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Re: Beginner looking for sharpening suggestions

Tue Feb 25, 2014 5:31 am

Dan_Crubenew wrote:I would agree that the Arashiyamas are less forgiving, almost delicate in a sense. I chipped the corner edge of one 6k accidentally bumping it with a 400 grit.

I know what you mean Dan, but wanted to clarify "less forgiving" for the OP. By less forgiving he means that the stones are soft and can gouge/chip fairly easy.

On the other side of the coin, when sharpening, a softer stone is "more forgiving" in the sense that if you wobble(all beginners do) it will cut/gouge the stone without completely dulling the edge(it still does dull the edge). Softer stones also will flex/conform to the steel slightly allowing you to be a little less perfect with your angle consistency and still get a useable edge. Hard stones like the Shaptons are less likely to cut/gouge, but are "less forgiving" in the sense instead of gouging they will completely dull your knife. They are also more sensitive to the use of consistent angles.

In short hard stones have a steeper learning curve, but you will be better off in the long run if you have the fortitude. Softer stones have a slightly smaller learning curve, but you may have to re-learn some of your technique(I did) if you switch to harder stones later.

Re: Beginner looking for sharpening suggestions

Tue Feb 25, 2014 4:38 pm

Thanks again guys. I also thought there was a heavy slant towards the shapton glass. I will admit to my lack of knowledge, but I don't feel like the dmt plates are very forgiving either. I am open to starting from scratch as the dia-folds don't really allow for a typical sharpening motion. I have been keeping my eye on some of the other threads and am still trying to figure it out. Really waiting to see what Adam Marr has to say about the glass vs pros.

I am kicking around the idea of buying a stone at a time, in an attempt to see what I like, but I am not sure it will be any cheaper that way.

I don't think I have had one vote for the 5pc set, which I am still kicking around since it gives me different stones from different manufacturers. Is that not a good choice so far? All of my favorites listed in this thread(4pc Arashiyama, shapton pros) are out of stock, so I am researching it to death.... :)

Also, I don't mind having collections of things. I have enjoyed the sharpening I have done with the DMT plates which is why I want to take it to the next level. I do lots of cooking at home and will need sharp knives for the long future. I also want to help out some family members when my skills are a little better. I don't plan on just buying just 3 stones and being done. I just thought there might be a more definite point to jump in at, but it appears there really isn't a wrong way to go. I have no problem having multiple stones over the next few years.

Thanks again everyone. I really appreciate these types of communities.

Re: Beginner looking for sharpening suggestions

Tue Feb 25, 2014 7:23 pm

When I started I purchased a full progression of King Ice Bears. In retrospect I wish I had purchased a stone at a time, of several different product ranges. Now I want to upgrade because the Kings don't do what I want of them, but I have no other frame of reference. For example, if I had bought a King 1k, a Shapton Pro 4K, an Arashiyama 6k, a Imanishi 10k, and maybe a Shapton Glass 220, then I would know a lot about the whole gambit of stones out there. As it is, I am replacing my Kings and the only thing I know is I don't want any more Kings. So buying one at a time, or several from a range of products, will not save you money, but you will learn more per dollar spent, and you will be a better informed sharpener than someone who did what I did and bought one line of stones. If you want to buy all at once, consider looking for a really well thought of coarse stone, the Latte for example, a highly though of 1k like a Nubatama, a mid grit like a 2k Naniwa SS, a popular fine stone like the Arashiyama 6k, then, especially if you are a straight razor honer, the Shapton Pro 15k. Add an Atoma 140 and you will have a single progression of stones, and know more about the stones that are out there than most on the forum. The only caveat is, like Adam said, a single line of stones may be great in one grit offering and abysmal in the next.

FWIW: The King Ice Bear is my favorite stone right now. It cuts reasonably quickly, has good feel, is more or less splash and go, has a pleasant mud, and leaves a good finish. My most expensive stone is a Naniwa SS 8k, and I find it has no feedback, so viscerally I don't feel like it does anything. My most frustrating stones are my 800 and 1200 Kings. Based on what other people say about their stones, it sounds like I have to work much longer, for a lesser edge on my Kings than most. Furthermore, I need to lap my Kings constantly. Since the 1k range is the workhorse of sharpening, I am beginning to rebuild my set there. Ken Schwartz has me set up with a Nubatama Ume 1k speckled extra hard. Part of why he suggested it was because it is among the harder stones out there and will contrast well with the softer Kings and Naniwa I currently have. So once I have spent time with the Nubatama I will be better able to solicit advice to hone in (pun intended) on what rings my bell in the mid and fine grit ranges.

Ultimately, most product out there is reasonably good. The difference lies more in preference and personal habit than objective quality. So anything you get will make your knives sharp, so have fun, be brave :)

Re: Beginner looking for sharpening suggestions

Tue Feb 25, 2014 9:49 pm

Thanks cedarhouse. I saw your 1k stone rec thread.

After more research, I am really leaning towards the 5pc set. The individual reviews rate these items very well and they all seem to be on the harder/ longer lasting side.

That gives me the Beston 500, Chosera 1000, and Suehiro 5k.

I am considering the Ume 1k in Hard, but am going to pick Ken's brain first.

I really think the lower grits will serve me most in the short term because I only have 1 actual japanese knife. I am also going to get the DMT XXC stone to flatten stones and handle major work.

Re: Beginner looking for sharpening suggestions

Tue Feb 25, 2014 10:35 pm

Sounds like a good plan :)

Re: Beginner looking for sharpening suggestions

Thu Feb 27, 2014 8:23 pm

Finally ordered my stones. After much debate, research, and a call to Ken I went with:

DMT XXC
Latte 400
Nubatama Ume 1k medium
Suehiro Rika 5k
Felt deburring block

Now trying to decide if I should get a sink bridge or the stone holder...

Thanks again to everyone that had input. I doubt these will be my only stones in a year's time :)

Re: Beginner looking for sharpening suggestions

Sat Mar 01, 2014 5:12 am

That right there is an excellent set.

Re: Beginner looking for sharpening suggestions

Sat Mar 01, 2014 1:01 pm

That set will handle pretty much anything you could ask for.

I personally have the stone holder,not the sink bridge. It does the job of providing a relatively non-slip sharpening surface.

Re: Beginner looking for sharpening suggestions

Sat Mar 01, 2014 9:29 pm

Pros and cons with each... pick your poison. :)

Sink bridge keeps the mess contained if you play with positioning. In certain positions you should be able to keep the water running into the sink and not on the floor. Sink bridges are limited in how you can move/turn the stone.

Stone holder allows you to turn/move the stone as you want. Allowing you to better utilize high spots for sharpening rather than taking out the flattening plate and wasting that bit of stone. I really like the bar mat underneath the stone holder recommendation I saw on this forum. Keeps the runoff contained much better than just a towel. I do still end up with a slight mess to clean up, however.
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