Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Cookware >
Sep 28, 2009 05:37 AM

Whetstone use

Hi guys, just a quick one; can you give me a quick link to one of the good whetstone tutorials on Youtube.

Is this good? I've not seen that type before, and it seems to be over very quickly.

One caveat: I have no sound at work.

This guy looks better
wierd angle though

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. If you Google the phrase -- cook's illustrated "sharpening knives by hand" -- you'll get a link to a .pdf from CI that shows whetstone technique. I'm sure there are other methods, as well.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Channa

      That link is decent. But it does repeat the same misleading "place your knife at a 20 degree angle" line as soop's first video. It also tells people not to lubricate their stones -- that may be true with oil stones or even arkansas stones, but if you use Japanese synthetic waterstones, that is bad advice. Also the "2 minutes per side" advice is unrealistic.

    2. Neither video is great. The guy in that first video doesnt use anywhere near enough water for most japanese stones - most of them (not all though) should be soaked for a while before using. He also makes it seem like a few passes will make a dull knife sharp. Unfortunately thats not true. Any of those knives would have cut paper before he "sharpened" them. He also says to lay your knife at a 20 degree angle. That's only true if your edge is already at a 20 degree angle or you want to reprofile an edge to 20 degrees. Knives vary. His motion is decent though.

      The second guy uses an oilstone, not a water stone. I don't like his motion - it's hard to hold a consistent angle one-handed - but different people make different motions work, so whatever. It does look like he is holding that knife at a really obtuse angle. Neither video is all that informative.

      This guy knows what he's doing. Won't be of much use to you if you don't have sound though.

      3 Replies
      1. re: cowboyardee

        Yes Dave Martel does know what he's doing. He sells a sharpening DVD on his site

        1. re: scubadoo97

          Oh, it's /that/ Dave?
          Well, that's the one I'll watch then. But at home.

          1. re: Soop

            I have Dave's video and started out using his method but because flipping the knife and using my left hand to hold the knife seems cumbersome I have switched to this method seen in this video. In this method the knife is held in the right for both sides of the knife and the left is used to apply light pressure to the stone.


      2. Scoop,

        The videos are not bad. Everyone sharpen knives differently. A lot of people like heel-to-tip sharpening which is shown in your video. The only thing I know which is not correct is the insufficent water in your first video. Waterstone needs to be soaked in water before use and need to be wetted in the entire process. A slur of mud-like substance will develop on the waterstone during sharpening. As you can see, there was no slur in your video, so he wasn't showing the proper form. He may very know how to do it right, but he sure isn't showing it.

        The guy in cowboy videos is using a front-to-back motion. It is a lot more popular among Japanese. Its advantage are more control and more consistent angle. It is great for straighter blade knives. The heel-to-tip method is more difficult to maintain the angle. However, I find heel-to-tip easier to use for very curvy like.

        It really is up to you. I think the only thing which I can say is definitely wrong is the lack of water in the waterstone in your first video.

        Scoop. By the way, what stones you buy depending how serious you are regarding sharpening. Waterstone cost more, a lot more, but they are better in my opinion.

        7 Replies
        1. re: Chemicalkinetics

          Thanks everyone. I have a whetstone already (borrowed from a friend) and I know a few things already. It was mainly the motion I was interested in, and I remember there being a lot of advice about bad videos on youtube

          1. re: Soop

            Evaluating a motion is tough because there is no 'correct; motion. There are motions that promote one thing or another or a few (steady angle, efficiency, evenness of curved sections) but different people make different motions work and I've seen some very good hand sharpeners use very different motions. Dave's motion is very efficient and promotes good angle control for edge of 20 degrees included or more - it seems to me that for lower angles and knives with huge primary bevels, you have more control if the edge faces you, but that's just me.

            I for the most part use a modified version of dave's motion - I found I was having trouble with curved sections of edges on more western shapes using dave's motion strictly. But you will likely have to experiment some.

            The 'correct' motion is whatever produces the best results for you.

            1. re: cowboyardee

              Speaking of stones does any one have a reliable source for Naniwa Chosera or super stones? I need some new stones and thus far I've only found people stocking one or two.

              1. re: Fritter

                Have you checked Dave Martel's site.

                Pretty sure he carries both the Chosera and SS.

                1. re: scubadoo97

                  I did but he only had a few stones when I looked. I guess I just need to shoot him an email.

                  1. re: cowboyardee

                    Thanks. I thought I had looked on their site but I clearly missed those. I'll give them a shot.

          2. Finding the angle the knife was previously sharpened at takes a bit of practice but really there is nothing particularly daunting. The more costly the knife the more certain you may want to be of your skills before starting.

            7 Replies
            1. re: Alacrity59

              Yeah true. I'm going to start on some unused knives.

              Is it bad to leave your whetstone soaking for over a week? I was going to do some sharpening, and then I just didn't get around to it.

              1. re: Soop

                It's not the best thing you could do to them. Let them dry out slowly. To fast a dry out could cause cracking.

                1. re: scubadoo97

                  Ok. I don't think it's an expensive one.

                  1. re: Soop

                    In my experience it depends on the stone - there are some stones that you can leave in water almost indefinitely. But not most. My no-name 1000 grit stone could stay underwater indefinitely, if I wanted. Does your stone feel "mushy" after a long soak? If so, then it's probably not one of those stones that can live like a mermaid. And as scubadoo points out, don't dry it out too fast.

                    1. re: cowboyardee

                      I agree with cowboyardee. My waterstone comes with instruction that I can soak it before use if I use it rarely or simply leave it in a bucket of water if I use it often.

                      I think most waterstones can be stored in water.

                      1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                        I'll add that storing in water typically works better with low and medium grit stones than finishing stones. That's more of a guideline than a rule, however.

                        1. re: cowboyardee

                          Thanks for the information.

                          Is that from Pirate of the Caribbean (film)?

                          "The Code is more what you'd call guidelines than actual rules."