The Expert’s Guide to How to sharpen knife with stone

Written by: Kaushik Jethva

Last Updated: April 1, 2023

sharpening knife with stone
A man sharpening knife with stone

A sharp knife is an indispensable tool for any kitchen, allowing you to effortlessly slice, chop, and dice your ingredients with precision and ease. However, even the best-quality knives can lose their sharp edge over time, dulling with use and making your cooking tasks more difficult and time-consuming. Sharpening your knives with a stone is a crucial skill that can help you maintain their sharpness and prolong their lifespan. While it may seem daunting at first, with the right technique and tools, anyone can learn how to sharpen knife with stone like a pro.

In this article, we will guide you through the step-by-step process of how to sharpen knife with stone, from selecting the right type of stone to honing your blade to perfection. Whether you’re a home cook or a professional chef, mastering this essential skill will help you achieve the best possible results in the kitchen and take your culinary creations to the next level.

1Tools required to sharpen knife with stone

Before we begin, let’s make sure you have all the necessary tools and materials for sharpening a knife with a stone. Here’s what you’ll need:

A sharpening stone
There are many types of sharpening stones on the market, but we recommend a medium-grit stone for general-purpose use. Look for a stone that’s at least 8 inches long and 2 inches wide. You can use a water stone or an oil stone, depending on your preference.

A honing guide (optional)
A honing guide is a tool that helps you maintain a consistent angle while sharpening your knife. It’s not essential, but it can be helpful if you’re new to sharpening.

A towel
You’ll need a towel to keep the stone in place and to wipe away any metal shavings or debris that accumulate during sharpening.

Water or oil
Depending on the type of stone you’re using, you’ll need either water or oil to lubricate the surface and prevent the stone from getting clogged with metal shavings.

Your knife
Of course, you’ll need the knife you want to sharpen.

2Detailed process to sharpen knife with stones

Prep the stone

The first step is to prep the sharpening stone. If you’re using a water stone, you’ll need to soak it in water for at least 10 minutes before use. If you’re using an oil stone, you’ll need to apply a small amount of oil to the surface of the stone. Check the manufacturer’s instructions for specific guidance on how to prepare your stone.

Once your stone is prepped, place it on a towel on a flat, stable surface. The towel will help keep the stone in place while you sharpen your knife.

Choose the right angle

The next step is to choose the right angle for sharpening your knife. This will depend on the type of knife you have and how it’s used. Generally, a 20-degree angle is a good starting point for most knives. If you’re using a honing guide, set it to the desired angle before you begin.

Sharpen the knife

Now it’s time to sharpen your knife. Hold the knife at the chosen angle and place the blade against the stone. Use your other hand to hold the handle of the knife and apply light pressure as you draw the blade along the stone. Make sure you maintain a consistent angle and apply even pressure throughout the stroke.

Start at the base of the blade and work your way up to the tip, using a sweeping motion. You can use the entire length of the stone or work in sections if the stone is longer than your blade. Make sure you sharpen both sides of the blade evenly.

Repeat this process for several strokes, then flip the knife over and repeat on the other side. Keep your strokes consistent and even, and try to maintain the same angle throughout. You can use your finger to feel for any burrs or nicks on the blade and focus on those areas as needed.

Test the sharpness

Once you’ve sharpened both sides of the blade, it’s time to test the sharpness. You can do this by gently running the blade across a piece of paper or cardboard. If the blade slices cleanly through the paper without tearing or snagging, it’s sharp enough. If not, go back and continue sharpening until you achieve the desired sharpness.

Clean up

After you’ve finished sharpening your knife, it’s important to clean up any metal shavings or debris that have accumulated on the stone. Use a damp cloth or paper towel to wipe down the stone and remove any residue. If you’re using an oil stone, you may need to use a few mineral spirits to clean the surface.


Finally, it’s important to maintain your knife’s sharpness by regularly honing it. Honing is the process of realigning the blade’s edge to keep it sharp. You can use a honing steel or a strop to hone your knife.

To hone your knife with a honing steel, hold the steel vertically in your non-dominant hand and hold the knife at a 20-degree angle against the steel in your dominant hand. Use a sweeping motion to draw the blade down the length of the steel, starting at the base and working up to the tip. Repeat on the other side.

To hone your knife with a strop, place the strop on a flat surface and apply a small amount of honing compound to the surface. Hold the knife at the desired angle and draw it along the strop, using a sweeping motion. Make sure you maintain consistent pressure and angle throughout the stroke.

3Wrapping Up

Sharpening a knife with a stone is a valuable skill that can save you time and frustration in the kitchen. With the right tools and techniques, you can keep your knives sharp and achieve clean, precise cuts every time. Remember to choose the right angle for your knife, maintain consistent pressure and angle while sharpening, and regularly hone your knife to keep it sharp. With a little practice and patience, you’ll be able to sharpen your knives like a pro.

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Kaushik Jethva
Written by: Kaushik Jethva author

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Updated: April 1, 2023
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