Your Dad sounds like he might be a good candidate for the Chef's Choice 1520 which sharpens at both a 15* and 20* angle -- or perhaps two separate CC machines, one at each angle. If that's interesting to you, we can talk more about it. Chef's Choice machines make for durable and adequate edges, but not the world's sharpest. On the other hand the machines are very easy to learn and convenient to use, which means they get used -- and that's about 95% of the battle.
If you can afford it, you might want to think about an EP Apex kit for Dad. The kits to consider are Kit 3, which is widely available; and two from CKtG which are only available there: The "Fully Monty" for around $350, and the "Edge Pro Essentials" for around $210. You'll need something for flattening before getting started. Chefs Knives to To (CKtG) sells a diamond "plate" for around $25, which would be the best thing at the best price.
The best learner's set of bench stones is the "5 Pc Sharpening Set" at CKtG, which contains three top quality stones, a magnifier and a felt block for deburring, all for $135. To get started with this or any water stone set, your Dad will also need some method for flattening and dressing the stones; again, the best choice is CKtG's diamond plate.
There are other possible combinations of stones, depending on how much you can and/or are willing to spend. If you wanted to go absolutely top drawer, the Gesshin 500, 2000, and 8000, would be the way to go; but your Dad's collection of knives don't reflect the need. On the other hand, he could probably get by with a King Combi stone (around $50), but "good enough to get by" falls significantly short of "good."
Speaking of diamonds, Kyocera ceramic knives can ONLY be sharpened on diamond plates; but -- for a lot of reasons -- my suggestion is to stay away from diamond plates for anything but flattening. Dad should let the Kyocera die a natural death and replace it with something less fragile and more easily sharpened.
Chad Ward's An Edge in the Kitchen is a well written, well illustrated and comprehensive book on kitchen knives with an excellent chapter on sharpening. I think it would make a great gift. Chad Ward wrote the sharpening FAQ at e-gullet, which is almost as good as his book and you can print it out for free. Ward's probably the best source for written information. If Dad wants to follow step by step instructions, Ward's the guy. Or, maybe me.
John Juranitch's The Razor Edge Book of Sharpening is excellent for first principles, but it's dated and the equipment section doesn't make sense in a kitchen dominated by modern Japanese made knives.
Steve Bottorf has some excellent instruction on his website, if Dad reads the online pamphlet he wants to pay very close attention to Chapter 3, and not to much attention to anything else -- especially equipment recommendations.
Juranitch and Bottorf both favor using angle guides of one sort or another, but most modern sharpening experts do not and I don't either. Learning to create and hold the correct edge angles is something many beginners find terrifying, but (a) it's not really difficult and (b) mechanical gags which are supposed to help end up creating more problems than they solve.
The best video series for basic instruction are free online at CKtG and Japanese Knife Imports (JKI). There are two "for money" standouts." Dave Martell's DVD is excellent, and so is Murray Carter's. Dave has some good stuff floating around You Tube. In any case, the CKtG and JKI series are more helpful for beginners. Dad should hold off on Martell and Carter unless and until he (Dad) catches the bug.
PS. H/t Koko, not to mention TY!
Edited by boar_d_laze - 11/27/12 at 8:13am