See it all the time. A newcomer to J-knives or just higher quality knives seems to be overwhelmed and resistant to the idea of sharpening on stones. I know many of us have had the feeling of "I don't want to mess up my new knife" etc. In response some run to the idea of paying someone and others to finding some gadget or machine to do it. Nothing wrong with it all, but I am honestly more than a little curious to what your fear may be or why you may be looking to avoid using whetstones etc? I was cautious at the idea of scratching up or actually reducing the sharpness on my new knife as well, and later found it was like most worry a waste of time as now I would not do it any other way. The idea here is that if we discuss this in depth in a dedicated thread maybe the next newbie will find it easier or at least less intimidating by us sharing our misery etc So lets hear what your concerns were, or are with freehand sharpening on stones. PS. before anyone gets excited I am aware that some people can get a great edge with some of the various machines or systems available, and also that some have put serious amounts of their time into creating and improving them as well. This is not a shot at those systems, but just to try and make things a little easier for anyone looking to maintain a sharp edge etc.