Need a sharpening stone. Recommendations?

Discussion in 'Cooking Knife Reviews' started by gobblygook, Sep 5, 2010.

  1. wagstaff

    wagstaff

    Messages:
    343
    Likes Received:
    19
    Exp:
    At home cook
     Hi Captain Hits -

    I'll leave the explication of Masahiro geometry and its possible problems to someone who knows.  I know I've looked at pictures of those knives! (And seem them recommended with some frequency on other forums -- I don't even remember what they look like in pictures, though).

    On stones - I've got experience with a few things, and I'm no expert but I'm an ok parrot. That said: Ceramic is one way synthetic stones are made, yes. They tend to be splash-and-go stones, to my understanding, however. In addition to ceramic, there are clay bonding, resinoid bonding, magnesia.... there are other materials. 

    Lots of variables go into how a stone will feel and whether it's a "soaker" or a "splash and go" stone.  In my (limited) experience with splash-and-go stones, they should be soaked for a couple/few minutes, too.  It's not necessary, but they behave better.  Soaker stones generally take something like 30-45 minutes.  I've seen people recommend 15 minute soaks for some, but I haven't used one that didn't do better with longer than that. I don't know about the particular stones you're pointing out that say 15-minutes.

    Besides how its bound, the kind of abrasive and its density, the method of hardening (heat or chemical reaction) and if heated in a kiln at what temperature, whether there are other additives beyond the abrasive...  all are parts of what make a particular stone so.... particular.

    Different stones respond to pressure differently, and leave different finishes (cloudy or mirror-polished, f'rinstance) on particular kinds of steel, too.

    I think what you see recommended for beginners tend to be soakers, which can be soft enough to give good feedback (gouging is bad, mmm'kay?) but not so soft as to wear out and dish too easily.  Softer stones tend to work up more "mud" I believe (though harder stones might too with a nagura or some lapping with a diamond plate).

    Again, in my limited experience, I prefer a soaker to scrape metal against.  I like the convenience of the splash-and-go stones, and they dry out more readily for storage. But based on pricing and the haphazard way I originally purchased, I have a small mix of soakers and splash-and-go.  (Actually only my coarse stone is a real soaker; this will change as budget allows).

    Anyway, I'm being SUPER incomplete, maybe very marginally inaccurate.  I think these things really don't matter so much at this point in your thinking, it's just good to be aware.  There are several threads that recommend stones to beginners for freehand sharpening -- some very recent.  Let us know if you need links or pointers -- I'm typing on a tight schedule at the moment so won't just go looking just now.  But I have recently, and I know there are recommendations out there.  I'd find an explanation of BDL's way of thinking of "four stages" (vs. "three stones") of sharpening.  You can get a set or you can build it piecemeal.  The first stone you'll be using is something in the 1,000 - 2,000 grit range because that cuts fast enough that you can see what effect you're having but not so fast as to make metal disappear on your knife faster than your learning to hold a steady angle will be good for.

    You need something to flatten stones and you might want something to de-burr.  There are posts here, and there's Chad Ward's e-gullet site which has a chapter from his book, which explain raising and chasing a burr and deburring.  (Personally I haven't invested in strops and such yet; I might strop on newspaper, but my main deburring device is a wine cork, or a Chimay ale cork, after chasing burrs fairly tenaciously across stones).

    Hope this is a start.  You've got the knack for reviving threads! (I have no expertise or even adopted prejudices to help with the fillet knife question you asked in another bit of necromantic thread wizardry; sorry... I just noticed you asking for help. I haven't cooked fish in a decade).

    And the shortest answer is: get yourself a Beston 1200 water stone if you don't absolutely need to have a splash-and-go, and decide on a stone-flattening method.  (That's WAY too short an answer... especially if you can deal with getting a set to start with, or if you can afford something still more highfalutin'.  OR... if you're ok with something cheaper just to get started because getting started is the name of the game.  Before I complexify more, let's see what you're thinking; or let me let someone else point you to more of the "usual suspects".  But a quick perusal of recent threads will give lots of info on particular stone recommendations as well as how to think about a "system").
     
    Last edited: Oct 5, 2011
  2. boar_d_laze

    boar_d_laze

    Messages:
    8,550
    Likes Received:
    206
    Exp:
    Cook At Home
    I don't like different angles on different sides.  It's a gimmick which does nothing positive (I'm not actually sure if Masahiro still does that).  I'm also not a fan of the 80/20 (4:1) asymmetry which is too steep to steel; too steep for durability, given the knife's medium hardness; but not sufficiently asymmetric to really make a difference in perceived sharpness compared to a more moderate, more easily maintained 2:1. 

    The spine's edges should have been better eased -- an F&F issue.

    The edge geometry is easily improved.  Similarly, easing the spine isn't difficult.  Otherwise, excellent handle, good F&F for the price, good alloy (very similar to VG-1), mediocre profile.  I don't think it's one of the standouts in the price range in the same way the MAC Pro or the Masamoto VG (both VG-1), or even the Sakai Takayuki Grand Cheff (AEB-L).  We can go into my reasons if you like.

    Bottom line:  It's a solid player in a very tough league.  If you can sharpen, I wouldn't say "stay away."

    Choseras are excellent but very expensive.  Waaaaaaaaaaaaay too expensive, in my opinion.

    I used to think Naniwa SS were great beginner's stones, because of their feedback, but have re-evaluated; they're very soft, easy to gouge, and a bit of a nightmare to maintain.  On the other hand, you can buy the thin, 10mm stones at a very advantageous price, they are fast, easy to flatten, and do provide excellent feedback.  Unless you're on a very tight budget, Kings are stones of the past.

    I don't know the Minos bench stones very well, but think they're pretty expensive unless they're really special.  Masahiros are re-branded, marked-up, and not worth their money.

    At a fairly reasonable price, the standout ~1000 is the Bester 1200, and the standout at ~6000 is the Takenoko.  I also like the Suehiro Rika 5000 quite a bit, especially for newer sharpeners and also as a lead in to an 8000 polishing stone (if you're interested in that much polish).  It's faster than the Takenoko and has better feedback, but doesn't polish nearly as well; in use it's really more 3000 than a 5000, but 3000 ain't bad at all for a chef's knife.  CKTG sells a three stone kit including the Beston 400, Bester 1200 and Suehiro Rika for $130ish.  Sweet deal.

    BDL
     
    Last edited: Oct 6, 2011
  3. captainhits

    captainhits

    Messages:
    10
    Likes Received:
    10
    Exp:
    At home cook
    Great info gentlemen. Funny, I found a thread from this forum in a goole search http://www.cheftalk.com/t/13110/sharpening-japanese-knives   and they say that ceramic will eat up the thinner japanese edges too quickly and the "soakers" are the way to go. I was looking at the Bester but I read it's a ceramic; I may be incorrect but I'm leaning toward the clay based soakers due to them being more forgiving while I learn (so as not to screw up the knife) Any suggestions in a clay based (like the Chosera but maybe a bit less expensive)? For finishing I think I will go with the Takenoko/Arashiyama. Can I go from a 1200 directly to the '6000/8000' Takenoko Arashiyama?

    BTW what do you think of these Masahiro's http://japanesechefsknife.com/WhetStonesForSale.html   for about $30?
     
    Last edited: Oct 6, 2011
  4. wagstaff

    wagstaff

    Messages:
    343
    Likes Received:
    19
    Exp:
    At home cook
    On that first thread you linked, it seems the distinction they're making is between "ceramic stones" vs. "water stones".  So I'm not sure what they're up to, since ceramic stones can be water stones.  I think it's a vocabulary issue. Anway, splash-and-go stones are used on super thin Japanese knives all the time, there's not a rule that says they cut too fast. They may cut faster or slower than a soaker, stone-to-stone.  But you're looking at soakers for other very good reasons anyway.

    1,200 to 8,000 *sounds* like a big jump to me, but I'm not familiar with the Takenoko. Particular stones may be ok with bigger jumps.  [You didn't ask, but: my current highest-grit stone is a 5,000 which I'm told is more "like a 5,000 - 6,000".  I'll grab an 8,000 eventually, but I'm not sure I can even use the polish so much as am just curious/desirous, and at this point I'm not sure I'm consistently steady enough to make very good use of it. Hopefully I'll practice some this weekend and maybe learn something.
     
    Last edited: Oct 6, 2011
  5. boar_d_laze

    boar_d_laze

    Messages:
    8,550
    Likes Received:
    206
    Exp:
    Cook At Home
    Don't get hung up on "ceramic" v. "water stones."  Either Anneke didn't know what she was talking about, or expressed herself incorrectly.  Most synthetic water stones are one type of ceramic or another. The distinction is meaningless.  If you make anything out of it at all, that's way too much.

    A Bester 1200 isn't perfect, but the problems are that it's hard and takes a long soak to get ready -- which aren't much in the way of problems.  Otherwise, it's very fast -- so fast that it can do small repairs -- and cuts very fine. It will give most 2000s a run for their money.  It won't hurt your knife, honest.  I use a Bester 1200 in my water stone kit as the first true sharpening stone, and am very happy with it.  There's some competition, but the other stones are either very expensive or difficult to get in the US.

    The Takenoko is actually and in fact 6000.  It is not 8000. Some retailers advertise it as 8,000 because it polishes so well, but it's actually 6000, and no mistake.  It's an extremely fast 6000, but still leaves as fine a polish as most of the old 8000s like King and Norton.  It's an excellent stone. 

    The Arashiyama is the same, exact stone as the Takenoko only wider. 

    The jump from Bester 1200 to Takenoko 6000 is large but not too large; it's a well proven combination.  If you want a Takenoko finish, you don't really need an intermediate stone.  To give it some context, 5:1 is a very common combi-stone jump from one side to another.  Nothing to be afraid of, especially considering how the 1200's fine scratch and the Takenoko's speed.  

    If you want to go finer than a Takenoko, you probably do want something between your 1200 and whatever your polishing stone will be.  I use a Chosera 3000 in front of my (soon to be replaced) Naniwa SS 8000, but got the Chosera at a huge discount.  If paying real prices, I'd buy a Suehiro Rika.

    Stone choices at JCK are just OK, and their prices are not the best.  CKtG does much, much better.   There are some other retailers to look at if you want specific stones, but it's hard to beat CKtG for competitively priced enthusiasts' favorites. 

    BDL
     
  6. captainhits

    captainhits

    Messages:
    10
    Likes Received:
    10
    Exp:
    At home cook
    Thanks. Would a softer stone be more forgiving in terms of cutting speed to accomodate a learning curve and possible improper technique? If so what are some recommendations in a slightly softer 1200?

    Although I'm not looking to splurge on a $300 natural stone I'm a perfectionist and if I don't get the right stones/ grit jumps to start I will end up getting them. Id like to avoid buying something that I will not be totally satisfied with.

    BTW if I decided to add a third stone for the mirror finish would I add a 3000 or so between the 1200 and 6000? Or would I want something like 1200 - 3000 -8000?
     
    Last edited: Oct 8, 2011
  7. phaedrus

    phaedrus

    Messages:
    1,600
    Likes Received:
    153
    Exp:
    Professional Chef
    Soft stones are "velvety" and feel great, but they're easy to gouge.  Some would say that teaches you technique in the "harden the F*CK UP!" school of thought.  I dunno, it's horses for coarses.  It's like recommending a Chinese meal to someone who's never tasted Chinese food before.  Hard to know what you'll like, quality aside.
     
  8. captainhits

    captainhits

    Messages:
    10
    Likes Received:
    10
    Exp:
    At home cook
    Ok I cant be satisfied without the best; or as close as I can come. I have good knives now and I have no plans to stop cutting food so I'm assuming I will have these for the rest of my life. I've decided on the chosera 1000 and the arashiyama 6000. With the seemingly iconic status and  flawless reputation of the chosera on every level, for the extra $35 over the Bester I just can't see passing it up. Thanks a million for your suggestions.

    BTW, would you suggest the 1000 or 2000 chosera as my medium (to go with the 6000 arashiyama)? Masahiro MVH knives that will be used lightly.
     
    Last edited: Oct 8, 2011
  9. wagstaff

    wagstaff

    Messages:
    343
    Likes Received:
    19
    Exp:
    At home cook
    Look into the Gesshin 2000 too.  Phaedrus is right about "it's like Chinese food"... without the chance of trying various stones it's going to be tough.  But you've moved from budget considerations to "best of the best" considerations, and I think the Gesshin 2000 (and the 4000 ... and eventually 8000 for polish and the 400 for coarse) should be considered.

    The 2000 cuts fast, no worries about that in place of the 1200 Bester.  (And I don't have all of these because of budgetary considerations, but I've used them.  The 1000 and 5000 are great splash-and-go stones; the others soakers.  Perhaps better, definitely more spendy.
     
  10. boar_d_laze

    boar_d_laze

    Messages:
    8,550
    Likes Received:
    206
    Exp:
    Cook At Home
    $80 for your ~1,000 stone is way too much.  Unless you're a hobbyist sharpener and/or knife collector, you just won't get the difference.  The Chosera is a more convenient stone than the Bester or Sigma Power but no better. 

    The Gesshin is a different beast, and unless pulling that first wire quickly is not a high priority, not a great choice to occupy the "first sharpening stone" niche.  By and large if you want to make a fast 2000 cut anywhere near as fast as a fast 1000, you need to (a) apply a lot of pressure, and (b) understand "mud" and how its breakdown effects speed and polish.  I've seen this scenario play out with other "flavor of the month" 2000s, and I think it's a good idea to start a little more standard.

    If you're going to stop polishing at the medium/fine border -- it's hard to beat the Takenoko.  Your ultimate kit might be:  Beston 400, Bester 1200, Takenoko 6000. 

    If you're just looking for an efficient, "fine enough" edge -- you can stop at the Suehiro Rika (a really easy to use, versatile, stone).  Your kit would be:  400, 1200, Suehiro Rika 5000.  CKtG sells this kit, Beston, Bester, Suehrio, for $135; and that's a really good way to go.

    If you want to polish higher, say to 8000 or 10000, it goes faster and easier to have an intermediate between the ~1000 and the final stone.  My kit is Beston 400, Bester 1200, Chosera 3000, and Naniwa SS 8000. 

    I use but don't recommend the Chosera 3000, and you can take that as a judgment on Choseras in general.  They're very good, but don't do a better job than stones which cost less.  I don't want to minimize their excellence, but think they're sort of a trap for people who want and are willing to pay for "the best."  There is no best.  If the extra $35 buys you some peace of minde, it's worth it; but it won't buy you a better stone.

    When we talk about very soft stones, we're often talking about Naniwa SS.  I've owned and used all of them at one time or another, and like them quite a bit.  I used to recommend them as great beginner's stones because of their excellent feedback and bargain basement price for the 10mm versions.  But have re-evaluated because part of the feedback includes a tendency to gouge with angle wobbling; they require very careful drying out, and micro-fracture anyway, which means flattening EVERY time.   If you play golf, you might think "game improvement", offset hosel, cavity-backs vs blades -- for beginners.

    There are other soft stones with excellent feedback which aren't as cranky as the SS.  Kings, Nortons, and Suehiros for instance.  A few of the Suehiros are very good, but the time for Nortons and Kings, for all their feedback has passed.  With a few exceptions, stones in this class are comparatively both too slow, and cut too coarse.    

    Getting back to the Beston/Bester stones -- they're chief drawback is inconvenience.  If you notice your knife is dull in the middle of prep, you can't simply pull out your Bester, then splash and go.  They take at least 30 minutes of soak time, and two hours is better.  A lot of people leave theirs in the bucket overnight and sharpen early.  People who do a lot of sharpening often leave them in the bucket full time.  (You can't do that with most stones, btw.)  But the need to sharpen is predictable, I don't regard that as much of a problem.  True, they are both "hard," and without being unpleasant aren't quite as pleasant to use as some other stones; but again -- that's not much of a drawback.   

    Maybe we should get back to basics before warming up the credit card.

    How do you sharpen? Do you use the "burr method"  (pull the burr; chase the burr; deburr if necessary; and repeat for each stone)?  Count strokes?  Something else?

    How do you deburr?

    Do you use a steel?  How often?  How fine?

    Do you think you'll ultimately want a four stone kit (fine polish), or a three stone kit (working finish)? 

    Do you have a lot of special purpose knives?  For instance, butchering knives?  Do you do a lot of meat work?  Fish work?

    BDL
     
    Last edited: Oct 8, 2011
  11. wagstaff

    wagstaff

    Messages:
    343
    Likes Received:
    19
    Exp:
    At home cook
    I think the Gesshin 2000 is about as fast as the Bester 1200, apart from in general. At least on the Yoshihiro stainless it is -- which takes a lot longer to pull a wire than on my carbons. Have you used it, BDL? It's not nearly as fast as the 400, obviously, but it's really not a "take forever" stone.

    That said, rather the reverse of your take on the Choseras... I don't have one.  It wasn't an immediate need and they're not cheap.

    And your recommendation of the Bester 1200 is probably better, yes.  But when someone starts talking about wanting the "best" and not wanting to save so much, it should be considered (obviously "IMO" and so on, and the "my" in question is not the most experienced across a wider variety of stones or just time sharpening. But sometimes beginners can give helpful opinions to other beginners after early experiences).
     
    Last edited: Oct 8, 2011
  12. boar_d_laze

    boar_d_laze

    Messages:
    8,550
    Likes Received:
    206
    Exp:
    Cook At Home
    Gesshin 2000, Chosera 1000, Bester 1200 -- we have to guard against our male tendency to pick flyspecks out of pepper.  That's why, in a class of very goods, I gravitate towards the cheapest.

    Gesshin 2000 yes.  Tried it, liked it a lot.  Not as fast as the Bester 1200, at least not in my hands; and think the Bester is the better stone for the slot in most kits. 

    Technique probably has at least as much to do with it as the steel.  That said, our techniques probably aren't that different.  KC got me to use more speed and pressure, and Jon's (still) heavily influenced by KC as well.

    For the little it's worth, I'm backsliding towards less speed (still comparatively fast, used to be medium) and pressure (from firm to moderate, used to be light), but don't know where the process will end.  Broida's also doing a lot of evolution, probably more than me. 

    FWIW, both of those guys like to dissolve the burr on the stone, but take a more definite approach.  That's got a lot do whether most of your knives are sharpened on one side or both.  To me, deburring is the ultimate act of sharpening and polishing is something else. 

    Over the years, I've found that those things don't matter much as long as you're consistent with "tests," can interpret their results, and know how to act on them.  A fresh-metal, true, non-wire, sharp edge is a fresh-metal, sharp, true, non-wire, sharp edge.  Doesn't matter how you get there.

    Jon says he has something to replace the SS 8000 in my kit.  KC actually bought it new, and sold it to me when it was about half used up and he was bored.  KC doesn't take great care of his stones, and with my use and maintenance has reached the stage where it's very iffy -- thin and crumbly (from KC's over-soaking).  Jon's stone could be the Gesshin or something not up on the JKI page.  I'll buy whatever it is, but don't get to the west side much anymore, so haven't picked it up yet.   

    I've now got four different types of sharpening kits; oil stone, water stone, EP (Chosera) and strop.  Well, three and a half, allowing for the fact that my strop compounds start at 2u and go finer.  Or, you could say 3-1/2 + 1/2 if you count the two different rod hones.  Silly, neh?

    BDL
     
  13. wagstaff

    wagstaff

    Messages:
    343
    Likes Received:
    19
    Exp:
    At home cook
    I agree there's no "the best".  Those stones just happen to be to Jon Broida's particular tastes for synthetic stones.  I don't have enough experience to either buy in or distinguish my own personal tastes.  But they're among the cost-no-issue "bests" I would think, and... well, until I learn to know different, like most of us I usually adopt prejudices from teachers. (And indirectly, BDL, you "sent" me to Jon -- writing to someone else, you recommended "find someone who knows what 'sharp' is and learn from them").

    We (Jon and I) measured my own pressure -- somewhere between 3-4 lbs of pressure is "light" -- way lighter than was instinctive for me -- but much more than that, and for me a whole lot of wobble was introduced.  I have a bit of nerve damage where my left hand, which is the pressure hand, is slightly wobbly anyway. Fortunately the "job" of my right hand is to hold the angle even, and my right hand is less affected.

    Anyway, Broida's encouragement was toward lighter pressure and less speed, at least for me.  Less than his probably, or less ability to know when and why to bear down, certainly.  So my lighter pressure might have little to do with what he's doing at any given time.  I wish I had  him get more articulate about "dissolving the burr" -- because yeah, I think that's the right way to put it, though he didn't use that phrase; he does de-burr on cork, but not between stones.  And showed me stropping on newspaper, said he'd be happy to show me on "real strops" but he thinks too often stropping is used -- by beginners -- as a cover-up for doing an inadequate job on the stones. And I haven't invested in any HandAmerican products.  Jon's not a big fan of steeling, either; but then, he's generally using enough asymmetry and hard steels. All real interesting.

    I didn't buy the Gesshin 2000, but I want it.  I thought it "felt better" and gave more feedback, both auditory and tactile, for my angle-holding.  Then again, I'm still very attached to the magic marker trick and checking super frequently. And will probably sooner get the Bester, myself, because I don't "need' the more expensive item.  And my finishing stone is a Gesshin.  (Eventually I'll probably end on the 8000 anyway, so that finish will be that finish.  Not now).

    Which brings to mind... could you (BDL in particular, but anyone) give some disquisition on levels of polish vs. toothiness as being more appropriate to what?  I know it depends what you want to cut, and have seen recent talk on lower levels for pork (?) I think on Fred's; some mention that kc is stopping at 1,000 for sharpening on the job -- though I don't know if that's true, I didn't see him write it.  And we talk about higher levels.  Jon thought I'd never have ANY reason to go above the 8000, and probably would be happy stopping short of that anyway if I wanted.

    I'm trying to sort out reasons for doing things.  I've met some guys who polish stupid-high, on stones meant for straight razors, and heard Jon make fun of them to their faces.  And they were ribbing themselves about it.  I take it that's just hobbyist obsession; I'm trying to decide whether something like 8000 is approaching that, in a practical sense, too.
     
    Last edited: Oct 8, 2011
  14. captainhits

    captainhits

    Messages:
    10
    Likes Received:
    10
    Exp:
    At home cook
    Oh boy now you're exposing my true novice. I have to be forthright and say that my current knive set and the best I've owned is chicago cutlery. (I'm going to use them to practice on) The Masahiros are on their way. I have used stones as a young kid prob 14 years old to sharpen pocket knives but nothing since. I do have a very steady hand though, aquire technique quickly, and am adept in doing things with precision. I'm using the videos at CKTG as a learning guide and to try and keep up with all your terminology. 

    So to answer your questions, I will be using the burr method, counting strokes (I believe thats the method CKTG shows and you all prefer).

    To debur I was going to buy a felt cube from CKTG with my stones.

    My steel is a MAC black ceramic honing rod SRB-84. I read a couple of your posts about rods. They say this is a 2000 grit. It's very handsome and looks and feels way nicer than the pictures.

    I believe I will ultimately want a 3 stone kit, but a 3 stone fine polish like 1000-2000, 6000, 8000 (starting with the 1-2 and 6. Would that be reasonable?)

    The MVH knives I have coming are basics: 8" chef, 5" utility, 3.5" pairing.

    Considering I only want to make this purchase once (save for adding an 8000+) I don't mind spending $80 on a medium grit because I'm the type of person who can appreciate the super small details that most people would never even notice. With that said if you think the chosera 1000 or 2000 (not sure which one would suit my needs better) would have that slight edge in terms of 'luxury sharpening' with superb feedback than I like the idea of the medium chosera with the 6000 takenoko. Of course your expert opinion will weigh on my decision. ;) 
     
  15. wagstaff

    wagstaff

    Messages:
    343
    Likes Received:
    19
    Exp:
    At home cook
    so for you the Gesshin is just silly -- it's a $130 stone!  I'll leave to BDL to point you between the Chosera and others given your latest input, but if I were a betting man, I'd bet what h recommends is still the Bester 1200.  And without your having developed very particular tastes yet to point in another direction, I would think there's no point in spending more.  (I haven't used the Choseras at all, so am leaving that alone -- it's just the thread so far I think has already answered that question!)
     
    Last edited: Oct 9, 2011
  16. boar_d_laze

    boar_d_laze

    Messages:
    8,550
    Likes Received:
    206
    Exp:
    Cook At Home
    Yes.  I recommend the Bester over the Chosera.  Price aside, "net-net," I think they're about equal, with the Chosera friendlier, but the Bester a bit more high performance.  But if price is any kind of factor at all, there's no contest.  No matter how much money I have, I can't see spending $215 on a three stone kit that won't work any better than one costing $135. 

    If you're buying peace of mind by buying the Chosera -- it's probably worth it.  But there's nothing enough better about the stone to make it worth the extra dough other than its enormous popularity last year.

    If you're eventual target grit range is 8000 - 10000, the Suehiro Rika will serve you better as an intermediate stone than the Takenoko.  There are some major nuances when it comes to fine polishing, but this thread isn't the right place for it.  

    Captain, when you say you can sharpen I believe you.  But I also know that if most of your experience has come from sharpening modern Chicago Cutlery you've got some surprises in store. 

    Also, the "burr method" is not the same as the "counting strokes" method.  You can absolutely trust me on this since they're not common usage names, but mine.   The burr method has you feeling and looking for the burr; while counting strokes asks you to enough repetition to make sure you've done enough.  The first requires understanding, but will make you a better sharpener, faster.  The second is more "paint by the numbers," and is limited; you may do everything right and still not end up with a very sharp knife.

    A MAC hone is fine. 

    Why an 8" chef's?  Why not a 10"?

    BDL
     
  17. captainhits

    captainhits

    Messages:
    10
    Likes Received:
    10
    Exp:
    At home cook
    The 8" is just what Ive been using and I wasn't aware of any info that recommended a 10 vs 8. Do you? I don't do alot of cooking that requires a chefs knife (maybe once a week).

    I really don''t have any experience sharpening to speak of. Like I say the last time was probably 20 years ago on pocket knives. I haven't even practiced on the chicago except fot the honing steel. I just have good precision skills so I think I should be able to pick it up. But so I don't screw up my Masahiros trying to sharpen for the first time I was going to use the chicago's to try and get a bit of technique down.

    So your saying the only stone you'd consider in the medium range is the chosera? (I kid ;). I'm debating between bester but at least I have it narrowed down to 2.

    I was reading about the Suehiro and the impression im getting is that with the 5k Suehiro I am going to want an 8-10k afterwards because it leaves a finish more like a 3k stone. However if I go with the Takenoko I could stop there and be satisfied, or I could go onto an 8-10k if I wanted to.

    BTW with the light use that I will be giving them do you think I'd be safe to start with a 2000 instead of a 1000?  (ie 2000 - 6000)
     
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2011
  18. capsaicin

    capsaicin

    Messages:
    178
    Likes Received:
    13
    Exp:
    Home Cook
    Personally I would not bother with the Choseras.  Just not worth the money unless you are so rich that $200 one way or the other really doesn't make any difference whatsoever in your life.

    The Naniwa synthetic Aoto is a very good and reasonable 2K+ stone (the grit is effectively higher if you spend some time on it).  It is roughly the same price as most other 2K-3K stones, but is twice as thick, making it an exceptional value.

    The Takenoko is a very good stone that works very well and is very easy to learn on.  However, the Naniwa synthetic aoto (affectionately known as the "green brick" by those familiar with it) is reputed to leave a ~4K+-like edge if you spend a lot of time on it, so the 6K Takenoko that finishes at about 7K or so might be too close an upgrade if you go that route.

    My personal recommendation for a budget conscious but still very high performance set would be:

    1. Bester 1200

    2. Naniwa synthetic aoto

    3. Imanishi 10K white stone.

    This set should get you a wicked edge.  For most knives you can stop at the green brick and already have a shaving edge.  For premium knives, the Imanishi 10K will leave a highly polished edge that will slip through things you might not even have intended to cut.

    You might also add a coarser stone for repairs or initial rebeveling.  For this you might consider a $12 "Peacock" brand stone flattener from Korin.  Don't be fooled by what they sell it as -- it's really just a 120 grit stone.  It even comes with instructions on how to sharpen knives on the box.  The advantage here is of course that the rebeveling stone doubles as a flattener for the other stones.  At a measly $12, you might as well buy two, because if you use it to repair and rebevel, you'll have to flatten the Peacock stone itself eventually as well.

    A step up would be the DMT extra-extra coarse diamond plate, which would also double as a stone flattener.  But this thing would run you somewhere between $70-$90.  Good news is that there would be no need to ever flatten a DMT place.
     
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2011
  19. wagstaff

    wagstaff

    Messages:
    343
    Likes Received:
    19
    Exp:
    At home cook
    you might be very satisfied with a 3k finish -- especially for a while.  But again, reading back through the course of this discussion, I think BDL had recommended the Takenoko (which is a "true" 6000) both as befits his own preference for a finishing stone and so you don't have to buy yet another. You'll want to get good with the 1200 for a while before you're really looking higher grit anyway.
     
  20. capsaicin

    capsaicin

    Messages:
    178
    Likes Received:
    13
    Exp:
    Home Cook
    btw if Jon Broida thinks it's dumb to polish knives above 8K, why does he sell a 15K stone (and have demo videos of it online)?

    I do agree most knives do not benefit much from polishing even above 3-4K.  But the very best knives can be polished all the way up to whatever you want to.  I don't see why anyone would because functionally it makes no difference in their food, but in my opinion, if someone wants to spend thousands or even tens of thousands of dollars on natural Japanese stones, bidding against sword makers, just to use it on a kitchen knife that they use at home (the case is easier to make for, say, a famous sushi chef), it's not really anyone else's business.