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What Oil to Use on Sharpening Stone?

A sharpening stone is a must-have tool for knife enthusiasts, and it can be quite expensive sometimes. Therefore, keeping them lubricated is just as important. Using oil allows the stones to last longer and be more efficient at what they do. But what oil to use on sharpening stone? Are they all good?

You can use many types of oils on the sharpening stone. Honing oil, mineral oil, and even less orthodox choices like baby oil and motor oil work well. The most important thing to keep in mind is that the oils must be light and low in viscosity. Otherwise, the sharpening stone clogs and loses its efficiency.

If you’re wondering how these oils work on the sharpening stone, you’ve come to the right place. Here, you’ll learn everything about good oils and bad oils. This way, you’ll know exactly what to use and what to keep away from your stone.

Why Use Oil on Sharpening Stone?

Oil lubricates the sharpening stone and grants it a protective layer. While sharpening the knife, the oil carries away the tiny shavings (swarf) and the dust produced during the process. Additionally, oil maintains the stone pores clean and helps dissipate the heat caused by friction.

Using oil on the sharpening stone also benefits the blade. During sharpening, the blade slides smoothly, and the edge produced is high-quality. While you could use a sharpening stone dry, lubed would be better because the fluids float away the swarf.

Other benefits of using oil

Flat surface. Since it protects the surface of the stone, oils maintain the sharpening area flat. You can use it to sharpen blades at consistent angles without variations.

Many alternatives. There are many types of oils you can use. The first option would be honing oil, but you can also go with mineral oils. All of the different oils available mean that you can act quickly to keep the blades sharp.

Works on different stones. You can use oil on natural sharpening stones, Arkansas stones, and oil stones.

Read Also: How to Tell if Sharpening Stone Is Oil or Water?

What Type of Oil to Use on Sharpening Stone?

The following list describes four of the most common types of oils you can use for sharpening. Each one of them is easy to find in the market, and some you may already have at home. Furthermore, these products are compatible with the most popular sharpening stones like the oil stones and the Arkansas stones.

If you don’t know what oil can be used on a sharpening stone, here’s a list of options.

1. Mineral Oil

Mineral oil is an ideal choice for sharpening because it is affordable, light, widely available, and comes in multiple variations. Plus, chances are most households already have this oil in one form or another. Sharpening stones benefit from mineral oil in many ways. For starters, there are no fumes or toxic essences used in the production of mineral oil. So, there are no risks of the substance going rancid and causing a foul smell.

Another reason to use mineral oil is that this substance is light. When you apply it to the surface of the stone, it won’t set. The sharpening stone doesn’t clog, and the sharpening goes as smoothly as ever.

Magnus Petterson, from knife sharpening service KnifeAid, recommends using mineral oil. He’s been taking care of the knives of many professional chefs for over 25 years.

Food-grade mineral oil is probably the best [oil] you can use,” says Pettersson, “many other oils will become like a resin over time and get really, really sticky. [Food-grade mineral oil] doesn’t get that way. It’s always smooth and keeps a good shine.”

2.Light Sewing Machine Oil

Sewing machine oil is another substance you can use on the sharpening stone. This oil is low in viscosity, free of resins, and non-polymerizing. Furthermore, it’s widely available in different forms for an affordable price. After use, cleaning light sewing machine oil is also a breeze. It comes off easily and doesn’t leave a residue.

Keep in mind that there are different types of sewing machine oils. Thus, you must look for something light. Using oils too heavy or thick could end up damaging the stone, as mentioned before. Also, make sure to thoroughly clean the stone after sharpening.

3.Baby Oil

If you wonder what liquid to use for sharpening stone, baby oil is a good option. This product is often cheap, widely available, and non-hardening. While this type of oil may have a strong fragrance, it doesn’t turn into a foul odor like other oils. All of these features make baby oil as good as mineral oil when you run out of it.

4.Car Motor Oil

Motor oil for sharpening stone also works, but you have to be more careful. The substance is a bit thicker and heavier than the other options. So, the chances of over-lubricating or clogging the stone are higher. (Read this article to find out how to clean clogged stone) However, if you use it correctly, motor oil can carry metal filings and stone dust or swarf perfectly.

Some Pro Tips

There are a few misconceptions about what oils are beneficial or damaging. Check out these tips to use your sharpening stone optimally.

1. Go For a Light Oil

Light oils are ideal for sharpening stones because they don’t interfere during the sharpening process. The knife moves smoothly, and the surface of the stone doesn’t get scratched. As a result, you can sharpen your knives efficiently, and the stone will remain in great shape for a long time.

2. Steer Clear From Vegetable Oil

Using drying or semi-drying vegetable oils can render the sharpening stone useless very quickly. The main problem happens because certain vegetable oils start to dry and create a gel-like viscosity. Shortly after, that newly formed layer clogs the pores of the stone.  Therefore, avoid using these types of oils to preserve the lifespan and efficacy of your tool.

Some vegetable oils you don’t want near your sharpening stone are tung oil, flaxseed oil, safflower, and sunflower oil variations, among others.

What kind of oil to use on sharpening stones if I only have vegetable oil?

If you don’t have any other option, soya oil, corn oil, and peanut oil would work well. These oils don’t dry as fast as the other, and they’re actually good on the stone if you clean it after finishing.

Do vegetable oils go rancid?

Vegetable oils go rancid only if you don’t clean them after the sharpening process. A simple way around that issue is to wipe down the stone after use, which is something everyone should do already.

What Oil to Use on an Oil Stone?

Some types of oil you can use on your oil stone are the following:

  • Honing oil.
  • Mineral oil.
  • Baby oil.
  • Machine-type oil like car motor oil.
  • Olive oil
  • Vegetable oils, but only if they’re not drying or semi-drying oils.
  • Almond oil.
  • Macadamia nut oil.

Most oils are suitable as lubes for oil stones if they’re light and thin. Using thicker oils can leave stains or turn rancid over time, leaving an awful smell on the stone.

Read Also: What oil to use for folding knives?

How Do You Oil a Sharpening Stone?

  1. First find a flat surface to place your sharpening stone.
  2. Grab the bottle of your preferred oil and pour a little bit on each side. You can use honing oil, mineral oil, baby oil, or water, to name a few options. Honing oil is available in hardware stores or online.
  3. Rub the oil across the surface of the sharpening stone. Feel free to use your index and middle finger for this step.

Can You Use Baby Oil on a Sharpening Stone?

Using baby oil on a sharpening stone is perfectly fine. Baby oil is a form of mineral oil, meaning it has many of the same benefits. Additionally, this type of oil comes with a pleasant fragrance that most would enjoy.

Related article: Can You Use WD40 on a Sharpening Stone?

Can I Use Gun Oil on a Sharpening Stone?

You can use gun oil on a sharpening stone, but make sure it doesn’t have a strong smell. Other than that, there shouldn’t be any problem. This form of oil is light and won’t clog the pores of the stone.

Can I Use Olive Oil on a Sharpening Stone?

Yes, you can use olive oil on the sharpening stone. This type of oil is thin and protects the pores of the stone. Plus, it won’t leave an unpleasant smell or leave scratches caused by the blade.

About Tom Hammaker

Tom Hammaker is a freelance copywriter with a specialty in advertorial blog posts. He’s worked with small local business owners and taken on larger projects with clients like Proctor and Gamble. He wrote his first direct marketing piece when he was a jobless teenager back in high school. It was a flyer for a landscaping business he and a friend were trying to start. The result? The mailing absolutely BOMBED! He and his friend got one client from over 200 flyers. When he is not working, he's either out on the water fishing or playing golf. You can find him here on LinkedIn or his personal website

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