Question Of The Day: How Do I Use A Japanese Water Stone?


Image: Chris Dumm

It’s time for me to move up in the world of sharpening, and I’ve decided to start with a medium-grit Japanese water stone. A fine 6000-grit stone is on its way, but I don’t know sweet F-A about using either of them. And I’m betting that some of you can help me with that . . .

Water Stone Instructions I know some wiseacre will tell me to RTFM, and I tried but the damned thing is in Japanese. The illustrations, while helpful, only get me so far.Before I trash these stones or mangle a good blade, I wanted to play ‘ask the audience’ and do some crowd-sourcing.

Do you have water stones, and if so, what’s your technique?


  1. Nate says:

    Ray Mears does an excellent demonstration on Youtube

  2. Dan says:

    I prefer the howcast tutorial. Real easy for beginners.


  3. Aharon says:

    Start out with a cheap knife you care little about.

  4. Ralph says:

    Well, Dan Zimmerman’s an expert on kidney stones, so I’d talk to him first.

  5. Skyler says:

    How is a Japanese whet stone different from any other whet stone?

    1. sagebrushracer says:

      I am guessing no difference and you use water vs oil. I use a lansky artificial stone designed for sharpening yard tools ect for all my bush gear, machete, bowie, hatchet ect. For a finer blade, I use a ceramic or diamond V shaped sharpener.

      1. Paul A'Barge says:


        Just stop. Go here

    2. JAS says:

      They are different. The whet stones use oil to float the swarf that comes off the knife so it doesn’t clog the stone’s biting surface. The Japanese stones create a slurry from the stone itself that speeds up the sharpening process.

  6. jwm says:

    here’s a thought. Do something no man has done since the beginning of time. Read the directions.

    1. Chris Dumm says:

      If you can translate them, I’ll read them. Until then, no habla Japanese.

  7. JAS says:

    Start Here:

    I switch hands and do better that way. Some can’t do it and have to adjust.

    Then Here – Music with subtitles but goes through the whole set of stones:

  8. Paul A'Barge says:

    Old thread but to to and

    they have videos and live peeps who read questions and reply. I’ve bought several knives from them and they rock. Hard.

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Question Of The Day: How Do I Use A Japanese Water Stone?

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