Wed Feb 12, 2014 8:31 pm
I've been wondering this for a while. I'm not the greatest sharpener, but I'm good enough that I can sharpen knives for friends and family. The thing is, it's a pain in the neck to have to find something to soak my stone at their house, it makes a mess, and then I have to carefully dry it afterward to prevent mold from growing on it.
So, I was wondering if it's bad for the stone to use it dry. I don't care if it gives me a less than optimal sharpness in the end. Anything is an improvement on those knives since they're blunt as heck at the start (cheap steel or Wuesthof steel, no Japanese steel). But I don't want to damage the stone...
Thanks in advance for thoughtful, well-informed replies.
Cheers from snowy DC...
Wed Feb 12, 2014 8:46 pm
I guess a good response would be its called whet stone for a reason how about get these stones,they are cheap and are splash and go. No soaking and if you are just sharpening cheap knives the 400 grit and 1000 grit and for your good knives get 3000 grit they are all under 40 buckshttp://www.chefknivestogo.com/superstones.html
Wed Feb 12, 2014 8:55 pm
kirky makes a good point,
however If you are using the king 1/6 k combo stone soaking isn't really necessary, just splash or run water for a couple minutes and then spray with spray bottle after that when it dries out, as for carfully letting it dry, just store it in a Tupperware with some holes punched in the lid, voila shapton pro holder!
I have sold my old king stone to an apprentice but I didn't ever let it soak for long just min or two and then rehydrate as necessary.
hope that helps~
now on the flip side you could pick up the superstones aforementioned and keep them at home for your knives and leave the combo for traveling sessions.. I think you will find you like the variety,,,
Wed Feb 12, 2014 9:23 pm
thanks for your replies. i'm not willing to put another $80+ into more stones. i like the suggestion of storing the king 1/6K in a ventilated container. that would take some of the work out of it. but i'd still be dealing with a wet, messy stone during the sharpening. once again, i'll ask, does it damage the stone to use it dry? (folks please only reply if you know for a fact, yes or no. or if you're just speculating, let me know that instead.)
Wed Feb 12, 2014 9:33 pm
i guess i can't edit posts in this forum? just wanted to add, so that people don't carry away the wrong impression on where the 'whet' in whetstone comes from. i just checked the dictionary. 'whet' comes from old english or old norse, meaning 'sharp' or 'sharpen', as in 'whet my appetite'.
Wed Feb 12, 2014 9:42 pm
they are your stones- do with them as you want - they are meant and designed to be used with water for lubrication and also to help release and move around the precious grit which is what sharpens your knives in a nice even way. if you use it dry - you can still make an edge - it wont be the best it could have - the stone will clog with metal particles making it a less effective cutter, if you then soak it and flatten it comes back to normal - but that would make a big wet mess - we don't want that.
hows about u try sharpening over an old cookie tray or lid from a Tupperware container there are lots of ways to maintain the mess. But sharpening on a waterstone without water is kinda like making choc chip cookies without chocolate!
and these are waterstones my friend, the whet stone name is far closer to the old Norton's and oil stones old school and not so Japanese. my 2 cents
take em or leave em
Wed Feb 12, 2014 10:58 pm
+1 to what Cheffiec said.
The stones work by using abrasives embedded in binders. As the pores in the stone fills with metal swarf, and the particles of aggregate fracture and become too small to cut quickly the stone is designed to wear away revealing a new cutting surface. If you do not use water, the swarf fill in the stone's pores glazing over the surface while not allowing old aggregate to wear away and expose new aggregate. It will not damage the stone to use it dry, just grind away the blackened surface with sand paper, a coarser stone, or even on a concrete sidewalk or driveway, but the stone will not work efficiently.
To help with mess I have used the sharpening on a sheet pan method, it is helpful. Most of the time I use a loaf pan to soak my stones, sharpen on a 2x4 spanning my sink set on shelf liner to reduce slipping, and air dry the stones on my gas cooktop's iron grate overnight before storing in a plastic tub in the pantry.
Wed Feb 12, 2014 11:39 pm
They are water stones and need water to use them properly. Like others have mentioned, the surface will glaze up quickly and not cut much, and you will make lots of stone powder on the stone itself, especially if you gouge it since they are softer stones. The edges and corners will also crumble more if you use the stone dry. I had the King 1/6 as my first stone; it needs a longer soak than a few minutes IMHO or you will be spraying the surface constantly. I used to let mine sit in water for 20 minutes or until the bubbles stopped coming out of the stone and even then, still needed to spray water on it as it dried out.
Pick up a bread pan that the knife will fit in bring that with you to soak the knife, then put it in the pan on edge to let it dry out. Shouldn't be all that hard to find a bread pan or something similar in size at a local grocery store.
Thu Feb 13, 2014 3:40 am
IMHO the kingsstones benifit greatly from long soaking, other dont (eg shapton and others,,)
Thu Feb 13, 2014 12:21 pm
Use water and a thick layer of news paper. You can even let the paper dry with all the stone material and use it as a strop...I use newspaper layed down on the bottom of the stones. Works fine.
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