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Which side of sharpening stone to use first? The chicken or the egg, toe-may-toe or toe-mah-toe. These are the deep philosophical questions that man has contemplated since the beginning of his existence. While some questions may never be answered, we here at Survival Checkpoint have discovered a bit of this hidden knowledge and it is our privilege to share it with you today.
Which side of sharpening stone to use first?
The question itself implies knowledge and recognition of the fact that a traditional sharpening stone has two usable sides and a theory that there may be a difference between the two.
Yes, grasshopper. You are a wise pupil indeed.
The main difference between the two sides of a sharpening stone is the coarseness or grit of its filing surface. The more coarse the surface, the more grit it is said to have. But the numerical values that represent grit are reverse of what you may expect. A grit rating of 100 is considered very coarse and is in fact very coarse compared to a surface with a grit rating of 1000. In other words, the higher the grit rating the less coarse the filing surface – kinda like golf we guess.
Anyway, one side of your sharpening stone will be smoother than the other side. The coarser side is the grittier side and that’s the side you want to use first when sharpening your blades because the coarse grit is designed to remove the relatively larger and rougher nicks and burrs that typically occur as a blade wears from use.
After that Sherlock you guessed it! Turn the stone over and use the smoother, less coarse side to sharpen your knife blade to a razor fine edge. Even though the fine side looks and feels smooth, there’s still enough grit to remove the smallest imperfections for the blade edge and what’s the opposite of an imperfect blade? You got it again, we knew you would Ace this course.