What Is Free Hand Sharpening?

Free hand sharpening is a method of sharpening knives or other cutting tools without the use of any mechanical or guided sharpening tools. Instead, the sharpener uses a sharpening stone or other abrasive material and manually sharpens the blade by holding it at a consistent angle and applying pressure with their hand.

To perform free hand sharpening, the sharpener holds the blade at a consistent angle, typically between 10 and 20 degrees, and applies pressure to the blade while moving it back and forth across the sharpening stone. The sharpener must maintain this angle throughout the sharpening process to ensure a uniform edge.

Sharpening stones are typically made of abrasive materials such as natural or synthetic diamond, ceramic, or silicon carbide. Different grades of abrasives are available, and the sharpener must choose the appropriate grit based on the type and condition of the blade they are sharpening.

Free hand sharpening is a skill that takes time and practice to master, and the quality of the edge produced depends on the sharpener's technique and the quality of the sharpening stone.

Browse our free hand sharpening brands

Shapton Japan

Shapton Japan is a premier sharpening stone brand known for its exceptional quality and longevity. Highly sought after by knife sharpeners and barbers, Shapton Japan stones are the top choice for anyone who takes their sharpening seriously. With a reputation for being the best sharpening stones on the market, Shapton Japan is sure to elevate your sharpening game to the next level.

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Naniwa Japan

Naniwa Japan is a renowned sharpening stone brand that has been trusted by professionals and enthusiasts alike for decades. With a wide range of products available, including water stones and diamond stones, Naniwa Japan provides options for sharpening everything from knives to chisels. Known for their consistent quality and performance, Naniwa Japan stones are a must-have for anyone serious about sharpening.

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Suehiro Japan

Suehiro Japan is a well-respected sharpening stone brand that has been producing high-quality stones for over 50 years. With a focus on traditional craftsmanship and innovation, Suehiro Japan offers a range of sharpening stones to suit every need, from coarse to fine grits. Their stones are known for their excellent durability and effectiveness, making them a popular choice among professionals and enthusiasts alike.

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Tsuboman Japan

Tsuboman Japan Atoma Diamond Plates are a top-of-the-line sharpening solution for those who demand the best. These diamond plates are made with high-quality materials and are designed to last a lifetime. They provide an incredibly consistent and efficient sharpening experience, making them a popular choice among professionals and enthusiasts alike.

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Who is Free Hand Sharpening Good For?

  • Professionals who want a traditional feel in their sharpening process
  • Enthusiasts who prefer a hands-on approach to sharpening
  • Individuals who want to have flexibility to control, pressure, and technique for each specific tool being sharpened
  • Those seeking a cost-effective alternative to using sharpening systems or professional services
  • People who want to learn and develop sharpening skills as a hobby or for personal use
  • Those who sharpen a variety of tools and need the flexibility to adjust their sharpening technique accordingly
  • Individuals who value the tactile experience of sharpening and the satisfaction of achieving a sharp, edge
  • Woodworkers who want to maintain sharpness in their carving tools and chisels
  • Chefs and food enthusiasts who want to sharpen their kitchen knives for optimal performance
  • Hunters and outdoor enthusiasts who need to maintain the sharpness of their knives for field work and processing game
  • Gardeners and landscapers who need to sharpen their pruning shears and other gardening tools for precision cutting
  • DIYers and hobbyists who want to sharpen their tools for home projects and repairs