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Water stone recommendations

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 
Hello all! I'd like to purchase some waterstones to replace my current hodgepodge of oil & diamond stuff. I'd been using a Gatco kit at work & finally got to use some waterstones someone brought in and liked them So I have a couple questions:
1)Brand recommendations? Any differences or noted underperformers?
2)Grit range? I use mostly inexpensive, western style knives. I like em sharp, but don't need to go too crazy. What's a good range of stones, and how many intervals are useful? I saw some combo stones on amazon that were 1000/6000. Seems like a big jump?
3)Any tips on use/storage/maintenance? Haven't had any before and am not sure how to store and maintain.
Thanks in advance, appreciate any help!
post #2 of 7

You get what you pay for up to a point.  King stone 1000/6000 grit is the cheapest and a lot of people start there as entry level to japanese water stones.  It dishes very fast and cuts slow on stainless.


I like shapton pro.   Not too expensive, box doubles as the stone holder, splash and go, doesn't dish too fast, and moves metal quick.  Splash water on, start sharpening, let it dry indoors not in sunlight.  It's the same as shapton pro - but the japanese market version is a little cheaper.


If by inexpensive you mean like wusthof pro or victorinox type stainless steel then stop at 1500 or 2000 grit.  If you have vintage carbon steel you can add one more stone for finishing 5000 or 6000 grit.  For repairs 320 grit, but you can also use your existing coarse stones for repair already i think.


In conclusion-  you only need the 1500 grit one i linked for stainless

post #3 of 7
Bester 1200 is another one that should be able to be found for under 50. It's a soaking stone - probably half an hour minimum but an hour plus feels better to me. I keep a tub of water with a Beston 500, Bester 1200, and Gesshin 220 (for big repair/metal removal and thinning) soaking all the time. Drying would be basically the same instructions as above, but for going from long time soaked to dry you may want to slow down the process by wrapping in a damp towel for a while before leaving the stone eventually on a counter exposed to just air (don't try to accelerate the drying process). On stones like that it takes days to fully dry out so don't try to keep it in an enclosed space like a box for a while.
1k-6k jump is fine but likely your knives by virtue of the steel won't really be able to take advantage of the 6k finish. Finishing between 1-3k is probably a good range.
post #4 of 7

I'd say the Geshin 2000 is likely the ultimate stone for you, very fast and great tactile feed back.


Myself I like a high polish even on a Vic, but very few are in agreement with me here.


In case you didn't know, a quick light stropping on your waterstone is superior to steeling.  Use it dry or with a splash.





post #5 of 7
Thread Starter 
Thanks, guys! This is a great start, just what I needed.
post #6 of 7
Thread Starter 
By the by, I do have some carbon steel, and am aquiring more soon, and part of my frustration with my current kit was lack of a good, aggresive coarse stone. But I think you guys gave me the info I need, and a good place to start.
post #7 of 7

In general,  water stones are better for harder steels 58+ HRC, but they struggle on softer stainless.   I tried sharpening wusthof on a king stone, it took forever.


A good coarse stone is very useful for repair,  setting bevel angles different than what is on there, and thinning.   If you jump to a higher grit stone before your bevel is clean, you'll spend more time than necessary. 


I have this one from Suehiro as my coarse stone.  It's paid for itself in repairs and thinning.  the guy who sold me it upgraded to the JKI diamond 300 stone.


Any of these ones from JKI you can easily jump to  medium grit stone even up to 2000 grit

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