Wed Jun 26, 2013 5:00 am
The Shapton Glass Stones are, in my opinion, great at what they do -- they are very "precise" and "cold" in their treatment of steel. They are not as forgiving as "beginner" stones of pilot error, but can produce a great edge, up there with any of the top-end stones. I found that they made me a better sharpener as how they cut was pretty much exactly as I "told" them to, for better or for worse.
Would I have been "forever" happy with the Glass Stone I had? Probably, from a purely "Is this knife sharp enough?" standpoint. I've had a 2k and a 6k for years, and that was enough. Well, until I needed to do some edge repair, so I got a 500. Well, then I needed to work on some major metal removal on a single-bevel knife...
So I branched out. I can't recommend the King combo stone if you're sharpening woodworking tools. It's just too sloppy for me, even for kitchen knives. The precision needed for woodworking would push me to the Shapton Glass Stones as well. But kitchen knives are different. I like an edge with a little "tooth" to it for push cutting. Now I am liking the edge I am getting off a natural "Maera" stone -- it's not "as sharp" as I get off my GS 6k, but it works better for a lot of cuts in the kitchen (and not as well for a couple others).
Would I have known this if I hadn't learned to sharpen on the Glass Stones? My gut feeling is "no" on that, if I had stuck with the King, or not moved up to top-end stones. At some point the variability of your equipment masks the variability in your technique and you can't improve, or detect the impact of changes in either.
Right now it looks like CKTG is out of the Glass Stone 1k and 2k both. Lots of people love the Nubatama Ume 1k -- I can't fairly comment as mine is still in the box. I heard enough good things about it I decided to try one to see how it was different. Unfortunately, I've gotten too many boxes with knives and rocks of late to keep caught up!
I can't tell you how the Ume 1k does against some of the more difficult-to-sharpen steels out there. I do know that my Glass Stones seem to do a great job on steels that "laugh at waterstones" and that the 6k Glass Stone just has the amazing silky feel to it when you've got the edge set just right on it. Then again, there is something soothing about a knife on a earthy Maera...
Especially with the woodworking tools, start with something top-end, and your skill will improve quickly. Yes, I like the Glass Stones. No, I don't think they are "unique" in their position as top-end stones.