Hi all, Background - I've just purchased a few T-I Sabatier **** Elephant Nogents (parer, slicer, chef) and am having them sent to Dave Martell for a professional sharpening (I read the Nogents are not that great OOTB) who will then forward them to me where I live in Tokyo, Japan. I've spent the last week or so reading a ton of different knife threads in different forums so I know significant more info than I did before - but I'd still really appreciate some help in narrowing down the choices and making sure that what I buy suits the Nogents - and hopefully my future knives too... Thx! Questions - 1) After I get and start using the Nogents, what do I need to do - and buy - in order to maintain the knives as best as possible? ie honing? stropping? How often etc..? 2) When it's time for them to be sharpened again (not just maintained) what kind of stones etc should I get to work best on the Nogents..? 3) Would it be best to buy one or two cheap knives to practice sharpening on before I 'let loose' on the T-Is, or can I (a complete beginner) practice on them without damaging them (?!) Other info - * At some point in the not-too-distant future, I'm intending to add to my knife collection with some med- to high-end SS or carbon Japanese knives. Probably to include one or two single-bevel (chisel) traditional ones and one or two double-bevel ones. Therefore, whilst I am happy to add to my stone & sharpening tools later on, it would be great to have tools I can use on both the Nogents and the J-knives rather than a seperate kit for each, (if possible). * Oh - I should say that I definitely want to learn how to sharpen freehand and am prepared to invest the necessary time and effort. (For many reasons I won't bore you all with!) I'm not interested in the Edge-Pro or similar systems. * Also - I' m not worried about the cost / budget aspect of the stones/ sharpening tools etc... Mostly because it looks like the prices I can get here in Japan of most of the brands (King, Shapton, Chosera etc) are only about 50-70% of the U.S prices listed on CKtG and other sites. (So I'll be telling myself that I'm really *saving* money, and not spending it!) And if some items are better in the US (maybe the HandAmerican balsa stropping magetic board/base for example), I'm also happy to import a few things in. I think that's about it... Any help and advice you can give me would be hugely appreciated. Thank you!!