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Starting out with a single stone?

Thu Jan 02, 2014 10:11 am

I am a home cook who has been generally happy with the Wusthofs I've had for 20 years or so, but am interested in giving a carbon steel Japanese knife a try - right now I'm looking at the Tanaka korouchi nakiri.

I've read hear elsewhere that getting started with a single 1000 grit stone will suffice - true?

Would the Arashiyama be a good choice?

What, in practice, will be the consequence of not using a higher grit stone to finish?

How about stone flattening? How often does this need to be done?

Thanks in advance.

Re: Starting out with a single stone?

Thu Jan 02, 2014 10:31 am

You can get away with a single 1k stone and the result will be a very "bitey" edge. Think of it like a saw with tiny teeth. The higher grit stone (like a 5k) would refine those teeth to make an edge which will slice more cleanly while keeping a nice bite from the 1k stone.

A lot of folks here like the Arashiyama stones, and really I don't think there would be any issues with using them. In fact there is a two stone set with them, a 1k and a 6k, which would fit the bill: http://www.chefknivestogo.com/4pcshstset.html

You will want a plate to flatten the stone with, and some suggest flattening every time while others would suggest doing it when the dishing is noticeable. It kind of depends on the person in that respect.

If you absolutely want one stone though, have a look at the Imanishi two sided stone (1k/6k): http://www.chefknivestogo.com/imtwosi1kst.html

This one stone gives you the 1k for sharpening and the 6k for refining.

I might also suggest this strop kit as well if you go that route: http://www.chefknivestogo.com/stsetwiunhob.html

It includes a flattening plate, stone holder, and strops to get you well on your way. Stropping is just a way to even further refine the edge and can function like a knife steel for harder Japanese knives. Plus it is an inexpensive way to give your edges some extra care and keep them in top condition.

Then just visit this page for compounds/sprays for the balsa strop (you don't need it for the leather strop unless you want it to work faster) and even other 3" x 8" strops: http://www.chefknivestogo.com/strops.html

Horse butt and kangaroo seem to be pretty popular, but I have always gotten good results from good ol' cowhide. lol ;)

I personally have been getting good results going from a 1k straight to my strops loaded with a compound to refine the edge (I use four strops, two balsa and two leather), but again different people will have different opinions. The real key is in finding a method you like and that works for you. :)

Re: Starting out with a single stone?

Thu Jan 02, 2014 10:40 am

Yes, a single stone will suffice.

Here's a video I made....just a 1,000 grit waterstone:

Never used the Arashiyama, so can't say for absolute certain...but yes is the obvious answer. I've heard it's a good stone....as is the Ume in this video.

A higher grit stone can help the edge become more refined.....a sharper edge. However, if you like the OOTB edge, a 1,000 grit waterstone will most likely get you back there at least. Most factory edge's are 800 grit or so. Some high end knives go higher, but not many.

Stone flattening should be done every knife. Buy this:


It will save you money over using wet/dry sandpaper.

Re: Starting out with a single stone?

Thu Jan 02, 2014 12:34 pm

I have the Arashiyama 1k and it's a very good stone. I can get a very sharp edge off that one stone if the bevel is in decent shape.

Re: Starting out with a single stone?

Thu Jan 02, 2014 1:59 pm

I use a 1200/6k progression but the edges are usually factory sharp off the 1200. To keep cost down and ease the learning curve I would not hesitate to start with one stone.

Re: Starting out with a single stone?

Thu Jan 02, 2014 11:56 pm

I'm no expert but what I can tell you is that with a 1500 grit I was able to bring my dull and dreary henkels back to pristine condition. Not razor sharp, like others have said they are more of a toothy edge. This makes it easier to cut through a tough skin on a pepper or eggplant. Also lower grit edges hold better, especially when doing lots of chopping.
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