Everything you need to know about sharpening stones

A sharpening stone is an incredible tool for sharpening your knives and a great investment if you wish to keep your knives sharp for a lifetime.  

If you’re new to the world of sharpening stones, you might find yourself overwhelmed by the many different types of stones, sharpening angles, grits and different methods of use. To help you guide your way through this world of information, we’ve made this guide that includes everything you need to know.

In this article we’ll cover the following:

  • What are sharpening stones
  • What do the different grits mean and when should you use the different ones?
  • How to sharpen knives with sharpening stones
  • Why is the angle important when sharpening with sharpening stones?

With that in mind, let’s dive into what sharpening stones really are.

What are sharpening stones?

A sharpening stone, as the name suggests, is a stone that is used when sharpening knives. They come in many different materials and grits.

All of the sharpening stones from Gastrotools are industrially produced. This ensures a better and much more even grit, than were they natural stones.

Like sandpaper, sharpening stones have different grit meaning how coarse or fine the surface of the stone is. The lower the number (e.g. #500), the coarser the grit of the sharpening stone. The coarser stones are used to removes larger defects in the knife blade, whereas finer grit sharpening stones are used to sharpen the knives.

The sharpening stones from Gastrotools are all two sided with different grit.

If you haven’t sharpened your knives for a long time, then we suggest that you start with a coarse stone, as to remove any defects (like knocks and dings) from the blade edge. When this is done, you can work your way to the finer stones.

Are you using the right angles?

When using your sharpening stones, it is paramount that you hold your knives at the correct angle.

All Gastrotools knives should be sharpened at around a 15 to 20-degree angle. If you’re using traditional European and American knives, they will typically be sharpened a 20-degree angle. Whilst Japanese knives are sharpened at a more acute angle.

How to sharpen knives with a sharpening stone

We’ve covered different materials, angles and grit. Now we are getting to the most important of all. How to actually use sharpening stones.

Step 1: Put you sharpening stone in water

Before using your sharpening stones, emerge the stone in water for 5-10 minutes. It is important to avoid heating the sharpening stone from the friction of the knives. When emerged in water, the sharpening stone will absorb the water and stay cold while sharpening


If the sharpening stone heats up, the steel will become softer and therefore won’t stay sharp for as long. The hardening of the steel will be destroyed if you’re not careful.

Step 2: Begin sharpening with the coarse side

Now take your wet sharpening stone and lay it with the fine side down in the included rubber stand, so that the sharpening stone won’t move.

Now hold your knife at a 15–20-degree angle, apply a slight pressure to the blade and pull the knife across the sharpening stone.

Repeat this 10 times and do the same to the other side of the knife. When one side of the blade, you may feel a slight unevenness when the knife has been properly sharpened on the other side.

To remove this unevenness, you can gently sharpen the knife once on each side of the blade, before continuing to the finer grit.

Step 3: Turn the sharpening stone and finish with the finer side

Now, once again hold your knife at a 15-20-degree angle, apply light pressure to the blade and pull it across the sharpening stone 10 times. Do this on both sides*

*You may notice a greyish liquid on your sharpening stone. This is small pieces of metal from the knife - don’t remove this. This will only help the sharpening process.

You can repeat this process on progressively finer sharpening stones, if you want to achieve ultimate sharpness.

When you’re finished sharpening your knives, you should wash the sharpening stone and leave it to dry. Make sure to store the sharpening stone safely. All Gastrotools sharpening stones come in a small box that can be used for storage.

Which sharpening stone should you then choose?

As you can probably tell by now, there are many options when it comes to sharpening stones. If you had to choose only one, the best option would be our #500/#1000 grit double sided sharpening stone. The coarse side can even out dings and scratches on the blade edge and the #1000 grit will then sharpen the knife.

With that said, if you want to achieve an optimally sharp result, you should continue to sharpen your knives with finer grit sharpening stones. We’ve made a set of three sharpening stones that, in combination, will allow you to achieve the sharpest possible result.

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