Being able to sharpen your knife is an absolute key skill. So knowing about the various types of sharpening stones out there is going to be useful. So here are some of the pros and cons of various sharpening stones.
Best choice for honing carbide tools.
Can be used dry – without water or oil.
Generally more expensive than other types.
Can be used dry – without oil or water which makes them easy to use when in the field.
Can be cleaned with soap and a common kitchen pot scrubber.
The finer grits leave a polished, very sharp edge.
The ultra-hardness of ceramic stones insures a flat, long lasting surface.
Normally available in finer grits only.
Ceramic stones with coarser grits will ‘glaze’ over time and lose some of their aggressiveness.
Brittle and therefore easy to break.
The coarse and medium grit oil stones will remove metal fairly rapidly.
Because their surface is hard, oil stones wear very slowly and stay flat for a long time.
Good variety of grits available.
The finer grit oil stones tend to remove metal slowly and are prone to excessive ‘glazing’.
Messy; the oil can get other things dirty.
Fast cutting action with a good ‘feel’.
Wide variety of grits available.
Fine grit stones leave a polished, very sharp edge which is difficult to obtain with oil and diamond stones.
Quite big and heavy to carry in the field
Water stones wear rapidly and must be flattened periodically.
Water stones are somewhat fragile and must be stored and handled carefully.
Can freeze in cold climates.
I routinely use 3 of these sharpening stones, the exception being oil stones. I use a Japanese waterstone to sharpen knives in preparation for a course, such as in the photo below. However, they’re bulky and so I carry a DC4 sharpening stone in the woods as it’s much smaller. These are double sided stones, diamond one side and ceramic the other.
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