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knife dilemma....what would you do?

Poll Results: 7 piece shun set for 150 bucks? what would you do?

This is a multiple choice poll
  • 84% of voters (11)
    Sell it
  • 0% of voters (0)
    sell some of the knives/pieces so you have a few knives for free
  • 0% of voters (0)
    keep it for the gf/wife/partner who doesn't care at all about your knife obsession so they don't mess up the knives you actually care about
  • 7% of voters (1)
    sell everything except the chef's knife and buy a sharpening system
  • 7% of voters (1)
13 Total Votes  
post #1 of 29
Thread Starter 

I am tackling a topic that I see a lot in here by presenting a dilemma.


I'm ready for the scoffs.  I'm a newbie. discovered this forum a month ago.  Trying to find my way, get amazing knives, learn how to sharpen, oil my cutting board and all of that sweet dream stuff.  


Well, I bought a shun ken onion knife set.  8 in chefs, 9 in bread, 5 in serrated, 3 in pairing (plus block, hone, and scissors).  gasp. the horror. etc. etc.


This one:


So everyone on here talks about shuns and how they are good knives but way overpriced and that they would never buy one because there is so much better stuff out there.  And then shun exits the conversation.  I know that this knife set is not worth anything close to $750. is the kicker. I paid 150 bucks for this set, and it was new in the box, I opened the shrink wrap on it.



So...the dilemma.  What would YOU do with it if you had the ability to purchase this shun set for $150?


In my case, I own no other knives worth mentioning and I also will be deciding on what stone set/edge pro/etc to buy to sharpen with in the very near future.  And I'm a broke student.  So you can really get creative, or just vote in the poll below, whatever you like

post #2 of 29

Keep them and use them.   


They aren't bad knives you got a deal.





"Plus, this method makes you look like a complete lunatic. If you care about that sort of thing".  - Dave Arnold





"Plus, this method makes you look like a complete lunatic. If you care about that sort of thing".  - Dave Arnold


post #3 of 29

The price was right, anyway! On first thought, I'd say you might want to keep the paring, the shears, and the bread knife and sell the rest. Those are the only pieces I'd find a particular use for. The honing rod is very coarse, I hear. The chef knife has a weird profile- lots of belly. Good if you mostly rock chop, not so good for other stuff, because you don't get much blade contact with the board.  Also, the chef knife is shorter than you might like.


So, you could cherry pick. But, you'd probably get more money if you sold the thing as a set (and probably more still if you hadn't broke the shrink wrap!), so that would be my suggestion. 


Then take the proceeds and buy an entry-level gyuto or Chinese slicing cleaver, a petty, and a mid-range waterstone. And a wood cutting board if you are using anything else.


I'd go with a CCK 1303 cleaver, a Tojiro FKM 150mm petty, and a Bester 1200 or Naniwa Green Brick 2k, myself, but I'm cleaver guy. 

post #4 of 29

I've run into a lot of different opinions on these knives. Either people absolutely LOVE it and swear by it, and recommend that everyone have one, or they hate it and want nothing to do with the design. If you like the feel of the set as a whole, keep it. If not, I'd sell it. Especially since Shun discontinued the Ken Onion line completely. People are going to be looking for these knives when all of the retailers run out of their stock. Might be a good turnover since you purchased it for $150.

post #5 of 29

i'd buy a set and sell it somewhere else then buy better knives from the money that i made from the knife set.



post #6 of 29

You're in a no-lose situation, but first consider if the profile and design are right for you and how much use you'll get out of each knife.  Then make a decision.


I'm not a fan of the Ken Onion Shuns because of their profile, huge bolster (interferes with sharpening, pinch grip and cutting some foods) and overall design of the high-angled handle. The VG-10 steel is okay but there are better steels out there that sharpen easier. The Shun name and damascus pattern will make it easier to sell. They're well made knives and for the $150 you paid the "overpriced" complaint is moot.


3-inch paring knife is in a lot of knife kits

5-inch serrated utility knife is not a commonly used knife

8-inch chef's knife: A lot of people prefer a larger blade, but a chef's is essential. I really dislike the huge belly on the Onion's.

9-inch multi-purpose bread knife: Looks fine with scalloped as opposed to serrated edge

honing steel is a distant second choice to a good water stone. It's possible this particular one is incapable of honing  a Rockwell 60-61 blade.

kitchen shears and bamboo storage block no comment.


IMO a good 150-180mm petty, 240 gyuto/chefs and a 270-300 slicer will take care of close to 100% of your kitchen knife needs. 


If it were me, I'd sell it at a profit and use the money to buy knives that didn't have the drawbacks of the Onion Shuns.

post #7 of 29

I'll echo the other comments here but with a huge caveat to be addressed in a second. I, too, would sell them and get more functional choices. You could probably sell it for $400 - $500 or maybe only about $300, depending on if you find the right buyer, but it's up there somewhere. 


For that, you can get a top quality 240 for ~$150'ish...? Get a Forschner 10" bread for $30, paring for under $10, an Artifex petty for $50 (I use my petty a lot, even if you don't "need" it), and you can probably skip on a Suji for now. Throw in an Idahone for ~$30'ish. Great set for under $300 and then you'll have to make your sharpening decision as well. 


Now, for the caveat - some really high level chefs use the Ken Onions just fine (one that I know personally and one who seems to be popular on youtube and seems to do well as a chef - Jacob Burton over at So, it's clearly a functional knife, but it's not to my tastes for design. A friend has one and it seems neat wouldn't really want to use it all the time.  The point being that it's less about the knife and more about what you do with it. 

post #8 of 29

i'd get a couple sharpening stones along with the knives after the sale.



post #9 of 29
Thread Starter 

So, it was an amazing deal, but I think it is going to depend on how much I can actually sell them for.  - I had to open the shrink wrap, I bought it in person and was a bit skeptical.


I think the main reason I am so torn is because each knife is a little out of place.  The chef's knife is too small (not sure about whether I like the belly/curve/handle - haven't used it yet).  The serrated utility seems fairly useless.  the paring and bread knife are fine but are way more expensive than those knives need to be. 


If all I can get is $300 for this set (which seems a bit low to me), I will most likely keep it and add to it, as I feel like all I would do is trade in 4 good knives for 2 great knives that aren't really prohibitively expensive in their own right.  At that price, I would rather use it for a while and see how I like them and if I truly don't like them, sell them used down the road for probably close to that much anyway.  


If I can get around $500 for it, then I feel like it is worth selling it as I could get a sharpening setup and a couple excellent starter knives and still probably make back the $150 I spent on it.


All of this could be a waste of time, however, if the gf steps in and forces me to keep them....they can be the "nice" pretty knives that make her happy and I can let them get dull so she doesn't slice her fingers off.  at the end of the day its only 150 bucks.


Thanks for the input.  I'll let you know what I do, and I'll be bugging everyone about sharpening setups soon 

post #10 of 29

good luck.


auctioning it off on ebay for a minimum of $200 then let it just go wild and i bet you'll get a bunch of buyers for them i bet.


that's what i would do, i bet you'd end up selling it right up to full price if you're patient enough.

post #11 of 29

As a general rule of tool purchases: 

You regret spending for something you want until the next paycheck; but regret saving on something you don't want for as long as you own it.   


Your best course of action really depends on what sort of knives you want to use for the next few years. 


Kitchen knives are neither a purely economic nor aesthetic proposition.  Rather, they're a mix.  It doesn't make sense to me to hold on to knives you don't actually want because you can't replace them -- at no cost -- for knives you do want.  If you want the Shuns keep them, otherwise sell them for what you can get and move on to knives which better suit you.


Nothing is horribly wrong with the Ken Onion Shuns, and a lot of things are very right.  For instance, they're light, take a good edge, hold it well, made to a very high standard of fit and finish, they're very pretty (if you like the "Damascus" look) and have some ergonomic advantages for people who don't use a pinch grip.  And, as the KnifeMerchant says, some people absolutely love them. 


On the other hand (there's always another hand, isn't there?) like all VG-10 Shuns they tend to be chippy, shouldn't be maintained on a steel, the pattern scratches easily and subsequently fades, the handle is awkward if you use anything which approaches a normal grip, the Shun chef's knife profile is an exaggerated German (which is also awkward if you don't want to "rock chop" through your entire work load), etc.


I don't like them, but (a) that's me; and (b) I strongly urge you to make up your own mind rather than copying me if you think I know anything special -- because I don't. 


If you decide to get a clean start, start by thinking about how you're going to sharpen.  If you're not going to use one of the two or three "best" methods, you might want to keep your knife prices down since you won't be getting their real benefit anyway.  By way of orientation in the price universe:  You can get a pretty damn good 10" chef's/gyuto for under $100, and sharpen it adequately for another $100.   Unsurprisingly, better costs more. 


Once you have some idea of what general types of knives do want, how you're going to sharpen, and how much money you're going to spend now, whether you want a complete (or nearly complete) kit immediately, we can start thinking about particular knives. 



Edited by boar_d_laze - 2/11/13 at 9:32am
post #12 of 29
Thread Starter 

BDL - sharpening is still at the forefront for me.  I had no intention of buying a knife before a sharpening system, but the deal could not be passed up.


I was going to start another thread about my sharpening questions, but since I have everyone's attention...


for your sting of questions, It is looking like an immediate purchase of a forschner followed by a $100-150 chef/gyuto in about a year (I'm the one worried about knives with my current roommate).  how am I going to sharpen (properly i hope?)  Budget - will consider anything but it seems I won't need to go above 150-200 to get a very good beginner set, which is fine.  Unsure of how many stones I need/which stones I should pick?


Deputy had brought up the merits of getting an edge pro instead of getting stones, which kinda makes me want to either A. get a cheaper combo stone to try out first or B. get an edge pro.  


what are the pros/cons of a combo stone like this one?


Also seriously considering:

buying the 5 piece starter set on cktg (bester 500/beston 1200 /sanyo 6000)

piecing together a set and starting with 2 stones

edge pro


how long would these last me?


Also, would it be worthwhile picking up some used stones to pratice sharpening on first?


Lastly - I have an old, but never used set of 440 steel knives that was going to be my practice knives.  Is that necessary/a good idea? Is the steel too poor to learn with?



post #13 of 29
Originally Posted by mike87 View Post

. . . what are the pros/cons of a combo stone like this one?


I'd be interested in the answer to this, as well as:

post #14 of 29

As always, BDL and I agree and disagree perfectly.


1) I like combination stones for new sharpeners. I have not used the Imanishi stones, but I can say that the considerably cheaper King 1k/6k is a terrific place to begin. It is reasonably fast, soaks smoothly, and has a huge amount of feedback (which means that you can feel what you're doing). It also flattens easily, which helps a good deal. It is pretty much squarely between the soft and hard, perhaps a hair on the soft side, so that you can learn what you like. A 6k edge from this stone is pretty much a wow unless and until you have very good steel -- preferably great carbon -- and a very fine polishing stone along with a good deal of technique.


2) How long will this last you? Depends how often you use it, and for what, obviously. But I think that even if you sharpen a lot, as a home cook and sharpener, your interest in sharpening will probably shift before the stone is dead: either you will give it up as a much less fun thing than you'd hoped, or else you'll decide you need something fancier. And if not -- if you stick with it and find the King what you want -- you will, by the time you've worn it out, know a heck of a lot about sharpening and about what works for you.


3) Since sharpening matters to you, you should have an anchor knife that will reward your efforts. I generally encourage carbon, but I defer to BDL in the matter of brands, styles, and whatnot -- also types of steel -- because he knows WAY more than I do about those things. I know what I like, but that's about it.


4) I would focus on the chef's knife or gyuto. Pick up a cheap paring knife and don't worry about it. Same with a bread knife. You won't at this point need anything else if the gyuto is good.


5) In my opinion, your best bet is to sell the Shun set for what you can get. I bet you can get $300+, probably more, and in my view that's $150+ in your pocket. That right there is enough for a darn good gyuto and the King combi stone. I would not break up the set: frankly, bread knives are much of a muchness unless you get very perfectionist about it, and at this point your budget should not be oriented toward perfection. Cheap paring knives are what they are, and they're VERY cheap.


In fact, I'd go so far as to say this: if you dig around in your drawers, or at the odd yard sale or whatever, I bet you can get a King 1k/6k combi stone, a functional bread knife, and a functional paring knife for $50-$60 total. If you sell the Shuns for $300, that's $100 profit for the gyuto. If you sell them for $550, that's $350 profit for the gyuto. And in that case, I would buy a $350 gyuto (try Masamoto KS wa-gyuto, sez I). For me, it's all about that one knife around which you build a collection. If you funnel all your profits into that, provided you have a half-decent stone (and Kings are a lot better than half-decent), you will never regret it.

post #15 of 29
Thread Starter 

So how would the king stone (CKTG has an 800/6000 - same difference as the 1k/6k?) hold up to the 5 piece set from cktg (almost $100 more)?


Perhaps to help guide your advice- 


I feel like having a set with good feedback is very important to help me learn.  I am also open to knife options that would be excellent "learning" knives, even if they will shortly outgrow their use or would otherwise be a poor fit for me (like a carbon knife) - perhaps I can find them on ebay/craigslist used or turn them around without too much loss to another novice sharpener/friend


Easy to flatten seems less important to me.  Doesn't seem too tough to me, but perhaps i am incorrect and arrogant. 


If the king stone is sufficient for at least the next 3 years (and lasts that long) - aka when I am out of medical school and money is less of a concern, then I would need to see a real reason to step up almost another 100 bucks to get an extra stone I might not really know how to use.


Big question to help me decide between the two - benefits to me of having the extra coarse stone?  I always see on here that its good for "reprofiling" etc.  Don't think I will be getting into that too quickly.  After all, I will only be sharpening one or two knives - so I feel like this stone is only gonna come out a handful of times a year (4-6?) - so I doubt i will be reprofiling anything until I'm somewhat competent at sharpening, which I have to imagine takes at least a dozen or so swings at the rock, if not more? Which means the king could last me two or three years (thus serving its sharpening purpose at about 15-20 bucks/year) and then I could step up - maybe by then I would be discarding the 5 piece set for something better anyway?



Edited by mike87 - 2/14/13 at 10:26am
post #16 of 29

for a combo stone it will last long enough. general maintenance sharpening will work well with the 800/6000.


but eventually you'll need to get a low grit stone. but it will do with what you have.


start with the combo stone and decide from there.

post #17 of 29

There are other alternatives besides CKtG's eight piece set and a combi stone. 


The eight piece set came out of a conversation between me and Mark (the guy who owns CKtG) about a sharpening kit which was both high enough quality to last beyond the beginner stage and was "soup to nuts" to the point of "just and add water."  As it stands the set includes some things I think are unnecessary, like a loupe, but wotthehell wotthehell others might find them crucial.   


If you're attracted to the ideas of "high enough quality" and "soup to nuts," want them both at price which represents serious bang for the buck, you should seriously consider the kit. Otherwise, not. 


Re-profiling isn't an "official" sharpening term, as far as I can recall it's a "BDL" term, but I may have picked it up from someone else.  Quien sabe?  It includes several sharpening activities, one of which is "thinning."  Thinning is something you should do as a routine part of sharpening, every three to five times (or so) you use your medium-coarse stone because bevel angles tend to become more obtuse after several sharpenings.  For most home cooks thinning won't be needed more than two or three times a year. 


Is it worth having a $50 coarse stone sitting around in your kit?  I think so.  Is it worth $100?  Not when you can get a really good coarse stone for $50.  If the only value you see in the eight piece kit is the extra stone, buy a stand alone coarse stone when you need it.


You may not think so now, but flattening is a HUGE pain.  One of the drawbacks of King "clay binder" stones is that they dish very quickly and need lots of flattening.  Combination stones need to be flattened twice as frequently as stand alone stones because you can only use one side.  So, King combi stones are in the way of being a PITA.  There are other issues with them as well, its smaller size is one.  But no stone is perfect and the King combi is certainly adequate. 


Let me be clear.  At this stage I'm not recommending anything in particular -- just trying to help you understand some of the differences in the options you raised. 


Hope this helps,


post #18 of 29

yes, me hates flattening as well. feels like a huge waste of stone, but at my current level of skill. flattening is essential.


murray carter can maximize a stone without need for flattening, but then again he's a master blade smith and i am just but a cook. lol.

post #19 of 29
Thread Starter 

BDL - you mention the 8 piece kit ? do you mean five piece or is there a larger kit you're talking about.


I'm a little unsure of what I would get if I don't do an edge pro, 5 piece set or combo stone?  Would a set I put together by myself look any different, seeing as I wouldn't want to spend an unlimited amount on it? (I'm guessing no...?)  Right now I am leaning towards the kit (as it seems the stones are better and I will end up buying that coarse stone eventually), unless i feel that I will ditch the kit for something better within 3-5 years, in which case I would go with the combo.


Deputy - you brought up the edge pro in another post - curious about more of your thoughts on all of this, you mentioned how much easier the edge pro is to use.  Do you think the time issue is as big of a deal if I'm only sharpening one knife for the near future? What else would that entail or is it basically ready to go out of the box?  I would probably get the combo stone to try first before the EP just because it is so much cheaper, and I feel like I could recoup most of my money if I decide I never want to use it again. 




As for the knife - either I learn how to sharpen with the 440 steel knife I have right now and then buy a 100-150 gyuto/chefs fairly soon or I buy a forschner now and then upgrade to a nice chefs/gyuto in the not so distant future (year or so from now)


Anyone who knows a lot about 440 steel - OK for learning on?? I don't care if I have to sharpen it more frequently, it will just serve a purpose of being a practice knife.  Just wondering if it can take an edge and isn't too hard to sharpen?  My guess is that it will take an edge and won't be too hard to sharpen it will just lose that edge very quickly.  Is that correct for 440 steel?  Which means I will get a lot of practice keeping it sharp for the next few months.  I figure once I can put an edge on it I will be comfortable buying a $100+ knife that can be the foundation of my collection.  I definitely want to understand how much of a commitment sharpening is before I weight the pros and cons of expensive knives, as I see "ability to take an edge" and "ability to keep an edge" are common themes in knife sharpening and I want to have an understanding of how to weigh frequency of sharpening with my new knife purchase.



post #20 of 29

The eight piece kit IS the five piece kit with the addition of a stone holder, a sharpie, and a flattening plate.  Mark and I were talking and I told him that I thought the magnifying loupe he had in the five piece set was unnecessary but that a flattener was an absolute necessity and that he might as well as throw in a sharpie for the magic marker trick because new sharpeners always wanted to know if they had one.  Next thing you know... Eight Piece Kit.  I don't know where to find it on the CKtG site, but Mark will tell you if I ask.  


I can't speak for Deputy, but its significantly easier to learn how to use an EP than to freehand on stones which also means a much shorter time until you get good results.  In your case the biggest drawback of the EP vis a vis bench stones is cost of entry.  There are some other limitations, but they're relatively minor and might not affect you at all. 


Some 440 knives can be very difficult to sharpen because some 440s can be extremely soft and tough.  It depends on the individual knife. 



post #21 of 29
Thread Starter 

Gotcha.  I couldn't find it - It doesn't show up unless you look at bester stones.


I think the 8 piece is nice, but a little overkill for me - I would go cheaper on the holder/flattening methods right now, and the 8 piece isn't any extra deal over the 5 piece if I decide to buy that stuff later on.


The edge pro is only $165 - so in between the 5 and 8 piece sets in price.   I imagine there are some other goodies that go along with it but probably not more than 200


Advantages of the EP to me:

I actually view it as the cheapest option (seems I could sell it secondhand for a decent amount if I move on to real stones, so its a very low risk investment)

I could upgrade to nice stones like chosera EP stones for <100 bucks

and I can add stones of different grits and qualities for very cheap, so it seems like an idea system to learn and grow with.  I won't be owning more than a few knives worth sharpening over the next five years, so being able to purchase small stones at the exact grit and quality I want will make it easier to test drive everything, even if I eventually settle down with a regular set of stones


Disadvantages/Questions - help me out here:

Is there some sort of functional limit with the edge pro?

will the EP be my "crutch" that I won't want to give up? (Am I trading easy access to beginner sharpening for harder access into advanced sharpening?)

How long do the stones last? (I know they are cheap relatively but obviously more $ per amount of stone) - again, I only will be sharpening one or two knives on a regular basis for the next few years.


As for stones - I'm not terribly concerned with the technical aspect of sharpening - my dad had tools in my hands before I could walk.  I'm meticulous and patient.  I'm not claiming my first time on the stones will be magic, but I have literally zero concern that I will be able to put a really good edge on a knife with enough practice


I wasn't really leaning towards the EP when I started writing this post but I now that I've laid it all out I think it is a pretty good option.  Still having a hard time seeing the differences besides cost and initial ease.  Everyone seems to get very politically correct when they talk stones vs EP to not offend the people who made the other choice.....


Thanks for the help

post #22 of 29

All you need to start with water stones is a medium-coarse and a medium-fine surface, a way to flatten and a felt tip pen for the "Magic Marker" trick. 


You will eventually need a coarse stone, but shouldn't even think about using it until you can hold an angle well enough to sharpen consistently with the medium-fine.  You may at some point want a very fine or ultra-fine stone for polishing; but at the present time you have neither the knives, the skills, nor the need. 


You can save a little bit of money by buying a combination stone instead of good, separate stones; but at the end of the day it's probably going to be a false economy.


CKtG's inexpensive diamond plate for flattening is one of the best deals in sharpening, at about $25.  Anything cheaper is slower and not as good.  If you much go cheaper your best choices are dry wall screen or an inexpensive ceramic block.  Of those two, I recommend screen.


You don't need a felt block for deburring, a loupe, a stone holder, or anything other than those few things I already mentioned.  That doesn't mean they aren't nice to have.  For the very little it's worth, I don't use a stone holder or a loupe.  Both of those will make your life easier, but... up to you.   


I've been freehand sharpening for fifty years.  I started playing around with the EP five or six years ago.  Because I write so much about sharpening and like to "practice what I preach," I bought one three years ago to confirm my opinions.  Opinions confirmed.  I like it, but more for other people than for myself. 


If you can afford an EP or the equally good Wicked Edge -- along with appropriate stones -- and don't have a specific interest in developing freehand skills, it doesn't make much sense to learn to freehand.  In other words:  Yes.  They're both that good. 


It's worth it to start with better stones than those provided in the EP Kit 1, mostly because EP products have such lousy "feel."   FWIW, I have the Custom Chosera Set.   


I'm not sure what you mean by a "functional limit" regarding the EP.  But...

  • Compared to bench and slip stones it lacks some versatility in terms of sharpening unusual shapes;
  • The universe of bench stone choices is practically infinite, but there are only a few OEM stones for the EP;
  • The EP Pro is a better and more solid unit than the EP Apex, however you should know that the Apex is not truly limited to 15* or more obtuse.  With simple shims you can sharpen very acute angles if you have a mind.  Using something like the "angle cube" and the stop-collet, you can sharpen very precise angles -- far more precise than anything you can do freehand, even using clamps or other guides;
  • While the EP is very easy to learn, you do get better with practice as your coordination and understanding of the process improve.  By and large, the lighter your touch the better you'll sharpen.  


In addition to the EP I have a complete water stone, oil stone, and stropping kits, as well as two different sharpening steels.  I'm not married to any of them, and am too blunt to lie about something I don't like.  I have no stake at all in what you buy, and find no validation if you select the same things I did.  My interest is in helping you develop an intellectual framework to make good choices confidently, and to develop the technical skills to enjoy using your knives.



post #23 of 29

My experience of cheap (various stamped blades) and expensive (Randal Bowie) 440 knives, which I used for decades and still have some in service, is that the softer waterstones don't do a great job finishing them and I have gotten better results with a 1k diamond stone (not ideal) than a 6k soft waterstone.  Arkansas stones are really ideal here, and that even goes for a the harder but not that slick German stainless.


That being said, I feel they work ok in terms of metal removal, you would just need a good stone for finishing, but then again you are using them for practice so the matter is not so relavent.



post #24 of 29
Thread Starter 

Did a lot more poking around for the EP.  I realized mid-writing that last post that the EP probably is the best choice for me.


BDL - I am drawn to the stones for some reason.  Long term, they seem to be the best choice for flexibility, simplicity, cost-effectiveness.  But I feel like the edge pro will let me experiment a lot more and try out more stones in the near future, so I'm leaning towards that as I am really unsure as to what my knife collection will look like in a few years.  However, as the cost of the EP rises, freehanding becomes more and more appealing.  If the whole EP setup rises above about 250, then I will probably lean towards freehanding.


Didn't understand how much of a difference there was between the chosera stones and the EP stones.  I thought I would be able to just get up and go with the EP stones to start out with.  I'll give them a go if I get it anyway, but I imagine I will piece a chosera set together over the next few years (since there isn't a discount to buy the choseras in a set)



Some more questions:


How many sharpenings does an EP stone or chosera EP stone typically last people? My assumption is extra thick stones are the way to go?


How many (and which) choseras would I want to start out with? - I'm assuming two is fine, but let me know if it isn't - Should I duplicate or compliment the two stones that the EP comes with (the EP 220 and 400)?  


Has anyone bought the 5 or 8 piece set of chosera and found there were some you really didn't use? 

post #25 of 29
Thread Starter 

Thanks rick - definitely not gonna buy a stone for a knife I spent $2 on.  We'll see how it goes, might PM you once I get a sharpener if I'm having issues with it

post #26 of 29

I haven't used an EP or other similar setup, but I do have a bunch of Chocera bench stones.


The advantage of Chocera is that they are fast, don't dish much, and they provide a great deal of very subtle feedback. If you are freehanding, feedback is where you live; my sense is that it matters a bit less with a jig setup. The down sides are that they are expensive and very hard, actually designed for chisels and other woodworking tools. Soft stones are better for kitchen knives, on the whole, but in my experience this mostly matters when polishing, i.e. when working at grits much above 2k.


For what it's worth, I use Chocera 400 (fixing things), 800 (setting up), 2000 (sharpening proper), then an unknown-maker synthetic Arashiyama 6k that is very soft and muddy if soaked long enough, and a Naniwa SuperStone 10k, which is also soft but rather less muddy. With this setup, I can take my usuba (irritating to sharpen, thus my principal example here) down to fix problems, work straight up by grits, and conclude with a big flat bevel that is mirror-like and scarily sharp. It doesn't take all that long, even with the heavy grinding, and the 800 and 2000 are aggressive enough to get rid of the 400 scratches pretty quickly so I can work on the edge. The 2k edge is excellent by itself, and the 6k and 10k polish it to a level of refinement I enjoy in a knife like this.


You should get a lot of use out of Chocera stones, but I'm not convinced they're the best option. Most particularly, I think that for polishing, you should use a softer stone.

post #27 of 29
Originally Posted by mike87 View Post

Thanks rick - definitely not gonna buy a stone for a knife I spent $2 on.  We'll see how it goes, might PM you once I get a sharpener if I'm having issues with it


BDL is the resident expert here, I was just saving him some words.  Choseras and the like are worth the money, but if anyone nows of a combi that comes close to the better stones it would be nice to know.



post #28 of 29

Like others I'd sell the set and use the profits for a better set up. A 240mm Gyuto and 120mm pairing alone can take you a long ways. There's nothing wrong with a single combi-stone to start and it's cost effective as well. Not sure why every one has such an issue with flattening stones. It only takes a few minutes. Two sided stones do not take any longer to flatten than two separte stones of the same grit. The "starter" kits are not the best value IMO irrespective of weather you but one from Dave Martell or Mark because they both contain very coarse stones that IMO any new sharpener should stay away from, at least until they gain some experience.

I rarely see the need for any thing coarser than the 1k Chosera I have. probably 95+% of the time I'm using a 5K SS and a kitayama.

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 #29 of 29
Originally Posted by mike87 View Post

Deputy - you brought up the edge pro in another post - curious about more of your thoughts on all of this, you mentioned how much easier the edge pro is to use.  Do you think the time issue is as big of a deal if I'm only sharpening one knife for the near future? What else would that entail or is it basically ready to go out of the box?  I would probably get the combo stone to try first before the EP just because it is so much cheaper, and I feel like I could recoup most of my money if I decide I never want to use it again. 




Sorry, didn't see this earlier. 


My thoughts are based on my own experience and time commitment available. Most will tell you that your initial attempts at freehanding will be....relatively unproductive, at best. Over time, it's a skill that you develop. Like you, I thought that I would go with stones because I like learning new stuff and they seemed versatile (I got a three stone Chosera kit from Paul's Finest - 400, 1000, 5000). It turns out that for me and my available time and desire for instant success for something as important as having a sharp knife (as I don't have a lot of time to "redo" things when I don't do it well the first time), freehanding turned out to be more trouble than it was worth to be good at it. I never MADE the time to get good at it so I can't comment on how much success you'll have.


 For the EP, the first time I tried worked. It wasn't perfect, but the knife was sharper than when I started and that was an important step that differed from most of my freehanding attempts. I have the EP Chosera kit. 


If I remember correctly, you're a med student. I'm not in any position to tell you what will work for you when you get busy, but I know that I am busy (I'm a young lawyer about 5 years into my own practice) and that spending time trying to sharpen my knives when I'd rather be spending time successfully sharpening my knives wasn't a productive use of my time. So I bought the EP. 


I'm not particularly "tool oriented" and my only hand-eye coordination comes from golf and video games, so it's not like I had any expectations of being good at it - I just thought I'd be better at it sooner than I was. I probably only tried very hard about 4 times, which, for me, wasn't enough. Your mileage may vary, as they say. 


Either way, good luck. 

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