In practiced hands, sharpening stones yield the keenest knife edges of any sharpening method. Each stone has a specific "grit" or level of coarseness to remove blade steel, shape, hone and even polish your edges into razor sharp condition. All it takes is a little reading and some practice, and in the long run your knives will thank you for it! If you have any questions about what type of stone is best for your needs, have a look at our helpful guide below. And of course you can also ask us at your local Kitchen Kapers store, or simply call Customer Service, at 800-455-5567.
What type of sharpening stone is right for you?
Natural and Synthetic Stones (oil or water)
Coarse stones in this range are very abrasive. Though these stones definitely have their place for repairing chips and/or reshaping an all-new edge, beginners should stay away until they have developed good technique with a medium-grit or finer stone. Also, owners of easy-sharpening carbon steel knives will want to take extra care because coarse-grit stones will aggressively strip away blade material. But a 220-300 grit stone is very useful if you need to establish a new edge on dulled stainless steel blades, particularly those harder-to-sharpen alloys containing molybdenum and vanadium. Additional stages of sharpening on one or more finer-grit stones will be required to smooth and finish the blade.
The Basic Sharpening range recommended for regular maintenance of many fine blades. 800-Grit stones make a better choice for some designer stainless steel alloys, particularly those with molybdenum and vanadium. But for carbon steel and high carbon steel stainless steel blades (or when in doubt), defer to a 1000-Grit stone.
1200-Grit stones are considered somewhat interchangeable with 1000-grit, but make a better choice for more traditional Japanese blade materials, such as softer types of carbon steel.
While the 2000-Grit stone is still considered a medium coarse stone, it will require significantly more work to achieve what a 1000-grit stone can do. But, since the smoother 2000-grit stone removes less material per pass, it can make an excellent choice for those few who prefer to sharpen their knives every day.
This is a broad range of fine-grit stones that are typically used for finishing. Many professionals feel that the 3000-grit stone is perfectly adequate for smoothing and refining an edge that balances sharpness and edge retention. Others consider the 3000-grit to be a good stepping stone to an additional stage of 6000-grit polishing, which yields an extremely fine edge and superior sharpness, though the edge will be more delicate.
Common use guidelines
Regular edge maintenance (weekly to monthly depending on use)- 1 or 2-stage sharpening using 1000-grit followed by an optional stage of 3000-grit
For a completely new edge (only when needed- edge is very dull and requires to be reshaped)- 3-stage sharpening of 300-grit, 1000-grit, 3000-grit
Diamond and Ceramic Sharpening "stones"
Natural and synthetic sharpening stones are hard enough to shape an edge, but they are actually not too much harder than the actual blade steel. Diamond-abrasive plate and advanced ceramic sharpening "stones", however, are much harder than steel. So you can expect them to grind away more blade material per pass, without wearing down. That can be good or bad, depending on the knife material, the condition of the edge, and the experience and skill of the individual using it. It should also be noted that the fast, aggressive performance is not so good at leaving a smooth or polished edge. These sharpeners will also typically cost more than natural or manufactured stones, but they can be expected to last much longer, and stay flatter. They also don't require oil or water lubricants.
Diamond and Ceramic Stones can be found in various grits, similar to the above specs. But because these materials are so much harder than steel, they feel and perform somewhat differently in use than traditional stones.