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Sharpening stones are excellent tools for sharpening knives and other tools requiring a fine cutting edge. Some whetstones can be fairly pricey, so it makes sense to take care of these items to preserve their lifespan and keep them functional for longer. Correct use and storage of your whetstones will contribute to protecting and preserving them.
A whetstone holder is important for the correct and safe use of the sharpening stone. The holder will keep the stone flat and unmoving during the sharpening process, allowing effort to be concentrated on technique rather than stone slippage. Appropriate storage will protect them when not in use.
Whetstone holders are important for the correct use of a whetstone, while appropriate storage boxes are necessary to keep the stones protected when not in use. Which products make for the best holders and storage methods for these tools. We have some suggestions for the best products to use and store your sharpening stones.
If you are interested in checking out the best whetstone holder and storage box you can find them by clicking here and here (Amazon links).
What Is A Sharpening Stone Holder?
People new to knife sharpening with whetstones may wonder why you would need a holder for the stones while sharpening.
Sharpening knives and other tools on a whetstone can be messy, depending on the type of stones and the lubricant used. Some stones require oil as a lubricant, and others use water. These lubricants need somewhere to go when running off the stone and can make the work surface slippery and messy.
Considering that you are working with sharp objects, it is not a good idea to have your sharpening stone moving around on your work surface. This movement can impact your sharpening accuracy and even pose a safety issue.
A sharpening stone holder is designed to help overcome some of these issues and hold the whetstone securely in place while you use it.
How Do You Hold A Sharpening Stone In Place?
Many whetstones do not come with holders as part of the purchase price, which presents a problem when you first use the stone.
It is important to secure the stone so it does not move around while you are using it. If you are using a Waterstone which requires water as a lubricant, it is advisable to use the stone in a container to catch the water running off the stone.
Some people try to place the whetstone on a cloth or towel to stop the stone from moving and soak up excess water. This works for a limited time until the cloth becomes wet, and it can affect the angle of the stone on the workbench.
Another option that some people attempt is to place the sharpening stone on a silicon non-slip mat and then wrap a cloth around the outside perimeter of the stone to soak up the excess water. This method works to some degree, but you will still find some slippage of the stone, and the cloth around the stone can get in the way.
The water can also soak completely through the cloth and create a mess and a safety hazard on your work surface or the floor.
The best option to hold the sharpening in place securely is by using a whetstone holder. The whetstone holder you select should be adjustable to hold varying-sized sharpenings stones and with the option of suspending it over a container to catch water runoff.
TIP: Using a lubricant with a whetstone is a topic that receives much debate in the knife industry, firstly which stones require a lubricant, and secondly, which lubricant is best. Find out more in the article below:
Lubricating A Sharpening Stone: The 12 Do’s & Don’ts
Why Is It Important To Hold A Sharpening Stone Properly?
Several important aspects should be considered regarding the importance of securing your whetstone properly when using it.
Fighting a wandering whetstone is not only unsafe but can have consequences for the quality of the final edge on your knife and the longevity of the whetstone.
A Secure Whetstone Is A Safe Whetstone
The safety aspect of using a whetstone cannot be stressed enough since you are working with sharp, pointed implements, and the process makes them even sharper.
If the whetstone is not secured properly, it has the potential to move around and slip on the work surface while you are in the process of sharpening knives. This slippage will be compounded by the lubricant used on the stone, increasing the risk of the stone moving around.
If the stone slips at the wrong moment, you can have an accident with the sharp edge of the knife or tool you are sharpening and sustain a severe laceration.
Likewise, any lubricant not contained within the surrounds of the whetstone can become a slipping hazard, and you could lose your footing, causing an accident with the knife.
A Secure Whetstone Provides Accurate Sharpening
Another significant aspect of securing your whetstone properly for sharpening is to improve the accuracy of your sharpening technique.
A whetstone that moves around during sharpening will make it extremely difficult to maintain the correct angle of the knife’s edge against the stone. A single stroke at an incorrect angle can ruin the work you had performed on the edge and result in the need to start over.
If you simply continue on the stone without securing it, the knife may never reach optimal sharpness, and you will be disappointed with the results.
Placing the stone on a cloth to secure it can lead to wobble or the angle of the stone not being completely flat.
Any wobble in the stone will have the same effect on your sharpening as a slipping stone. A stone that is not completely flat will cause uneven pressure across the surface of the stone, affecting your technique and causing uneven wear on the stone.
Uneven wear on the stone can necessitate more frequent flattening of your sharpening stones, significantly reducing their longevity.
TIP: Whetstones require maintenance to ensure that the surface continues to sharpen your knives correctly and accurately. One of the important maintenance tasks is flattening the sharpening stones.
4 Proven Ways: How To Flatten Sharpening Stone (Whetstone)
Best Whetstone Holder
When searching for a whetstone holder, several features should be included as criteria to set the holder apart from other options available on the market.
Adjustability is an important factor to look for in a whetstone holder. Whetstone manufacturers do not produce their stones to a particular length standard, resulting in a wide range of stone sizes on the market.
An adjustable holder allows the accommodation of a variety of stone sizes, eliminating the need for multiple sharpening stone holders due to size incompatibility.
Durability is another whetstone aspect to consider when choosing a product that will last a long time and give good service. Any metal components should be constructed from stainless steel to prevent corrosion when using water as a lubricant on the stone.
One of the best sharpening stone holders we have come across is the Naniwa A-902 Sharpening Stone Holder (Amazon link). This stone holder meets the requirements for holding the whetstone securely and meets the criteria for a quality product.
The Naniwa holder has greater adjustability compared to many other similar products, allowing a wider range of stone sizes to be accommodated in the holder. The adjustability is achieved via threaded rods made from stainless steel, providing the necessary protection against corrosion.
The body of the Naniwa holder is made from slip-resistant rubber, allowing it to sit securely on a work surface or the bottom of a container to catch lubricant runoff. The section holding the stone is made from the same rubberized material and holds the stones securely in place.
This stone holder can also be suspended over a container of appropriate size to catch water runoff during the sharpening process. The only prerequisite for the container is that it should have rigid sides that will not flex under the motion and pressure or the sharpening process.
If you are interested in buying the Naniwa A-902 Sharpening Stone Holder check out the latest prices on Amazon.
TIP: One of the most frequently asked beginner questions is, do sharpening stones need to be wet, or can they be used dry? Find out the answer in the article below:
Do Sharpening Stones Need To Be Wet? Complete Breakdown
Best Wooden Sharpening Stone Holder (Sink Bridge)
Another option for a whetstone holder is a product that will provide a larger support base that will span a larger container over which you can sharpen your knives.
For the purpose of a little more convenience, we can recommend the Sha-Pu Whetstone Sharpening Sink Bridge (Amazon link). This sharpening stone holder is slightly larger and designed to span the width of most kitchen sinks.
A sink bridge stone holder offers the advantage of sharpening directly over the sink, providing a convenient location for water to drain away during the sharpening process. You could also have the sink faucet trickling water over the stone continuously if you prefer to sharpen it in this way.
The stone holder is made from wood, which may seem counter-intuitive for a product that will get wet during use. However, the wood used to make the holder is acacia, which is naturally water-resistant.
The holder is also treated with a coating to improve the natural water-resistance of the wood. This stone holder is also adjustable, and its large size makes it suitable to accommodate any whetstone size.
If you are interested in buying the Sha-Pu Whetstone Sharpening Sink Bridge check out the latest prices on Amazon.
How To Store Sharpening Stones?
Storing your whetstones requires equal consideration as the use of the stones. Considering the cost of some quality whetstones, you need to protect them when they are not in use to secure your investment.
Some whetstone types, such as natural and synthetic stones, ceramic stones, and glass stones, can be surprisingly fragile.
If these stones are dropped or subjected to an impact, they can chip, crack and even break in two. Extremes of temperature can also adversely affect stones, particularly Waterstones.
Proper storage of these stones will protect them from accidental damage and temperature extremes. Proper storage will also prevent them from collecting dirt, dust, and other debris.
Oil stones are particularly susceptible to dust and dirt sticking to the surface of the stone if it is left exposed for any significant amount of time. The dust particles settle on residual oil on the stone’s surface and become a gummy layer that will require cleaning the next time you use the stone.
Waterstones are susceptible to cracking and breaking if they are stored wet and subjected to temperature fluctuations. This problem is most pronounced in locations where winter temperatures can drop below freezing.
Water in the stone’s pores can freeze, and the expanding water has sufficient force to crack the whetstones. Any sharpening stones lubricated with water should be thoroughly dried before storage.
Storing your whetstones in a convenient container will allow you to store the stones all in the same location and possibly inside the house rather than the garage.
TIP: Whetstones themselves require care and maintenance to keep them performing optimally and extend their longevity. Find out more in the article below:
14 Care Tips For Better & Longer Endurance Of Your Whetstone
Best Sharpening Stone Storage Box
There are many methods of safely storing your sharpening stones, but one of the best that we have come across provides secure, snug, and convenient storage in a container that looks good enough to sit on your countertop in the kitchen.
The Gritomatic Plywood Storage Case (Amazon link) is an elegant and practical storage method for your whetstones. The case is made from durable plywood and has an elegant finish.
You can order the case with options for storing 6, 9, or 12 stones, and each stone has a slot position in the case. This prevents the stones from jostling around in the case and bashing into each other, resulting in cracked or broken stones.
The storage case has ventilation holes in the sides of the case to promote airflow across the stones to assist with drying the stones should they still contain moisture when packed into the case.
It is crucial to dry your water stones as thoroughly as possible before storing them in the case. If some residual water remains in the stones, the ventilation holes will allow for the moisture to evaporate before it becomes an issue.
The hinges on the lid are made from bronze to prevent corrosion and for durability, and the lid is secured using strong magnets
The only modification we would recommend would be to add a securing clasp to the lid if you will be carrying the case around.
If you are interested in buying the Gritomatic Plywood Storage Case check out the latest prices on Amazon.
Sharpening knives and other tools on whetstones are a challenging enough task, to begin with. Using the stone without securing it properly in a whetstone holder is an unnecessary complication to the process that can affect the quality of the final edge on your knives.
Using a quality whetstone holder is the safer option for you and will allow you to concentrate on your technique rather than keeping the stone secure.
When you are done using your whetstones, protect your investment by storing the stones in a case that will keep them safe from accidental damage, dust, and other environmental concerns.
TIP: The concept of a self-sharpening knife sounds a little mysterious and magical as if it is something that belongs in fiction rather than real life! Find out more about self-sharpening knives in the article below:
Self-Sharpening Knives: All You Need To Know About Them