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Shapton Pros only good for soft steel?

Mon Dec 03, 2012 11:11 am

Hello there, I’m new to sharpening and whetstones and I have been reading a lot about the different stones on the market and watching videos on sharpening. I wanted to purchase a set of stones for my personal use in sharpening my kitchen knives. I ordered the 3 stone set of Shapton Pro stones in 1k , 5k, 8k. They are currently on their way from your store to my house. After doing some more reading I read that these stones may not be able to sharpen stones above 60 on the hardness scale. But the other Shapton stones would be able to handle all knifes of different hardness. My knifes at the moment are only in the 56 to 58 range but I do plan on purchasing better knifes than what I currently own. Which would put me in the 60 or harder range. If what I read was true then I may be better with a different stone or the other Shapton stones you sell. Can you clarify this for me?

I opted for these stones because of their hardness and thickness and figured they would last me forever and I figured they would be more forgiving for a newbie like me. Will the Shapton Pro’s sharpen all knifes of different hardness or should I send these back to you and get the other Shaptons or perhaps something different? I guess I should have done more research before purchasing these stones. The forums are all over the place with what stones are good and what are not so good, as we all know everyone’s preferences are their own. I just want a system of stones that can handle whatever I throw at them and are easy to maintain like the splash and go stones seem to be.

Your help is appreciated.

Thank you, David

Re: Shapton Pros only good for soft steel?

Mon Dec 03, 2012 11:15 am

Hi David,

Unfortunately not everyone knows what they're talking about. These stones will sharpen just about anything you can throw at them. They're good so don't worry about it.

HRC is not the only variable of how well a stone will sharpen a particular steel. It's a complicated subject but just take my word for it. You will be able to sharpen just about anything with the Pros.

Re: Shapton Pros only good for soft steel?

Mon Dec 03, 2012 12:02 pm

No idea who told you that, but Pro's will sharpen everything. Yes glass stones will sharpen faster, but pro stones wear slower and are harder. I've sharpened blades up to 65 HRC with the pro stones.

Re: Shapton Pros only good for soft steel?

Mon Dec 03, 2012 4:16 pm

Hello Mark and Michiel. Thank you for the replies. For those wondering I was the one that emailed Mark with the above question and he posted it here. I appreciate the quick reply. The Shapton Pro stones set arrived today along with the Atoma plate. Thank you for the fast shipping also. I have been reading and watching video's and I feel as if my head is going to explode. :lol:

I torn between the the Shapton Glass and the Shapton Pro and also the Chosera 4 piece kit. I want to Cry once like they say and buy the best for all around sharpening of all knifes. The comment on the Shapton Pro's was from another forum...not sure which one as I've been around the internet researching for a few days. But I believe it was a fellow that used Shaptons and recommended them. His comment was that he would use the Pro stones up to 60 hardness and then use the Glass stones for anything over that. I also read where the Shapton Pro stones tend to load..especially the 5k. Another question I have is....I purchased the Atoma 140 and I read that that might be to aggressive for flattening the 5k and 8k pro stones.

So as you can see I'm more confused now then I was when I started this journey. I just want a set of stones that will handle everything I through at it, will be sorta forgiving to a newbie, will last for a long time and be a good choice for someone who loves to cook and has been cooking for over 30 years at home and is tired of dealing with crappy knives and dull knives. I'm a very quick learner and I'm good with my hands, so I think with some patience and practice I can pick up on freehand sharpening without too much trouble.

Price of stones is a factor...but I know you get what you pay for and I don't want to buy something I'm going to not like or have buyers remorse. Like I said...Cry once.

I don't want to be a stone collector but I'm known to obsess when it comes to something that interests me. I also want to upgrade my knifes at some point but I want to practice on the Henckels knives I have at the moment. No loss if I do some damage to them. I didn't take the stones out of the packaging because I might send them back based on the answers I receive. I can't wait to try my hand but I want to make sure I made the right decision first.

Thanks again for your help.


Re: Shapton Pros only good for soft steel?

Mon Dec 03, 2012 7:19 pm

I use at my shapton pro 2k almost every other day and it works very well for every steel from cheap stainless to mid 60 rc blue. You are going to love them.

Re: Shapton Pros only good for soft steel?

Mon Dec 03, 2012 8:10 pm

Using the 140 atoma for flattening is ideal and it's fine for higher grit stones.

Just jump right in and start sharpening. You'll learn a lot by starting. It's really not that hard and I see guys overanalyzing or getting frightened by all the contradictory information they read. Sharpen some knives and then come back with some questions and we'll help you get better quickly. It's fun and easy but you have to start.

Re: Shapton Pros only good for soft steel?

Wed Dec 05, 2012 10:49 am

I prefer lapping my 5K stone with a finer plate, but that's just because I have to get the stone texture finer for razors. For knives, you can flatten with the 140 and add a 1k film on the back of the plate to smooth the stone. I use this setup regularly.

Re: Shapton Pros only good for soft steel?

Wed Dec 05, 2012 2:43 pm

This was one of the comments I saw on another board that gave me concern with the Shapton Pros.


Former Chef
Joined 2/2008
Location: Monrovia, CA
Posts: 7,789
Reviews: 20

Shapton Pros:
Give weird feedback, so they aren't very helpful for new sharpeners;
Have flattening issues;
Are expensive;
Are picky in terms of which alloys they do well. Oddly, not all Pros are appropriate for all kinds of steels and hardnesses, so you have to choose your stones appropriately.

Shapton Glass Stones are probably better for you. I had a set of Pros, and liked them a lot more than the GS which I tried and did not buy because I felt they were more shine than sharp. On the other hand, they're very consistent and most people like them quite a bit. If you want to go Shapton, in your case the GS are probably a better pick.

Ben recommended the Naniwa Super Stones. Compare to Choseras, SS are:
Better priced,
Similarly almost splash and go (10 minute soak works best);
Almost as fast;
Feel even better;
Very soft. So soft, that the higher grits gouge easily and represent something of a challenge for people who don't hold angles well; and
Wear fairly quickly and need frequent flattening. Easing the edges and corners by beveling is a must every time you flatten or the stones will crumble.
I prefer SS to the Choseras at every grit 3K or lower; think the 5K Chosera is better -- but not for the price; and wouldn't get another 8K or finer because the SS high grits are just too frikkin' soft.

Unless you sharpen very frequently, the Nonpareil and Naniwa aotos are too slow for you to use as the coarsest sharpening (as opposed to profile/repair) stone in your set. If you want a fast 2K, consider the Gesshin. It's hugely expensive but so ridiculously good that it's worth the ridiculous money. Worth it, at least, if you're going to continue to use it.

If you want to dip a toe in the waters of bench stones without spending too much money, you might consider buying a couple of 10mm Naniwa SS on the plastic bases. They're high quality, relatively inexpensive and you can get at least a couple of years out of them.

Water stones are great, but you don't really need them for your Euro knives -- which seem to make up the bulk of your set. My experience is that Arkansas stones are the best finishers, leaving a very sharp and longer lasting edge.

By way of some perspective of where I'm coming from, my current water stone set is:
Beston 500;
Bester 1200;
Chosera 3000 (a good 5K would have worked as well as a step to the 8K as the 3K, but the Chosera came to me at too god a price to to pass up); and
Gesshin 8K (unbelievably good stone).
While my current oil stone set is:
Nortion Coarse India;
Norton Fine India;
Hall's Soft Arkansas; and
Hall's Surgical Black Arkansas.
I also have a bunch of loaded strops and an EP Apex with the Chosera kit (like yours).

If you don't mind throwing a LOT of money at a set of water stones you'll use something like six times a year, my recommendation would be to go all Gesshin, with a 400, 2K and 8K on the water stones, along with a set of oil stones very similar to mine. The most bang for the buck would be the Beston 500, Bester 1200, Suehiro Rika kit that CKtG sells.

Overall, I think your best bet is are the 10mm, mounted Naniwa SS 400,1K, and 5K from Sharpening Supplies.


PS. If you're going to keep using a loaded strop I suggest switching away from green compound (chromium dioxide) to diamond or CBN compounds are slurries. A final word to the wise, Ken's sprays are waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay too expensive. A life time supply of slurry from USP will cost you what you'd pay for an itty bitty bottle of Ken's.

Edited by boar_d_laze - 10/9/12 at 3:58pm


Re: Shapton Pros only good for soft steel?

Thu Dec 06, 2012 1:30 pm

Weird feedback? Not with mine, but maybe I'm just used to it.
Flattening issues? Never heard of that either. Not on this board or any other.
Expensive: you get what you pay for
Used a lot of alloys and all reacted well. From the top of my head: Blue1, Blue 2, AS, White 1, White 2, 154CM, CPM 154, M390, S30V, S35VN, 1095, 1085, A2, CPM 3V, Bombshell steel, S90V, CPM 440V, Elmax, AEB-L, 12C27, O1, W2, M4.

Re: Shapton Pros only good for soft steel?

Thu Dec 06, 2012 2:24 pm

If you ask 20 different sharpeners you will get 20 different answers as to how to sharpen a knife. Rich (BDL)is a good sharpener but Michiel does this for a living and I happen to agree with his opinion on Shaptons.
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