Though "whetstone" is often mistaken as a reference to the water sometimes used to lubricate such stones, the term is based on the word "whet", which means to sharpen a blade, not on the word "wet". The verb nowadays usually used to describe the process of using a sharpening stone is to sharpen, but the older term to whet is still sometimes used. The term to stone is so rare in this sense that it is no longer mentioned in for example the Oxford Living Dictionaries. One of the most common mistaken idioms in English involves the phrase "to whet your appetite", too often mistakenly written as "to wet". But to "whet" quite appropriately means "to sharpen" one's appetite, not to douse it with water.
I give Sharp Pebble a top rating for two reasons. First, the company emailed a user guide for me to review and learn how to best use its product while it was being shipped to me. Wonderfully proactive. Second, the sharpening stone did a terrific job restoring the edge on my kitchen knives that had been woefully neglected. Ever rent a house and every knife in the kitchen has the edge of a butter knife? I was almost there. Now, the knives are cutting beautifully. I have only one suggestion for Sharp Pebble. While the stone includes a useful angle guide that can be attached to a blade and the guide gives clear steps on prepping the stone and how to hold the blade when sharpening, it does not illustrate the manner in which the blade needs to be moved across the stone. I had to go to Youtube to get some tips on the exact method. I have historically been very bad at putting an edge on a blade due to ignorance primarily. But with the help of the video and a good stone, I did an effective job. The base does a great job of holding the stone in place and is attractive in the kitchen.
Historically, there are three broad grades of Japanese sharpening stones: the ara-to, or "rough stone", the naka-to or "middle/medium stone" and the shiage-to or "finishing stone". There is a fourth type of stone, the nagura, which is not used directly. Rather, it is used to form a cutting slurry on the shiage-to, which is often too hard to create the necessary slurry. Converting these names to absolute grit size is difficult as the classes are broad and natural stones have no inherent "grit number". As an indication, ara-to is probably (using a non-Japanese system of grading grit size) 500–1000 grit. The naka-to is probably 3000–5000 grit and the shiage-to is likely 7000–10000 grit. Current synthetic grit values range from extremely coarse, such as 120 grit, through extremely fine, such as 30,000 grit (less than half a micrometer abrasive particle size).
Method 1: Use an Electric Sharpener. Quality electric sharpeners are an option, but I strongly discourage their use. First off, they remove a tremendous amount of material from your edge. Sharpen your knife a dozen times, and you've lost a good half-centimeter of width, throwing it off balance, and rendering any blade with a bolster (i.e. most high-end forged blades) useless. Secondly, even the best models provide only an adequate edge. If you don't mind replacing your knives every few years and are happy with the edge they give you, they'll do the trick. But a much better choice is to...
I'm using this for a set of kitchen knives. As far as their quality goes, they are a name brand, but middle tier at best. The kind you can pick up at a mall kitchen store. They were all dull and in need of sharpening. After using these stones, my knives were all insanely sharp. They were noticably sharper than when I first bought them. I'm not experienced with sharpening stones, so I can't say how these compare with others, but for my needs as a non-professional, this set is perfect. Outperforms my needs.
This is a good size stone and has the two different grits needed for knife sharpening. No instructions were included, but there are many websites with written and video instructions, so this is not an issue for most people. A fair amount of dust is generated during the sharpening process, so protect the work surface and wash the knife after sharpening is completed.
The newly designed dual-sided combination whetstone from Fallkniven features a super fine white ceramic stone (0, 1 micron) with a grit of 1400 to 2000 and the dark grey ceramic stone is made of synthetic sapphires (1 micron) and has a grit of 800-1000. There is no need to add any oil or water, just lay the blade on the stone, raise the blade's spine and deburr your blade on the grey side until it has a razor-sharp edge and then use the smooth white side to get a nice polished edge.
I've used ceramic rods, diamond plates, and leather strops for our sharpening needs. And, like most, I've tried a dozen little gimmicky sharpeners that, while some work, those that do often remove way too much material from the edge, making your blade wear down faster. I've also used oil stones, grinders and buffers for less meticulous sharpening of axes and such. These two stones from Unimi (600/1000 and 2000/6000) served as my introduction to whetstone sharpening. And I must say I like it. Though, I'm not sure of the need for investing in more expensive stones.
This is a hard review to write because while the stone is great and comes perfectly flat it's too darn small. My problem is I bought one of these over fifteen years ago and after a move it suffered two cracks across the face making it unusable. That stone is about 3" x 8 1/4" x 3/4" . This new version is about 2" x 7" x 1/2". It's practically impossible to polish a knife set from a big #7 plane let alone a #4 plane. I feel cramped even using it for chisels! The thickness doesn't really bother me even though my thicker stone cracked, with reasonable care I don't expect this one to crack. So although I love the actual stone I wish they still made my old stone. I guess I should have measured my original one and then compared the description but I assumed they would be the same. So because of that I took off one star but since there's nothing wrong with the actual stone I wanted to give it three stars based on the small size but couldn't.
This is the best sharpening stone of its kind for the money. It's conventional wisdom that proper sharpening requires starting from a coarse grit abrasive to remove blunted or mechanically fatigued metal before sharpening and polishing with progressively finer grits, however, in my experience it is generally less time consuming and more effective to use this stone for general purpose sharpening unless abnormally great care is needed. This stone is aggressive enough to produce noticeable results quickly yet it is fine enough to still be useful in refining knife edges to push cutting performance levels and polishing a knife's bevels to mirror like reflectivity (albeit deeper scratches in the metal will be visible unless you have successfully gone through the more traditional low to high progression of grit levels). This can be the only sharpening device for knives you will need unless you are in the business of making knives or sharpening large numbers of knives on other people's behalf.
I was delighted to discover, on opening my recently purchased Kanpeki knife set, single-edged blades. I had never used single-edged blades in the kitchen. I was pleasantly surprised to find each knife was so versatile. Able to do the most delicate cutting, to the workhorse of basic slicing and dicing. I am pleased to say, I will be purchasing the remaining knives and whetstone.