HomeTactical & SurvivalBack to Basics Knife Sharpening: Sharp Pebble 1000/6000 Whetstone Review

Back to Basics Knife Sharpening: Sharp Pebble 1000/6000 Whetstone Review

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When I started out as a knifemaker, I did a lot of learning before I started creating. I was taught about steel and its molecular structure, as well as the pros and cons of each. Learned to love G10 and Micarta for how awesome those materials are. I also spent a lot of time with my mentor watching the Rambo movies and sharpening knives on sharpening stones. 

At first, maintaining the right angle with each stroke and pass was a bit of a challenge, but over time, it became easier and easier. All these years later, it’s a matter of muscle memory — a zen state I go to when it’s time to rehone the grind.

It’s also still very rewarding as it’s just you, the blade, and the stone. Every time I use a stone, it’s like that time Daniel caught the fly with the chopstick in “The Karate Kid.”

However, sharpening stones are a fun way to sharpen a knife on a rainy day, but admittedly, they’re not my first choice. In our fast-paced world, there are quicker and just as efficient, if not more efficient, ways to sharpen a knife. 

That said, sharpening knives with sharpening stones is a life skill. It will always be something I recommend to all serious knife owners and users.

Last month, I had the opportunity to test out an aluminum-oxide-based Sharp Pebble 1000/6000 Dual Grit Sharpening Stone. For an affordable set, it was incredibly well-made and included a bamboo and silicone base to keep it from moving around. It also included a 20-degree guide to help “train” you to follow a consistent angle. At $40, you could do a whole lot worse than this set.

In short: Sharpening knives with a sharpening stone is a life skill that not enough people learn along the way. This Sharp Pebble 1000/6000 Dual Grit Whetstone kit helps you pick up that skill quickly — allowing you to level up in the game called life. To see how the Sharp Pebble stacks up against the rest of our favorite sharpening solutions, check out GearJunkie’s Knife Sharpener Buyer’s Guide.

  • Sharpener type
    Soaking whetstone
  • Angle range
  • Grits
    1000, 6000
  • Size
    2.2 x 7″ stones
  • Best for
    Regular maintenance
  • Skill level
    4 out of 5

  • Quality, dual-grit stone

  • Silicone insert keeps the stone in place

  • The price is nice

  • Bamboo case stays in place on granite, marble, and rough surfaces

  • Bamboo case will move on butcher block

  • Takes practice to truly master — not very approachable for beginners

Sharp Pebble 1000/6000 Whetstone: Review

The Sharp Pebble Premium Whetstone Knife Sharpening Stone 2 Side Grit 1000/6000 Waterstone (aka “Sharp Pebble 1000/6000”) is a well-thought-out, premium aluminum-oxide dual grit sharpening stone set. This complete kit consists of a 1-inch-thick, dual-surface stone and a nonslip silicone base designed to keep the stone from moving around in its nonslip bamboo base. 

The kit also comes with a 20-degree sharpening guide that works well with common folding and fixed-blade knives. I don’t recommend using it with kitchen knives, as they’re generally ground at 17 degrees. This is especially true of those high-end Japanese chef knives that your father-in-law won’t let you near.

The blue 1000-grit side of the dual-grit stone is for sharpening dull or damaged blade edges. The white 6000-grit side is for honing blade edges that aren’t dull but don’t have that factory “pop” that they once had. 

Speaking from experience, folks looking to maintain their kitchen knives will spend a lot of time on the white side of the stone. Most kitchen knives rarely get dangerously dull, so they just need to be honed. The EDC and outdoor crowd looking to bring their knives back to their original luster will most likely start off on the blue side and then end up on the white side.

Sharpening Stone = Whetstone

Quick history lesson: the art of using a stone to sharpen a knife was commonly called “whetting,” and therefore, all stones are now called “whetstones.” While we’re at it, it’s also “whet your whistle” and not “wet your whistle.”

Sharp Pebble recommends that you soak the 1000/6000 stone for 10-12 minutes before you use it. This is a common practice with aluminum-oxide-based stones as it lubricates the whole stone. This will prolong the life of the stone, remove any material left behind to keep the stone from clogging, and make the sharpening process smoother and, therefore, more effective.

That said, when it comes to whetting diamond and ceramic-style stones, it’s recommended that you spray them down with water, alcohol, or honing oil instead of soaking them. This is why so many pocket stones are ceramic; ceramic and diamond stones don’t require as much preparation as aluminum-oxide stones do.

Bottom line: I always follow the manufacturer’s recommendations — from stone to stone. You just never know how a particular manufacturer will recommend its stones be used.

Let the Tool Do the Work

One of the best pieces of advice I ever received about sharpening stones is that it’s a practice in finesse. 

The key to sharpening or honing a blade edge on a stone is maintaining the same angle whether you’re pushing away from you or drawing the blade toward you. To do this, you want to guide the blade with your thumb on the spine and your index and middle fingers on the face of the blade.

You never want to push down. Exerting that extra force will take more material off the blade edge than needed. Stones are very effective. So effective that you could regrind a blade edge in a couple of passes.

To repeat: Let. The. Tool. Do. The. Work.

Baby Your Stones

The one drawback to this 1000/6000 Dual Grit Sharpening Stone kit is that it doesn’t have a cover. Not a deal-breaker, as I will use the box it came in. However, if I had thrown the box away, I might be in a bit of a pickle.

Sharpening stones are temperamental. You don’t want them to get too hot or cold, and you don’t want them to stay wet or dry. You also never want to store anything directly on top of them as the added weight can break the stone. As aluminum-oxide stones are more porous than ceramic and diamond stones, they’re more brittle and can break.

Beyond that, these stones are susceptible to clogging after being used without being cleaned. The sludge from your knife blade has stone dust in it. This magical slurry helps the sharpening process but can get into the stone’s pores, clog it up, and render it useless.

One indication of a clogged stone is that the surface will be slick or slimy. In these cases, the grit is ineffective. If this happens, I recommend using warm water and a rag to wipe the stone down. 

Remember that a little bit of lubrication goes a long way. When you create your slurry, it should be minimal. You don’t need a puddle on your stone. I also recommend wiping your stone down and letting it dry before putting it away. Taking the stone out of both bases and setting it aside for a day or so will allow it to dry sufficiently.

On the Bench

The silicone base really is a dream come true, matching the quality of the dual-grit stone. It’s very important that the stone stays in one place while you’re honing or sharpening.

I’ve had stone cases that are tight to the stone and others that are loose and cause problems (but usually look all worn-in and cool). By including the silicone base that fits nicely into the bamboo base, Sharp Pebble was a Smart Pebble.

Other than that, using the stone was business as usual. The choice to go with a 1000-grit side and a 6000-grit side is seemingly a sweet spot combination. The 1000-grit side will take off a lot of material, so it’s important to ensure your blade edge needs it. If not, you could start reprofiling the grind, and that’s a point-of-no-return moment that will require some new-age music and lots of deep breaths.

I didn’t run into any situations where the stone was clogged. I’ve really never had an issue with clogging stones when using water, anyway. It’s always been more of a possibility when using honing oil, which is thicker, so you’re more likely to make a swarf than a slurry. Both can clog a stone if left on the surface for too long.

Note: Slurry is a thin paste made from lubricant and stone dust. A good slurry makes for a good honing and sharpening experience, as that’s really what’s restoring the edge. Swarf usually has more metal than stone in it and is much less effective. However, the swarf is great for polishing. So, if you ever want a mirror finish on something, have a nice dose of swarf. In my professional opinion, both of these words are silly.

The Sharpie Trick

I can’t take credit for this sharpening trick, but I implore anyone and everyone to give it a try.

You run your Sharpie marker down the factory edge of the blade and make a couple of passes on the stone. You’ll remove the marker marks at the very edge at any angle, but if there’s any marker left above the edge, you know you need to decrease your angle of approach. 

Once you have made a few strokes and found the right angle, you can rest assured that you’ve sharpened that side.

Sharp Pebble 1000/6000 Whetstone: Conclusion

This Sharp Pebble 1000/6000 Dual Grit Sharpening Stone kit is the bee’s knees. It’s really well-made and really thought out. For $40, it’s kind of a no-brainer if you want to get into using sharpening stones.

However, if you’re new to this, I recommend that you pass this kit over for Sharp Pebble’s kit with built-in angle guides. For $15 more, it will take the guesswork out of using whetstones and give you a feeling for the process.

With that being said, I would recommend the 1000/6000 Dual Grit Sharpening Stone kit for the intermediate user. The included 20-degree guide in this kit is a nice add-on, but it’s only good for knives with a 20-degree grind. It would be a teaser to give that to a beginner. However, I can see the merit if you are new to sharpening stones and you want to get a feel for the angle of the angle.

Overall, this is going to make a nice addition to my collection of knife maintenance tools. Yes, I’ll probably rely more on one of my Work Sharp sharpeners or my tried-and-true Lansky Deluxe 5-Stone System on the regular. But for those rainy days when I want to get in the zone, turn on one of the Rambo movies, and show some love to the knives I rely on — this kit will be the one I use.

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