Are you one of those who prefer using natural over synthetic whetstones? In this case, you’ve come to the right place. Some people understand the value of natural whetstones, especially its purest form.
One of the main reasons people are drawn to its natural form is because of its amazing polishing ability. Natural whetstones are effective in restoring ancient tools and knives to its original state. Since these tools were originally sharpened using natural stones, it is more efficient to use natural hones for restoration as it achieves more accuracy.
At the same time, since natural stones are known for having the highest grits, they are best used for polishing knives. In this article, we’ll discuss how to find a natural whetstone as well as the advantages of using one.
Advantages of Natural Sharpening Stones
Here are some of the advantages of using natural whetstones compared to synthetic whetstones.
- It is an important cultural asset. Natural whetstones have played a significant role in both the manufacturing and technological development. In the earlier period, people who are working with metal use natural whetstones to sharpen their tools. This means that it is an essential tool for farmers, carpenters, and manufacturers who are using chisels, saws, and other sharp tools in their craft.It is also efficient in sharpening hunting tools. Natural stones have been used by many people for many years.
- Ideal for users with advanced skills. Beginners usually use synthetic stones when honing their knives because they are more affordable. However, over time, some advanced workers prefer to use natural whetstones for sharpening their devices as it provides a better result. It offers a more precise and sharper polishing.
- Supports local businesses. In most cases, buying natural whetstones help small local businesses.
- It is unique. Synthetic whetstones are not able to duplicate the unique and distinctive features of a natural whetstone. Thus, adding to its charm and distinctive style.
How to Select the Best Natural Whetstone
Here are some of the techniques you can follow when searching for the best natural whetstone.
Step 1: Choosing a whetstone
When it comes to selecting a whetstone, it’s not just about how it feels in your hand. It’s really all about performance and you just have to test it over time. One simple but effective tip is to test it on the back of a stainless spoon. Check if it leaves a mark on the spoon or polishes it. If it does, then it’s a good indication that you have a good whetstone.
Step 2: Grading a whetstone
Sharpening stones are based on three grades. The first is known as Ara-to or rough stone which has a grit between 200-1,000 followed by Naka-to which serves as the medium stone with a grit between 1,000-6,000. Lastly, is the Shiage-to referred to as the finishing stone which has a grit of 6,000-10,000.
Whetstones are measured for its hardness, density, and location to identify the grade. In some cases, the grade is also based on the appearance of the whetstone.
Step 3: Identifying the right type of whetstone
One of the first things to consider when choosing a whetstone is its size. As a rule of thumb, the size of the whetstone should be similar to what you are trying to polish and sharpen. However, you can still sharpen long blades using a smaller whetstone.
Grit is another important factor to consider when looking for the right whetstone for you. On the other hand, you may find it a bit challenging to determine the grit of a natural whetstone compared to synthetic whetstones because its harder to measure. It’s always better to use a coarser grit then eventually upgrade to a higher grit later on instead of immediately going for a higher grit.
Other Useful Tips
1. Flatting a natural whetstone
A natural whetstone is usually not flat. In some cases, some sellers flatten the whetstone before they ship it out. However, most of the time, they don’t. This means you’ll have to flatten it on your own.
One simple and practical solution to flatten a natural stone is to use self-adhesive, wet-dry sandpaper with 100 grit. Then apply the sandpaper over the natural whetstone until it becomes flat. Use sandpaper with 400 grit to get rid of the scratches on the natural stone. Flattening a natural whetstone is the same process as any other whetstone.
2. Wetting a natural stone
When it comes to wetting a natural stone. There are different approaches to do it. However, we highly advise to just soak a natural sone in water for 30 minutes before using it. However, once you become more accustomed to it, you can try soaking it for 24 hours.
It is important to soak it properly to maintain the stability of the natural stone’s structure. This will produce consistent results. Remember that natural stones have different levels of hardness which means that they should not be treated in the same way. Harder stones require longer soaking time than softer stones.
3. How to Sharpen your Metal Tools
Based on prehistoric times, there are three steps you can follow on how to sharpen metal objects.
To achieve the right amount of sharpness, you must use a fairly coarse grinding stone. Natural stones are made up of abrasive material with fine grains of silicate combined with small amounts of iron oxide as well as other natural materials. The combination of these materials helps create a better grinding effect.
So, why is it important to have a steel sharpener on hand? Sharpening your tools is crucial to the performance of your task. It simply makes things easier for you.Can you imaging using your knife for cutting or slicing objects if the edge is dull? Hence, to be more efficient, you need to regularly polish and sharpen your tools.
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