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 Post subject: Shapton Pro 1.5k (Forum Special), 320, and 1k
PostPosted: Tue May 27, 2014 2:43 am 

Joined: Sun Jul 29, 2012 1:36 pm
Posts: 357
Location: NY, NY; New Haven, CT
I recently bought the "forum special" Shapton Pro 1500. I also bought the 320 to go along with it, and a friend just bought a Shapton Pro 1000. I wanted to share my first impressions these stones. I sharpened about 10 different knives, all of different size, type, steel, and sharpness, over the past two weeks before writing this review.

Disclaimer: I had never before used a stone below 1k before, except my 120 diamond plate for a tip repair.

About me: Before my new stones, I had about two years sharpening experience on a cheap combo stone (1/6k). I can usually produce a hair-shaving edge rather quickly on this stone, but I wouldn’t say that I am especially “good” at sharpening. I make sure my JKs can rapidly push cut and slice cut paper at an angle several inches from where I am holding it, and that they can easily shave arm hair. But I lack experience with thinning, and I am not sure my edges hold up as well as others over time.

I tried my friend’s new 1k first. I was shocked at how rough the stone was compared to my old 1k, as well as how quickly and consistently it cut. I’d go as far as to call it “gritty” and “grainy” for a 1k, even "spotted" if that makes any sense. My friend has exclusively German stainless and Sab carbon knives. It was very easy to put an edge on all of the knives with the single stone, even though some had very dull edges. My friend was new to sharpening, and I let him try to sharpen a few knives on his own—he’d go at it for a while, and I’d step in to correct the edge and smooth it out. I was amazed at how the stone responded to his gentle strokes (it responded well), but I was even more amazed at how quickly and easily I could correct and refine the entire edge. In both cases, the stone was very sensitive to touch: if approached carefully and gently, it was timid, if approached aggressively, it toughened up and ground consistently with little to no threat of dishing. We sharpened three or four extremely dull knives using only the 1k, ending with trailing strokes in each case. In other words, despite the feel and sound of the stone, it was in fact consistent and very responsive.

I left feeling that the 1k was a good stone, but felt it was too rough as a single-stone sharpening solution. For German steel, it also failed to produce enough slurry to get any kind of refinement and produced an excessively toothy finish. It was terrific at starting the edge, but should be followed by something else, even for soft German steel. Finally, I felt that the stone could have better feedback. All of this made me think that the Green Brick of Joy was probably a far better solution for this type of application, assuming the sharpener had some experience with softer stones and manipulating slurry.

In contrast, my 320 and 1.5k provoked altogether different responses. The 320 cuts quickly, accurately, and provides a smoother, more consistent feel than the 1k despite being a coarser stone. I was able to develop a burr, remove it, and polish the edge enough to cleanly slice paper, although the edge obviously lacked refinement of any sort. The stone cleaned easily, showed no signs of clogging (even when thinning soft stainless over VG-10), and stayed wet and saturated with little effort. It was extraordinarily consistent…I can imagine how a more porous stone that changed character with soaking might provide more nuanced feedback of the edge and more versatility. However, the Shapton pro cuts quickly and predictably with no soaking and with good feedback. I would definitely recommend this stone as the first in a multi-stone progression for most knives, even though I can imagine the advantages of more porous stones.

The 1.5k, which is the real focus of this review, is marvelous. I am extremely pleased with this stone. After a quick rinse and rub under the faucet it is ready to go. It is very, very smooth and provides excellent feedback, but still removes metal quickly and predictably. It produces a wonderful polish on a micro-bevel, and worked very well on several different types of steel with consistent and predictable results (Kono HD, soft German, cheap American stainless, Forschner, Sab Carbon, VG 10, and Masamoto stainless). It was most remarkable with the HD steel—amazingly easy, great feedback, terrific polish, and an excellent toothy but very refined feel on the edge, both before and after trailing strokes on a 6k stone.

This stone is ideal for this range: very hard, very consistent, virtually no dishing, and very little slurry. It gives you an exceptionally clean and hard surface with a very smooth feel that allows you to accurately control and manipulate the angle and intensity with absolute control. Leave it to coarser stones for more brutal work, and for finer grits for more polish and slurry—this one gives you very even “teeth” and terrific geometry. It feel ascetic, yes, but in all the right ways. I often felt as if I had a clear sense of the shape of the edge from the feel and sound of the stone, and my constant checks of the edge confirmed the stone’s ability to communicate this information. In this grit range, that is most important.

Finally, I would highly recommend this stone as the second stone in a broader progression; in particular, I would recommend it in place of a 1k stone for at-home cooks who want to experience a smoother, more polished edge without giving up a little tooth. It is exactly what I was hoping for: after trailing strokes on the 6k, my knives feel significantly more refined than with my old 1k-6k progression, but they still “bite” when needed. The knives slide through carrots with a scary polish, but still have enough tooth to push-cut through tough tomato skins. I have no idea what a 2k finish feels like – perhaps it is even better – but for me, the 1.5k transitions easily from the low 320 and up to the high 6k without missing a beat. Highly recommended—and a great forum offering!!



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Ownership experience: Konosuke, Masamoto, Tojiro, Wusthof, Henckels, etc.
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 Post subject: Re: Shapton Pro 1.5k (Forum Special), 320, and 1k
PostPosted: Tue May 27, 2014 3:37 am 
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JOE <> Thank you for the concise write up. This is EXACTLY why this stuff goes on special. 8-)



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 Post subject: Re: Shapton Pro 1.5k (Forum Special), 320, and 1k
PostPosted: Tue May 27, 2014 4:13 am 

Joined: Wed Jan 22, 2014 12:52 am
Posts: 40
Location: West Yellowstone, MT
This is exactly the type of review that makes this forum so worthwhile. It's informative, clear and organized, always the hallmarks of good writing. Thanks Joe for taking the time to give us such a comprehensive review.


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 Post subject: Re: Shapton Pro 1.5k (Forum Special), 320, and 1k
PostPosted: Tue May 27, 2014 2:50 pm 

Joined: Sun Jul 29, 2012 1:36 pm
Posts: 357
Location: NY, NY; New Haven, CT
Thanks for the feedback! It encourages me to do similar write-ups when I buy more new products in the future...



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Ownership experience: Konosuke, Masamoto, Tojiro, Wusthof, Henckels, etc.
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 Post subject: Re: Shapton Pro 1.5k (Forum Special), 320, and 1k
PostPosted: Tue May 27, 2014 6:52 pm 
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Joined: Tue May 27, 2014 6:13 am
Posts: 16
Location: White Rock, BC
Fantastic review


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 Post subject: Re: Shapton Pro 1.5k (Forum Special), 320, and 1k
PostPosted: Tue May 27, 2014 7:31 pm 

Joined: Fri Apr 04, 2014 6:45 am
Posts: 135
Thank you for the info. I am soaking this stuff up like a biscuit.


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 Post subject: Re: Shapton Pro 1.5k (Forum Special), 320, and 1k
PostPosted: Wed Jun 04, 2014 1:22 pm 
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Joined: Sat Mar 22, 2014 2:38 pm
Posts: 232
Salemj,

nice review, it is much appreciated. it's always a good day when i learn something new.

pat



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 Post subject: Re: Shapton Pro 1.5k (Forum Special), 320, and 1k
PostPosted: Wed Jun 04, 2014 10:08 pm 
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Joined: Sun Oct 21, 2012 1:34 pm
Posts: 347
Salemj,
Thanks for the review. I got the Shapton Pro 1.5K also, and I have a new Konosuke HD 150MM Petty.
Next time my Kono needs a touch up I will break out the 1.5K Shapton, and finish up with some strop strokes on a 5 or 8K
Great review


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 Post subject: Re: Shapton Pro 1.5k (Forum Special), 320, and 1k
PostPosted: Thu Jun 05, 2014 2:08 am 
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Salemj,

i would like to add that i also purchased a shapton pro 1.5k. i tried it for the first time about a month ago. it was ok, but just not the same as the shapton GS 1k, which is what i learned on and had used the most up to that point. so i put it away for awhile. then i read your awesome review this morning and it sparked my interest in it again. so tonight i pulled it out and went at it again, sharpening two henckels knives. i looked at it in a much different light. it was a pleasure to use, is very hard, cut fast and uniformly, and displayed no dishing at all. it put a really nice edge on those two knives.

although it took me a bit to warm up to it, it was really just a personal preference type of thing on my part. as a matter of fact, it may very well become one of my favorite stones. thanks again for your review, as it has renewed my interest in this most excellent stone.

pat



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 Post subject: Re: Shapton Pro 1.5k (Forum Special), 320, and 1k
PostPosted: Fri Jun 13, 2014 6:33 am 
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Excellent review!

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Ken



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