Sharpening Fiddlebacks on Japanese Whetstones

Aug 22, 2011
I recently bought a Japanese whetstone (1000/8000 grit combo) for sharpening my kitchen knives. I'm brand new to sharpening on stones but quickly getting the hang of it.

I have a handful of Fiddlebacks including two Bushboots, I think they are both A2 steel.

Does anyone have any experience or guidance in sharpening smallish Fiddlebacks on stones?

I noticed a few problems. In particular, I kept hitting the choil/fingerguard area on my stones. I've also got some light rust/pitting to deal with, some at the edge or near it.


Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider
Jan 1, 2007
I use water stones in my kitchen for all my daily use knives. 1000/8000 is pretty fine. I typically use a 250/1000 King and it lives in the dish drying rack. amazon link I'd suggest you start at something more course to get going. I'd also suggest you sharpen a few other kitchen knives first to get the feel for the angles, bevels, burr, etc. I picked up a silicon dish drying mat at Target for about ten bucks that makes it easier to plop the stone on the counter next to the sink and not worry about the mess. Water stones need water. I use a little dish soap and spray bottle of water to keep them wet.

For pitting, the rust eraser is good-- just take a look at the grind lines and move the eraser the same way.

There are some really good you tube videos that will help with your hand motions


Gold Member
Aug 26, 2017
I second swonut swonut comment about starting on some practice knives. Kitchen knives are good practice blades - I learned a lot about free hand sharpening by sharpening thin, light kitchen blades.

These days, I quickly raise a burr on both sides of the blade with Norton silicon carbide 250 grit or 400 grit, remove the burr on one of those grits before moving to a Spyderco Medium ceramic stone, and onto a Spyderco Fine ceramic stone, to refine the edge more and more. Lastly, I will using very light edge trailing/stropping strokes on a coarse oil stone with phone book paper tightly wrapped around it.

One of greatest revelations for me, besides consistancy with edge angle and contact on the stone, was applying different amounts of pressure to the blade while sharpening. I use heavy pressure when forming a burr, but as I refine the edge I lesson the downward force until I am using very light pressure on my last strokes before moving on to the next stone. Another revelation for me: as I learned, I developed my own manners and ways of doing things as I was learning on my own. I imagine you might too, as you do what it takes to get results or understanding over time.

Peter Nowlen's website was pretty helpful for me

as well as the BF sub-forum - a bunch of stuff: and