When you hear the words “sharpening stone,” what comes to mind? Most people will associate sharpening stones with knives, scissors and other small, sharp tools. But in reality, sharpening stones can also be used to hone and polish a variety of surfaces and materials. Regardless of the material, however, to ensure proper maintenance and protection of any surface sharpened on a sharpening stone, it is important to always use the right type of oil when sharpening.

There are two main types of oils that should be used for a sharpening stone: honing oil and Japanese honing stone oil. Honing oil is primarily used for soft stones. It lubricates and cushions the surface during use. The most common type of honing oil is mineral oil because it is fast-acting and provides all the lubrication needed to sharpen softer materials like blades of steel or cloth shears. However, some manufacturers do offer synthetically engineered honing oils that provide additional benefits such as reduced mess or quick drying time.

Japanese hone stone oil is an essential element for keeping harder hone stones functioning properly over time. This type of oil contains both detergent ingredients which break down debris from the stone’s surface as well as anti-oxidants which reduce surface oxidation —both contributing significantly towards extending the life span of your stone over time if frequently applied correctly. While this kind of specialized product may be more expensive than other lubricating oils on the market, its usage will help preserve your investment over the long term in one crucial tool in your arsenal —a quality sharpening stone set!

Oils in Detail

When it comes to sharpening stone, there are multiple types of oil available on the market. Each oil has its own unique properties that make it more suitable for different jobs. Here are some of the most popular and widely used oils:

Mineral Oils: Mineral oils have been widely used as sharpening oils. They’re non-toxic, odorless, and relatively inexpensive and can be applied to a wide range of stones from Japan water stones to Novaculite hones and everything in between. Mineral oil is especially recommended for honing softer stones as it doesn’t gum up quickly like other oils tend to do.

Turing Oils: Turing oils are highly refined solutions that can spread quickly over a stone surface for faster honing action. The major benefit of using turing oils is that they leave behind a thin film on the surface of your stone making them easier to maintain in the long run although they don’t last as long as mineral oils do when compared ounce by ounce. This makes them an ideal choice when you need a quick sharpening job with minimal groundwork.

Vegetable Oils: Vegetable oils are becoming increasingly popular amongst knife sharpeners as they’re natural, renewable, and earth friendly too! These plant-based solutions generally come in two varieties i.e Olive Oil and Grape Seed Oil which can easily be found in any grocery store near you at a fraction of the cost compared to their chemical counterparts. Vegetable oils also contain Vitamin E which helps keep your blades healthy by preventing rust or corrosion from developing over time due to abrasive sharpening practices often employed when honing dull knives or tools!

Quality Standards

It is important to assess the quality of oil intended for sharpening stone before buying it to ensure that your tools and stones remain properly lubricated and in good condition. Good quality oils should be clear and free from impurities, with a transparent appearance. It should also have a pleasant smell and consistency – too thick or thin could affect its performance. In terms of viscosity, mixtures like mineral spirit are usually used as they provide better lubrication and slower evaporation compared to other options.

When purchasing oil, check that it has been manufactured using environmentally responsible standards, such as refining processes using natural gas instead of petroleum-based sources. Additionally, when buying online, check the customer reviews on third-party sources to gain an understanding of its effectiveness before making a purchase. Additionally, make sure that the oil you do buy is specifically designed for use with sharpening stones; many household oils contain chemicals or components that can be damaging to the delicate surfaces of these products. Finally, look for oils labeled food-grade; even if you’re not intending to sharpen knives meant for food preparation, this form of care guarantees less mess and greater safety when sharpening.

Mineral Oils

Pros: Mineral oils are easy to use and can be bought or found in most stores. They require little maintenance and will last a long time without breaking down. They also help to keep your stone from clogging up, which is important for long-term use since the buildup of grease, dirt, and dust can cause damage over time.

Cons: Mineral oils may contain impurities that could potentially harm the surface of your sharpening stone and should be replaced frequently. They might also stain the wood on some pieces of equipment if not used carefully. While mineral oils work well with most stones, they do not create a great edge on hard stones such as diamond and ceramic stones. In addition, because it’s a liquid, it’s also much messier to work with than other types of oil used for sharpening purposes like vegetable and olive oil.

Maintenance and Care

When it comes to sharpening your knives, knowing what oil to use for sharpening stone is vital. The right oil helps keep the stone in top condition, so it can do its job correctly. Some knives should never touch water, while others must be honed with a water-filled stone. Depending on what type of knife you’re working with or what kind of sharpening job you need done, you’ll want to determine which type of lubricant will work best for you.

For most waterstones, mineral oil is used as an appropriate lubricant. Applied at least once a month, mineral oil will help keep your stone in top shape by filling the pores between the stones that may contain unwanted impurities and dust particles.

For honing or lubricating whetstones without water or referred to as “dry stones”, paraffin wax is often used as an appropriate lubricant. Paraffin wax helps coats the surface of the stone allowing particles and metals shavings not to cake up on the surface while being honed.. Unlike mineraloil, paraffin wax also stays solid at room temperature and will not penetrate deep into the pours of a stone as easily as mineral oils do.

An important part of gaining proficiency with using sharpening stones effectively is routine maintenance and cleaning over time to ensure optimal performance It’s important to remember how hard our whetstones areworking every time we sharpen a blade—and that regular care and use of proper stone lubricants will be necessary for keeping our knives edged perfectly!


Using the right oil for sharpening stone can make a significant difference in the quality of your results and the performance of your tool. Knowing which kind of oil to use depends on the type of stone you are using — whether it is a water stone, diamond plate, or more traditional abrasive stone. Therefore, it is important to educate yourself on the finer points when it comes to choosing the correct oil for sharpening stones.

Most mild oils are suitable for conventional abrasive stones like carborundum and novaculite. Mineral oils such as baby oil or sewing machine oil work great but are not ideal for prolonged use. Instead, food grade mineral oils tend to be better and last longer. For water stones, usually a light weight honing oil works best; alternatively, specialized synthetic oils designed specifically for water stone sharpening provide better performance and even cooling throughout usage. If using a diamond plate however, heaver lubricants such as lightweight honing oils are recommended as they will keep the plate from becoming clogged with metal particles from cutting away material more efficiently than lighter oils.

Overall, choosing the proper oil for sharpening stone is key in achieving a successful end product and keeping your tools performing top notch over time.