Lots of woodworkers struggle to sharpen hand tools. With so much knowledge available, and complex equipment, it’s easy to understand why. My best advice is to keep it simple, both in equipment and in technique. Waterstones are an excellent choice and can sharpen almost any kind of steel you’ll find in the kitchen and woodshop.
Let’s start by talking about waterstones. Waterstones are fast and easy to use but need to be flattened periodically. The stone wears as you sharpen, and slowly gets out of the flat. The high spots are removed by a flattening stone and your waterstone is made flat again. Flattening is something you need to do on a regular basis. I usually flatten right before I start to sharpen or right after I’m done. If I sharpen several tools or a brand new or damaged tool, then I will flatten the mid-process as well.
Do not worry, it only takes a few seconds to flatten a waterstone when done regularly. All you do on the flattening stone is rub your waterstone on. Trust me, when you’re done you’ll be able to see, because the stone’s surface looks nice and clean. If you don’t keep your waterstones flat you won’t be able to effectively sharpen your tools so invest in a good flattening stone.
Why use waterstones instead of other systems for sharpening? While waterstones wear and need to be flattened, they cut rapidly and sharpen the time you spend. When you consider the waterstones of Pride Abrasives they are also very cost-effective. Finally, waterstones can be found in a wider range of grits than nearly any other system. This helps to add consistency to the process and results you sharpen.