Keeping your blades sharp is crucial because a dull knife won’t cut properly. How long does it take to sharpen a knife on a whetstone? If you’re new to this style of knife sharpening, it may take a few tries before you get into the flow of sharpening. Nevertheless, it is a very zen activity with repetitive movement and sound. Learning to use a whetstone is a skill every knife owner should develop. Sure, you can take your knives to a pro shop, but it is much less expensive to do it yourself. Most importantly, you won’t need to wait when you need a sharp knife. It won’t matter if the shop is closed because you’ll always have the blade you need ready to go. I learned to sharpen my knives on a whetstone years ago, and I’m happy to share everything I’ve learned so you can too. Soon you’ll be sharpening like a pro.
How long does it take to sharpen a knife on a whetstone? It will take you thirty to forty-five minutes to fully sharpen a knife on a whetstone. By maintaining your blades and giving them a quick sharpening after each use, you can cut the time down significantly. Ensure that you store knives properly to prevent blade edge damage, and you won’t need to spend that long sharpening your knives very often.
How Long Should It Typically Take To Sharpen A Knife
A knife you use regularly is going to need sharpening more frequently. As a result, how long it takes to sharpen a knife you use daily on a whetstone is less than other blades. A factory-shipped dull blade will take a while longer, and a new, completely unsharpened knife will take the longest.
When you use your knife daily, assuming proper maintenance and a good whetstone, it takes a few moments to sharpen. You can expect to spend five to ten minutes on your regular knives. Hooning out a chip will take longer, but generally, sharpening is quick.
Factory dull blades are shipped this way on purpose. Leaving the edge off prevents shipping damage, and you will encounter this often if you buy a lot of knives. New knives take thirty to forty-five minutes to sharpen properly.
If you were to make a blade from scratch or buy an unsharpened blade from a blacksmith, it would take even longer. Anticipate the need to sharpen a completely dull blade for about an hour. However, it could take longer if, for example, you are sharpening a serrated edge.
Moreover, a longer blade requires a longer stroke, which uses more time. It won’t seem like much at first, but longer knives will always take longer since every pass increases the sharpening time by a fraction of a second. You’ll be making hundreds or even thousands of passes, so it adds up.
It is important to have a sturdy base for your whetstone so you can get even strokes. This will reduce both the time it takes and the chance of accidents. If you cannot find your base or lose it, a vice or even two larger stones can help you hold the whetstone firmly in place.
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How Long Should You Soak A Whetstone Before Using It
Some people make the mistake of pouring water over a whetstone. This will dramatically increase how long it takes to sharpen a knife. More importantly, it’s not how they work.
You can use a whetstone completely dry. However, that is not the recommended operation. Instead, place your whetstone fully submerged in water for five minutes or longer. Some stones recommend as much as fifteen minutes. Always follow manufacturer directions if they are provided.
Coarser stones may require longer soaking times. Ten minutes is standard. For stones with more than one grain on them, always soak for the coarsest side as more water will not hurt the finer grit.
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Is 1000 Grit Whetstone Enough To Sharpen Most Knives
Using a single grit whetstone is never the best option. Assuming the grit is fine enough to give a finished edge in the first place, it will take you longer to sharpen your knife with a one-grit whetstone. Instead of choosing ‘just’ a one-thousand grit, or ‘just’ an eight hundred, opt for multisided whetstones.
The best basic knife sharpening whetstone kits come with at least a two-grit stone and a solid base to hold it. However, if you plan to share your own knives, you will ultimately need a more versatile kit. Any grit below a thousand is only good for removing burrs and giving knives a rough shape.
Work your way up from one to two thousand or higher for a polished, sharp finish. Most whetstone kits come with a lower grade, such as seven to nine hundred on one side and a finer option on the reverse. Four or even six grits are better. Work from the smallest number to the largest in turn.
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How Many Times Should You Use A Whetstone
You should sharpen your knife at least once per week if you use it regularly. Once you’re in the habit, it won’t take long to sharpen a maintained knife on your whetstone. Some blades may need more or less sharpening.
For professional chefs or long-term knife-using projects, you may need to sharpen daily instead of weekly. Likewise, a knife made from brittle metal will also need more frequent sharpening. While you generally don’t want to use the whetstone more than once a day per knife, it’s okay if the blade genuinely needs it. Too much sharpening will wear your knife down, and you should never sharpen an already sharp knife.
The specific number of strokes will vary depending on how dull or damage the knife is when you begin. As for the working life of your whetstone, you can use it, with reasonable leveling for years. A larger, high-quality whetstone can last decades.
A Loveeta Sharpening Stone from Amazon will keep all your knives in great shape. The handcrafted bamboo base and silicone holder help prevent accidents while you sharpen. The high-grade corundum comes in four different grits to hone and sharpen all knife styles. Plus, the angle guide and leveling stone will ensure your blades get the best sharpening possible. Have a Loveeta shipped to your door quickly when you click right here.
When To Level Your Whetstone
Over time your knives will start to wear a groove in your whetstone. Higher sides will leave you with round-edged knives. Naturally, accidents can happen as well, and the stone may not look as smooth as the day you bought it. That is a bad sign but also easily remedied.
If you notice it takes longer to sharpen your knives, level your whetstone. Likewise, if you can see anything other than a smooth-yet-grainy flat surface, it is also time for leveling. When in doubt, check with a level just as you would for any other surface.
Using a standard flattening plate, you can spend ten to fifteen seconds leveling your whetstone before each use. When the curvature or groove is too great, use a flat surface with an attached piece of same-grit sandpaper to sand the stone down to a freshly flattened face again. I suggest self-adhesive sandpaper and a smooth piece of flat glass. Don’t forget to flatten your leveling plate occasionally as well.
How To Sharpen A Knife With Oil Stone
Using an oil stone is slightly different from using a whetstone, though it should take just about as long. You gain some time because you don’t need to pre-soak an oil stone. Follow the steps below to use an oil stone.
- Get a hand towel or kitchen towel and dampen it. You will want to lay this out underneath your oil stone to prevent messes and slippage.
- Oil stones have three sides, coarse, medium, and fine. You will always start with coarse and work your way to fine.
- You will need about two teaspoons of oil per side. You can use more if the stone begins to dry out, but only oil the side you are working with at the time. I recommend mineral oil as it will not go rancid the way cooking oil can.
- Once your working side is lubricated, place your knife at the correct angle. To find a twenty-two-degree angle, place your blade exactly upright, then cut that angle in half to get forty-five. Half again will get you a twenty-two and a half degree angle. You can adjust down from there as needed.
- Make ten to thirty strokes per side before alternating. Repeat as necessary before moving on to the next grain until you have a sharp knife.
This stone style is typically recommended for German knives, but it works just as well for other styles. I prefer the less messy and more precise whetstone blocks because they offer a sharp, polished, professional-looking finish.
A dull knife isn’t just difficult to use. It is dangerous. Regardless of how long it takes to sharpen your knife on a whetstone, it is always worth the time. Keeping your knives sharp will prevent damage to what you cut and make sharper slices.
Cutting your finger is never good. However, cutting yourself with a dull blade does a lot more damage because it is tearing rather than separating cleanly. Have you ever noticed how a razor or papercut doesn’t hurt right away? That is because they are efficient and didn’t do additional damage while slicing through.
Sharpening your own knives on a whetstone is deeply satisfying. Best of all, you don’t need to sharpen good knives very often, especially when you maintain them properly.