Watch the sharpening videos on JCK. You won't use an edge guide, but that's a good example of one of the proper motions. You want be using coins as an angle guide, but everything else is very good.
Reread the Steve Bottorf and Chad Ward FAQs several times, paying special attention to how to create and detect a burr.
Soak all your stones for about 15 minutes, and use your flattener to bevel the edges to 45*. This is important witn nearly all stones, but doubly important with Naniwas because they're soft and tend to break easily. Relieving the edges, strengthens them tremendously. Allow the stones to dry out of the sun, at their own speed. It will take overnight.
Get some graph paper and draw three or four large 15* angles. Put them around your sharpening station where you can refer to them.
The first few times you sharpen, you'll only use the 1000# stone along with the Magic Marker Trick.
After you've inked your blade, put your 1000 in your holder (if you're using one), and run the 1000# stone under the faucet, get it good and wet holding it under the stream for at least 30 seconds. If you're not using a holder, put the stone on a non-slip pad or a towel, by the sink.
Orient the stone so its long axis is perpindicular to the counter's edge. (IIRC, Naniwas use the side of the stone with the printed label for sharpening. If it's not in the printed instructions, call your retailer to check.)
Hold the knife by the handle with your right hand (assuming your right handed), and start sharpening at the bottom of the stone (the end closest to you) on the knife's left side. Go up and down the stone in the short up and down stroking motion you saw in the JCK video. The action on each stroke is about 1" - 1-1/4" edge forward and about 1/2" - 3/4" edge trailing.
Because you're sharpening up the stone (although in a forward and back motion) you can see under the spine of the knife, and have a good view of the angle.
People compare the feel of edge forward to slicing a decal off the surface of the stone. If that helps, cool. If not... what can I say?
Use no more pressure than is required to feel some friction on the stone. Use the fingers on your left hand near (but not on) the tip to equalize and control the pressure. Don't let your fingers touch the stone or the edge.
You'll want to slide the knife to your right as you sharpen -- moving from heel to tip -- about half the length of the knife each time you use the full length of the stone.
Concentrate on holding the knife at a 15* angle throughout the entire operation. Refer to your drawings as often as necessary. At the same time try to keep your grip fairly relaxed or you won't be able to keep this up for very long. (The first dozen times or so you sharpen, that's going to be a difficult balance.)
Once you've sharpened the entire length of the knife a couple of times, take the knife off the stone and look at the marker from the side you've sharpened. This will give you some idea of how far you are from getting near the edge and how unevenly you're holding your angle. You'll probably find that you're working slower and more unevenly than you'd dreamed possible.
Repeat the same thing another couple of trips up and down the stone.
If the stone ever feels dry, wet it thoroughly.
At some point during this process, a "slurry" will develop on the surface of the stone. That's a good thing, don't rinse it off. It will help you sharpen faster and finer. Later, after you've learned to do without the marker, you'll use the color to help you judge when to get rid of it -- but the marker will make it dark.
When you've worn the marker off the edge -- or most of it anyway -- start sectioning the knife so the top part of the bevel is even and runs parallel to the edge, and so the marker is completely removed from the edge.
Use your thumbnail to check for a burr. Make sure the burr goes the entire length of the edge. Keep sharpening until it does, and continue to make sure that the bevel shoulder stays parallel to the edge, in a clean, crisp line. Section as necessary to complete both tasks.
Once you've established the burr on the left side of the knife, rinse the stone, and flip the knife over and start sharpening the right side. You'll find judging the angle a little trickier, because you can't see under the spine of the knife as you work -- but by this time, your wrist should be trained to the right angle.
This process is called "pulling a wire," or "drawing the burr." The eventual edge is being developed underneath the burr, and will be exposed when the fatigued metal burr is removed.
It's more important to be even than perfect. Let the magic marker help you. Anyone who tells you he can actually freehand a particular angle is full of it. Don't let perfect be the enemy of good.
Repeat the entire sharpening process until the ratio of the bevel widths is as you desire. 70/30 is not a particularly good ratio, it's neither asymmetric enough to really make a difference in practical sharpness, nor symmetric enough to improve durability and allow for maintenance on a rod hone. For the time being, I suggest 60/40.
Just as with the angle, you won't be perfect. Just try to keep the ratio of bevel widths a little short of 2:1, rather than a little over.
Once you've got the right ratio and have moved the burr from left to right, turn the knife over and sharpen its entire length again -- that should be enough to flip the burr again. If it isn't, keep working on it. Then, turn the knife over again, and flip the burr again. By this time it will go quickly.
Turn the knife over again, and run the edge over the stone from heel to tip in one motion, using the entire length of the stone. Then again on the other side. Keep doing this until you can flip the burr on every stroke. You'll want to do it 6 to 10 times. If the burr doesn't move, go 7 times on each side before flipping, then 5, then 3, then 7 times flipping on every stroke. By the way, this is called "chasing the burr," and refines the eventual edge.
If the "slicing the decal off the stone" simile didn't make sense before, it should now.
Deburr using the endgrain of a piece of wood, or by drawing the edge through a wine cork a couple of times. Wipe and wash the magic marker off, and voila.
Be patient with yourself. It's unlikely you'll do a very good job the first several times. Even after you start to get it, it will still be hit or miss. Fortunately as you get better, you fix whatever you did wrong before. So relax. You're not hurting the knife.
Note 1. Naniwas are a little on the soft side. Be careful not to gouge the stone by pushing too hard or cutting into it.
Note 2. After sharpening, rinse the slurry off the stone -- using a nylon brush if you have to -- so the stone is (fairly) clean. After you've outgrown the magic marker trick, you'll start preserving the slurry -- but you're not there yet. Allow the stones to dry completely (out of the sun) before putting them away.
Note 3. Naniwa SS don't wear especially quickly, but still need regular flattening. The more regularly you flatten, the easier it is to keep up. If you're flattening with a plate (like a DMT XC), you might as well flatten every time you sharpen. If you're using something like drywall screen (which I use) or wet/dry sandpaper, I suggest flattening every other session. Always make sure the stone and the flattener are thoroughly wet -- or you'll break your stones.
Hope this helps,
Edited by boar_d_laze - 8/9/10 at 10:36pm