What Grit for Sharpening Knives?

Whetstone Grit for Knife Sharpening

It is very important to sharpen your knives to ensure they last as long as possible. The only way to keep dull blades from becoming dangerously blunt is to regularly sharpen them. This is the only way to prevent accidents and poor performance as a result of dull blades. When it comes to this purpose, the sharpening stone is a valuable tool.

Sharpening stones can be used to sharpen steel tools such as kitchen knives and scissors.

A whetstone is sometimes misunderstood to refer to stones lubricated with water, but the term actually refers to sharpening a blade with water.

The size, shape, and type of materials that are used in making a whetstone are very varied.

How do you define Grit?

For those who have never used a whetstone before, the burning question is this: what do the figures on the whetstone indicate?

If you fail to realize this, you may be wasting your time trying to sharpen your kitchen knives with a whetstone that is too smooth, or worse, you may end up damaging your kitchen tools.

There is a digit representation of the grit size on every whetstone label which refers to the grit size of the abrasive particles within the stone. There are several ways to measure particle density, and this is presented as a number indicating the particle density.

In the examples given, a smaller number indicates a lower density, for example. There are larger particles more widely spaced between each other, resulting in a rougher surface so that it is more effective and efficient in sharpening dull or even damaged blades.

Sharpening your knife differently depends on the grit level used in each of the four main stages or brackets. As you will see below, we’ll explore each of these brackets in turn so that you can understand how they are different, and how, when choosing which grit to use on your whetstone when sharpening or polishing your kitchen knives, you can select the right one for your needs.

Coarse Whetstones: #1000 or less

For any damaged, nicked, or chipped kitchen knives, or knives that are extremely dull or have any other issues in the blade, you should be looking at a coarser grit size of #1000 or less. It will take you no time at all to smooth out any kinks in your blade when using a whetstone of this grit as long as the knife is still salvageable.

When you have a dull knife and it has completely lost its edge, you should use these whetstones.

There is one note of caution though, due to their abrasiveness, these whetstones should not be used for general sharpening since they do not leave the best finish on your blade edge. When too much pressure is applied, these abrasives may damage a knife due to their low grit.

When you choose a low grit level, you’ll be removing a lot of material from your Japanese knives, so choosing the right grit level is crucial to maintaining your Japanese knives in perfect working condition.

Medium Stones: #1000 – #3000

Your most reliable sharpening stone is the #1000 grit whetstone. To regain the edge on your Japanese knives, this grit is a good starting point to use when sharpening them. This grit will cause your knife to wear down more quickly though, so use it sparingly.

Those individuals who sharpen their Japanese knives regularly will all benefit from the use of a #2000-3000 wetstone, which has a coarser grain and is more suitable for individuals who enjoy doing so. You should keep in mind, however, that this range is still primarily intended to ‘sharpen’ and not ‘maintain’ the edge of your knives.

When it comes to giving your Japanese knives that razor sharpness right out of the box, medium grit stones are greatly recommended.

Finishing Stones: #4000 – #8000

You should choose #4000 – #5000 if you are unsure whether you want to sharpen or achieve a superfine edge.

As a “finisher” for their knives, this range may be as far as some people are willing to go. A #5000 grit whetstone may be perfectly adequate if you are using a Western knife, which typically has a U shape as opposed to a V shape, and this applies above and beyond if you are using a Japanese knife.

A good rule of thumb is to stop grinding meat at #4000 – #6000 grit if you are cutting meat. We do this because we do not recommend using #8000 grit or above whetstones, since they will likely leave your knife to bend while cutting through muscle and sinew.

Use a #8000 grit whetstone if you are only cutting fruits and vegetables with your Japanese knives.

What to consider when selecting a whetstone

The market is flooded with whetstones, and finding the right one for your kitchen knife may be challenging. Keeping in mind what is best for your circumstances, and what type of knives you have to choose the right whetstone for will be determined by these factors.

There are several factors that should be taken into consideration when choosing the best whetstone for use with your knives and other cutting tools.


For the right whetstone to fit your cutting tools, it is essential that it has the proper width and length. Small whetstones won’t work on bigger knives and will make the sharpening process unsafe.

Trying to cover the entire blade with one whetstone is also frustrating.A kitchen knife should be about six to eight inches long.

Value for money 

Consider the durability, quality, and price of the product when determining the best value. Choosing the best whetstone is going to save you money in the long run. You should pay attention to both the quality of the material and other aspects such as the fact that each side of the stone has a different grit.

Guide to Sharpening Whetstones

YT Video

As a summary

Here are some tips for taking care of your sharpening stones

Before using:

Finishing stones above #3000 should not be immersed in water. Instead, they should be sprayed with water.

After using:

Make sure the stone dries completely. Wet or damp stones should not be returned to their boxes as they will mold and lose their quality over time.

Key Notes and Summary

Sharpening vs Honing

By sharpening the blade a small amount of metal will be removed from its edge to restore the edge to its original sharpness. This process fixes any chips and wear on the blade. As long as you sharpen your knife according to how often you use it, you should only need to do it once every few weeks or less.

For instance, when honing your knives, the blade is re-aligned to ensure you are cutting with a straight edge. It is a maintenance procedure that should be carried out at least once a week to ensure maximum longevity of your knives.


  • A whetstone acts like sand when sharpening a knife, allowing the blade to move more freely and shedding the least amount of metal.
  • For Japanese knives, which feature a tapered V-shaped edge, the blade must respect the shape. Using a freestanding whetstone allows you to determine the exact angle by pressing the blade against the stone with both hands.
  • Ensures that your knife stays in perfect condition for as long as possible.
  • There is a process associated with using a whetstone. It will need to soak in water for 10 minutes, then be sharpened on both sides (unless it has a single bevel), and then it will need to be honed on both sides for 30 minutes.

Making the right choice of whetstone

  • In order to cater of the needs of enthusiastic cooks up to professional chefs, we have developed a wide range of abrasive grades for our range of whetstones:
  • For reshaping and repairing chips in blades, use coarse (#220-#400)
  • For regular edge maintenance, use Medium (#800-#1000)
  • The fine (#3000-#8000) grades are used to polish and hone until a razor finish is achieved

Best places to buy whetstones 

Among all the quality whetstones there isn’t one marketplace that specializes in them all. That is why DiRiRo was created. We offer all the top products from all over the world in one place.

The best whetstones are available from different brands at competitive prices. As well as providing seamless shopping experiences, we also provide access to quality knives and knife accessories. 

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