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 Post subject: Beyond the Aligner: A Versatile First Stone?
PostPosted: Sun Mar 23, 2014 10:24 pm 

Joined: Sat Mar 22, 2014 10:55 am
Posts: 9
Hello all, first post from a long time lurker.

I have been using a DMT Aligner for a while and I like it, but it is limited by the angles it can achieve (roughly down to 15° per side) and its ability to only maintain the primary bevel, with little use for thinning knives over time. For these reasons, among others, I am now looking to begin my freehand sharpening journey.

I do have a few concerns with my stone selection, however. I am looking at a few cheap, well recommended stones like the Bester 1200, Arashyama 1k, and green brick 2k right now, but I have a few knives in M4 and K390, so I really need stones that will be able to handle these higher-wear steels easily (the reason I went with the diamonds originally). I have heard great things about Chosera in this regard, but the 1k is almost twice the price of the other stones I'm considering. Is the performance difference worth it for the Chosera? I have moved away from Shapton because I read that they are very ceramic-like, and I didn't like the ceramic stones I have tried.

Also, I love thin edges, and as my skills grow, I will want a stone progression that will work well for thinning and leaving a great finish in that role. In the interest of minimizing redundancy (and cost), I am hoping this stone will also fit into that progression well.

So guys, with these concerns in mind, I turn to your expertise to recommend a good stone for high-wear steels while fitting in well with a progression for thinning.


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 Post subject: Re: Beyond the Aligner: A Versatile First Stone?
PostPosted: Tue Mar 25, 2014 7:38 pm 

Joined: Thu Feb 20, 2014 7:50 pm
Posts: 104
I was a fan of the DMT aligner and dia folds for my pocket knives, but recently upgraded too.

It looks like you will be dealing with some hard steels. In that case you may want to look for a few different stones. If you have some dull blades, you might want to look into some coarse stones:

http://www.chefknivestogo.com/nubatoma1.html
http://www.chefknivestogo.com/nubatoma2.html
http://www.chefknivestogo.com/impibr.html
http://www.chefknivestogo.com/shpro120grst.html

The reason is you will be wearing your 1k stones out if your blades need a lot of attention. If they are in decent shape, you should be ok with a 1k stone.

Some other good 1k suggestions are:
http://www.chefknivestogo.com/nubatamaume1k1.html
http://www.chefknivestogo.com/shpro10.html
http://www.chefknivestogo.com/ar10gr.html
http://www.chefknivestogo.com/ri10grst.html


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 Post subject: Re: Beyond the Aligner: A Versatile First Stone?
PostPosted: Tue Mar 25, 2014 8:29 pm 

Joined: Thu May 24, 2012 6:20 am
Posts: 1326
I agree with Nola', a coarser stone might be in order if you are going to be thinning some abrasion resistant steels like the PMs you listed above. Nola' probably knows more than I do about coarser stones, but I might err towards ~400 grit range to better transition to the 1k and to move more slowly, since you are newer to hand sharpening.

As far as stone brands, the Shapton Pro and Shapton Glass stones are very well regarded for high wear resistant steels. I have been using a Nubatama 1k speckled (medium, linked above) and 2k Ume speckled and I think they could work well too.


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 Post subject: Re: Beyond the Aligner: A Versatile First Stone?
PostPosted: Wed Mar 26, 2014 12:14 am 

Joined: Sat Mar 22, 2014 10:55 am
Posts: 9
I was a fan of the DMT aligner and dia folds for my pocket knives, but recently upgraded too.

It looks like you will be dealing with some hard steels. In that case you may want to look for a few different stones. If you have some dull blades, you might want to look into some coarse stones:

http://www.chefknivestogo.com/nubatoma1.html
http://www.chefknivestogo.com/nubatoma2.html
http://www.chefknivestogo.com/impibr.html
http://www.chefknivestogo.com/shpro120grst.html

The reason is you will be wearing your 1k stones out if your blades need a lot of attention. If they are in decent shape, you should be ok with a 1k stone.

Some other good 1k suggestions are:
http://www.chefknivestogo.com/nubatamaume1k1.html
http://www.chefknivestogo.com/shpro10.html
http://www.chefknivestogo.com/ar10gr.html
http://www.chefknivestogo.com/ri10grst.html


Thanks Nola, I'm glad to hear I'm not the only one to come from the dark of jig-land!

That Arashiyama has been in my sights for some time, I think I may go for it, since from what I can tell by your recommendation, it would work well to maintain these steels at 1k. Would you recommend it over the green brick? I'm drawn to the latter's size for roughly the same price. I will definitely be needing a good coarse stone (or two) for major repairs, and for dealing with some of the more wear-resistant steels, I'll have to go over those recommendations to see what's what.

Is there any reason not to go for the sets here, like the 5pc with a coarse, medium, and fine stone? I understand you may not always receive the stones listed, has that caused anyone any problems? I'm sure even if that's the case, you would still receive stones similar enough not to make a difference, right?


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 Post subject: Re: Beyond the Aligner: A Versatile First Stone?
PostPosted: Wed Mar 26, 2014 4:39 pm 

Joined: Thu Feb 20, 2014 7:50 pm
Posts: 104
I really just got into sharpening by hand myself. I spent a lot of time asking the same questions you are though. I was looking at the 4pc, 5pc, 8pc set. I wanted to be able to handle most steels, though I don't have any as hard as the two you listed. I went with latte 400, ume 1k speckled, and suehiro rica 5k, and a DMT extra extra course plate for flattening and major repairs. From what I learned, you can sharpen any knife on just about any stone. You could just save yourself some time and your stone some use by using coarser stones to make quicker work of getting the edge where it needs to be. I talked to Ken Schwartz (ken123) on the phone and he had some very good insight about letting coarser stones do the work. A 1k will get the job done, but a 220-400 will do that work much faster. I caution against the really coarse stones because I have heard they are harder to flatten. Also, the higher grit stones are mostly for stropping.

I have heard good things about the green brick, but have no experience with it. A lot of people like them to finish their german knives. I hear it starts about 1k and is ~3k once you get some mud going. might be good to finish with, but I think you would be served well by something in the 300-500 range too.


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 Post subject: Re: Beyond the Aligner: A Versatile First Stone?
PostPosted: Wed Mar 26, 2014 6:46 pm 

Joined: Fri Aug 09, 2013 12:34 pm
Posts: 28
I just got the Nubatama Ume 1k and I am amazed... This is so much better than any other stone I've ever used... but it is a hard stone though. so If you like really muddy stones, that is not the one. But I am in love with this new toy. My cheap knives had never been so sharp... hehehe


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 Post subject: Re: Beyond the Aligner: A Versatile First Stone?
PostPosted: Wed Mar 26, 2014 7:11 pm 
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Joined: Tue Feb 05, 2013 6:00 pm
Posts: 2030
It's funny how the stones you start on shape one's perspective on what's hard, muddy, etc. I started on Shapton Glass EP and then Glass and Pro free hand stones. I think the Ume 1K is not really hard and is pretty muddy :-).

It took some practice on my Rika 5K to not gouge the stone occasionally when sharpening the knife tip ;-).


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 Post subject: Re: Beyond the Aligner: A Versatile First Stone?
PostPosted: Wed Mar 26, 2014 7:37 pm 

Joined: Thu May 24, 2012 6:20 am
Posts: 1326
"dhmcardoso" What stones are you coming from? I am new to the Nubatama line too.

Steve, it is funny you mention that. I started on King Ice Bears and everyone describes them as muddy and soft. I never really thought of them that way. Now that I have the Nubatama Ume Speckled 1k XX-hard and 2k Speckled I can tell you the Kings are fairly soft, though I do not think the Nubatama are all that much less muddy...go figure.


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 Post subject: Re: Beyond the Aligner: A Versatile First Stone?
PostPosted: Thu Mar 27, 2014 2:45 am 

Joined: Sat Mar 22, 2014 10:55 am
Posts: 9
Hmm, Nubatama sure gets some rave reviews, for about the same price as the Chosera line in the more worldly grits. There are just so many options, it makes it difficult to decide. It seems the Ume speckled 1k gets most of the attention, but with all of the different stones in either series, I wonder about the others as well. I've also heard Nubatamas are best when used together, which could run into major bucks. Would you guys recommend Nubatama over Chosera for harder steels or as the more versatile stone? Or should I just save my cash and go for the Green Brick or Arashiyama?

One advantage that I could see from the Green Brick is that it is actually a 2k stone, which would allow more versatility from the single step (I hear it cuts like a fast 1k, but can leave up to a ~3k finish in the right hands). Should this be a major consideration if I am looking to build a set anyway?

Do any of you believe, after progressing from the lower cost stones to the Chosera or Nubatama, that they will do anything remarkably better than the lower cost stones? Do you believe it is a natural "upgrade", or is it just a matter of equally good stones at different price points?


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 Post subject: Re: Beyond the Aligner: A Versatile First Stone?
PostPosted: Thu Mar 27, 2014 3:09 am 
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Joined: Thu Nov 22, 2012 4:17 am
Posts: 3414
The biggest thing you will probably notice when moving up to high quality stones, regardless of brand, is they work much faster and make your job easier.



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