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are Chosera stones overkill for a newbie?

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 
Hi everyone, I've been lurking for about a week reading up some on knives and sharpening. I think I'm ready to jump in! I cook at home only, maybe 3-4 times a week. No formal training or education, I just enjoy the process and (of course) the food afterwards. With all of the holiday sales, I've seen a lot of brand-name knife sets on Amazon that seemed to be at good prices. Buuuut, I wanted to do my research first and make sure I got quality knives.

Well, somehow I fell down the rabbit's hole and now I've set my eyes on a CN 240mm gyuto. My previous knives were an Ultrex stainless santoku & cleaver that I bought off of Woot for $10 (haha) somewhere around 5-6 years ago. I "sharpened" those knives using some cheap little doo-hickey that I bought at the local supermarket where I drag the blade through a slot. I plan to use those knives to try and get the hang of sharpening before I attempt the same thing on my future CN.

But anyway, my real question: would it be money wasted to spring for a set of Chosera stones? I'm not against spending the $, but I worry a little that they would be wasted in the hands of a complete newbie. I saw that CKtG has a 1k/3k/5k set so I was considering that, or I could just get the 1k & 5k. The alternative would be a Bester 1200, and either a Suehiro Rika 5k or a SS 5k. (I'm thinking, also, that it might be smart for me to take the CN to be professionally sharpened at least the first time.)

Thanks all -- both in advance for any help you can render, and also to the larger community for providing so much information and guidance on the subject of knives (with a special hat-tip to BDL).

Edit: to add breaks between paragraphs
post #2 of 9

Choseras are excellent stones.  They're very fast, very consistent, plenty of "reach."  I've tried quite a few -- all but a couple of the coarsest I think -- and have a 3K in my bench stone kit as well as the five piece spread that goes with CKtG's "Chosera kit" for the EP Apex.

 

As I said, I like them.  But I'm not sure they're worth the money as compared to quite a few other stones, including the Beston 1.2K, Suehiro Rika, Arashiyama 6K, and Kitayama, by way of a few examples.  If you want the best and can afford it, I think JKI's Gesshin series is better than the Choseras, pretty much across the line; and consider the Gesshin 400, 2K and 8K something of an ultimate kit.  FWIW, I have and use the 8K. 

 

After all is said and done, Choseras are not the best or the most bang for the buck in "very good" stones -- but they're still an excellent choice.

 

I like the Naniwa SS range from 1K to 5K quite a bit.  The higher grit stones polish extremely well, but are very soft and crumble and gouge so easily they're not a great choice for most sharpeners. 

 

CNs are somewhat notorious for needing profiling from jump street.  You might consider getting something coarse enough to create an edge, like a Bester 500.  On the other hand, you might get one of the good CNs and be able to put off using a coarse stone for as long as a year. 

 

BDL

post #3 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by thathafrath View Post

my real question: would it be money wasted to spring for a set of Chosera stones?

 

A waste of $$? Of course not. They are excellent stones. However you really don't need to spend that much and you don't need a three stone set to start. If you want to stay with Naniwa consider buying the 1K chosera and the 5K SS. The 5K Chosera is a pretty expensive stone. The 1k/5K set will take you a very long way and will be all most ever home cooks ever need for a lifetime of sharpening.

As a noob you should skip the Kitayama. There's no need to be polishing @8K+ until you get comfortable with your sharpening skills. At that juncture you will know exactly what stones you want.

Any splash and go stones can crumble if you get them too wet but they are a lot easier to use when getting started and if cared for will last a very long time. I have a 5K SS that's four years old and still in great shape.

 

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.
Paul Prudhomme
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post #4 of 9
As a 2-stones solution in Chosera, I would choose the 800 and 3k. The 800 is more versatile and the 3k is somewhat easier in use.
post #5 of 9
Thread Starter 

For xmas, my sisters ordered me the Bester package from CKtG and it arrived today.  Gave the stones a nice soak while we went out to dinner and took a shot at sharpening some of my mom's old knives.  I'm sure my technique leaves a lot to desire but, wow, the stones made a huge difference!  I only did two knives tonight but will probably sharpen the rest of hers in the near future.

 

In other news, my CN arrived today also.  I don't know how to judge its edge or how it compares to other quality knives, but it's easily the sharpest knife I've ever used.

 

Thanks again, everyone, for all the info you guys put out there!

post #6 of 9

The 800 is the hidden gem of the Chocera line.  A truly fantastic stone.  No, the Choceras aren't "overkill" for a home user so long as you plan to learn to use them.  You can certainly spend less and get the job done but they're a lot of fun to use.  Overall they're my favorite synthetic stones.

"Excellence is an art won by training and habituation. We do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence, but we rather have those because we have acted rightly. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit." - Aristotle
Reply
"Excellence is an art won by training and habituation. We do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence, but we rather have those because we have acted rightly. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit." - Aristotle
Reply
post #7 of 9

Hi there, I was reading with great interest your replies, and I wonder did you ever get a chosera? How have your stones performed since, and have you picked up the skills fairly easily? I'm starting out too, so your experiences would be invaluable

Cheers

George

post #8 of 9

I would get the Bester 500, a 1k, a 6k and a diamond plate for flattening.  In a 1k, 2k, 5k progression the 2k is redundant.  Get the Mac 10" steel the to keep your cutting edges in line.  Use cardboard and news paper for stropping - it's free. 

post #9 of 9
As a Chocera user — I've got 400, 800, 2k (and then non-Chocera from there), I'd say it depends a good deal on what you're sharpening. If you are trying to learn to sharpen big single-bevels, Chocera is a great place to be, because you need huge feedback to learn effectively, but you also need something that will cut fast and not dish quickly. For double-bevels, I don't think you gain all that much from the extra bucks. I would go with something cheaper but equally great, like the various stones suggested already.

Once you wear though whatever you've got, it becomes a different ball game. Chocera is very hard, which is not ideal for really shapely single bevels. For double bevels, it would depend what you like. But on the whole, once you have good skills, soft and muddy is best.

Hope that is some use to someone!
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