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If you plan on sharpening your axe or other bladed tool using a sharpening stone, you should definitely consider using some type of sharpening oil, also commonly referred to as honing oil, along with the stone. While you can sharpen your tool on a dry stone if you're in a jam, using an oil has too many advantages to ignore.
Take a quick look at the reviews chart below to see our top choices for oil to use on your sharpening stone while fine tuning the blade on your axe or knife, or use the Quick Navigation to jump to any other section.
Honing Oil Reviews Chart
*Links on the above comparison chart take you to individual product pages on Amazon.com
Why You Should Use Honing Oil
The many benefits of oiling up your sharpening stone far outweigh the cost of the oil itself. The three major benefits are:
- Efficiency - You save a lot of time by using a wet stone vs. a dry stone.
- Sharpness - You don't lose any sharpness by using a wet stone, and due to having the ability to sharpen faster, you may actually end up getting sharper blades if you're impatient.
- Longevity - By wetting your stone with oil or even water, you greatly improve its lifespan and usefulness.
Basically, if you like saving time and money, then using oil is way to go.
What to Look for in a Quality Oil
Not all oils are made the same, though they do hope to fulfill the same basic function of lubricating your sharpening stone. The first thing you'll want to do is to make sure you opt for a non-harding or non-drying oil, like a mineral oil.
Some oils congeal or dry quickly, like linseed oil. Hardening or drying oils leave build up on your sharpening stone and can actually start to hinder your work as they dry.
- Hardening Oils
- NON-HARDENING OILS
- Linseed Oil
- Walnut Oil
- Tung Oil
- Poppy Seed Oil
- Mineral Oil
- Olive Oil
- Peanut Oil
- Almond Oil
For the best result, always double check and make sure you are getting an appropriate non-hardening oil. Both your stones and your hands will thank you.
Additional Useful Information
Aside form making sure to get something non-hardening, you also should look for an oil that's on the lighter side. Heavy oils can actually impede your sharpening by slowing down the process.
Also, you'll want to choose an oil that has little or no odor. Specifically
designed honing oil is non-toxic and is not dangerous to work with. But, if you choose to use something else, always research whether it is safe or not, and make sure you work in an area with plenty of ventilation.
Some people use motor oils and other toxic options, but use these only as a last resort as the fumes are unhealthy.
Lastly, while a lubricant will help you accomplish your task much quicker and keep your blades and bit as well as the stone itself in better condition, you will need to spend a little time cleaning everything afterwards. Don't fret however as that only requires warm water, soap, and a firm scrub brush.
If you plan to use some kind of sharpening stone, like an India, Crystolon, or Arkansas stone, seriously consider using an oil to help you with the process of sharpening you knife blade or axe bit. By doing so you will both make your job easier and improve the life of the stone you are using.
If you don't use some kind of lubricant, your stone will take an unnecessary beating and may become completely useless after a short period of time. The benefits of using a lubricant far outweigh the minor cost.