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Whet stones vs. electric diamond sharpeners

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 

I was watching some YouTube videos about knife sharpeners (electric, grinding wheels and whet stones). Some claim that using diamond sharpeners will actually dull your blades. According to this video (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CEfCAFHiiP4&feature=related). Is the best method only to use whet stones? 

 

If so, then I guess I'll have to take the whet stone knife sharpening class my knife/butcher shop offers. That or bring my knives to them to sharpen.

post #2 of 12

Carefull there, sharpening methods and choice of abrasives is as personal as politics or religion.  As far as I'm concerned, there is no "best", but a zillion factors that contribute to a choice of method or abrasive. 

...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
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...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
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post #3 of 12

It's true, sharpening preferences are, well, highly personal.

 

For me, I really enjoy the hands-on approach of sharpening on stones. I like that it requires a little more skill and patience, and there's no machine between me and the blade — if I screw up, it's my fault, and I have to learn how to fix it (not to mention how not to do it again). On the other hand, when I achieve a great edge, it's highly rewarding. Plus, sharpening on stones is just super enjoyable — it really connects you to yr blade, and allows a little bit of good old-fashioned craft to exist in the process. There are also so many variables to explore — different types of stones and the different finishes you can achieve with them, learning how different knives work with different stones, etc…

 

You don't necessarily need to take a course to learn to use wet stones (though I'm certainly not trying to dissuade you). I learned everything I know from watching videos by Jon from Japanese Knife Imports (YouTube channel here: http://www.youtube.com/jknifeimports), and by relegating myself to a lot of trial and error. If you have some inexpensive cooking knives to practice on (ones that you'll actually be able to get an edge with), I'd highly recommend just diving in and getting your feet wet (or hands, as it were).

post #4 of 12

Of course, we all know that anyone who sharpens their knives with anything other than water stones and by hand (Edge Pro products also being acceptable) is destined to burn in hell for all eternity.biggrin.gif


Edited by pohaku - 5/16/12 at 8:29pm
post #5 of 12
Thread Starter 

Thanks Peter, Pohaku...I guess it depends who you talk to (whetstones vs. diamond abrasive pads). Perhaps the one YouTube poster claiming diamond pads dull knives had his own agenda (he was selling his grinding wheel service btw...like the kind they use to make keys...not pushing whetstones). :) 

 

As for learning to use whetstones...I think it's relatively simple. Just requires a lot of repetition to keep the angle consistent with the right amount of pressure on the knife. Till it's 2nd nature. Something you don't "need" to take a course for. But since it's offered...

 

If I get real lazy I suppose I will just have to bring my knives to this shop and have them hone/sharpen for me. 

 

Shun, makes 2 electric sharpeners (as far as I'm aware of). A $100 version that uses stones (http://www.internetkitchenstore.com/store/viewitem.asp?idproduct=2313). And a $300 version that uses a "whetstone wheel" ($299 @ Williams-Sonoma). Not sure if you can swap out the wheel for different grits.

 

I suppose using the high quality whtetones is still the better way to go. I do believe in putting in some "sweat equity". Using a sharpener is "cheating". Which is never good in anything we do. Though, I could also buy a Victornox knife to try on a Chef's Choice electric (Diamond pad) sharpener. See if they do in fact dull the blades. I'm guessing they don't. 

 

I mean, in Japan they still use whetstones to sharpen their custom made swords. They would never use an electric sharpener on those ($15-75k USD). So...

post #6 of 12

(I'm Cole, for the record. My last name is Peters. Common mistake w/ the username!)

 

Absolutely, the option of taking a course is a great opportunity to have!

 

I'm guessing the diamond pads don't dull the knives, so much as they might not sharpen the blades as well as whetstones, but I'm not educated enough to comment beyond a hunch on this one. Seems like a suspect claim, though.

 

You're right, sweat equity is definitely part of the allure of sharpening w/ stones, at least it is for me. It's also just another process that you can get wonderfully lost in, given all the options and techniques you can learn (just watch some of Jon Broida's videos on micro bevels, blended bevels, etc)… of course, you also run the risk of getting GAS and wanting to buy up every different kind of stone in sight, just to try them out. Haha!

 

However, it's perfectly feasible to spend $150 and get a great starter setup for sharpening w/ stones. I bought a King combi-stone (1000/4000) and a DMT DiaSharp 220x for flattening the stones, and I doubt I'll *need* to replace any of that in the near future, although there are higher-end options out there, of course. Seems a small price to pay in order to keep a beautiful knife in great shape. :)

post #7 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by pohaku View Post

Of course, we all know that anyone who sharpens their knives with anything other than other water stones and by hand (Edge Pro products also being acceptable) is destined to burn in hell for all eternity.biggrin.gif

 

Rule #1 of Knife Club: we don't talk about those people. wink.gif

post #8 of 12
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by cpeters View Post

(I'm Cole, for the record. My last name is Peters. Common mistake w/ the username!)

 

 

However, it's perfectly feasible to spend $150 and get a great starter setup for sharpening w/ stones. I bought a King combi-stone (1000/4000) and a DMT DiaSharp 220x for flattening the stones, and I doubt I'll *need* to replace any of that in the near future, although there are higher-end options out there, of course. Seems a small price to pay in order to keep a beautiful knife in great shape. :)

Hi Cole, 

 

Should have noticed "Peters" is your surname. :) 

 

When you said you bought a "DMT DaSharp 220x for flattening the stones" what did you mean. Is that a stone sharpener? Or another grit stone? I Googled it and just found DMT DiaSharp stones...etc.

 

I'm totally new to owning/using quality knives. Obviously. But I am trying to gather up good information before I make my buy later this year when I return to TO from LA.


Edited by BDD8 - 5/14/12 at 11:23pm
post #9 of 12

you're in LA?  If you're interested, stop by and i'd be happy to talk with you about water stone sharpening any time.

post #10 of 12

Not a problem about the first name/last name. ;)

 

Regarding flattening stones: As you sharpen on your wet stones, the middle of the stone will begin to “dish” — in other words, you'll be wearing a concave surface on the stone. This is because the centre of the stone abrades faster and more prominently as it contacts the steel more frequently (as compared to the edges of the stone, which hopefully are barely contacting the blade's edge, if at all). If the surface becomes too worn, you will no longer achieve a proper (flat) sharpening surface, and only the edges of the stone will be making contact with the blade (no good). To remedy this, you need to re-flatten the stone — wear away the higher edges to achieve an even, level surface again.

 

You can do this on the cheap by laying a piece of coarse sand paper on a flat surface and working your stone against that until a flat surface is created. I did this a few times before purchasing the DMT plate. The advantage of the DMT DiaSharp plates (or similar products) is that, because they are made of metal (seriously heavy-duty, at that), they resist warping to high degree (especially if they're only being used on whetstones). Thus, they are pretty much always flat, and will in turn give a great, level surface to whatever stone you're using it on.

 

The 220x plate that I have works nice and fast on my King combi-stone, and I've made a habit of giving each side a quick flattening with the DiaSharp before sharpening, just to make sure I'm always working with a flat surface on the stone. (It's also a lot easier than having to fix a seriously dished stone… which is a real PITA and not something I'd prefer to do again!).

 

Here's a video that will give you a good idea of how the flattening process works:

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZFahNJEkTGg

post #11 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by JBroida View Post

you're in LA?  If you're interested, stop by and i'd be happy to talk with you about water stone sharpening any time.

 

Basically, ignore my post and go do this if you have the chance. It was Jon's video that I linked to, anyway! Haha!

post #12 of 12
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the offer JB. Will let you know. Though, I most likely will wait till I'm back home. Take that course after I've bought my knives.

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