Introduction to Oil Stones

Oil stones are used to sharpen metal blades such as knives, scissors, chisels and even nuts and bolts. They come in a variety of shapes and sizes, with some being rectangular or round while others are “loadstone” style or angular. An oil stone is something that is carefully designed to get the finest possible edge on steel tools or edges. If one is looking for an ideal sharpening tool, an oil stone should be in their arsenal.

In order to select the right stone for your needs it is important to understand how they work and their qualities so you can make an educated decision when purchasing one. Oil Stones have abrasive particles bonded together either through ceramic abrasives (such as aluminum oxide) which produce a very aggressive cutting action or diamond abrasives which produce a much finer cutting makeup. The second quality that comes into play when choosing the right oil stone is its grit; this designates how fine of an edge it can achieve ranging from coarse, medium and fine. Depending on what you are trying to sharpen will determine what type of grit would work best for you and your specific needs.

Finally, it’s worth mentioning that some oil stones will vary in size depending on the application they were designed for; some people will opt to purchase a bigger oil stone if they are planning on sharpening larger tools such as chisels whereas smaller stones may be adequate enough for small kitchen knives or scissors. Ultimately there is no perfect one-size-fits-all solution – but by taking into consideration how often you intend to use it, how effective the stone is compared to other types of sharpening equipment (especially considering cost)and finally understanding the actual grain size and bonding agent behind the material itself – should guide you towards selecting the best oil stone available for your individual needs!

Benefits of an Oil Stone

Oil stones are an essential tool for sharpening and honing blades. They are superior to other types of sharpening stones because of their unique combination of properties. Oil stones use a base material composed of either aluminum oxide or silicon carbide which is bound up with a bonding agent, usually oil or wax. This creates a soft, uneven surface that glides smoothly over the blade in contrast to more traditional hard stones, which can create wear on the blade’s edge if used incorrectly.

The oil helps minimize damaging heat build-up by providing lubrication during the sharpening process and it also helps reduce metal dust accumulation on the stone during sharpening. Oil also assists in the honing process by allowing it to move more freely across the stone and in between teeth than traditional waterstones, thereby providing a much finer finish edge. Using an oil stone also makes it easier to adjust angle guides since its soft surface conforms better to curved surfaces as well as flat ones than harder stones.

Overall, oil stones offer superior performance compared to other types of sharpening and honing tools due to their combination of softness, lubricity and ease of use – all qualities that enhance precision control during sharpening and honing tasks. By smoothing the metal surface without creating excessive wear or heat build-up, they provide users with exceptional results in terms of accuracy and finishing time.

How to Use an Oil Stone

1. Gather the necessary tools: In order to use an oil stone, you will need an oil stone, a lubricant such as mineral oil, and a clean cloth.

2. Prepare the stone: Start by wiping down your oil stone with the cloth and then apply a thin layer of lubricant on the surface of your stone. This step ensures that any rust or residue on the surface of your stone is removed and allows for smooth cutting during sharpening.

3. Positioning: Place your knife at an angle of 20 degrees against the coarse side of the stone with your first hand holding it in place and the other hand pushing it away from you at a consistent speed and pressure.

4. Make passes: Begin making long passes over the length of your blade keeping only light pressure against the stone so that it does not chip or crack as sharpening occurs. Make slow back-and-forth motions as you make longer passes across the oil stone with each pass being relatively equal in size from start to finish before reversing direction.

5. Flip sides: Once you have made several passes on one side, switch it up to do similar motions on the opposite side until both sides match in sharpness until they are uniform in performance when used while slicing food items like vegetables or meat products like steak or seafood dishes alike.

6. Finish off: When finishing off your work, wipe down both sides of your knife’s blade with a dry cloth which will help remove extra debris from oil stones that may have been picked up during sharpening so that next time only fresh clean material will be used against them again when needed next time around!

Different Types of Oil Stones

Oil stones are a very popular way of sharpening knives, and come in various shapes and sizes. Each type has its own advantages and disadvantages, so it’s important to understand which stone is best for different knife types. Natural Arkansas oil stones are one of the most commonly used oil stones due to their versatile sharpening capabilities. These oil stones can be used on both high-carbon and stainless steel blades, making them great for use in many kitchen applications. They usually come in either soft or hard granulations, with the soft versions being better suited for honing knives rather than cutting new edges.

Alternatively, diamond stones are becoming an increasingly popular option for sharpening knives because they can do the job much faster than traditional oil stones. While they don’t offer as many cutting variations as natural Arkansas oils stones, diamond stones remain an excellent choice for those needing something more efficient with less variation options available. They are also suitable for use on any steel knives too. However, diamond stones can be a bit more expensive than regular waterstones or ceramic sharpeners so it’s important to consider your budget before you make your final decision about which type of stone to go with.

Another type of oil stone used when sharpening knives is a combination stone. These usually have both natural Arkansas and diamond abrasives bonded together into one medium-grained surface that provides good sharpening qualities but not as many fine variations as other oil stones might offer (unless additional pre-soaking steps are taken). Combination stones run at higher temperatures during the honing process so these may not be suitable for all knives depending on their specific model or brand–so always exercise caution when using a combination stone and double check whether or not this type of stone is ideal before attempting a knife sharpener with it.

How to Maintain an Oil Stone

Cleaning: When cleaning an oil stone, it is important to first use a flat file or coarse sandpaper to remove any surface debris such as rust or loose pieces of material. Then, with a damp cloth, gently rub the stone from edge to edge. Avoid using too much pressure on the corners of oil stones as this can cause damage. Finally, use a soft brush and water to remove any finer particles.

Oiling: After cleaning and drying the stone, it’s important to use oil in order to protect its surface and keep it performing at its best when sharpening knives or other tools. Olive oil is generally preferred for food preparation tools; however, vegetable oils may also be used depending on personal preference. Once oil has been added to the stone’s surface, allow the excess to filter down into the crevices of the stone before wiping away with a clean cloth or paper towel.

Long-Term Storage: To keep your stone in optimal condition after each use and cleaning session, store it in a dry area away from harsh sunlight or moisture that could harm its structure. The wood box designed for storing an oil stone is perfect for this purpose; not only does it help protect against scratches but also keeps potentially hazardous powders away from the surface of both stoneware and workpieces being sharpened within them. It is also recommended that you periodically check for potential damage on the sides of your box which may have occurred during shipping and quickly rectify any imperfections before returning your product back into storage – this should help minimize wear and tear over time while keeping your equipment performing at an optimum level.


Oil stones are an ideal sharpening solution for those looking to maintain or revive the edge of a piece of metal. With proper care and use, oilstones can keep blades sharp far longer than other sharpening methods. Additionally, oilstones require minimal maintenance and don’t produce much heat, allowing for greater accuracy with the honing process. Finally, use of an oilstone is relatively easy and user-friendly, with most beginners quickly picking up the technique. All in all, oil stones provide a cost-effective and reliable way to sharpen knives and other tools.