Sharpening Whetstone Grits Explained
A whetstone, also known as a sharpening stone, is a tool used to sharpen the edge of a knife or other blade. Whetstones come in a variety of grits, which refers to the size of the abrasive particles on the stone. The grit of a whetstone determines how aggressively it will sharpen the blade, with higher grit stones being less abrasive and lower grit stones being more abrasive.
Here's a general guide on how to use different grits of whetstones:
Coarse grit stones: Coarse grit stones, typically in the range of 80-200 grit, are used for heavily damaged or very dull blades. They remove a lot of material from the blade and are great for reshaping or repairing a damaged edge. To use a coarse grit stone, start by soaking the stone in water for at least 10 minutes. Then, hold the blade at a 20-degree angle and draw it across the stone in a back and forth motion, applying even pressure as you go. Repeat this process until you've sharpened the entire length of the blade.
Medium grit stones: Medium grit stones, typically in the range of 400-800 grit, are used for general sharpening and refining the edge of a blade. They remove less material than coarse grit stones and are great for maintaining the edge of a knife. To use a medium grit stone, follow the same process as with a coarse grit stone, but use less pressure and make fewer passes over the blade.
Fine grit stones: Fine grit stones, typically in the range of 1000-3000 grit, are used for polishing and refining the edge of a blade. They remove very little material and are great for giving the blade a mirror finish. To use a fine grit stone, follow the same process as with a medium grit stone, but use even less pressure and make even fewer passes over the blade.
Ultra-fine grit stones: Ultra-fine grit stones, typically in the range of 8000-12000 grit, are used for polishing and finishing the edge of a blade. They remove almost no material and are great for giving the blade a super-sharp edge. To use an ultra-fine grit stone, follow the same process as with a fine grit stone, but use even less pressure and make even fewer passes over the blade.
By using different grits of whetstones, you can achieve a wide range of sharpness levels on your knife. Whether you're looking to repair a damaged edge, maintain a sharp edge, or give your blade a mirror finish, there's a grit of whetstone that's right for you. With a little practice, you'll be able to sharpen your knife like a pro in no time.
For a detailed guide with everything you need to know about (Japanese) kitchen knives read our ultimate kitchen knife guide here.