Keep your tools super sharp with a whetstone from Cromwell.co.uk. We stock a range of sharpening stone types, including combination oil stones and bench stones, and, for those who need a super sharp edge, browse our sharpening stone sets to get a slick finish on all of your cutting edges.

Our whetstone range includes high-quality products from market-leading brands like Norton Saint Gobain®, Engis® and our own brand, Kennedy®.

What are whetstones?

Whetstones are general-purpose sharpening stone able to give sharp and even cutting edges on all straight edged cutting tools. They're mostly a single combination stone with two sides: a coarse side to sharpen and clean up any dents and burrs, and a fine side that finishes the edge and leaves it sharp. However, sharpening stones sets are also available with a range of grits to help achieve a really sharp edge.

Why whetstones?

Whetstones are an affordable and easy to use product that allows you to keep your tools sharp and functioning to an optimum level. They are small in stature so are good for storing in toolboxes for use as and when you need them.

When are whetstones used?

Whetstones are used on dull cutting edges, such as knives, chisels and help to extend the life of useful tools.

Whetstone types

There's a broad choice of whetstones on the market to choose from. All feature different sizes, grades and grits to allow for maximum performance when sharpening different tools to achieve the finish you want.

Arkansas stones   -   These stones are made from a rock formation of quartz crystals called Novaculite, which is only mined in the Ouachita Mountains in Arkansas. The crystals must contain 99% of silicon dioxide to be made into sharpening stones

Dry stones   -   Some sharpening stone materials such as diamond whetstones can be used dry with no need for lubrication to achieve a sharp finish

Japanese sharpening stones   -   Sometimes called Japanese water stones. This type of sharpening stone is unique in that the grit is loosely bonded to the stone to allow for spent grit to fall away and expose fresh, sharper material

Single face stones   -   These stones are exactly as the name describes and feature a coarse, single face for removing notches, burrs and dips. They're often accompanied with a strap or honing blade to finish the job

Water stones   -   These sharpening stones can be made from a range of natural or synthetic materials and work best when soaked with water during sharpening. Water helps to separate any waste from the stone to prevent clogs and allow for a fine finish

Considerations when choosing a whetstone

Type - as discussed in the list above, there are many types to choose from, but this is often down to personal preference.

Grade - depending on the stage of sharpening the grade of the sharpening stone is graded according to grit size, with larger granules offering coarse work and smaller granules providing fine finishing work.

Shape - usually rectangular or square in shape, whetstones can also be rounded. Different shapes can provide more convenience in certain sharpening tasks.

Whetstones jargon buster

We want to make it easier for you to shop our range of whetstones, so we've outlined and explained some key terms to ensure you make a confident purchasing decision.

What does grit count refer to in whetstones?

As with other abrasives, whetstones differ in their grit size or grit count. The higher the number, the finer the finish whereas lower grit whetstones provide a coarse finish.


What's the difference between a whetstone and a sharpening stone?

They are the same thing. 'Whetstone' has become a vintage term for a sharpening stone or a honing stone as they're sometimes called, and they're often used interchangeably.

How should I store my whetstone?

Rinse your whetstone with water once you've finished using it to remove any build-up from sharpening, and then either dry it well with a towel or leave them to dry naturally. Once dry you can wrap them in a cloth and store them in a place where they won't freeze, as this could cause them to fracture and break.