If you’re looking at these knife sharpeners and wondering how the heck you will use it, fear not! How To Make Sushi made a video that will explain how you can use a wetstone to bring your knife to razor sharp perfection! We explain what we learned from his video below.
First, you will need to soak your stone in a water bath for at least 15 minutes.
Next, you will want to level your stone. This is done by using a low grit stone to remove the dips and valleys in your high grit, sharpening stone. How To Make Sushi suggests penciling in a grid over the knife so you can see what areas have been leveled after you use your leveling stone. Keep on scrubbing until you remove the pencil grid.
Once you have leveled your stone, there are a couple of ways you can sharpen your knife.
When using the strict Japanese Style, push the blade over the stone straight forwards and straight backwards. Maintain the same angle at all times. Alternate sections of the blade so that the whole knife gets sharpened.
When using Western Style, you will slide the knife while moving it over the stone so that each section gets sharpened. Start with the bottom of your knife touching the top of the stone. When you pull back, slowly slide the knife to the side so that the top of the knife is touching the bottom of the stone when you are done. Then push forward to your starting position and repeat.
Whichever style you use, How To Make Sushi has a few tips.
How To Make Sushi suggest having a low grit stone between 1000 and 2000 grit and a high grit stone between 7000 and 10,000 grit.
He recommends an angle of 10 degrees while sharpening. You can achieve this by putting the knife flat on the stone and then lifting until the back of the blade is about half a thumb above the stone. This angle is meant for kitchen knives however. If you are sharpening an axe blade, you will want to have an angle of 30 degrees, or just over a full thumb. If you are looking for a knife for general use, you will want a 15 to 20 degree angle, or just over half a thumb.
You have to be careful in how you move the blade. When moving the blade forward, relax and let it run on the stone. When moving the blade backwards, push lightly into it, but now too hard.
If you want an extremely sharp knife, you will want to continue sharpening your blade for around ten minutes, flip it, and then sharpen the other side. Then, you will want to repeat this process two more times. Most people can get away with less time than this, however. Ten minutes on each side should be plenty. Your knife won’t be quite as sharp, but most people don’t need this level of sharpness. If you want extreme sharpness however, go for it!
The blade tip will be the most difficult part and is the most difficult to describe. You will need to lift the blade handle slightly to maintain the correct angle. The best way to learn how to do this is to watch someone doing it. How To Make Sushi explains this in more detail in his video at the 5 minute point. The video is linked below if you want to view it.
High Grit Stone
Finally, if you want to achieve true razor sharpness, you will want to repeat the entire process on the higher grit stone.