Sharpening stones

Some pros and cons of various sharpening stones.


Type Advantages Disadvantages
  •   Fast cutting.
  •   Long lasting.
  •   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.
  •   Generally affordable.


  •   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.
  •   Relatively inexpensive.


  •   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.


sharpening stones | knife sharpening


About Gary

Lead Instructor at Jack Raven Bushcraft, teaching bushcraft, wilderness and survival skills to groups and individuals.

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