Why Does a Whetstone Need to be Wet? [Answered in Detail]

(Last Updated On: February 2, 2022)

If you own knives in your kitchen then you must own whetstone as well because knives require to be sharpened frequently. Obviously, you cannot work with a blunt knife. For proper and precise cutting of fruits and vegetables, you need a razor-sharp knife that will serve you like forever. Well, it can only be possible when you make the best use of your whetstone. 

Now, the problem begins when you start using the whetstone. For the proper use, you need to wet the whetstone first. Many people ask, why does a whetstone need to be wet? And most probably you are here with the same question in mind looking for an answer. 

Well, you are on the right site since we are serving the same purpose describing to you everything regarding the topic. Professionals always suggest wetting your whetstone before sharpening. In the case of diamond or natural sharpening stones, you can use them dry. But wetting them before using would be a wise idea. 

What to Use to Wet a Whetstone?

Nonetheless, you just cannot use any substances to make the whetstones wet. Use only water for the purpose. Do not use oil or any other types of lubricant materials. However, there are some honing oils available in the market that are petroleum-based or water-based. The companies produce these mineral oils that are highly refined. 

These commercial products are specially made for wetting sharpening or whetstones. So, you can certainly use them. The honing oil products are a great help in quickening the honing process. Also, their use keeps the pores of whetstones clean. they also ensure an easy and smooth sharpening process dissipating the frictional heat. For your information, remember one thing that if you are using a Waterstone never use honing oil on it. 

Why Does a Whetstone Need to be Wet?should you wet a Sharpening whetstone

Well, as we mentioned, it is always better to use sharpening stone wet instead of dry. The wet material whether it is water or oil makes the knife sway more fluently. Moreover, the fluid substance eradicates the problem of clogging from the stone. It also helps in floating the waste material and swarf away. 

Again, there are oil stones available that are used as sharpening stones. If you use these stones dry then consequently you will have to resurface and clean them. This is a big hassle. But if you use honing oil on it, you won’t have to face this trouble. Moreover, even if you are using a coarse Crystolon sharpening stone, it will require to be wet first before using. Otherwise, slowing down the cutting speed, the dry whetstone will accumulate swarf in it. 

So, to protect the cutting ability of the sharpening stones, it is necessary to wet them. There are many professionals who tested different types of whetstones both in dry and wet. Surprisingly, they have found it more convenient to use them wet instead of dry.

The stones work more efficiently without offering any loss in the ability of their cutting. From the beginning to the end of the sharpening process, the wet stone will keep serving you without any obstacles. So, we think there are enough reasons to wet sharpening stone before start sharpening.  

How Long to Soak Whetstone – Including the Wetting Process

Stones that require to be wet should be done following a manner. There is a certain process. To make the stone wet, submerge it in water first. While submerging make sure no air bubbles come out of the water. Now, keep it be soaked for some time. The longer you let the stone soak the better it will serve you. 

After some times, take the stone out of the water and start the sharpening process. However, it is also important to soak the stone periodically while sharpening the knife. Now, if you are using a medium-coarse or coarse stone then you can soak it and leave it in water. It won’t hurt the stones. 

But when you are done with the sharpening process, make sure to remove the stones. In the case of medium-grit and rough whetstones, you can soak them in water for about 10 to 15 minutes. Soaking them for this amount of time before use will be enough to have a smooth sharpening journey. Again, if you are using fine stones then there is no reason to soak them or submerge them in water. Just a little splash of water over the stone is enough to get them ready to start with the process. 

If you are using a king whetstone then it only needs some water. It will come probably two different girt sides. One is medium-grit and another is fine-grit. Just soak the medium-grit side for about five minutes. For the fine-grit side, splashing of water only is enough during sharpening. 

Can you Use a Whetstone Dry?

Yes, you can use a whetstone dry only when you do not care about the durability of your stone and knife. Also, if you are willing and patient enough to endure a troubled process of sharpening stone then you can use a whetstone dry. 

What happens if you use a whetstone dry?

we are sure, you don’t want any Mass. Whatever you are doing, it should be smart and smooth. Using the whetstones dry is also time-consuming. It requires a lot of time to clean and then resurface the stones after using them dry. It also requires a lot of effort. 

Should We use whetstone without water?

Some may approve you to use natural whetstone dry. But using wet whetstone is always recommended. So, partially, yes, you can use a whetstone dry. But if you are a bit wise, you know what would you choose.

What Happens If You Use a Whetstone Dry?MITSUMOTO SAKARI 1000 3000 8000 12000 grit Japanese Double-sided sharpening stone For Knives With Non-Slip rubber and wood base

To come up with a straight consequence, using a whetstone dry might damage the tool. It is the ultimate result that happens if you use a whetstone dry. There are some other consequences. Let’s get to them.

  • It slows down the sharpening process quickly. Therefore, sharpening each knife takes a lot of time.
  • The edge of a knife does not get a proper sharpening and consequently, it happens to chip without even serving longer.
  • Using whetstones dry frequently makes them useless in no time. So, it would be a total waste of money. 
  • After every sharpening job keeping the whetstone dry, you have to clean the stone and resurface it again.
  • Using whetstone dry creates a lot of friction that might damage both the stone and knife. It also creates a lot of swarf. 
  • Using whetstone this way makes the stone clog easily. It does not allow a smooth sharpening process.  

So, now you know what happens if you use a whetstone dry. It does not bring any good thing. 

Why Do You Put Water on a Whetstone?

Putting water on a whetstone periodically helps in floating the waste material and creating a swarf away. Also, to protect your whetstone from clogging, putting water on them frequently helps a lot. 

How to Maintain a Whetstone?

Well, the best whetstone in the market does not come at a cheaper rate at all. It is undoubtedly expensive. Therefore, when you own one of them make sure you make it as durable as possible. You have to follow many rules to maintain them. However, most importantly, to maintain them you have to keep in mind the following points.

  • Do not use the wrong lubricant 

There are some specific whetstones that are specially made for a particular or specific lubricant. Using some other kind of lubricant can cause damage to the stone. Sometimes, it can permanently damage the sharpening tool. That is why it is important to follow the instructions first.

If the instruction says to use water as lubricant then you should only be using water. Again, if the instructions recommend a specific kind of lubricant or honing oil then go for it only. 

  • Do not store wet whetstones at cold temperature

Storing wet whetstones in cold temperatures might cause the remaining water on the stone to freeze. Consequently, the freezing water might expand later causing breakage or cracks in the stone. So, you better not put them in cold condition.

3 Whetstone Recommendation:

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MITSUMOTO SAKARI 1000 3000 8000 12000 grit Japanese Double-sided sharpening stone For Knives With Non-Slip rubber and wood base

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Knife Sharpening Stone Kit, Premium Whetstone Knife Sharpener, Sharpening Stones - 4 Side Grit 400/1

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Why do you have to wet a whetstone?

Now, after all that discussion, you certainly know what to do with your whetstone. So, now you also know why does a whetstone need to be wet. You have to keep your knife blade razor-sharp and that is why you need a whetstone. You might think the use of a knife is easy but the use of a whetstone is a bit tricky.

That is why you need to maintain and follow some points. Using them dry or wet is the most important point among all. So, try not to ruin your whetstone in the first place using it dry. Instead, know the proper way of how to use it wet. 

Gias

This is Gias, an Engineer and Kitchen Knife enthusiast and Specializes in Japanese Knives from the experiences of testing, reviewing, and researching last 5 years. I create this site to document my passion and love for kitchen knives and the cutting experiences of various types of knives used in my daily life. I really strive to provide you all with the most accurate and helpful information on knives around the world.

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