Also known as water stones, Japanese sharpening stones are natural sedimentary rocks comprised of a clay matrix that supports fine particles of hard silicate. If you’re new to this type of knife sharpener though, the best Japanese sharpening stone may be a synthetic one.
Natural Waterstones are expensive, and it’s difficult to determine grit due to natural variations in composition. Still, if you’re interested in trying a natural Japanese Waterstone, don’t hesitate to give it a try!
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Key Considerations: Best Japanese Sharpening Stones
Japanese sharpening stones come in a variety of shapes, sizes and grits. Consider a combination stone if you don’t sharpen knives often; you’ll get good results without spending much. If you enjoy sharpening knives and find yourself handling this task often though, you’re going to want the best Japanese sharpening stones you can find. A few things to keep in mind as you shop:
- Natural vs. Synthetic – While synthetic Japanese Waterstones cost less than their natural counterparts, they do a fine job of sharpening blades.
- Size – Larger stones cost more, but they work more efficiently. If you need to sharpen knives on a regular basis, it’s best to go for a larger stone that will take less time to use.
- Grit – One advantage of synthetic Japanese sharpening stones is that users can choose specific grits and get predictable results. While there are no “grit” counts in natural Japanese Waterstones, synthetic ones do come with grit sizes assigned. Here are basic guidelines for choosing the best Japanese sharpening stones in different grades, whether natural or synthetic:
- Ara-to rough stone – approximately 500-1000 grit; ideal for chip removal and dull blade restoration. Lower grit starting at 120 is a good choice as well.
- Naka-to medium stone – approximately 3000-5000 grit; best for normal sharpening. Lower grit beginning around 700 will work for basic sharpening, too.
- Shiage-to finishing stone – usually grit higher than 7000; ideal for finishing, honing, and polishing. Stones starting around 2000 grit can be used for polishing but the best results will be obtained at 8000 grit or higher.
- Cost – Although the best Japanese sharpening stones come at a higher price than some other sharpeners, they’re often less expensive than diamond sharpening stones. You can purchase a nice starter set for well under $40. If you’re in the market for a set of professional Japanese sharpening stones, you can expect to spend quite a bit more.
With these considerations in mind, we’ve assembled this list of five outstanding options in hopes that you’ll find it easier to select the best Japanese sharpening stone for your needs.
Using and Caring for Your New Japanese Sharpening Stone
Now that you’ve chosen the best Japanese sharpening stone for your needs; take a moment to review these quick tips for using it and caring for it.
- Never use oil: Oil ruins Japanese sharpening stones. Lubricate your stones with water only.
- Prepare natural Japanese water stones carefully: Be sure to follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for caring for Japanese water stones. Without proper care, these stones are subject to fracturing.
- Soak your stones in water just before use: Give your Waterstones a good soaking before you start sharpening knives. Some people like to add a drop of dish soap to the soaking water as it makes the stones a bit more slippery. Soak your stone for about five minutes, or until no more bubbles come to the surface.
- Watch a tutorial or two before you get started: Really, there’s no need to wing it and risk damaging your blade or your stones. YouTube offers tons of useful tutorials, and you’ll feel more confident with the process after you’ve spent a little time seeing how it’s done. If you’re not into videos, you might like this helpful guide to using Japanese water stones.
- Allow the stone to dry before storage: Depending on humidity levels, it can take up to 48 hours for a Japanese sharpening stone to dry. Storing when wet can lead to unpleasant odors, mildew, and damage, so ensure that your stone is completely moisture-free before hiding it away.
With high-quality blades and the best Japanese sharpening stone to keep them sharp, you’ll enjoy your time in the kitchen more than ever before – and you’ll love your food’s appearance as well as the way it cooks evenly when it’s perfectly sliced. We wish you success in your next culinary adventure!
Best Japanese Sharpening Stones Summed Up:
|BearMoo||SS02||3000 / 8000||Yes||4.3/5 stars||Check|
|Kota Japan||KJ2000B||2000/5000||Yes||4.6/5 stars||Check|
|Love This Kitchen||LTK-SHARP-8-30||800 / 3000||Yes||4.6/5 stars||Check|
|Sharp Pebble||54916||1000/6000||Yes||4.8/5 stars||Check|
|Sharp Pebble||SP_400||400/1000||Yes||4.6/5 stars||Check|