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Sharpening Stones (Toishi) $35

The choices are vast as is the price range. Natural to ceramic, synthetic to diamond, the options are endless. Read around and see what seems to make sense to you. My first stones were made by King in 800, 1000, 1200 and 2000 grit (if memory serves) and they worked fine for many years. Natural stones are nice and many people swear by them, but they tend to be spendy and sometimes inconsistent. I think for starters, man-made stones will be most forgiving and allow you to hone (HA!) skills, and better understand the process before choosing a more expensive stone.
Unpictured: Honing guides. Mixed feelings here. I relied on them when I started, and that was nice so that I could spend more time concentrating on woodworking and less on sharpening. Knowing what I do now and understanding that sharpening is the very bedrock of woodworking, I wish I had weaned myself away earlier. I would say they are OK in the beginning, but don’t allow it to become a crutch. Practice freehand sharpening! A lot.



Stett Holbrook

Stett is a senior editor at MAKE with abiding interest in food and drink, bicycles, woodworking, and environmentally sound human enterprises. He is the father of two young makers.

He is also the co-creator of Food Forward, a documentary TV series for PBS about the innovators and pioneers changing our food system.

Contact Stett with tips and story ideas on:

*Sustainable/green design
*Young Makers
*Action sports


  1. Awesome guide, thanks for posting. I would love to get into joinery. Need to accrue a few things first… :)

  2. I was fortunate to take a Basic Woodworking course with Toshio Odate in NYC at Pratt one year. He embodied the Japanese approach to craft and I have often thought of him when I create and build my works. I am glad to see your collection of books contains several of his works and they continue to be used by current craftsmen today.

In the Maker Shed

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