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Sharpening stones doubt.

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 

Hello everybody,


I've been looking for some natural stones for my recent new knives, some Takeshi Saji Ironwood (R2 steel) and a Mizuno Tarenjo Akitada Wa-Gyuto.


First of all I'd like to know what do you guys think about Takeshi Saji chef knives anyone had experience with one? Are they worth of the money?


But lets go to the part that interest!


I'm about buying some natural stones from and already selected 3 stones that I think is enought for me but I'm not sure If i selected well.


My knives are sharp so I dont think I need a grinding 100-600 stone I can start with a 1K. I wanna spend $250 or less but if it pass a little I'll not mind.


For a Begginer Sharpening stone (1k-2k) I've selected 2 options:        (1-2k grit)      (800-1k)  


I'd go with binsui since is a thinner grit and closer to higher stones, but please correct me If I'm wrong.


Second Stone: Since there's not a 4-6k step stone I'll have to jump to a 8k stone, well at least my final stone will not be a 10k but a 15-20k


If someone see outher good option one the stone list tell me please.


And for finishing...

Got this option from the site...


But I think is better..


Well, I could have aready selected my stones and already bought but the problem is the website does not give informations about all stones and the support in my opinion is very lazy and poor in information, they barely answered my emails =\ sad...

post #2 of 17

Natural stones are a whole different ball game. What stones are you using now that would make you want to take the plunge with natural stones? Have you called Jon @ JKI and spoke with him?



I think the most wonderful thing in the world is another chef. I'm always excited about learning new things about food.
Paul Prudhomme
I think the most wonderful thing in the world is another chef. I'm always excited about learning new things about food.
Paul Prudhomme
post #3 of 17
Thread Starter 

Who I spoke I belive was mark, at least the email was mark...


I'm used to hone my zwilling cuisine at artificial stones... today my knives are as sharp as a japanese ones and even sharper than the knive came, I belive it may be the time to try a J stone on my new J knves since natural stones are better with cabon knives and synthetic with stainless...


I already know natural stones does not have grit number but.. selling online this could be used as a parameter to costumers have an idea of what theyre buying.. Theres stones on the site with aproximate grit outher saying if the stone is a beginning, mddle, finishing, pre-polishing etc.. and other stones only saying the shape and weight or barely that... How do you expect me to understand that?

post #4 of 17

Mark -- Mark Richmond -- owns Chef Knives to Go (CKtG).  Jon -- Jon Broida -- owns Japanese Knife Imports (JKI).  Both guys are knowledgeable.  Jon probably knows more about knives and stones in general than Mark.  Mark has a much wider range of inventory and keeps a better ear to the ground when it comes to listening to enthusiasts and selling what they want.  Jon's selection is more idiosyncratic.  I recommend both men and their stores very highly. 


Anyway, DuckFat was recommending that you call JKI and talk to Jon.  You could do worse.  If you want Mark's best take, I suggest you call him (as opposed to emailing) as well. 


However, most of what you're saying about a generic superiority for Japanese natural stones (aka J-Nats) versus synthetics for Japanese made knives -- whether stainless or carbon -- is nonsense.  Usually people who start from a position of sincerely and deeply held false preconceptions have difficulty processing good information when they receive it.


I'm not saying your choices aren't good, but the rationale behind them is false.  The "best" kit for your knives comes down to what you can afford, what you're sharpening, the speed of the stones, how much BS you're willing to accept to use and maintain the stones, and how high you want to take the final polish. 


I could make some generic recommendations but would like to hear more from you first.



post #5 of 17
Thread Starter 



Thanks Boar, since im from Brazil I guess is kinda hard'n'expensive call mark rsrs.


Well, let's answer your questions but I gotta make one first



how much BS you're willing to accept to use and maintain the stones

What Is BS?


Now let's answer your questions.


I wanna spent up to $250


I want to take my knives to the highest polishing I can but not taking apart the best stone combo having the right steps like 1k -5k-8k-10k +\- so I wont buy a 15-20k while I can make a btter combination with lower grit stones I prefer a good\fast and easyer sherpening than a bad sharpening and a good polishing stone in the end...

I know what stones is needed is relative to the user but my question is about quality on the stones and in case os having all grits what could be a good sequence that is more pratic less wastefully of money and achieve a great reasult. I mean I dont need to go to a 120,240,700,1k,2k,3k,4k,5k,6k,7k,8k,9k,10k stones sequence to have a nice result I just wanna select the essential ones getting the best result possible.


So boar I'll happily listen to you but please make some of those generic recommendations to I have a idea deciding, and where you suggest me to learn more about that?


And ah boar tell me what you think about my Takeshi Saji purchase, should I have bought something else for that price or what? I just mean knife quality thanks!  

post #6 of 17

BS as in bullsh*t to maintain the stones. Waterstones wear and need frequent flattening which is usually messy and can take some time if you wait too long.


I suggest you go to Japanese Knife Imports and watch all of Jon's videos on his stones.


Start with this as to his comments about over polished blades.



Edited by KnifeSavers - 11/29/12 at 9:53pm
post #7 of 17
Thread Starter 

When you say "wait for too loong" how long you mean? 1 month?


A chu nagura won't be enough to flatten the stone?


Ok I read it but e need recomendations please the stuff will take 2 weeks to arrive so I'm kinda hurry =s

post #8 of 17

Water stones need to be flattened and dressed before their first use.  Most water stones need to be dressed before every use.  Some stones dish faster than others and accordingly need to be flattened more often than those others.  Some soft stones, particularly coarse stones, need to be flattened every use.  It depends on the stones.  


I don't know the Saji at all, and have no comment.  I don't care for the Muzuno because it feels (and is) san-mai, is too thick, and doesn't have a very good profile.  IMO, it's not nearly as good as a Masamoto KS. 


You can get along pretty well with a three stone sharpening kit, and don't need more than four stones unless sharpening is a hobby. 


Polishing a kitchen knife -- any kitchen knife -- beyond 5K or so, is not particularly practical.  I'm not saying you won't feel the difference between a very refined edge and a very refined, well-polished edge but you must bear in mind that the polish won't last very long on a knife that does much cutting; especially if the knife makes a lot of contact with the board, a gyuto for instance.  I'm not saying "don't polish," just trying to keep you in touch with reality. 


On the other hand, to hell with reality.  I polish.  Up to an 8K Gesshin when using my water stone kit, and up to 1/2u CBN when using my strop kit.


The best synthetic water stones currently available are the Gesshins, sold only at JKI.  If you're budget can stretch that far, I suggest a three stone kit consisting of  400, 2K and 8K.  The 2K manages to be both aggressive and fast enough to act as a the first stone you'd use for ordinary sharpening -- reserving the 500 for profile and repair -- while finishing fine enough to be a good lead in for the 8K.  It's as fast as a good 1K, and the only stone I like better than the Bester 1200.  Both the 400 and 8K are unbelievably good.  But Gesshins are very expensive. 


I think the "next best" set of water stones is the "Five Piece Sharpening Set," sold by CKtG which consists of three stones -- Beston 500, Bester 1200 and Suehiro Rika (3K or maybe finer if you break the mud down) -- with the addition of a really good final, polishing stone like the Naniwa Pure White or perhaps a Kitayama.  I like the polish you get from the Naniwa SS 8K and 10K.


Another high end option is to go all Chosera, but while Choseras aren't quite as expensive as Gesshins, they're almost as expensive; and while they're very good in the greater scheme of things, they're nowhere near as good as the Gesshins. 


In addition to the stones, you'll need a flattening plate.  Diamond plates work best, but they're usually expensive.  Fortunately, CKtG sells one at a very good price, and it's something of a "no brainer." 



post #9 of 17

So if someone were new to this knife thing and had 150-160 to spend on sharpening supplies, would it make more sense to get the 3 stone kit + flattening plate or get 2 separate stones, a honing rod and a flattening plate?  Any thoughts?

post #10 of 17
Originally Posted by nickrut View Post

So if someone were new to this knife thing and had 150-160 to spend on sharpening supplies, would it make more sense to get the 3 stone kit + flattening plate or get 2 separate stones, a honing rod and a flattening plate?  Any thoughts?

What kind of knives do you have? Unless you have Japanese knives you can get oilstones that will do just fine on western blades for that kind of money.


Waterstones work faster and on all knives but are $$$$ by comparison.



post #11 of 17

Japanese Knife (Masahiro MV).  I guess my question is which is a better option, a honing rod or a third stone?

post #12 of 17

Posted by nickrut View Post

So if someone were new to this knife thing and had 150-160 to spend on sharpening supplies, would it make more sense to get the 3 stone kit + flattening plate or get 2 separate stones, a honing rod and a flattening plate?  Any thoughts?


As is so often true, the answer is "It depends."  For instance -- and it's only one example -- if most or all of your knives are of the type which benefit from steeling, AND if none of them need immediate repair or thinning, AND if your knives will do better with water than oil stones -- then the 2 stone option is better. 


But there are a lot of permutations, and it's better to discuss specific situations than formulate general rules. 


Masahiro MV come from the factory with an extremely asymmetric bevel, and don't true very well on a steel.  You'll probably end up truing them with a touch up on your finest stone.  If all your knives are MVs, get the third stone and don't even worry about a steel down the line.   



post #13 of 17
Appreciate the response. For now they are all MVs but I plan on buying a konosuke white next year sometime. I guess I can grab the rod w that purchase.
post #14 of 17
Thread Starter 



Just got this stone set from CKTG following your recomendation.


I think I did the right choices


Binsui Natural Stone     Binsui Full           a beggining stone around 600 grit I belive
Shobu San Natural Stone  Shobu              1-2k grit +/-
Kyushu Ohmura            Kyushu Ohmura    8k +/-
DMT Mini Plate/ Slurry   WS7C                  


what you think?


post #15 of 17

I think you'd probably have been better off with synthetic stones, but in the greater scheme it probably doesn't make much difference.  Your progression of coarse, medium/coarse and fine is standard.  I don't know the specific stones well enough to comment on their individual performance. 


One of the great truisms of sharpening is that all coarse stones suck.  Consequently, I'm more unsure about whether the Binsui is a good choice for profiling and repair, than I am that you'll be able to pull a burr with the Shobu or polish with the Ohmura.  I don't know if the Shobu finishes fine enough and the Ohmura cuts fast enough for the Ohmura to be a good choice to follow the Shobu. 


A mini plate can't do a good job of flattening.  You need something full size.  The best candidates are CKtG's inexpensive diamond plate; the very expensive and excellent DMT XXC, the even more expensive and excellent Atoma; or drywall screen.  Drywall screen is the slowest, messiest and least expensive.  If you do go with screen, let me know so I can tell you how to use it.


"I don't know" is not a sneaky way of saying it's a bad choice, it means "I don't know."  Also, don't confuse my native bluntness and pessimism with criticism.  Bear in mind that (a) you asked;  (b), "I don't know" means I don't know; and (c) I'll know a lot more after you've tried your new set out.



post #16 of 17
Thread Starter 

I chose my stone based also in some coments and avaliations, and also for recomendation from Mark, I think I can't doubt about the stones quality and I was hurry so I should have bought the nagura stone I thougth you were talking about de mini diamond Idk what I did but well i believe my mistake was in the mini diamond plate and maybe just maybe in the Kyushu Ohmura since I changed Mark last recomendation stone Jyunsyouhonyama small size (I had to copy it's impossible to write) for the Kyushu that's bigger and also had very good coments and avaliation so the mistake i Belive is the Plate wich i can get later, and yeah I guess I should have tried the synthetic but well I'll have to start with those then but don't worry about that I'll end up doing it right! If not Boar is here to advise me right?


Thanks Boar!

post #17 of 17
Originally Posted by nickrut View Post

So if someone were new to this knife thing and had 150-160 to spend on sharpening supplies ... Any thoughts?



My first thought would be, "How serious do you think you will be, long-term, about sharpening?"


To me, $150-$160 is a lot of money to spend on something I'm not 100% sure I want to do anything more than 'test drive' at the moment.


There are less expensive options for a trial-run at knife sharpening. If you get into it & find you're interested in doing more than basic maintenance, you can always spend lots of money later.

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