In Västilä, a village in Längelmäki, Finland the Stoneman of Wästilä quarreies the bedrock which has deposits of good quality, schistose mudstone. The stone has been blasted from rock and cut into slates for centuries by hand using a hammer and wedge.
The rock has matured into whetting stone (phyllite) slowly. In the course of millions of years, great heat and pressure has forged into good quality and fine grained mudstone. The main minerals in it are quartz, feldspar and mica. The quality varies considerably. The better quality soft rock is separated off each piece by hand.
The history of Wästilä Whetstone goes back for centuries and in its time whetstone provided employment and a source of income for Längelmäki. Wästilä Whetsone has also been imported to different Parts of the world for both weapons and tools.
The stone itself has been made by the Finnish god Ukko Ylijumala. The Wästilä Stoneman is responsible for the quarrying and and design using skills inherited from his forefathers. The stone is sold and marketed by Wästikivi Oy.
Wet your stone with water and grind parallel to the angle of the knife edge and you will see how cleverly nature has built this sharpening stone.
A traditional way to sharpen.
Centuries of history
Sharpening a knife or “puukko”
1. Moisten the stone with water.
2. Hold the knife at angle of 20° (or the angle of the edge to be sharpened) so that the knife lies on the stone. Grind the edge with a circular motion so that some burr is created to the end of the edge.
Repeat for other side of the knife edge. The mud emerging on top of the stone Helps the process, so do not rinse it a way.
3. In the end the burr is neutralised with a few strong strokes on both sides with a slightly sharper angle than when sharpening (as if cutting thin shave from the stone).
When sharpening scissors remember to grind with parallel strokes and only to grind the cutting edge ( do not touch the flat side).
You can sharpen a cheese slicer with the sharp end of the stone. With the narrow end of the stone you can reach other awkward places. You can use the stone as a nail file or to sharpen hooks, various chisels, scythes, and sickles.
Fly-fisher’s stone (c. 70 x 30 x 8 mm)
For sharpening flies and hooks. Does not rip the hook but sharpens finely without wasting metal.
Homestone (c. 150 x 30 x 10 mm)
A general sharpening tool for every home.
Homestone has a sharp end for sharpening Tight places like cheese slicers.
Chef’s stone (c. 270 x 30 x 12 mm)
A longer, rounder model for chefs used to A steel sharpener.
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