Best Knife Sharpening Stones
Every professional chef, outdoorsman, or home cook knows the importance of a sharp knife. A dull knife can be frustrating, inefficient, and even dangerous to use. To maintain the razor-sharp edge of your knives, you need a high-quality knife sharpening stone. With countless options available in the market, choosing the best stone can be challenging. In this article, we will explore the top knife sharpening stones that cater to different needs and preferences.
- Types of Sharpening Stones
- Diamond Stones
- Ceramic Stones
- Bench Stones vs. Pocket Stones
- Why You Should Buy A Diamond Stone
- Avoid Complicated Sharpening Systems
- Best Portable Diamond Stones For Emergency Bags
- Best Diamond Bench Stones For Home Supplies
Types of Sharpening Stones
Whetstones, also known as water stones, are perhaps the most common type of knife sharpening stone. They are available in various grits, ranging from coarse to ultra-fine. When using a whetstone, it’s essential to soak it in water before use to create a slurry that aids in the sharpening process.
Top pick: King KW65 Combination Whetstone
This Japanese-made whetstone offers a 1000-grit side for regular sharpening and a 6000-grit side for polishing. The King KW65 is an excellent choice for those who want a versatile, affordable, and efficient sharpening stone.
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Oilstones, as the name suggests, require the use of oil as a lubricant. They are typically made from materials like aluminum oxide, silicon carbide, or Arkansas stone. Oilstones are generally slower at sharpening than whetstones but are known for their durability and ability to create a smooth, polished edge.
Top pick: Norton Abrasives IM313 Multi-Oilstone System
The Norton IM313 system includes three oilstones in one convenient package: a coarse Crystolon stone, a medium India stone, and a fine Arkansas stone. This system caters to a wide range of sharpening needs and offers long-lasting performance.
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Diamond stones are made with a layer of industrial diamonds embedded in a metal plate. They offer rapid sharpening and are perfect for those who need to sharpen their knives frequently or require a quick touch-up. Diamond stones can be used dry, with water, or with specialized diamond stone lubricants.
Top pick: DMT Diamond Whetstone Bench Stone Set
The DMT set comes with three diamond stones in different grits: coarse, fine, and extra-fine. The high-quality diamond surfaces allow for efficient sharpening, and the durable construction ensures that these stones will last for years.
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Ceramic stones are known for their hardness and fine grits, making them ideal for honing and polishing a knife’s edge. They are less aggressive in removing material, so they’re best used for maintaining an already sharp edge rather than restoring a dull one.
Top pick: Spyderco Bench Stone
The Spyderco Bench Stone is a popular choice for those looking for a high-quality ceramic stone. It’s available in medium, fine, and ultra-fine grits, allowing you to choose the best option for your sharpening needs.
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Bench Stones vs. Pocket Stones
There are two primary types of stones used for sharpening: bench stones and pocket stones. These stones differ mainly in terms of their size and how they are held or moved during the sharpening process.
When it comes to size, there is a noticeable distinction between bench stones and pocket stones. Bench stones are designed to be used on a flat surface, such as a workbench, while pocket stones are compact and portable, making them suitable for carrying in a sheath or a bug out bag.
During sharpening, bench stones remain stationary while you swipe the blade across their surface. On the other hand, pocket stones allow for a similar technique, although with larger blades like axes, it can sometimes be more convenient to hold the blade steady and move the stone across the edge.
By understanding the differences between bench stones and pocket stones, you can choose the option that best suits your needs for sharpening various types of blades.
Why You Should Buy A Diamond Stone
Japanese water stones have long been favored by professional knife sharpeners and chefs for achieving the utmost precision in blade sharpening, while Arkansas stones have garnered the loyalty of hunters and outdoorsmen.
However, when it comes to the realm of prepping and sharpening, there exists an indisputable consensus – diamond stones outperform all other alternatives without a doubt.
Diamond stones, also known as diamond plates, possess a unique composition wherein minute industrial diamonds are embedded within a metallic substrate. This amalgamation of diamond and metal offers numerous advantages over natural stones:
- Unparalleled Longevity: Premium diamond stones, such as those crafted by top-tier manufacturers like DMT, boast monocrystalline diamonds that retain their integrity indefinitely. In stark contrast, natural stones wear unevenly and necessitate periodic “re-truing” by rubbing them against a diamond stone.
- Swift Cutting Action: The inherent property of diamond allows for swift and efficient cutting, resulting in reduced sharpening time. With diamond stones, you can achieve optimal sharpness in a fraction of the time compared to other options.
- Dry Usage and Easy Maintenance: Unlike some alternatives, diamond stones do not require the use of water or oil during sharpening. They can be utilized in a dry state and easily wiped clean afterward, streamlining the sharpening process.
- Remarkable Durability: Diamond stones exhibit exceptional durability, rendering them practically indestructible. Concerns regarding cracking or chipping are virtually non-existent, providing users with peace of mind and long-lasting performance.
Considering these compelling factors, it becomes evident that diamond stones become an invaluable companion for preppers. While natural stones possess their merits, they often lack practicality in a prepping context, unless one possesses extraordinary skill with their chosen stone and is willing to carry it into any disaster, regardless of potential drawbacks.
The indisputable advantages of diamond stones lie in their unrivaled longevity, swift cutting capability, dry usage convenience, and exceptional durability. For individuals engaged in prepping activities, diamond stones prove to be the ultimate tool of choice. While natural stones have their merits, they may not be as suitable for prepping unless wielded by highly skilled individuals who are willing to embrace their associated limitations in challenging scenarios.
Avoid Complicated Sharpening Systems
In the vast landscape of sharpening tools, numerous “sharpening systems” have emerged, featuring a combination of diamond stones or rods along with edge guides. These guides serve the purpose of maintaining a consistent edge angle while working the blade across the sharpening medium.
While some of these systems prove to be highly effective, allowing users to achieve a sharp edge with minimal practice, it is crucial for preppers to consider the practicality of carrying a full kit of guides and rods during a bug out scenario. Therefore, it becomes essential for preppers to acquire the skill of free-hand sharpening. As a result, this guide focuses exclusively on free-hand sharpening techniques, as we assume that preppers will rely on this method.
By mastering the art of free-hand sharpening, preppers gain the advantage of sharpening their blades without the need for additional tools or equipment. This self-sufficiency becomes paramount in emergency situations where resources and space are limited. It allows preppers to adapt and sharpen their blades using readily available sharpening stones, ensuring the ability to maintain optimal blade performance regardless of the circumstances.
While sharpening systems can be beneficial for individuals seeking a quick and efficient sharpening process, they may not be the most viable option for preppers. Embracing free-hand sharpening empowers preppers to develop a versatile skill set, enabling them to maintain their blades effectively, even in the absence of specialized guides or rods.
Preppers should consider the practicality of carrying elaborate sharpening systems during a bug out scenario. Instead, investing time in mastering the technique of free-hand sharpening proves to be invaluable. This guide is dedicated to providing insights and instructions for preppers who are eager to enhance their free-hand sharpening skills, enabling them to adapt and sharpen their blades effectively in any situation.
Best Portable Diamond Stones For Emergency Bags
The Fallkniven DC3, priced at $15, is considered the go-to sharpening stone for preppers who require a compact and portable option. This stone is so popular that many aftermarket sheaths are designed to fit its dimensions. With two sides available, the diamond-impregnated metal side is ideal for aggressive metal removal, while the ceramic side is perfect for edge straightening and finishing work.
For those who require a larger stone, the Fallkniven DC4, priced at $22, is the next size up and offers a longer and wider sharpening surface than the DC3. If you can obtain a custom sheath and pouch for the DC4, it may be worth the extra cost as it is only marginally more expensive than the DC3, but provides more flexibility when sharpening larger blades.
For a versatile and portable sharpening kit, the $25 DMT DiaSharp set is an excellent option. With the credit-card-sized fine grit card, you can polish the back of the card to create a signaling mirror, making it ideal for double duty. The other cards in the set offer different grits and provide numerous sharpening options in a compact package.
Best Diamond Bench Stones For Home Supplies
The DMT DuoSharp Diamond Stone is a favorite among sharpening enthusiasts, with the 10-inch version priced at $110 and the 8-inch version at $80. These two-sided stones are flat and labeled “fine” and “extra fine” on each side, with a holder included.
They have been a go-to for over 30 years and are considered the gold standard for anything non-serrated that needs sharpening. While the larger 10-inch stone offers a greater surface area for larger blades such as axes and kitchen cutters, the 8-inch version is a practical option for those who don’t require a larger size. Swappable stones are available for complete sharpening solutions, with the Fine and Extra Fine stones being sufficient for most needs.
However, the $125 DMT Coarse/Extra Coarse stone is recommended for reshaping an edge or fixing serious blade damage, and the $115 DMT Fine/Coarse stone offers maximum flexibility with its coarse and fine profile on one stone.
A word of caution is given for using a coarse diamond stone, as it requires proper sharpening skills and technique to avoid ruining the blade.
When it comes to knife sharpening stones, there’s no one-size-fits-all solution. Your choice will depend on your needs, preferences, and budget. Consider the type of stone, grit size, and maintenance requirements when making your decision. With the right sharpening stone, you’ll be able to maintain the razor-sharp edge of your knives, making your culinary adventures more enjoyable and efficient.