View Full Version : Oil Stone Questions

Gravy Power
08-22-2012, 09:33 PM
I got into knives and sharpening via KKF before I had even started a lab classn at Culinary School, so the only stones I knew where whetstones. Currently have a 500, 1200 and 5000 (Dave's core kit).

So at school the other day, my pairing knife was a little rough and I had some extra time, so I thought I would take a look at what we had.

What I find is a little triangle contraption, centered on a rod that sits in oil. The three sides were "fine", "medium" and "rough" or something to that affect. Anyway I started at ten per side and went down by two each time. Knife got some bite, nothing great. Felt kind of wierd.

Then I remember reading about knife sharpening in my Professional Chef textbook and it clearly stating to run you knife in one direction over a stone. I then go ask the protien instructor about strokes on the stone and she says it should be in only one direction. Really didn't argue with her, just told her I had some knife knowledge and on my own stones I go back and forth.

So I guess my questions are:

Do these oil stones hold any candle to whetstones?

Is the one direction thing specific to oil stones, or more so people just don't jack up their knife?

Gravy Power
08-22-2012, 09:48 PM
Also, any ideas what grit those sides actually where?

08-22-2012, 11:36 PM
Sounds a lot like my Smith's Tri-hone, that has a medium (soft) natural arkansas stone, a fine (hard) natural arkansas stone, and an aluminum oxide stone. Amazon.com says the medium is 600 grit and the fine is 1000 grit.

I haven't used mine in a while, but seems like it worked pretty well for softer steels.

08-23-2012, 01:11 AM
Keep in mind the American grit scale is about half of the Japanese scale. So 600 grit is really 1200 or so.

Gravy Power
08-23-2012, 01:21 AM
What about the back and fourth motion I've been using, which I learned here and on other interwebs, versus the single direction?

08-23-2012, 03:17 AM
Back and forth is fine as long as you can maintain your angle both ways. Though if you want the prettiest scratch pattern, (say, if you're using sandpapers to refinish the face of an old knife or something) then single direction will be the way to go.

08-23-2012, 04:11 AM
Here is my short take on oil v water stones:

+ Oil stones are usually pretty hard so they do not dish very fast nor need to be flattened very often. They last longer due to hardness.

- They do not usually cut as fast as water stones. Feedback is usually a bit muted also. Take quite a bit of effort to flatten.

In the end they both do the same thing. I think most people like water stones because they are fast cutting, nice feedback and are easy to keep very flat. Also, water tends to be less messy.


08-23-2012, 10:04 AM
Oil stones tend to clog up really quickly which diminishes the cutting power making them much slower with terrible feedback.