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flattening stone for Shaptons

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 

First post here, after a long time of (very informative) lurking.

 

I'm thinking about moving from the Sharpmaker to stones, in part because I feel like I maxed out the jig's potential, and in part because it feels clumsy and too removed from the actual sharpening (I often get frustrated with its mechanics, and find myself running (smaller) knives freehand over the Sharpmaker's rods, which is ... less than ideal). I'm primarily using a basic Tojiro DP gyuto and a CCK cleaver for my food prep, so while I don't need to sharpen particularly high-end knives to razor-sharp edges, I am looking for an edge that can handle standard food prep (e.g, slicing rather than splitting carrots, etc.) effortlessly.

 

I'm considering starting with the 2k and 5k Shaptons, and later adding a lower grit stone (maybe a Shapton glass) and something like the Kitayama 8000 for polish. The reason I want to start with the 2k and 5k is that my edges are in pretty good shape right now and don't need low-grit work or too much polish; the reason I'll want to add something like a 500 is that I suspect I'll sharpen some very dull, old knives down the road that I'm not currently using. I know there are stones other (for many better ones) than the Shaptons out there (Besters come to mind), but the spray&go convenience, and the ability to just use them on their base without major setup, is important for how I work in the kitchen.

 

So, my question is this: the Shapton sharpening plate is absurdly expensive, and I was considering getting a DMT XXC to flatten the Shaptons. Would that be a good choice for those stones, or is it too coarse? And is there a significant difference between something like the DMT XXC (or XC or what have you), and a basic stone like the 140 grit diamond CKTG sells (http://www.chefknivestogo.com/140grdistflp.html) for flattening?

 

Thanks for any insight.

post #2 of 18

http://www.chefknivestogo.com/3pcstoneset.html is the most recommended set of stones from what I've seen for first stone sets.

 

People also seem to dote on flattening your stones on drywall here, but I can't really explain how as I don't know. I'm sure BDL or someone will be more than happy to advise you better than I can

post #3 of 18
I use a DMT XC to flatten my glass stones. A XXC would be fine. Hell I've even used a Norton flattening stone with good results. Just needs soaking

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post #4 of 18

I don't use Shaptons, but my guess is that the DMT XXC will be the best thing for flattening for you. You shouldn't have to worry about your flattener being too course, and the XXC will get your stones flat faster than the XC. It will cost you more, though.
 

post #5 of 18

I don't know the Shaptons either.  But in general... the XC is ok, slower than the XXC; and the XC will STICK.  Not an issue if you keep the water flowing and keep the XC moving, really, but... no advantage.

 

I like the little DMT (or Diaface) "ski sharpeners" afterwards.  In various grits, they are basically TINY flattening stones.  Not so much for flattening, but for refining mud or hitting on particular spots on a stone that's been flattened with the bigger stone.

post #6 of 18
No mud with Shaptons

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post #7 of 18

The dry wall screen thing is slightly nuckin futty IMO. Why buy quality stones is your not going to care for them? At the same time you don't have to spend a lot. The Peacock flattener I bought from CKTG was like $12. Works just fine.

 

Dave

I think the most wonderful thing in the world is another chef. I'm always excited about learning new things about food.
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I think the most wonderful thing in the world is another chef. I'm always excited about learning new things about food.
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post #8 of 18

I have a 6K glass Shapton for sharpening hair shears and use a diamond plate from JKI, $70, to flatten it. Leave the stone in the holder and lay the plate on top of it.

 

The drywall screen is cheap and effective but to me the skinny Shapton doesn't have enough girth to get a good grip for rubbing on the screen.

 

As Wagstaff mentioned the little ski sharpeners can be used to smooth it afterwards.

 

Jim

post #9 of 18
Thread Starter 

Thanks for all the replies. And just so I know I'm on the right track, by "ski sharpeners" you mean something like this (http://www.chefknivestogo.com/dmtsmdiplfor.html) or this (http://www.chefknivestogo.com/shpro1kslst.html)?

post #10 of 18

Jon at JKI has a link to the DMT and some others on his site.

 

http://www.japaneseknifeimports.com/other-items/amazon-linked-products.html

 

Jim

post #11 of 18

Drywall screen works very well.  The best thing about is that the sheets are large enough so that you can rub the stones on them instead of the other way around.  That makes getting a perfectly flat and level stone easier than using a plate which is the same size or smaller than the bench stone. 

 

The way to use screen is to lay a sheet in a baking sheet, soak the screen, leave a little water on the bottom of the pan, and rub your well-soaked stones on the screen.  Every so often, you rinse out the sheet to keep it from getting clogged, and the pan so you can see what you're doing.  Screen is not the ultimate method, but it works a lot better than sand paper.

 

The down side to screen is that it's slower and messier than a good diamond plate.  

 

Is screen better than a cheap ceramic stone like a Peacock?  I've never used a Peacock but have used Nortons.  I think screen is faster and easier, so I'd say yes.  But I'm not disagreeing with Duck -- it's more like "to each his own." 

 

IMO a DMT XC is too slow to be worthwhile; but a DMT XXC (which is what I use) is pretty frikkin' expensive for something is you'll only use once a month if you flatten every time you sharpen and you sharpen A LOT.   On the other hand, the XXC makes an onerous chore at least pass quickly.  And on the other other hand, some guys swear by Atoma plates, which are even more expensive than DMTs.

 

If I were buying a new flattening stone, I'd check out the generic diamond plate at CKtG. 

 

I'm not a big fan of Shapton GS.  A few years ago everyone and his mother were buying GS, but the fad is over.   They're high quality, very consistent and "splash and go;" but they're also very thin, very hard, and a big PITA to flatten.  There are other stones which are faster, have more reach, better feel and require less maintenance for the same money.  I suppose it's a question of what you want, but most sharpening experts (self proclaimed and otherwise) have moved on. 

 

It depends on your knives, how you use them, etc., but for most people a 2K is too slow and too fine for the first sharpening stone.  Some 2Ks are fast enough for you to get away with it if you sharpen often; but a GS isn't one of them. 

 

Staying in roughly the same price range as the GS, I think you'd be better/cheaper with a Bester 1.2K and either a Suehiro Rika (5K) or a Takenoko (6K) than a GS 2K + 5K.  At the price, it's very hard to do better than the three stones in CKtG's "Five Piece Sharpening Kit." 

 

BDL

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post #12 of 18
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the long reply, boar (and all the other helpful information you put up on this forum). The generic stone at CKTG is what I've been leaning toward as well, plus maybe one of those small "finger stones" (around 1k or lower) or DMT ski sharpener to remove scratches a low-grit flattener might leave on higher-grit stones.

 

I should have been clearer in my first post: I'm considering the 2k and 5k pro, not GS, though I did include a mention of a lower-grit GS. Did you have similar experiences with the Pro as you had with the GS? I know that there are better combos out there in terms of feedback and feel (and price!), but the splash&go does make a difference for me, just based on personal preference and how I work in the kitchen (in terms of feel, I like the hard feel of the Sharpmaker sticks when I (unwisely) run cheaper knives freehand over them, which made me think that I'd like the ceramic feel of the Shaptons, too). All that said, I looked at that CKTG five piece kit, and been considering it as an alternative as well.

 

Choices, choices ...

post #13 of 18

BDL do you go through dry wall screen often like this?  Either way I like this idea better than spending a bunch of $$ on a flattener. The bottom line is that you need some way to flatten a stone.

Not sure if it helps but there's no issue with the Peacock on higher grit stones as long as you don't get splash n go's overly wet or push on the flattener like a Guerrilla. It's not the best out there by a long shot it's just a good place to start that's clean, efficaceous and cost effective.

 

Dave

I think the most wonderful thing in the world is another chef. I'm always excited about learning new things about food.
Paul Prudhomme
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I think the most wonderful thing in the world is another chef. I'm always excited about learning new things about food.
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post #14 of 18

Wow, reading this thread makes me think back to when my father (an old world butcher) would sharpen his boning knife on a stone that looked like a concave, slanted slab of stone you might find in a garden. Two colors in one stone, lighter on one side than the other. Then use a steel inbetween tasks to keep the edge. Clearly nothing like what is available these days.

 

I need to do some reading....

 

Red.

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post #15 of 18

Dave --

 

Two packs of drywall screen is probably a lifetime supply.  About $25.  Flattening is not the same as lapping.  You'll still have to lap your finer stones by rubbing them against one another.  Compared to a diamond plate, screen is slow and messy.  If you can afford a decent plate, get the plate.  I switched from screen to an XXC more than a year ago, and have no intention to go back. 

 

BTW, screen works very well for cleaning oil stones.  Better than a brass brush, sandpaper or an "eraser." 

 

 

Redvan --

 

You can still probably get the same two colored stone.  Assuming it was a synthetic, you want to look for a Norton IB-8 or an IB-11.  Norton's been making them for something like 80 years.  I have one in my oil stone kit which I use for softer, tougher knives like my old carbon Sabatiers.  The two surfaces are coarse and fine India stones.  The coarse (very coarse!) is for profiling and repairing; and the fine for sharpening.  A fine India is a great stone, but too coarse for my tastes for a final edge; so I follow it with soft and black Arkansas stones.  Don't be like Dad.  Replace it when it starts to dish. 

 

BDL


Edited by boar_d_laze - 8/31/12 at 7:51am
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post #16 of 18

The two-colored Norton stone is, on one side the fine india (orange colored) and on the other side a coarse india (very dark brown) stone. With that stone I'd pair it with a Norton crystolon combination stone: their coarse and fine combo.  In terms of coarseness descending:

 

  1. coarse crystolon  (for reestablishing a whole new bevel and to repair a very damaged edge therefore)
  2. coarse india
  3. fine crystolon
  4. fine india.

 

And I hope that I didn't hijack this thread.  Informational only.

 

Best,

-T


Edited by kokopuffs - 9/1/12 at 4:01pm

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-T

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-T

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post #17 of 18
@ post meridiem, I too have been trolling, lurking through the site lately and have gotten a lot of really good information from its members. Special thanks to BDL. I own suisin knives, Gisan-ko yanagi 270, high carbon gyuto and a Smaller honesuki...I work mostly in sushi, breaking down fish, sashimi, etc, but also work in other kitchens... I have done my own sharpening for years, on basic 600/1000/6000 King stones, and recently decided to upgrade. I went with the Bester/sureika combo through CKTG and couldn't be happier. I have been able to put very nice edges on all my knives with these two stones and foresee them working for a long time. I too used BDLs drywall screen method, 150 grit on a piece of granite to smooth the stones and found it very very effective and easy. Good luck.
post #18 of 18

BDL,

 

Thanks.

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