What type of whetstone should I use for sharpening knives made of VG-10, A2, D2, S30V?

More specific, for each step (grinding/sharpening/honing):

  • what kind of whetstone: natural or artificial? If artificial, what type of material?
  • what kind of bonding material? or no bonding material at all for specific grit ranges?

P.S. If you know some other place where specific models of whetstones (and their recommended usage) are discussed, please leave a comment. All I have found so far are some vendor sites, and nothing relevant about practical usage.

  • Buying recommendations are off topic across the whole network, see blog.stackoverflow.com/2010/11/qa-is-hard-lets-go-shopping. Is there something you want to ask here except a brand recommendation? If yes, please edit the question, else it will be closed.
    – rumtscho
    Commented Jun 16, 2012 at 15:40
  • If you want to buy a stone, it is fine to ask what you should look for in a good stone. After you have narrowed down your choice, and like a stone but don't know if it has a feature X you want (and the manufacturer doesn't offer the info), you can also ask "does stone Y have feature X". The rule is not to ask questions like "Which brand/model of stone should I buy" or "Which brand/model is the best", they are unanswerable at best and a seed for a flamewar at worst. The way you edited your question is good; if you want to add more info without changing the main question, it's OK.
    – rumtscho
    Commented Jun 16, 2012 at 16:54
  • 1
    There are nice discussions here and here on how to sharpen knifes. Related in a way to your question. Commented Jun 16, 2012 at 16:58
  • @BaffledCook: thank you, from your links I have arrived at forums.egullet.org/index.php?/topic/…
    – alexandrul
    Commented Jun 16, 2012 at 18:12
  • 1
    @rumtscho Whetstones, among serious knife enthusiasts, are a very special market - synthetic stones will usually be recommended by brand, because most vendors offer insufficient data/product description to allow a choice on numbers/properties alone. Natural stones are usually referred to by origin, with vendor identity taking a back seat. Keeping to "no product recommendations" in letter not spirit can lead to misleading answers - eg a recommendation "use a generic 400 hard bound stone" can lead to unsatisfying results or even damaged tools. Commented Oct 17, 2017 at 10:03

3 Answers 3


For the honing stage, I have found an article regarding belgian natural stones: How does a Belgian Blue Whetstone compare to a Coticule (without any reference to a specific steel type)

In summary:

  • the yellow stones (Coticule) are much better than BBW if using slurry
  • using just water, without slurry, BBW is almost useless and Coticule is very slow

I usually recommend Japanese water stones.

a 3-grit combination is best:

  1. Coarse grit stone (400 grit): to raise the burr. This is the very important first step in a sharpening session.
  2. Medium grit stone (1000 grit): to refine the edge.
  3. Fine grit stone (3000 grit and more): to refine the edge even more.

You would be able to sharpen a knife simply with a coarse stone, let's say a 400 grit japanese whetstone. You can raise the burr on both sides, then lower your pressure to remove the burr.

If you have the additional medium and fine grit stones, then your can continue the process of sharpening, with lower pressure, so to refine the edge.

  • 1
    Do not link to your own sites/products unless it is a direct part of answering the question, and even then, the relevant information must be in your answer, not behind the link. See cooking.stackexchange.com/help/promotion.
    – Cascabel
    Commented Oct 16, 2017 at 19:52

To sharpen a knife I use a wore out flat file. To sharpen razor sharp. I use a onyx stone with impurities in it. You find these in the river. So a carbon stone very hard. With specks of impurities that add a fine dust as you sharpen a knife. They polish out like glass in use. Volcanic onyx.

  • 2
    Is your suggestion seriously "go find some volcanic onyx in a river"? And.. are you sure you mean onyx, and not just some dark/black slate or other sedimentary rock? Onyx is crystalline, not really the kind of thing I'd expect to make a good whetstone.
    – Cascabel
    Commented Oct 17, 2017 at 6:38
  • 1
    Volcanic onyx. Hard black flat stones found in the river. We have a lot of them were I live. Not jewel grade stones. Have speck of imputities in them. When used polish out like glass. These are river rocks wore flat by the river. Yes they make great sharpening stones. That and old wore out flat files Volcanic carbon stones Once polished look like onyx to me. Very shiny like in rings & such. But have specks in them.
    – J Bergen
    Commented Oct 17, 2017 at 12:09
  • 1
    Onyx isn't carbon.
    – Cascabel
    Commented Oct 17, 2017 at 14:08
  • 2
    Instructions unclear, nearly drowned looking for impure onyx in the Rhine. Commented Jan 15, 2018 at 12:09

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.