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need advice on sharping stones

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 

I am new new at sharpening with whetstones but am practicing daily. My results are still erratic but at times I can shave my beard and others I just don't do so well. Currently I have a Bester 1200 and a Suero-Toishi 5000. Practice will help me with keeping my angle steady. So is there something else that else help me get a sharper edge and one that has a straighter angle?

post #2 of 7

what are you sharpening? =D


you'd wanna consider a coarse grit stone for bevel resetting and a flattening plate of some sort. 

post #3 of 7
Thread Starter 

Currently I am using seven Wursthofs classic knives and two Japanese petty knives these being Hiromoto Aogami Super Petty 120mm & a TOJIRO DP Cobalt Petty Knife 150mm plus various and sundry knives of unknown origin.  As a flattener I am using a aluminum plate with sheet rock fiber 220 sander. Since none of my knives are chipped or otherwise in ill repair I thought I would wait on getting a new course stone.  In the meantime, I have several old Arkansas stones should the need arise. So far, the Hiromoto is the most impressive as far as the sharpness and ability to retain an edge.  As far as stones go I was thinking a superfine grit might be my next move.  But I am open to suggestions which is what I was seeking with my original post.

post #4 of 7

a coarse stone, 320-500 for resetting the bevel


a 2k for your wusthofs/euro knives for finishing


a straighter angle? practicing on lots of lots of knives is the only way. lol.


a 5k finish is the best and most versatile finishing stone for j-knives.


you could add like a strop for doing deburring and refining/truing the edges. 



post #5 of 7

There's a bit of an information and translation problem with your question.  Toishi means "sharpening stone," in Japanese; and any Japanese whetstone could be called toishi.  There is no company called Suero.  So, Suero-Toishi isn't telling us what you think it should. 


[Normally I'd reckon that Suero was a typo and wouldn't correct your spelling but the "h" is an important part of the name as its pronounced and you might as well get it right -- just in case the error wasn't a typo.  If it was, please forgive me.]


Because you have a Bester 1200, it's fair to do some reading between the lines and guess the Suero-Toishi is actually a Suehiro Rika.  One of the interesting things about a Suehiro Rika is that it can function as a 3K or a 5K or anywhere in between, depending on how completely you break down the mud once you've raised it.  You can take your Tojiro and Hiromoto up to 5K if you want, while the fresh, 3K mud will be right for most of your knives. 


Assuming your "Suero-Toishi" is actually a Suehiro Rika, and assuming you can sharpen a consistently good edge, the next step is a coarse stone for occasional thinning back to whatever angles you find appropriate after repeated sharpening renders them increasingly obtuse (what I think Franz means by "resetting the bevel"); and repair.  I use a Beston 500 as my coarse stone.  At $50, it's not cheap, but its performance makes it something of a value as coarse stones go.  Try to bear in mind -- with the exception of the $75 Gesshin 400 -- all coarse stones suck. 


Considering that you'll only use your coarse stone a few times a year... is any coarse stone worth $75?  IMO, even the Beston is something of a stretch. 


Please take grit numbers with an enormous grain of salt.  Not all 5K stones are coarser than 6K stones; a 150# won't necessarily be faster than a #500; some fairly coarse stones can "reach" fairly fine stones without an intermediate stone, depending on the particular stones; etc., etc.  In other words, it depends on the particular stone. 


More to the point, you won't get a better edge for anything in your arsenal by following your Bester 1200 with any nominal 2K on the market.  Furthermore, with a couple of notable exceptions, e.g., Chosera and Gesshin a Bester 1200 edge is as fine as almost any 2K synthetic, considerably faster, and considerably more efficient at polishing out coarse-stone scratch.   


It's not worth taking either of your petty knives to a finer polish than a Rika (if indeed a Rika it is ) will give you if you're pushing the Rika as far as it can go, because petty knife edges take so much abuse and lose their polish very quickly. 


However, they're your knives and you can take them to whatever level of polish you like.  And, if it matters, my recommendation was "do as I say," and not "do as I do" as I frequently take my knives to very high and very transient levels of polish.  Because I can. 


Strops are as good as stones when it comes to maximizing polishing.  Either way, the best choices are expensive.  The best choice for your kit as a follow up to the Rika will depend on budget.  Assuming you don't want to go over $100 for a stone, your best bets are the Naniwa Pure White 8K, the Kitayama 8K, or homemade, hard-backed strops charged with either CBN or Diamond stropping slurries. 


Hope this helps,


Edited by boar_d_laze - 3/23/13 at 10:24am
post #6 of 7
Originally Posted by boar_d_laze View Post
.  Try to bear in mind -- with the exception of the $75 Gesshin 400 -- all coarse stones suck. 


Hope this helps,


I'd put an exception on the Gesshin 220 also BDL. Been using one about 6 months and it is similar in feel and about on par with the Gesshin 400 in other traits but wears a bit faster and is a huge stone.



post #7 of 7
Thread Starter 

Thank you all for suggestions and your information.  And indeed, the 5000 grit stone is a Suehiro Rika.  All and all what I have gathered is that in time I will require a coarse stone such as the Beston and some method of polishing.  I guess I was getting a bit impatient and for now need to continue with my 30 to 45 min. a day practice on the various knives I have.  Currently my most pressing need is a good cutting board and I will inquire about it in a separate post.  Also, if anyone knows of a site that has instructions for making a homemade strop I would be grateful for the URL. Once more thanks all.

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