Questions about sharpening stones

Joined Aug 29, 2000
I've been searching for a reasonably-priced sharpening stone or stones (medium, or medium and fine- I guess) for all my knives, but especially for my new Global knife. My search engine turned up several sites for general knives (hunting, etc.), and mentioned Arkansas stones and India stones often, as well as others. They seemed quite reasonably priced (under $25), and I found a trihone, 8" stone for $25.99. The stones I see on culinary links and sites are quite a bit more expensive (Sur la Table: about $50). So what's the story? Do I have to buy form a culinary supply to sharpen my knives, or will any knife stone of good quality do??? I am a home cook, not a pro. Thanks for the help.

[This message has been edited by Mezzaluna (edited 02-02-2001).]
Joined Dec 30, 1999

There is an excellent FAQ on Sharpening that includes this passage on what kind of stone.....

"What Kind of Stone?

Basically, a stone needs to cut metal off the edge. The stones below do this well, and for most of us our time would be better spent actually learning how to sharpen than worrying too much about the minor advantages of one stone vs. another. Get the biggest stones you can afford and have room for. Big stones make the job much much easier. The time-honored stone is the arkansas stone. Soft arkansas stones provide the coarser grits, with harder stones providing finer grits. Many people use oil on these stones, ostensibly to float the steel particles and keep them from clogging the stone. John Juranitch has popularized the notion that oil should absolutely not be used when sharpening, and indeed results from people using arkansas stones without oil have been very positive. However, if you have ever used oil on your arkansas stone, you need to continue using it, or it will clog. If you never put oil on your arkansas stone, you will never need to. Synthetic stones are very hard, and won’t wear like natural stones (a natural stone may get a valley scooped out of it over time). They clean well with detergent-charged steel wool, I use SOS detergent pads, they clean very very fast and very well. I know you’re thinking that cleaning with steel wool will cause the stone to shear off the steel wool and fill up the stone even worse! But I assure you that is not the case, for whatever reason SOS pads clean synthetic stones, they do not make the stones dirtier. Spyderco and Lansky are some manufacturers who sell synthetic stones. Stones with diamond dust embedded in them cut aggressively. You can remove metal very quickly if you need to, but be careful lest you remove too much too fast! DMT, Eze-Lap, and Lansky are some manufacturers who sell diamond-based hones. Some diamond stones have the problem that the diamond dust wears off quickly, leaving you with a useless stone. I have experience with the DMT stones, and can say that they do not have this problem. Japanese water stones come in some very high grits—I’ve seen all the way up to 8000! The grit system on these Japanese stones is different than that found on American stones, but 8000 grit Japanese still comes out at over 2000 grit American. The stones sit in a water bath, and a slush forms on top that helps the final polish. Don’t know any manufacturers, but Bob Engnath and Gorilla & Sons both sell Japanese water stones. Both Japanese water stones and natural stones will eventually dish out in the center with use. To flatten them back out, put some sandpaper on a flat surface and rub the stone top on it. Wet/dry 400 grit sandpaper mounted on a table top or glass is reputed to work well."


I have also seen arkansas stones at factory outlet kitchen stores for $10-$15 for a set. Highly reasonable I believe. Back then I recall that I didn't feel I knew enough about stones to get one because I wanted to get a good one. (I may have to go back and pick it up!)

This FAQ covers the following topics thoroughly... I highly recommend it.

I.*** Introduction
II.* The Fundamentals of Sharpening
· Getting a sharp edge
· What angle?
· What kind of stone?
· Should I use oil or water on my stone?
· How fine should my stone be?* Important notes on grits!
· Stropping
· Using a steel

III. Putting it all together
· Freehand tips and tricks
· Why does my knife go dull so fast?
· Keeping bevels even
· Putting it all together

IV. Sharpening The “Differently-Ground” Blade
· Those pesky serrated blades
· The Moran (Convex) edge
· The chisel-ground edge
· The recurved blade
V.** Overview of various sharpening systems
· Clamp-on sharpening guides (Razor Edge, Buck, etc.)
· Clamp-and-Rod rigs (Lansky, Frost, etc.)
· V-type sharpeners (Spyderco Triangle)
Joined Aug 29, 2000
Thanks! I'll head for the hardware store. I already have some ceramic sticks, but am really frightened of messing up the edge on my Global, so I'll opt for the Arkansas stone, I think.


Joined Nov 24, 2000
I don't know if this will help or not but I use a double grit Norton water stone for my knives (Global) because I can drop it in a 2"
1/3 pan to soak and shove the pan in a nook somewhere to hold it during the shift.It's a little less of a hassle to keep than a oil stone and faster to use because clean-up during a rush only involves dropping it back in the pan of water.Norton stones are not cheap ($50.00 I think) but I have really
good edges and that's what we want.Bill
BTW Are those ceramic sticks any good? I've
never tried one.
Joined Aug 29, 2000
This is on sale at our sponsor, Tavolo, for 35.97. Is it appropriate for Global knives? Any thoughts?

Russell Harrington Sharpening System, 3 Way
Product ID:12262

Innovative design makes sharpening knives quicker, more efficient, and convenient.

Three space-age ceramic sharpener rods
Perfect for dull knives or quick touch-ups
Convenient countertop design
12-in. blade
Made in USA

[ 02-12-2001: Message edited by: Mezzaluna ]


Joined Nov 24, 2000
The reason I keep my stone in water is to keep it wet so I can just grab it and go.
It's just handy.If you watch when you drop a dry stone in water you'll see little bubbles as the stone saturates the water.I can't see wasting time with watering a stone constantly
while trying to get an edge before the little dab of moisture disapears.Also, I like to keep it in water so I can wipe away small particles in the bath before I use it,saving me a trip to the sink.Oh BTW the stone will not dissolve in water as far as I know and I'll keep it wet for hours and about an hour before the end of the night I pull it out to dry on it's side and store it in a plastic 6pack type of bag in my wrap overnight.Hope this is of some help.Bill

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