I have sharpened four blades so far, and I must say that I'm generally very pleased with the results (though I certainly do take much longer than I'd like). I was able to get my Wusthoff Chef and Paring knives to cut a hanging piece of paper, and they both feel significantly sharper than when I took them out of the box for the first time. They aren't perfect - though the paper cuts smoothly, I can look at the edges and see a bit of roughness. But, I think I'm heading the right direction. Now I have two new Japanese knives, a Hiromoto petty made out of NS-10 steel, and a Fujitake gyuto made out of VG-10. Both are FAR above and beyond what I'm used to in terms of initial sharpness and lively "feel" (perhaps after a few more months using them, I'll be able to describe what I mean a little more clearly). Both of my new knives are sharpened with a double bevel, but the Fujitake is asymetrical, something like 30% left, 70% right (for a right hander - I'm not sure I'm describing this correctly). The instruction sheet which Hida Tool gave me with both knives recommends against using a honing steel with Japanese knives, but I gather from other threads that this is not necessarily true for Japanese made knives with Western beveled blades. Does this mean I ought to be using a honing steel with the same sort of regularity I would use it on my Wusthoffs, or should I instead do a couple of very light passes on my finest grit waterstone (currently a 6000)? If this is the answer, how often should I be doing this? And should I be using an even finer stone? Would the technique be similar to a regular sharpening stroke, or will I be doing something different? If a honing steel is still appropriate, I would love some suggestions about which to get. I currently have a Shun steel (which I an less and less fond of as I learn more and more) with grooves down the length of the steel - I am beginning to understand that this steel is designed to approximate a coarse abrasive, and this is probably the exact sort of steel that Hida is telling me to avoid. I've been into Sur La Table and Williams-Sonoma, but I can't seen to find any smooth steels. I'm planning on heading into a local restaurant supply store to look for a cutting board (12" x 16" has been bothering me forever), and would love to know what else I can keep my eye out for. Thanks again to all of the forum contributors - your collective input has been a real help to me thus far!