How to Use a Diamond Sharpening Block

The only way to perfectly hone the sharpness and form of your tools as a craftsman is to use a diamond sharpening stone. Once you’ve seen its superior sharpening performance and extreme flexibility, you’ll never use another type of sharpening stone again. In addition to wearing down at a much slower rate, the sharpening process is also faster and easier.

A diamond sharpening block stands no chance of shattering when being used on hard surfaces such as paving. Available in varying degrees of coarseness, diamond sharpening blocks are available for all purposes.

If you prefer prevention, then learning how to use patina to keep the knife sharp and rust-free can also do the trick.

Here we’ll be taking you through a look at how to use a diamond sharpening block safely and effectively. Follow our advice and you’ll soon see why this is the chosen sharpening block of all artisans.

Using a Diamond Sharpening Block

Your diamond sharpening block can be used without any lubrication but this is not recommended. Go for either soapy warm to help carry away shards of metal from what you sharpened last, or buy a lubrication product designed for use with a diamond sharpening block. You’ll only ever use a drop or two of lubricant when sharpening a tool so you’re guaranteed a long-lasting purchase even when buying the smallest bottle available.

Stay away from oils as they will end up clogging when using a diamond block. When opting for a lubricant instead of soapy water, only use a water-based honing product. Avoid anything petroleum based. If you’re new to using a sharpening block then start with a middle-range grit of 1000.

Diamond sharpening stones outperform diamond sharpening plates, reaching a grit so fine that you can get a mirror polish on a knife blade. Alternatively, here’s a quick guide to which grit strength to use.

  • Under 1000 Grit – Used to repair the chipped edges of damaged knives
  • 1000 to 3000 Grit – Used to sharpen blunt knives
  • 4000 to 8000 Grit – Fine grits are used to finish the cutting edge of knives (knives used for meat are only sharpened with a maximum of 4000 to 6000 grit or the knife will bend when cutting sinew, muscle, and tough meat)

The Basic Technique of Sharpening a Blade

Always stick to slow, steady strokes when sharpening a blade. The same instructions can be adapted for sharpening other cutting tools such as shears or scissors. As you sharpen, test your edge on newspaper or a tomato, depending on the purpose of the knife. When the blade glides through either newspaper or the tomato with barely any resistance then you can stop sharpening.

  • Start by placing your diamond sharpening stone on a steady, firm surface
  • Determine and position your knife at the same angle as its bevel (most knives use a 20° angle)
  • Begin to pull your knife across the sharpening stone moving away from the body
  • Alternate an equal number of strokes on each side of your knife adding water as is necessary to ensure smooth strokes
  • The lighter your stroke the finer the edge (it’s better to run your blade multiple times over the stone lightly)

Grit Progressions for Fine Sharpening

When sharpening high-end knives such as a carbon steel cleaver, hunting knives, or throwing knives, you can start at a fairly coarse grit of sharpening stone and gradually work your way finer. Never over-sharpen a knife. However, some tools will need you to go all the way to a 6000-grit diamond sharpening block or more, such as is the case with paring knives and chef’s knives.

Most chefs agree that almost all good kitchen knives require four passes through four increasingly fine grits of sharpening stone. Start at 1000 to 2000, move to 3000, then 5000 and finish off with anything higher. Most find 7000-grit is a good way to finish off boning knives and other fine edges.

Those who sharpen blades such as ornate weaponry, swords and daggers will want to work through an even finer progression of sharpening stones to reach the bevel needed to perfect the edge.

Keep Your Diamond Sharpening Block Well Maintained

The best diamond sharpening blocks will feature surface holes to prevent the buildup of filings and shavings. A diamond sharpener is a very effective tool. Never exert more pressure than you need. If you’ve never used a sharpener before, practice with an old or inexpensive knife first.

When you are done using your diamond sharpening block make sure that you wipe it clean with a little soapy water before rinsing it clean and wiping it dry. You can use a small brush such a toothbrush to make sure that the surface of your sharpening block is free from debris. Any glossy grey lines are a clear indication that your block is dirty and needs to be cleaned properly.

If you keep your sharpening block free from debris then every time that you sharpen an edge you are guaranteed great results. Any shavings or debris will damage the surface of your blade making it uneven in areas.

All these techniques can also be used for all or most types of knives. Furthermore, there are also some techniques you can use to sharpen a specific type of knife such as sharpening serrated knives.