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Thread: Sharpening stones ... What grits?

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    Bushwacked Anonymous Supporter copenhagen69's Avatar
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    Default Sharpening stones ... What grits?

    If you can only afford 2-3 stones ... Which grits would you get?

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    In for the responses. Looking to pick up a couple stones as funds allow.

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    I'd opt for an 8" course Dia-Sharp Diamond Stone, Shapton 1000 and a Shapton 6000 (maybe 8000) water stone. The course stone will repair an edge or change the angle of a bevel quickly if needed, but mostly I use it to keep my water stones flat.
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    How much money do you want to spend and what are you sharpening?

    There is a forum member here who sells stones. I have all sorts but the cheap King combo stones, like 800/4000 are super handy, produce a great mirror polish edge and can be found around $40.

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    Not sure what your budget is or how serious of stones you need, but I prefer a couple different (grit textures) Norton Combination Stones for everything from reshaping an edge, use touch-up sharpening, or putting & keeping a perfect hand-honed convex on my ESEE knives.
    Norton Stones are not huge money; and if you watch eBay periodically, there are usually some commercial kitchen vendors with some really good deals.
    I bought a small combo stone for my son in the Marines - and paid a mere $14 shipped !!

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    Hey brother so I remembered about a Ray Mears video on sharpening knives that I had watched a year or so ago. He uses 800, 1200, 6000.
    Here is the video.

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    220 , 600 and 1000. followed by a strop.

    Been through dozens of stones , and that would be my choice. 220 for repair/re-profiling , 600 to get a good edge , 1000 to refine that edge , and a strop to polish/remove burr.

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    Quote Originally Posted by SimplyMichael View Post
    There is a forum member here who sells stones. I have all sorts but the cheap King combo stones, like 800/4000 are super handy, produce a great mirror polish edge and can be found around $40.
    Yep that's me, currently we have Kings, Naniwas, and Shaptons in our shop. The higher end of all but we can get anything anybody asks for really.

    On the original question I have 200, 400, 800, 1200, 3000, 6000, and 12000 but I probably have a few too many lol. I actually really like the 200/800 combo field use stone I have for getting dings and things out. For a home set on a budget I personally think about 800, 1200 or 2000, 6000 would be a good way to go like Mears says. If you can afford it you could add a fourth to it of a 10000 or 12000 but those aren't cheap. The 12000 I have personally is about $100 shipped from us and we have I think some of the best prices out there.
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    I have taught sharpening classes in the past, and what I usually recommend is that people start out with a 1k and 6k waterstone. specifically, I like the red brick 1k from Imanishi http://www.chefknivestogo.com/shak1gr1.html, or the king 1000 http://www.cellison.net/other/water-...luxe-1000.html, and the big 6k from king http://www.cellison.net/other/water-...-s-1-6000.html, and you will really need a system to flatten it, the easiest imo is a coarse or extra coarse diamond stone http://www.chefknivestogo.com/dmtextracoarse.html, which can also be used for serious re profiling, you can also use a plate of glass and abrasive grit or sandpaper if you are on a budget to flatten. And yes, make or buy a strop, it is definitely worth it. It can be as simple as a planed and sanded maple board with compound, woks great and is very inexpensive, here is some good compound http://www.chefknivestogo.com/choxd4oz.html i have also heard good things about bard river's compound, and lee valley i have used and like.

    The reason i recommend these two stones is for several reasons

    1. I have found, when teaching, that it is better for a beginner not to start out on a super coarse stone (say a 150 or 220) because your mistakes will be amplified, there is also less feedback on the coarse stones and it is more difficult to tell when your hitting the bevel. You will also spend more time working on your technique and foundation, rather than going back and fixing mistakes made with a coarse stone. I have also sharpened professionally, and found that most knives in most common conditions really don't need a coarser stone than a 1000 to set the bevel, with of some exceptions, and if you have a diamond stone for flattening these exceptions can be taken care of with it.

    2. If you are going to "jump grits", as in, you only can afford a few stones, I really recommend these more traditional Japanese stones instead of diamond, western, ceramic, or synthetic (shapton, imanishi, chosera etc) waterstones. the reason is the grit ratings are more "flexable", the traditional Japanese stones develop a good mud / slurry, and with different pressure and quantities of mud, these stones will "act" like a bigger range of grits than the previous stones mentioned. If you do not know, the nature of these stones is to wear, with fresh grit being exposed and the sloughed off grit / binder forming a polishing mud where the grit particles fracture into finer and finer sizes. This makes the "jump" less dramatic than it would on say, a diamond stone, which is very unforgiving, and pretty much acts the same no matter what you do. Stones that act the same no matter what, like shapton glass stones, are great, but you have to have a bigger variety of grits and there less forgiving. This is especially true if your sharpening scandi grinds, where the wide bevel really takes allot to abrade, and if your progression is too far apart you will really slave trying to get the scratches of the previous grit out. Also keep in mind that US, European, and Japanese grit rating systems are all different.

    3. these stones are big and will last, they also wont break the bank. having worn out lots of stones, im a big fan of large stones, and not so keen on double sided stones or smaller ones.

    4. the attainable edge with these stones is superb, i have personally gotten hair splitting edges with this combination and a treated strop, I could not say that with most other types of stones.

    5. the feedback is superb. When I say feedback, I'm talking about feeling and hearing how the stone is abrading to tell if your hitting your bevel or not, I have found these stones have some of the best feedback, with i would say probably the worst feedback being on diamond stones. You will learn much more listing to and feeling these stones as a beginner than you will on other types of stones. This is the reason i don't recommend the scary sharp method to beginners (sandpaper glued to glass), because even though its super inexpensive, it has really bad feedback and its hard for the beginner to learn what there doing.

    hope this helps in your decision
    Last edited by shonuffisthemaster; 03-05-2013 at 07:05 AM.

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    Excellent advice it sounds like. I would ask if at all possible people don't link to our competitors in my own vendor forum lol. I don't mind so much because we are cheaper than almost anybody even with shipping but I do pay for this out of our advertising budget.

    Our site is here and I believe we have an excellent selection and prices: http://www.cellison.net/other/water-stones.html
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