Honing Oil Ultimate Guide: Substitutes, Toxicity and More

You bought a sharpening stone, maybe sharpened a knife or two. Now, someone told you or you read about honing oil online.

Now you need to get one….don’t you? Or you might be interested in honing oil substitutes?

But before you go out there and buy one or get a honing oil substitute, read this post. You might end up saving some dollars for your lunch.

First, let me give you a short answer to:

What are Honing Oil Substitutes?

There are different substitutes and the simplest one is water. It’s FREE. We cannot suggest any substitute at the moment since it depends upon the type of stone and the pore width. Some substitutes could damage your stone instead.

Therefore, we highly suggest going with a honing oil specifically made for sharpening stones rather than going for a substitute that is not made for sharpening stones.

In this post, we will discuss:

1. What is Honing Oil
2. Why Honing Oil is used
3. How to use Honing Oil
4. Honing Oil Composition
5. Honing Oil Substitutes
6. Is Honing Oil Toxic
7. Is Honing Oil Good for Knives
8. What kind of Honing Oil to Use
9. What is the Best Honing Oil
10. Stones and Honing Oil
11. Where to Buy Honing Oil
12. Is Honing Oil Necessary

So, let us dig deep. First thing first. What is honing oil?

What is Honing Oil?

Honing oil is simply a liquid, nor very thick neither too think, just in the right proportion that is used in conjunction with a sharpening stone. There are different types of honing oils, used for different purposes.

Here we will only discuss honing oil that is used with a sharpening stone and not with any other sharpening system such as with those used in woodworking.

The term ‘honing oil’ might be misleading since many types of honing oil does not have ‘oil’ in them.

So why do we use honing oil? Isn’t sharpening stone enough?

Oh, and if you are tired of using your manual knife sharpener, try buying an electric knife sharpener. We have listed some of the best electric knife sharpeners here.

Why Honing Oil is used?

If this is your first-time sharpening knife with stone, you would notice the pores on stones. These pores have the real power of a stone. They sharpen a knife’s blade. If not carefully used, pores might get clogged and thus the stone will lose its sharpening power.

Small shavings from the blade are known to clog these pores. How to keep the pores safe? Seems like a job for Honing Oil!

What honing oil does, it lubricates the stone surface and then carries away almost all the steel shavings.

Otherwise, if the oil isn’t used, it could become a little tricky to clean these pores. Water would work but not as good as the honing oil.

How to use honing oil?

Using honing oil is easy. No rocket science here. Here are the steps you need to follow:

  1. Wash the sharpening stone before using it and leave it to dry.
  2. Before applying honing oil, make sure the sharpening stone is fully dry.
  3. Now, apply honing oil the sharpening surface of the stone.
  4. Do not apply a thick layer. Make sure the applied layer is thin.
  5. Cover the surface area completely or every part where the knife blade will be in contact with the stone.
  6. After the sharpening is done, wash the stone or rinse it. Dry it with a rag (recommended) or you can simply leave it and it will dry automatically.

Honing Oil Composition:

There are two types of honing oil i.e. petroleum based and water or mineral based. Chlorine, Sulfur, and detergents are the most common ingredients of honing oil.

Sharpening honing oils are mineral or water based and petroleum based honing oils are not recommended with stones as they clog the pores.

Is Honing Oil Toxic?

Well not really. It’s not toxic. If you buy honing oil that is compatible with sharpening stones, they are not toxic. Please make sure that you are buying honing oil that can be used with a stone. As already discussed, there are different honing oil for different purposes.

Is Honing Oil Good for Knives?

To be honest, honing oil won’t harm your knife at all. It depends upon the kind of honing oil you are using. We will discuss below, what kind of honing oil you would need. I always use, honing oil when sharpening a knife. It leaves a great finish on my knife.

What Kind of Honing Oil To Use?

As discussed, there are different honing oils with different kinds of thickness. We always suggest to buy some water or mineral based honing oil like the ‘sewing machine oil’ or ‘universal oil’ would be your best choice.

Do not buy petroleum based honing oil as it is too thick for a sharpening stone and would damage your stone rather than facilitating the process of knife sharpening.

What Is the Best Honing Oil?

There is no one single best honing oil. Lansky is a big name in the honing oil industry but you can use any as long as it won’t destroy the sharpening stone. I have heard good reviews about Windex and Simple Green. REMEMBER THE THICKNESS OF HONING OIL!

What Kind Of Stones Can Use Honing Oil?

Any kind of stone whether diamond or some natural sharpening stone is safe to apply honing oil on. It won’t harm the stone.

Although, some modern stones may not require honing oil but I still use honing oil since it saves a lot of time and makes the process easier. Note, that there are some sharpening stone companies that strongly suggest applying honing oil on their stones before using them.

Make sure you read the guide book or manual before using a sharpening stone.

Where to Buy Honing Oil?

You can buy from Amazon or Home Depot or from any local hardware store. Here I am linking some honing oils on Amazon. If you have any good options, please comment on the names below.

and many more that you would find in a local hardware store.

Is Honing Oil Necessary?

For me, YES!

Some people might not find it necessary for sharpening stones. But I always use honing oil on my sharpening stone. If you want to protect your stone and the pores, use honing oil every time.

If you have any suggestion please comment below and let us know!

Also Read: Best EDC Knife 2021 – Buyer’s Guide

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