It's the weekend, and you're free for the rest of the day. You've been meaning to add a few cooking skill points, so you decided to play chef. You started with sharpening the knives first. So, you rummage around the kitchen cupboard and drawers, trying to find the usual handheld knife sharpener your mother uses, but it's not there.
Instead, you found a weird piece of stone sitting among the odd kitchen items in one of the less frequented drawers. You pick it up. You suspect it's some sharpening tool, but you're not sure.
People have similar encounters with this less favored piece of stone than the convenient sharpeners. But there's more to this stone. If you searched online to find out what it is and found this article, great! We're ready to shed some light on this interesting stone you found. On the other hand, if you've already used one before, hop in anyway and enjoy the ride. You'll find this article a good refresher.
There are other names to this modest piece of stone. Among its many adapted monikers are sharpening stone, water stone, and oil stone, but the classic term this piece of stone was once known for was "whetstone."
The word for sharpening something is called "whetting", while a stone is the most common tool used to sharpen. Hence, whetstone. Today, it is used mostly to sharpen knives. But a whetstone is not limited to sharpening knives. It can also sharpen the edge of other cutting tools, such as shears, swords, hatchets, and razor blades.
Your Homo Sapien instinct about the piece of stone you've found is correct. It's a sharpening tool that's been around since the stone age, around 75,000 years ago. That's according to research spearheaded by the University of Colorado.
Back then, our Sapien brothers and sisters used abrasive rocks as big as a suitcase (but aren't necessarily shaped and carried like one). But over time, as technology advances, the rocks were exchanged for stones quarried from the mountains and cropped into a rectangular shape. These stones are what we know today as the natural type of whetstone.
The common "bar-shaped" whetstone is designed to make it easy to sharpen the edges of common tools like blades. These blades' long and flat profiles can be run across the bar's surface back and forth, covering all the edges.
Other notable whetstone shapes:
Square - This whetstone shape is intended for small tools such as keys, small knives, or other cutting tools requiring minimal and refined movements.
Round - This is meant to facilitate the sharpening of curved edges and is commonly used for knives. The round-shaped whetstone is popular with users because of its portability.
Whetstones may all look similar, but they vary in the results they yield for your blade. If you examine a whetstone's surface, you'll notice it has a grainy texture—that's the grit. And there are several whetstone grit scores that are used depending on your purpose for the knife.
Coarse Grit - These whetstones have a grit score of 1,000 or less. The surface of this whetstone is rough, and this texture is perfect for sharpening a blade that has lost its edge.
Medium Grit - The medium grit has a score above 1,000 but less than 3,000. Whetstones with a medium grit are used for occasional sharpening and putting that mint sharpness back on your knife.
Fine Grit - A score above 3,000 to as much as 8,000 is what is called a polishing whetstone. The sharpening capability of this knife is to make an already sharp blade even sharper. Thus, this is used more for quick knife honing.
Check the grit score of your stone. It's located on the sides or on the surface near the whetstone's edge. If you think it serves the purpose you want, use it. Otherwise, you can get this versatile stone. It has what grit sharpening stone for kitchen knives should have for casual use.
The Sharp Pebble is a type of double-sided whetstone knife sharpener. It's composed of two whetstones joined together— one side has a coarse grit (blue), and the other has a fine grit (white). This is an excellent pick for knife owners who are only starting to learn how to sharpen a knife with a stone because it allows them flexibility on which stone grit they can use.
The Sharp Pebble whetstones are made of aluminum oxide and are considered synthetic whetstone made from sapphire or ruby in grain form and bonded together to form a tough sharpening tool that can hone an edge to razor sharpness.
The Sharp Pebble whetstone is the ideal sharpening stone you can use if you have just discovered what a whetstone is. That's because the options this whetstone provides are enough for you to explore the intricacies of sharpening a knife.
In addition, the grit options the Sharp Pebble whetstone gives you let you revive old knives with damaged edges and bring them back to their optimum sharpness. The sharpening guide also trains you on how to angle the knife's edge correctly on the surface of the stone to repair, sharpen, and polish their edges. The Sharp Pebble, if used well, can be your lifetime partner in the kitchen as you grow from being a cooking novice to a well-skilled one.
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