Whetstone vs Honing Rod : How to Sharpen Your Knives

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Sharpening What are the different tools

Sharpening : What are the different tools ?

After buying your kitchen knives, the choice of the equipment to maintain them is just as important.

It is very common for a knife to cut even better after being properly sharpened than when it was new.

This is because the manufacturer doesn’t have the time to fine-tune the sharpening (time is money) like you.

Let’s not complicate things too much with a multitude of uncertain terms: sharpening, sharpening, sharpening. Let’s say that there is first the creation of an edge by removing materials (very abrasive stone, tungsten sharpener), polishing this edge (soft stone) or maintaining it, straightening it (honing rod).

Manual and electric sharpeners are not suitable for a Japanese knife, as they will guide the blade at a certain angle which is not suitable for these knives. All other methods allow you to choose your angle manually, so there is no restriction.

It is important to know that there are several methods and tools to sharpen your knives. We will distinguish the main elements of getting a sharp edge on your knives that you can use at your disposal.
We advise you to choose sharpening stones if you want to get the best possible edge. The learning process is within everyone’s reach, has minimal costs, and the results are unquestionable.

Advantages and disadvantages of the different knife sharpening tools available on the market:

The sharpening stone

According to us, the most effective solutions are a multitude of grains that are easily available (from very abrasive to very soft honing rod types). This is our advice without hesitation.

  • For a perfect and long-lasting result, use a low frequency honing rod compared to other solutions (sometimes more than one year depending on the use of your knife) which has a minimum of wear on the knife.
  • The use of the knife : requires a learning period and a little more time than a manual sharpener. It also requires a little more time and space between sharpenings as not all knife blades are the same.

The manual sharpener :

This is a more practical tool for those who don’t want the bother of sharpening knife blades. You just have to pass the blade in the slot pre-set on the device to give it a new look with a few passes!

  • Quick to use, no headache to place the knife (thanks to the pre-established slots that offer you a strict sharpening angle), and its easy to store. It will also eliminate the fuss of unsharpened knife blades.
  • Not suitable for all knives (for example Japanese knives) as it’s too abrasive (removes a lot of steel), gives off rough result and is less fine than with a more precise utensil like a stone. Sharpening steel can be risky with this method.

The electric knife sharpener :

This one is more or less identical to its previous colleague, except that it requires a plug (so you need electricity as it cannot be used for a wild barbecue in the middle of the woods). The electric honing rod is also often more expensive.

The sharpening rod:

The good old method of professionals, to be fast and efficient in service! The sharpening rod is excellent at honing steel although it does take some elbow grease.

  • It offers fast results, is easy to use after a few tries, easy to store, and adapts well to a dull knife.
  • However, keep in mind that this sharpening rod only works on a knife that still cuts because it does not restore the edge of the blade but only straightens it.

The sharpening stone:

As we have already said, the whetstone requires a little time to practice and learn. Its usually requires some very simple precautions to take heed to.

We advise you to start with a double-sided stone in order to limit the costs. Either a 200/1000, which allows you to sharpen very damaged knives and to obtain a good sharp edge.

You can also opt for a 1000/3000 that is capable of will take back a not very sharp knife to obtain an excellent razor like result.

We can see on the picture that the Wusaki stone has a 1000 and 3000 grit which is perfect to bring all the care your knife needs.


You will have no worries of using a dull knife in your kitchen after using it. Your knife blades will be as good as new.
Here is a short video made by our team to help you use a sharpening stone:

Manual and electric sharpeners:

This type of device is very easy to use. It is their main advantage as there’s no need to be a sharpening pro to use them!

Most often, they have 2 slots where the sharpening angle is already set. The first slot allows you to sharpen your knife blades more deeply, and it often has tungsten or diamond plates.

The second slot is used to polish the edge of the blade, and is often made of ceramic. It is one of the easiest methods used when honing steel.

The Honing steel:

Our tips here for choosing one!

A Honing steel sharpener is almost indispensable in every kitchen. It allows a quick and efficient result, without effort! Used regularly, it allows you to avoid having to use more abrasive solutions in minimal time. It consists of a handle, with a developed guard, and a more or less large wick. This last one can be of different shape which include round, oval, or flat. Depending on your needs, you can choose between these 3 possibilities.

All in all, using a honing steel knife blades sharpener may seem a bit complex at first, but once you get the hang of it, it’s a breeze!

There are a few things to keep in mind though:

  • The honing steel sharpener should always be longer than the blades of your largest knife (for obvious practical reasons).
  • You should not tap the knife on the honing rod, but rather slide it gently.

Once you have taken these few precision steps into account, you can attack the sharpening!
The little video we made will be very useful to understand the gesture in a few seconds!

The diversity of existing bits on the market allows you to provide several types of solutions to your dull knife.

When the edge of your knife is really dull, a steel sharpener will not be enough to recover the edge. At this point, you need to use a more abrasive tool, diamond or ceramic, to reform the deteriorated edge. This is the best way to ensure that your knives have a sharp edge.

The diamond sharpener:

This is a steel sharpener covered with several million industrial diamonds. Its abrasive surface allows to recreate a new wire quickly and efficiently. It is used like a steel sharpener.

The ceramic sharpener:

Ceramic is slightly softer than diamond but much harder than steel.

The surface of these knife sharpeners are abrasive but finer than that of diamond sharpeners. This tool allows you to obtain a good cutting edge thanks to a very fine wire.

So, you are ready to be a sharpening pro!

With the information above, you now know how to sharpen your knives, and with which utensil to do it! Remember, if you have any other questions regarding sharpening steel knives, we are always here for you.

Contact us and we will be happy to answer you 🙂

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Food preparation photo created by master1305 – www.freepik.com

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