on the strop, never push, as you may cut the strop. Keep the angle constant as well, the same as you did it on the stone, as you wouldn't want to blunt the blade at the end of all your hard work. 


Don't forget to give the knife a little wipe over with some oil, this is to look after it. Also to stop it from corroding or rusting, depending on the type of blade it is. Make sure you use an oil that would not go rancid. Mineral oil is good, you can get some good types online. Also don't use too much, you don't want it dripping when you put it away.

using a leather strop
using a leather strop

Testing the sharpness of the edge will be a good idea. I find using the fingernail test a good option. You can also use a piece of A4 paper and slice it as well.

Electric Sharpener

It sharpens like a dream, not only does it give a great edge on the knives, it sharpens tools as well. It is good to strop the knife after as well. Not saying that you should rush out and get one, but it may be an investment in the future. Just something to consider for later on. Here is a link to a short demo;  Work Sharp this will give you a general idea on how to use it.

worksharp electric sharpener
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