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Going to Jump Into the World of Sharpening with a Combo Stone

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 

So much out there it's really overwhelming and I know there are so many threads and videos and articles and forums dedicated to this but humor me just for a minute if you don't mind haha...


So I've been meaning to pick up some stones for the longest and I'm going to sometime this week, sooner better then later. I have a very limited budget for now because I have recently been rebuilding my kitchen tools collection and spent some money on some knives I needed and one I didn't.


I was looking at the King 1000/6000 combo stone.


First question is more just asking anyone's opinion on that specific stone.


Second would be is there a different stone you'd recommend instead of it in the same price range? I've found it online very cheap, like $40 cheap so I'm trying to stay at $50 or below. I don't want to go a dime higher then that right now. I fully plan on eventually getting a really nice set of stones, whether literally a set or just picking up 3 or 4 stones individually to form my own set and will spend up to maybe $300 to $400 total for that, but I won't be doing that til at least Christmas and it will likely be a gradual process starting then and completed by late next summer, so if you don't mind, please no suggestions of "just get the good stuff now", currently it just isn't an option.


Third would be what else will I need? A strop maybe? A stand? Probably a small cheap bucket? This is another reason I want to stay at or below $50, I figure there will be another $30 to $70 of stuff to purchase.


So just as some initial background I have zero sharpening experience. I had a friend who lived close who sharpened and fixed my knives a couple times in the past who isn't local anymore.


I do already have an Idahone 12 inch ceramic rod that I use on all my knives to keep them as true as possible.



My knife collection is nothing spectacular.


As of now it's the following:


Tojiro Gyuto DP 240

Shun Classic 6 inch Chef's Knife

Global GS-38 3.5 inch Paring Knife

Richmond Artifex Wa-Gyuto 240 currently on the way.

Chicago Cutlery Walnut Tradition Bread Knife

4 knife set of some crappy Wolfgang Puck block set knives to practice on, probably 8 or 9 years old.

A pretty decent, thick bamboo end grain cutting board that I keep reasonably well oiled.



Planned additions in the coming year:


Mid-range boning knife

New kitchen shears to replace the 30 year old hand me down hot garbage I currently employ. Probably will go with the Richmond's.

$150 to $250 Gyuto and a much nicer cutting block, cause I just can't help myself. But not til I, A) get my sharpening skills to a respectable level and B) pickup a ton of other kitchen tools and the other 2 cutlery items above.



Any help, information and opinion would be much appreciated. For reference I am no longer a line cook or even employed in the restaurant industry as of now, this is all for home cooking, but I do cook at least 4 times a week and a wide array of foods and do some small catering jobs a few times a year.



Thanks in advance.

post #2 of 8

I would also invest in some sort of "stone flattener."  I have pucks, Suehiro's, one from Edge Pro and when I first got into sharpening I found a perfectly flat section of driveway.  No kidding.


Stones "glaze" from use as well as dish out.  They need to be dressed and flattened.

post #3 of 8
Thread Starter 

Thanks. I forgot all about that.


For now can I get away with simply the King stone?


Is there anything else that is mandatory more or less?


Like is a strop necessary right from the jump, or can I hold off on that?


I was hoping to get away with nothing but the stone for at least a month until I have some more disposable income. I really need to get a new thermometer ASAP, along with kitchen shears, a new salad spinner and an extra set of tongs.

post #4 of 8

Personally, I wonder about combo stones - especially with one that has such a significant gap.  The reason is that different grits need different amounts of water - even from the same maker.  The 1K grit side will likely need quite a bit more soaking compared to the 6K side, which makes maintenance of the stone more problematic than with two separate stones.  While it might cost a bit more, you might want to get a 1K stone first, then later get a 5K stone (such as a Suehiro Rica) for polishing.  


The other thing I note is that you don't say how large the stone is.  That can be critical in how easy - or difficult - it is to use.  Bigger is definitely better.  A minimum length should be 8 inches and a width of 2 inches.


As a first stone, take a look at the Bester 1200.  It's 205 mm (just over 8 inches) x 75 mm (just under 3 inches) x 25 mm, and will initially be enough to keep your knives workable.  You can later add more stones.


With a 1K to 1200 stone, the Idahone you already have, and a means to flatten the stone, that's the minimum you absolutely need to spend on.


Accessories are nice, but not essential.  To initially save money, you can use a damp towel underneath to hold the stone while you sharpen.  


Stropping supplies can be added later, after you get several more refined stones.  In the meantime, you can use "freebies" for stropping, such as newsprint (look at Murray Carter's video on how he sharpens a knife with nothing more than  a cinder block and a piece of Japanese newspaper - though I'm pretty sure that he's tongue-in-cheek about the need for the newspaper to be Japanese).  Some one else's video I saw touted using your own forearm as a strop (for a razor blade, no less)!  Of course, all of that is based on stropping being a trailing edge action.


One thing I would suggest is that you make a set of angle guides cut from something like a wine bottle cork. That way, you can compare the angle you are holding the knife with a physical reference.  An other item which might (or might not) be at hand would be a matchbook (Bob Kramer touts those as a 12 degree angle guide).


Jon Broida's videos are excellent.  I would also look at freebie videos from CKTG, Bob Kramer and Murray Carter.


Those are the basics.


Have fun sharpening!



Galley Swiller

post #5 of 8
Thread Starter 

Hey thanks Galley and I'll tell you what, I never thought about that with soaking the stones when it's a combo stone. See that's something a noob such as myself totally disregarded.


I have seen this King stone recommended a number of times on different forums though, so I imagine it can't be that problematic. I'll say I'm not looking for this stone to last forever, it's jut my first jump into it, but I also don't want something that's going to crumble on one side on it's 5th soak cause I had to oversoak the entire stone to get one side where it needs to be. Does that even make sense?


And the damp towel was exactly what I was thinking I'd use at first until I could afford a holder. The holder is way down on my list of wants and needs.


I really want to order something by Friday night though, I'd love to hear from people who have used this stone, the Bestor that Galley mentions and other combos and really just stones in general. I've searched the forum and read some stuff but I'd love to hear it fresh.


Would especially love to hear from Boar haha.


Thanks Galley.

post #6 of 8
With most stones, it's the coarser, lower grit number stones which need more soaking than the finer, higher grit number (polishing) stones.  Unfortunately, it's the higher grit number polishing stones which invariably end up costing more to replace.
With the combo stone, you probably won't see the finer stone dissolve on you - however, I wouldn't be surprised if the stone gets surface pitting and possibly internal soft spots (which wouldn't necessarily visually show up until later).  But don't worry about it falling apart in 5 sessions - it'll be probably quite a bit more sessions than that.  
One work-around is, when setting up the coarse side to pre-soak prior to a sharpening session, is to put the stone in a flat-bottomed container or dish so the coarse side is sitting on a form of grid (to allow water circulation to the bottom side of the stone when in the container) and then fill the container with only enough water to allow the coarse side to get covered.  If the fine side of the King is "splash and go", then that would do the trick without having to worry about different soaking routines.
Of course, all of this presumes that the stone(s) will be allowed to dry out between sharpening sessions.
I should also add about strops - you can always also use old leather belts as well.  

Galley Swiller

post #7 of 8
I never heard of a King stone being over-soaked or falling apart after a while. I have my King 1k/6k for maybe 5 years now and I'm pretty sure it will last much longer than the rest of my natural lifetime!
My King is soaked for 5 minutes... if I have the patience. Simply put the stone on one of it's longest sides to soak for a couple of minutes. Also, I keep on splashing plenty of water over the stone when using it, like any sharpener does, especially when working with the coarsest side of the stone. A brand new stone may need a longer soaking, after that, put it back in its plastic package where it will stay somewhat moist.
I have a variety of steels to sharpen and they all come out perfectly on my King. If I want a shinier finish, I give them a last extra rub over my coticules.

One suggestion concerning sharpening that seems to be forgotten to mention in many threads here, is to keep a very consistent angle all the time and every time you sharpen... on whatever kind of stone. The better you manage to keep the same angle, the better the result will be,... no matter what brand of stone you use.

Also, I included a picture of my stone flattener which seems to have gathered a few dots of rust like any time between sharpenings. It's a cheaper than cheap so called "diamond" sharpener that you will find in any DIY store. The metal plate attached to a thick plastic carrier may fall off when wet; simply glue it back. Perfect flattener!

post #8 of 8
Thread Starter 

Thanks guys. I think I'm going to go ahead and order the King stone.

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