Thank you guys for sharing your knowhow over here. I appreciate not just the expertise, but also the overall tone. And in particular BDL, for your suggestions on starting me out with waterstones. I've purchased a Naniwa 1000/3000 combi stone (not SS, but some cheaper series), and a Naniwa SS 400. I've been practicing and can create and remove a burr on 1000. It took me some time to detect the same on 3000, but I'm becoming more sensitive to what's happening to the edge when I use the stone. I'm a bit wary of using the 400 until I gain more experience. The one time I tried to remove small chips on a VG10 utility knife was unsuccessful, and the stone felt harsh and significantly less pleasurable than the 1000/3000. So now I've got the bug, and I'm looking to get a higher grit stone. That will be it for me, and I don't intend to go any higher. After reading some threads, I'm debating between a Naniwa SS 8k and Arishayama 6k. My knives are few and not particularly hard, apart from a VG10 utility knife (two Theirs Issard Nogents, Opinel paring knives of 12c27, Kuhn Rikon carbon steel paring and chef's, two Robert Herder knives of carbon steel). I should mention that I'm in Europe, and availability of stones is limited. I'm inclined to go with the Arashiyama. My reasoning is: -I probably won't be able to tell much of a difference between the 6K and the 8k. And in any case, my impression is that the practical limit of my knives (except maybe the VG10 utility which I rarely use) is closer to the 6K. -As a beginner, I figure it will be easier to reach up to the 6k with my current skills (1k-3k-6k) -As I hopefully get better at this, I'll someday be able to jump straight from 1k to 6k so that's one less stone I'll have to progress through So, I wanted to ask you experts out there: -Are there significant differences between SS 8k and Arashiyama 6k? -Does my reasoning make sense to you? Thank you in advance for your thoughts.