I've only recently started sharpening with water stones (Suehiro 1000/6000 combination stone) -- my total experience is very little, but I'm willing to put in time to practice. I don't have to have instant results with whatever I move forward with, but do want my cooking knives (Shun elite gyuto, Wustof classic chef's and boning and paring. Probably a Sakai Yusuke in my near future.)
I started trying to sharpen these with a combination oilstone and had average / not so hot results. I probably spent 5 or 6 hours in that arena, then was persuaded to try a 1000/6000 combination stone. I'm having much better results and am pretty happy already with the edges I'm getting. I've probably spent 6 hours sharpening using the combination stone (and have sharpening anything in the house with an edge not bolted down...)
However, being the obsessive that I am (and who among you will cast that first stone?) I admit to wanting a scarier, sharper edge. I would like an edge that can chill my guts from just my mere glancing at the knife. Across the room. That scary.
I realize I am probably mostly limited in this goal by practice at this point. OK, I will continue practicing.
However, in addition:
Do I need a stone between 1k and 6k? I see a lot of 1k, 3/4k, 6k or 1k, 2k, 5k progressions...Would this give me a sharper edge?
I also hear that some stones (blue aoto 2-3k) are not appropriate for sharpening Western knifes. Can somebody enlighten me why this is (or isn't) the case? Are there stones that would or would not do well for sharpening some Japanese, and some Western?
Should I instead consider adding something finer like a finer finishing stone or a strop?
P.S. Also finding that the fine edge on my Shun is very quickly -- like < 1 week -- losing its scary sharpness. I confess to be using a edge-grain bamboo cutting board. Looking for something softer as we speak. But perhaps another area to investigate. Somewhat an aside...