Stones...taking a step away from EP

Discussion in 'Cooking Knife Reviews' started by xofood, Aug 16, 2012.

  1. xofood


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    At home cook
    As I become more obsessed with sharp and all things with edges I feel like I want to return to freehand sharpening. I have a chosera EP apex kit but I am missing something. I feel disconnected from sharpening and there is something about 'processes' that I like that I don't get from the EP. It is a visceral quality, almost primal.

    I don't own any stones except for the EP choseras. I used to use abrasive paper. I do have a XXC for flattening though.  I wanted to start small and work up. I also want to keep it simple and ease into it as I return to freehand sharpening as in less soak time and more splash and go. I know the Bester 1200k and Rika 5k are the recommended starter 2 stone set but the Bester requires a long soak to get the most out of it. I was looking at the Shapton pro 1k or 1.5k as an alternate but not sure which or if this is a good place to start. I think the Rika does not require a long soak. Was also looking at the Naniwa Aotoshi 2k (green brick of joy). I do have the Edge Pro Idahone 'steel' as well. I've also made my own leather stropping block that I load with green paste (mu I don't remember) from CKTG.

    My current knives are a hodgepodge. Tojiro DP gyuto (VG), Tojiro Honesuki (which I rarely if ever use), Forschner Fibrox, Henkels from the early 80's, girlfriend Messer, 6' lamson (80's), forschner parings. I plan to add a Konosuke HH when they become available again and maybe a petty in place of the honesuki. Steel wise I will be all over the map but so far no carbons now or on the horizon though I would consider semi. 

    Budget wise I am flexible but you can guess from the stones I referenced that I'm sort of price conscious. I know the Chosera 1k is splash and go but almost 90$. I don't know if it is worth it for a returning novice freehander with no equipment.

    Did I miss anything??? Yeah, the question. Am I on target with the stones I mentioned or what else should I consider? Also, I am not a pro chef but maybe that is obvious.

    Last edited: Aug 16, 2012
  2. bensharp-uk


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    At home cook
    Have you looked at the Naniwa Superstones? A little cheaper than the Chosera
  3. boar_d_laze


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    Cook At Home
    Shapton Pros:
    • Give weird feedback, so they aren't very helpful for new sharpeners;
    • Have flattening issues;
    • Are expensive;
    • Are picky in terms of which alloys they do well.  Oddly, not all Pros are appropriate for all kinds of steels and hardnesses, so you have to choose your stones appropriately. 
    Shapton Glass Stones are probably better for you.  I had a set of Pros, and liked them a lot more than the GS which I tried and did not buy because I felt they were more shine than sharp.  On the other hand, they're very consistent and most people like them quite a bit.  If you want to go Shapton, in your case the GS are probably a better pick. 

    Ben recommended the Naniwa Super Stones.  Compare to Choseras, SS are:
    • Better priced,
    • Similarly almost splash and go (10 minute soak works best);

    • Almost as fast;

    • Feel even better; 
    • Very soft.  So soft, that the higher grits gouge easily and represent something of a challenge for people who don't hold angles well; and
    • Wear fairly quickly and need frequent flattening.  Easing the edges and corners by beveling is a must every time you flatten or the stones will crumble. 
    I prefer SS to the Choseras at every grit 3K or lower; think the 5K Chosera is better -- but not for the price; and wouldn't get another 8K or finer because the SS high grits are just too frikkin' soft. 

    Unless you sharpen very frequently, the Nonpareil and Naniwa aotos are too slow for you to use as the coarsest sharpening (as opposed to profile/repair) stone in your set.  If you want a fast 2K, consider the Gesshin.  It's hugely expensive but so ridiculously good that it's worth the ridiculous money.  Worth it, at least, if you're going to continue to use it. 

    If you want to dip a toe in the waters of bench stones without spending too much money, you might consider buying a couple of 10mm Naniwa SS on the plastic bases.  They're high quality, relatively inexpensive and you can get at least a couple of years out of them.  

    Water stones are great, but you don't really need them for your Euro knives -- which seem to make up the bulk of your set.  My experience is that Arkansas stones are the best finishers, leaving a very sharp and longer lasting edge.

    By way of some perspective of where I'm coming from, my current water stone set is: 
    • Beston 500;
    • Bester 1200;
    • Chosera 3000 (a good 5K would have worked as well as a step to the 8K as the 3K, but the Chosera came to me at too god a price to to pass up);  and
    • Gesshin 8K (unbelievably good stone). 
    While my current oil stone set is:
    • Nortion Coarse India;
    • Norton Fine India;
    • Hall's Soft Arkansas; and
    • Hall's Surgical Black Arkansas. 
    I also have a bunch of loaded strops and an EP Apex with the Chosera kit (like yours). 

    If you don't mind throwing a LOT of money at a set of water stones you'll use something like six times a year, my recommendation would be to go all Gesshin, with a 400, 2K and 8K on the water stones, along with a set of oil stones very similar to mine.  The most bang for the buck would be the Beston 500, Bester 1200, Suehiro Rika kit that CKtG sells. 

    Overall, I think your best bet is are the 10mm, mounted Naniwa SS 400,1K, and 5K from Sharpening Supplies.   


    PS.  If you're going to keep using a loaded strop I suggest switching away from green compound (chromium dioxide) to diamond or CBN compounds are slurries.  A final word to the wise, Ken's sprays are waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay too expensive.  A life time supply of slurry from USP will cost you what you'd pay for an itty bitty bottle of Ken's.   
    Last edited: Oct 9, 2012