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How to Sharpen a Knife and with which Whetstones (For Beginners)

March 06, 2024

How to Sharpen a Knife and with which Whetstones (For Beginners)

Sharpening a knife efficiently and effectively is a skill that enhances the performance and longevity of your cutlery. Whether you're a professional chef or a home cook, understanding how to sharpen a knife using a whetstone, also known as a sharpening stone or wet stone, is crucial. 

In this guide, we will explore various techniques and tips on how to sharpen a knife with a stone, focusing on the use of Japanese Whetstones from JCK, a premium retailer with vast amounts of high end Japanese Chef Knives.

In this comprehensive guide, we'll delve into the specifics of our diverse range of whetstones, designed to cater to the needs of everyone from beginners to seasoned experts. We'll cover Whetstones with different grits #1000/#4000, #400/#1200, #2000, #6000/#10000, #8000, #6000, explain each of these whetstones unique features and benefits, write their in-depth review, highlight their key features, ideal uses, and practical tips for achieving the best results.

Best Whetstone List

  1. JCK Special Combination Whetstone #1000/#4000 Grit
  2. JCK Special Combination Whetstone #400/#1200 Grit
  3. JCK Special Whetstone #2000 Grit
  4. JCK Special Combination Whetstone #6000/#10000 Grit
  5. Super-Fine #8000 Grit Whetstone
  6. Super-Fine #6000 Grit Whetstone

Best WhetStone Comparison Table

JCK offers a range of high-quality Japanese whetstones, each designed for specific sharpening needs. To help you choose the best whetstone for your knife, here is a comparison table outlining the key features and ideal uses for each whetstone in their collection.


Whetstone

Price

Grit

Ideal For

Features

Usage Tips

JCK Special Combination Whetstone

$65.00 US

#1000 / #4000

General-purpose sharpening, touching up during long kitchen sessions

Two-in-one medium and fine grits, does not require soaking, includes non-slip rubber pad

Use #1000 for sharpening in general, and #4000 for a more precise and detailed edge. No need to soak; wet surface before use.

JCK Special Combination Whetstone

$65.00 US

#400 / #1200

Repairing small chips, thinning blades, correcting blade geometry

Coarse and medium grits, powerful grinding force, includes non-slip rubber pad

Soak for approximately 10 minutes before use. Use #400 for correcting the blade geometry and blade maintenance, #1200 for daily sharpening or/and general.

JCK Special Whetstone

$65.00 US

#2000

Advanced users who occasionally sharpen their knives, those preferring sharp edges for meat and fish

Versatile, can be used alone or between Nakato and Shiageto, includes non-slip rubber pad

Soak for approximately 10 minutes before use. Suitable for entire sharpening process or between grits transition. Using #1000 grit before and using #4000 grit after has proven to be a very effective process allowing us to maintain a very sharp edge.****

JCK Super-fine Whetstone

$78.00 US

#6000

Achieving a precise, well-refined edge for everyday cutting tasks

Includes natural whetstone powder for a smooth and natural sharpening process, attached to a wooden base, includes Nagura dressing stone

No need to soak; wet surface before use. Ideal as a final finishing stone.

JCK Super-fine Whetstone

$86.00 US

#8000

Finely polished blades, precise and highly refined edges

High-quality powdered alumina for fine polish, includes Nagura dressing stone, attached to a wooden base

No need to soak; wet surface before use. Ideal for special cutting tasks requiring extra sharpness.

JCK Ultra-fine Special Combination Whetstone

$108.00 US

#6000 / #10000

Professionals and advanced users desiring a beautifully finished and perfectly refined edge

Super-fine and ultra-fine grits for precise and polished edges, includes non-slip rubber pad

No need to soak; wet surface before use. Ideal for supreme sharpness and finishing.


WhetStone Reviews

1. JCK Special Combination Whetstone #1000 / #4000 Grit

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Price: $65.00 US


This two-in-one whetstone is a versatile and practical tool for both home cooks and professional chefs. The #1000 grit side provides a medium abrasive for sharpening in general, while the #4000 grit side offers a finer abrasive for making a more precised and detailed edge. Its compact size and non-slip rubber pad make it convenient for limited spaces and travel. This whetstone stands out for its ease of use, as it doesn't require soaking and can be used immediately after wetting.

Key Features:

  • Dual grits for general and fine tune sharpening
  • High-quality abrasives for effective sharpening
  • No soaking required, easy to use
  • 2. JCK Special Combination Whetstone #400 / #1200 Grit

    others-accessories-jck-special-combination-whetstone-400-1200-grit-43012535484699_grandeothers-accessories-jck-special-combination-whetstone-400-1200-grit-43012535517467_grande

    Price: $65.00 US


    Designed for more intensive blade maintenance, this whetstone features a coarse #400 grit side for repairing small chips and reshaping blade geometry, and a medium #1200 grit side for daily use and sharpening in general.

     

    . It's ideal for those looking to maintain their knives in original condition or customize blade geometry. The whetstone requires soaking for about 10 minutes before use and comes with a non-slip rubber pad for stability.

    Key Features:

  • Coarse and medium grits for blade maintenance and refinement
  • Powerful grinding force for various blade types
  • Soaking required for optimal performance
  • 3. JCK Special Whetstone #2000 Grit

    others-accessories-jck-special-whetstone-2000-grit-43012645880091_grandeothers-accessories-jck-special-whetstone-2000-grit-43012645552411_grande

    Price: $65.00 US


    This #2000 grit whetstone is specially designed for advanced users who require a sharper edge for precise cutting tasks, such as slicing meat and fish. It can be used alone for the entire sharpening process or between Nakato and Shiageto for smoother transitions. Soak the whetstone for about 10 minutes before use to achieve the best results.

    Key Features:

  • Versatile usage for maintaining a sharp edge
  • Ideal for advanced sharpening needs
  • Soak before use for efficient sharpening
  • 4. JCK Super-fine Whetstone #6000 Grit

    others-accessories-super-fine-6000-grit-whetstone-43012562780443_grandeothers-accessories-super-fine-6000-grit-whetstone-43012562714907_grande

    Price: $78.00 US


    This super-fine #6000 grit whetstone, including natural whetstone powder, is perfect as a final finishing stone. It produces a precise, well-refined edge suitable for a variety of cutting tasks. The whetstone comes with a Nagura dressing stone and a sturdy wooden base. It does not require soaking and can be used immediately after wetting.

    Key Features:

  • Super-fine grit for a well-refined edge
  • Includes Nagura dressing stone for surface maintenance
  • No soaking required, immediate use
  • 5. JCK Super-fine Whetstone #8000 Grit

    others-accessories-super-fine-8000-grit-whetstone-43012581294363_grandeothers-accessories-super-fine-8000-grit-whetstone-43012581130523_grande

    Price: $86.00 US


    Ideal for achieving an extra sharp and finely polished blade edge, this #8000 grit whetstone is made with high-quality powdered alumina. It's recommended as a final finishing stone for special cutting tasks. The whetstone includes a Nagura dressing stone and a wooden base, and like the #6000 grit whetstone, it does not require soaking.

    Key Features:

  • Produces a very refined and polished edge
  • High-quality alumina for smooth cutting
  • Includes Nagura dressing stone, no soaking needed
  • 6. JCK Ultra-fine Special Combination Whetstone #6000 / #10000 Grit

    others-accessories-jck-special-combination-whetstone-6000-10000-grit-43012606820635_grandeothers-accessories-jck-special-combination-whetstone-6000-10000-grit-43012606886171_grande

    Price: $108.00 US


    This ultra-fine grit combination whetstone is perfect for professionals and advanced users seeking a beautifully finished and perfectly refined edge. The #6000 grit side provides a well-refined edge for everyday tasks, while the #10000 grit side offers a beautifully polished, supremely sharp edge. The whetstone does not require soaking and is equipped with a non-slip rubber pad.

    Key Features:

  • Super-fine and ultra-fine grits for professional-level sharpening
  • Ideal for achieving supreme sharpness and finishing
  • No soaking necessary, convenient to use
  • Each JCK whetstone has been carefully crafted to meet specific sharpening needs, ensuring that every knife owner can find the perfect tool for maintaining their blades. Whether you're a beginner or a seasoned chef, JCK's range of whetstones offers quality, versatility, and convenience for all your sharpening requirements.


    Sharpening a Knife: A Step-by-Step Guide

    Preparing Your Whetstone

    Before you start sharpening your knife, prepare your whetstone. Some JCK whetstones, like the Special Combination Whetstone, don't require soaking and can be used immediately after wetting their surface. Others, such as the #400/#1200 and #2000 grit whetstones, need to be soaked in water for about 10 minutes before use. Always ensure your whetstone is securely placed on a non-slip surface to avoid accidents.

    Sharpening with Arato (Coarse Grit #200-#800)

    Start with an Arato if your knife is very dull or damaged. This coarse grit whetstone is great for repairing chips and creating a new edge angle. Maintain a 10° to 15° angle between the blade and the whetstone, gently pushing the knife across the stone in smooth strokes. Check for small burrs (edge curvatures) after several strokes.

    Progressing to Nakato (Medium Grit #800-#2000)

    The Nakato knife is used for sharpening most of Japanese knives. After sharpening the edge with Arato(If your knife needed to be sharpened with Arato first), switch to Nakato to refine the edge further. The same sharpening technique applies, but you'll notice the edge becoming sharper and more defined.

    Finishing with Shiageto (Fine Grit Whetstones #3000- #10,000)

    Finally, use a Shiageto for a super sharp and precise edge. This fine grit whetstone polishes and perfects the blade, ensuring a high-quality finish. After sharpening, remove burrs by gently stroking the blade on a newspaper.

    Cleaning and Storing Your Knife and Whetstone

    After sharpening, clean your knife and whetstone with water, and dry them with a soft cloth. Store your whetstone in a cool, well-ventilated area, away from direct sunlight and heat.

    Choosing the Right Whetstone

    When selecting a whetstone, consider your specific needs. JCK offers a variety of grit combinations, each designed for different sharpening tasks. Their range includes:

    • JCK Special Combination Whetstone #1000/#4000 Grit: Ideal for daily use and touch-ups.
    • JCK Special Combination Whetstone #400/#1200 Grit: Perfect for blade maintenance and geometry correction.
    • JCK Special Whetstone #2000 Grit: Great for an easier and more efficient sharpening experience, especially for meat and fish cutting.
    • Super-fine #6000 and #8000 Grit Whetstones: Excellent for final finishing and achieving a highly refined edge.
    • Ultra-fine Grit JCK Special Combination Whetstone #6000/#10000: An ideal choice for professionals seeking a precise and beautifully finished edge.

    Conclusion

    Sharpening a knife with a whetstone might seem daunting at first, but with practice and the right tools, it becomes an enjoyable and rewarding process. The key is to choose the right grit and follow the proper techniques. By incorporating these methods into your routine, you can ensure your knives remain sharp, efficient, and ready for any culinary challenge.

     

    Best Whetstone List Again

     

    1. JCK Special Combination Whetstone #1000/#4000 Grit
    2. JCK Special Combination Whetstone #400/#1200 Grit
    3. JCK Special Whetstone #2000 Grit
    4. JCK Special Combination Whetstone #6000/#10000 Grit
    5. Super-Fine #8000 Grit Whetstone
    6. Super-Fine #6000 Grit Whetstone

     

    Comparison Table Again


    Whetstone

    Price

    Grit

    Ideal For

    Features

    Usage Tips

    JCK Special Combination Whetstone

    $65.00 US

    #1000 / #4000

    General-purpose sharpening, touching up during long kitchen sessions

    Two-in-one medium and fine grits, does not require soaking, includes non-slip rubber pad

    Use #1000 for sharpening in general, and #4000 for a more precise and detailed edge. No need to soak; wet surface before use.

    JCK Special Combination Whetstone

    $65.00 US

    #400 / #1200

    Repairing small chips, thinning blades, correcting blade geometry

    Coarse and medium grits, powerful grinding force, includes non-slip rubber pad

    Soak for approximately 10 minutes before use. Use #400 for rough sharpening and blade maintenance, #1200 for daily sharpening or/and general.

    JCK Special Whetstone

    $65.00 US

    #2000

    Advanced users who occasionally sharpen their knives, those preferring sharp edges for meat and fish. 

    Versatile, can be used alone or between Nakato and Shiageto, includes non-slip rubber pad

    Soak for approximately 10 minutes before use. Suitable for entire sharpening process or between grits transition. Using #1000 grit before and using #4000 grit after has proven to be a very effective process allowing us to maintain a very sharp edge.****

    JCK Super-fine Whetstone

    $78.00 US

    #6000

    Achieving a precise, well-refined edge for everyday cutting tasks

    Includes natural whetstone powder for a smooth and natural sharpening process, attached to a wooden base, includes Nagura dressing stone

    No need to soak; wet surface before use. Ideal as a final finishing stone.

    JCK Super-fine Whetstone

    $86.00 US

    #8000

    Finely polished blades, precise and highly refined edges

    High-quality powdered alumina for fine polish, includes Nagura dressing stone, attached to a wooden base

    No need to soak; wet surface before use. Ideal for special cutting tasks requiring extra sharpness.

    JCK Ultra-fine Special Combination Whetstone

    $108.00 US

    #6000 / #10000

    Professionals and advanced users desiring a beautifully finished and perfectly refined edge

    Super-fine and ultra-fine grits for precise and polished edges, includes non-slip rubber pad

    No need to soak; wet surface before use. Ideal for supreme sharpness and finishing.





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