Splash and go stones: Gesshin vs Shapton Glass vs Shapton Pro vs Naniwa Professional?

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Joined Jun 27, 2020
I'm buying my first whetstones and decided to keep things simple and get splash and go. I'll be realistic and just admit I don't have a lot of patience to wait for stones to soak or dry, and don't have a lot of space to lay out soaking equipment. I want to get just a roughly 1000 and a fine grit stone and be done (and maybe a coarse stone to round out). I anticipate having 1-2 good Western and 1-2 good Japanese knives plus a couple of utility knives in each (I'm sure these are famous last words on this forum).

I don't do heavy duty chopping but I don't mind spending a little on a couple of good stones right away instead of starting on a beginner stone then upgrading. I appreciate the artisanship in the knives and stones so would love to have a few good ones, not necessarily a collection. Researching is confusing as it's easy to find posts about people liking a certain stone, but not posts explaining why exactly and how one stone compares to another.

I was thinking of:

- Gesshin 1500 and 6000 - supposed to be the higher end recommendation with good feedback, available only from Japanese Knife Imports (and I'm not in the USA)

- Shapton Glass 1000 and 6000 - sharpen fast and people say these work even on harder steels, only con is that they have a shorter lifespan (not relevant to me as I don't plan on sharpening 10 knives a month)

- Shapton Pro 1000 and 5000 - also good, thicker than the glass and might last a bit longer?

- Naniwa Professional 1000 and 3000 - also good but understand they are not true splash and go and need to soak a little, plus there are reported issues with cracking

Any advice on how to choose? Also, would it make sense to get a 2000 instead of a 1000 stone, or get 1000 / 3000 / 5000 or 6000 instead of just 1000 / 5000 or 6000?
 
2,952
800
Joined Jul 13, 2012
1k and a 4k, or 6k should do you just fine. The nice thing about the Shapton glass stones is the quick dry time. I use them for touch up work have other stones for heavy duty sharpening. As for Naniwa Pro stones my 3k is splash and go. If it soaks it gets gummy feeling and doesn't cut for crap. It doesn't hurt to have some perma-soakers on hand either. I have a green brick, a Bester and a Gesshin 400 that live in water.
 
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