Article written by Annabelle from Seriously Smoked
How to Clean a Sharpening Stone
Is your sharpening stone always getting clogged and not working optimally? Then chances are you are not cleaning it regularly or not cleaning it with the right methods.
For instance, you need honing oil to get rid of any metal fillings on the stone. If your stone is already aging, you can bring it back to optimal functioning by using WD-40 and steel wool to get rid of dirt and oil. It is important you flatten your stone not less than every 10 sharpening sessions, which in turn will help keep it even and get rid of embedded, stubborn metal fillings.
Here are the rest of the top tips to clean your sharpening stone;
#1: Tips for Getting Rid of Dirt and Grime
This section will detail tips on how to clean a sharpening stone by removing dirt and grime.

  • Use WD-40 to Coat Your Stone: The specially formulated oil spray known as WD-40 is great for cleaning sharpening stone, as well as serve different purposes. Spray the oil on the surface of the stone and ensure you coat the entire surface with the oil. It is best to use this oily spray in an area that is superbly ventilated. 
  • Gently Scour the Surface: Next, use a piece of fine steel wool to scour the surface in a gentle manner. This process will take out any grime on your sharpening tool. But, if you have to break up stubborn debris or caked oil, you should use steel wool or any form of abrasive tool.

So, apply steel wool (the 0000 grade type) onto the surface of the stone. Don’t stop rubbing until debris and oil starts to come off.  This technique will work best for older stones that have been lying dormant for a while.

  • Use a Damp Cloth to Wipe: A paper cloth will also work well in wiping the stone’s surface. When you’re done scouring your stone, take off the leftover WD-40, oil, and dirt. Use the damp cloth or paper towel to wipe down your stone in a thorough manner. Do this all over if you are not satisfied with the first effort.

#2: Tips to Flush Out Mineral Fillings
In this section, you will learn super-helpful ways to flush out mineral fillings from your stone. These tips include the following;

  • Use Honing Oil: A quarter amount of this oil will do. This oil is mineral-grade oil used commonly in machine shops, and the essence is to lift metal flecks away from stone.

Use a soft tooth brush or your finger when applying this oil on your stone, adopting gentle, circular motions as you rub. Don’t stop the motion until you can observe metal flecks emerging from your sharpening stone’s pores.
Also, you should apply honing oil on your stone once you notice metal flecks, so that your stone can remain effective.

  • Use a Damp Cloth to Wipe: Use a paper towel or damp cloth to wipe the metal flecks away. When you wet the paper towel or clean cloth, ensure you wring the water out before using it to wipe the surface of your stone gently. Make sure you wipe off even the slightest metal fillings that settled on the surface.
  • Rinse Thoroughly: Put the stone under running water to rinse it. This way, you can get rid of any leftover debris or metal fillings on the stone. Rinse for about a minute or two to be sure it is thoroughly clean. Use a paper towel or clean dry cloth to finish cleaning. Caution: Use only water (no soap or other form of liquid) for this process.

 #3: Tips for Flattening the Stone

The tips to be covered under this section include;

  • Use a Flattening Plate: Rub your stone over the flattening plate, so that you can get rid of metal fillings. The flattening plate works to even out the stone’s surface and some stones will come with this plate.

So, start by using oil or water to damp your stone completely. Then, drag the plate back and forth in a gentle manner, over the stone’s surface. Keep on with this motion until the surface comes out smooth with no form of metal fillings.
For synthetic sharpening stone, you will need honing oil to wet the surface instead of water. This is because this type of stone is coarser and grittier compared to the natural stones.

  • Apply Sanding Method: Sandpaper can also work if there’s no flattening plate. So, adhere a wet-dry sand paper (100-grit) onto a flat surface such as a thick, small piece of glass. Use water or oil to damp your sharpening stone and start rubbing the stone over the sandpaper. Keep up the process until the surface is smooth and metal filings are not visible.

These basic but proven tips for cleaning a sharpening stone are super-effective.

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