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A few questions re the "Edge Pro Essential" set

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 



After a lot of reading and research (Chad Ward's "An Edge in the Kitchen", several dozens of forum topics on ChefTalk.com and here, many a YouTube video), I have almost decided on the "Edge Pro Essential" set.


I am going to be sharpening some Wusthof Classic Ikon knives (that I have yet to buy, too :) ), as well as, I suppose, a fair number of cheap old knives that have been used by my family, my parents, and some of my best friends' families. :) I mean, obviously the Wusthofs are the main focus here, but I'm just saying that with a device like this in my possession it would be almost criminal not to use it for its intended purpose; also, since I don't suppose the Wusthofs will need sharpening more frequently than once or twice a year, I would otherwise not be getting any "mileage" out of the device, nor would I be getting sufficient practice. So the goals will be (a) maintaining a nice edge on the rather hard (58 hardness) Wusthof Classic Ikons, (b) reprofiling many cheap and soft, but hopelessly abused, knives.


I am planning to purchase the following kit:
     - "Edge Pro Essential" set;
     - a 20x loupe;
     - a deburring hard felt cube;
     - a DMT 2" x 6" plate: (a) for flattening the Shapton stones, (b) for reprofiling cheap old knives;
     - also an Idahone 12" fine rod + a Super Eraser for the rod.


The questions I have are as follows:


1) Am I right in thinking that I can use the DMT plate for both purposes? Will it flatten the Shaptons well? Will it reprofile the knives well? The reason I want it to serve a double purpose is that my understanding is that I would need something coarser than the Shaptons that come with the Edge Pro set to efficiently reprofile many knives and to not spoil the Shaptons - and it would be sort of too much for me financially to buy both a flattening stone and a coarse Shapton stone.


2) Do I need another Shapton stone, in addition to the DMT plate and the 3 Shapton stones in the set? I am not looking to win any knife sharpening contests, just to make my knives $300-worth-sharp. :) I mean, I don't think I will be getting into stropping or boron carbides or stuff like that. But would I truly benefit from, say, a 8K Shapton stone? And by "truly benefit" I mean "will my wife notice our chef's knife has become sharper" in a blind test of "before and after". :)


3) Any other comments or advice on my kit? Anything that I don't really need? Anything missing?


4) Oh, and has anyone used two magnets instead of one? Will two really hold a knife in its place? (It seems in the video that one magnet doesn't quite do that.)


Thanks to anybody and everybody for help and comments!

post #2 of 8

I also started out with the "Essential" kit, based on Mad Rookie's recommendation.  It's worth it.  


I would add the Angle Cube as a critical accessory.  Being able to find and set the desired angle becomes so much easier when you are working from a digital readout.  


I don't have the DMT plate.  Ben Dale (who makes the Edge Pro) looked into diamond plates and was informed by his research that diamond plates would not necessarily work well   First, keep in mind that diamonds, besides being very hard, are also very tightly bonded within each diamond crystal.  That tight bonding means that diamonds do not bond very well with other substances.  The only effective way to hold diamonds is to create a bonding medium which holds the diamonds by an encircling process. When the diamonds start their cutting, It seems that the diamonds will cut through steel - that's not the issue - but they also "plough" up the steel and the "ploughed" steel does not just drop off - it piles up into a mound.  That mound then exerts a pressure on the diamond and the plate - and if the diamond is big enough, the mound can exert enough force to pop the diamond out of the bonding medium holding the diamond to the plate.  


If you do go the DMT 2" x 6" route, you will probably find that the first few times you use the plate, many of the largest diamonds on the plate will pop off.  There will be other diamonds left on the plate, and they will cut, but it will not necessarily be quite as fast as you might anticipate.


I went a different route - I added the Shapton Glass 220 stone that Mark sells for $33.  So far, the combination of 220-500-1000-4000 grits Shapton Glass stones works well.  I did also add the 8K stone, though for most of my sharpening with (non-Japanese) knives, I rarely get above the 4K stone.


One thing you will find - the better knives will sharpen more easily than the junk knives.


I also added the (no brand name) 140 grit diamond stone flattening plate that Mark sells for $29.95.  At 8" x 2.75", it's a lot bigger (and heavier) than the DMT plate.  It's not absolutely flat, but it works fine for flattening Edge Pro plates and also on my full size sharpening stones


One of the advantages of the Edge Pro is that it's really easy to play around with other small stones from other sources.  In that regard, I would also suggest you include the Edge Pro Original 220-400 grit stone set that Mark is offering at $12 for the two stones.  Obviously, these are stones which are stripped out of the Edge Prop Apex 1 kit, so Mark can "customize" such kits as the "Essential" and the Chosera kits.  But it will give you a chance to play with these stones and compare and contrast their performance with the Shapton Glass stones.  Other stone sources include Edge Pro, Jende Industries, Congress Tools, and other sources of 1" x 6" x 1/4" polishing stones.


Mark does offer blanks for stones for $9.95.  Blanks can also be bought directly from Ben Dale at Edge Pro, for $5.  Or, you can cut your own blanks from 1" x 1/8" aluminum bar stock.  Cut them 6-1/2" in overall length, with 45 degree ends, then smooth over (by file or other abrasive) the edges at the ends.  Edge Pro uses 3M "Super 77" spray glue for mounting stones to blanks.  That glue is consistent and stones and blanks can easily be separated by placing in boiling water for a few minutes.


It's also a good idea to pick up at least one glass blank from Mark.


The 12" Idahone is also a good idea.


One magnet works just fine for me.  Its function for me is not to hold the knife by itself - even two magnets will not do that, once you start sharpening.  Instead, its purpose is to hold the knife blade flat on the platform, and to minimize movement of the blade.  Your hand still holds the handle.  It's just that the magnet creates gives you that added "molasses" effect, so that the position of the blade can be held static during each set of strokes.  Tip: position the Edge Pro far enough away from  the edge of your table/work area, so that you can comfortably rest your elbow on the table/work area while sharpening.  That will eliminate one of the variables for keeping the knife steady during sharpening.


Hope that helps.



Galley Swiller

Edited by Galley Swiller - 2/24/14 at 11:31am
post #3 of 8
Thread Starter 

Dear Galley Swiller,


Thanks A LOT for your very detailed and informative reply!


I am almost ready to make the purchase, taking on board several of your suggestions:

     - the Shapton 220 stone,

     - the original Edge Pro 2-stone set,

     - one magnet.


1. Once I get the Edge Pro, do you think I should first practice with the cheap Edge Pro stones?


2. Do you use the $5 "deburring felt block"? Or is it just a superfluous gimmick that one can easily swap for something simpler, like a wine cork?


3. One last question. Ok, I understand the limitations of artificial diamond plates. But why do you say the cheaper diamond plate is better than the DMT one? Wouldn't the diamonds "pop out" from that plate as well? Or do you recommend it simply because it's 2/3 of the price of the DMT plate?..


4. Almost forgot. So is it possible to flatten the stones using regular sandpaper instead of a specialised and expensive diamond plate? How much worse / more difficult / less efficient would that be? How often do the Shapton stones, for example, need to be flattened anyway?.. I will have 3-4-5 Wusthof knives and don't expect to need to sharpen them too often (especially with the Idahone rod).


Thank you for your time, again!

post #4 of 8

I'm presuming you are intending to buy the Edge Pro "Essential" kit.  If so, you will get the magnet with that kit (though it will not be mounted into the Edge Pro platform).  You won't need to buy a second magnet.


1.  You can certainly practice with the original Edge Pro stones.  It will give you practice for developing a feel.  However, the Shapton Glass stones will work just as well, if not better, and they will be long lasting.  Remember that the original stones need pre-soaking, while the Shapton Glass stones are splash and go.  Also remember that cheaper knives can be a lot harder to get sharpen than better knives (the steel in cheaper knives is often both softer and tougher than the harder steel of better knives)


2.  I have a deburring felt block and use it - but a cork probably would work about as well.


3.  It's not that the cheaper diamond plate is better than the DMT.  It's that it's just, well, cheaper.  Since I am only using it for dressing the surfaces of my stones (including mounted stones used in the Edge Pro system and full sized freehand stones), the larger surface area makes it easier for me to get the surface of my stones flat.  Stones are nowhere as tough for the diamonds mounted on the plate to work as the steel on knife blade surfaces, so the risk of knocking diamonds off the plate during stone flattening is much, much lower than using a diamond plate for direct knife steel removal.  And if used just for that function, the unbranded plate is just about as good as the DMT, for a significantly lower price.  Personally, I don't see the purpose to pay the extra money.


4.  Yes, you can flatten the stones using wet/dry sandpaper, provided that you can mount the sandpaper flat.  Keep in mind that the sandpaper will need to be wet/dry, it will need to be mounted flat and each time you need to flatten the stones, you will need to buy or have fresh sandpaper.  That cost and set-up hassle will add up.


Also, there are numerous ways that stones can be flattened.  Ben Dale uses silicon carbide on a glass plate as a flattening medium.  And if you can mount it flat, you can also use a drywall screen.  Any and all of these will work.  I just happen to use the unbranded extra coarse diamond plate because of its simplicity of setup and the fact that the additional cost ($30) compared to drywall screen (and sandpaper) is less than the set-up hassle would be for me personally.


BDL weighs in on the subject in this post: http://www.cheftalk.com/t/67399/quick-question-on-stone-flattening   


Hope that helps.



Galley Swiller

post #5 of 8
Thread Starter 

Thank you for your prompt reply!


1. Ok, well, if the Shapton stone are in every respect superior to the original Edge Pro ones, then maybe I shouldn't be getting the latter ones at all?.. I mean, I thought you suggested I get that set to sort of cut my sharpening teeth on it, no?


3. The only reason I am considering the more expensive DMT plate is because several folks said that the no-name plate sometimes is rather uneven and itself needs flattening (that's one hell of a vicious circle...). Also, would the difference in grit have any significance? (The DMT is 220 and 325 grit, the no-name is 140 grit.)


4. I guess I am convinced it's worth spending some $30 on a diamond plate. Just pictured what my wife would say if our kitchen were littered with silicion carbide and wet sandpaper. :)

post #6 of 8

1.  It's up to you to decide whether you want to get the original stones.  You can certainly learn and practice with or without them.  And if the popularity of the various custom Edge Pro kits made available from CKTG continues (and Ben Dale only sells regular Edge Pro sets with stones to Mark), Mark Richmond will probably be offering a discount on the original stones for a while yet.


2.  The unbranded plate is just a solid quarter inch thick rectangular stainless steel plate with embedded diamonds on one face.  It differs from the DMT in regards to flatness in that the DMT is a bit more carefully machined.  Either it is flat enough out of the box or it is not.  If it isn't, you will see that immediately and you can send it back to CKTG.  You're not going to be able to dish it.


3.  I will try to cleanse my mind of any visions of silicon carbide and wet sandpaper fragments strewn about......



Galley Swiller

post #7 of 8
I think galley was suggesting you get the edge pro stones to allow you to try out different stones inexpensively. All stones will perform a little differently on different steels. That being said, if you want to save the money the shaptons will do a fantastic job. I use the cheap flattening plate on full size stones and I have had no problems at all. For the cost I just can't justify the more expensive options. It you are using this set up for a business might be a different story but home use should be no problem at all. If you do find the cheaper plate giving you problems down the road pick up a dmt. You won't regret having a plate to flatten, especially at the $30 price point.
post #8 of 8
Thread Starter 

Dear Galley Swiller and Chrismit,


Thank you for yet more feedback! You have helped me finally make up my mind! :)

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