The Proper Method Of Using a Whetstone

Peter Stec
February 28, 2021
Whetstone Techniques

In a survival situation, your knife is your best friend; you will use it to build a shelter and catch your food. You can even use it to make a fire. Your little-bladed buddy could virtually save your life someday, so you should know how to take good care of it, and knowing how to use a whetstone to sharpen it is one of the basic skills that you need to learn. In this article, you will learn the proper way of using a whetstone to sharpen, and not damage your survival knife or any other bladed implement.

Choosing a Whetstone

There are dozens of different kinds of whetstones that you can choose from, and they also come in different grit sizes. The kind of stone that you choose will depend on what kind of results you want to achieve; but if you are looking for an edge that is sharp enough to allow you to field dress game, but not enough to do complex surgery, then a medium-sized grit is what you are looking for. You can also check out KnifeUp’s review on knife sharpeners.

For disaster preparedness, it is recommended that you use whetstones that have two sides: one with a coarse surface and a fine-grit surface. You usually start sharpening using the rougher surface first, then finishing it off using the finer side.

What Lubricant Should You Use?

You need to use a lubricant when sharpening your knife because doing it dry will generate enough heat that it will actually warp the blade. Typically, you should use mineral oil as a lubricating agent because it can effectively reduce the heat produced by friction, but if you are out on the field and you do not have any mineral oil handy, then water will do fine.

The lubricant does more than just prevent heat due to friction from building up, they also prevent the pores in the whetstone from getting clogged up with metal shavings; so you need to constantly apply lubrication to the whetstone so that it can actually sharpen your knife.

How to Sharpen Your Knife

Before you proceed with the sharpening of your trusty knife, you need to prepare your whetstone first. If you are using mineral oil, pour a generous amount on the stone, enough to cover the surface with a rather thick film. Now, starting at the rough side of the stone, hold your knife at an angle of roughly 10 to 15 degrees; this will give your knife an edge that is sharp enough for daily uses, but not so sharp that you can accidentally cut yourself.

Holding your blade at the right angle, pull the knife towards you with the cutting edge facing you; you can also try pushing the edge away, whichever method works. While gliding the blade over the whetstone, apply a moderate amount of pressure and keep it evenly distributed throughout the entire length; you should do this for around ten to twelve times then you flip the blade over and do the other side the same way.

After you have taken enough material from the blade, you need to flip the whetstone over to the smoother side and repeat the steps mentioned above; do not forget to prepare the smoother side of the whetstone beforehand. And, there you have it; you now have a properly sharpened knife ready for whatever comes your way.

Conclusion

Now that you know how to use a whetstone to take care of your precious knife, you will no longer be caught off-guard with only a dull knife at hand. Take good care of your knife and it will take good care of you. Read about the best machete, dive knife, and survival knife.

About The Author
Hey Knife Up gang! I'm Pete, and I'm just another man like you in a small rural town who loves the outdoors as much as the other million internet users that cruise sites like KnifeUp.com every day. The difference is that I like to share what I know and research what I don't totally know so that YOU can have all the info you need to feel confident and prepared for all things outdoors-related! And, for those who care, I have 42 years of wilderness canoeing and bushcraft experience in Northern Ontario and spend most of my Summers covered in mosquitos and fish slime, but hey, it's a lifestyle choice, eh?

4 comments on “The Proper Method Of Using a Whetstone”

  1. I have always used the method as to push the edge into the stone. I’m glad that someone else agrees with me. I use the same method when using a strop. You get a bur free Finnish and are left with no snags or rolls on the edge To test the sharpness of my blades I cut the tip of my finger nails, if it cuts with ease I know it’s sharp enough!

  2. I have two Jansport backpacks that are not working properly. I’m not sure where to send them to get fixed

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