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Ark stones are great on the softer steels, I finish all my softer stainless knives on an Ark.  But when you hit 60RC and above, like many Japanese knives, you really want waterstones.  I have a carbon Opanel at about 61RC and the Arc does nothing much good for it.  Any imperfections on the Ark's edges will really reek havoc on the edge of a hard knife.  And they just cut too damn slow to deal reasonably well with harder steels.

Stones are no big deal though, a really great 1-6K combination waterstone stone will set you back just about $100, and perfectly adequate ones can be had for around $50.

You haven't told us what you want to spend.  As an idea, in a 9"very good can be had for <$150, significantly better can be had for <$250.

Also, some Japanes knives are very thin at the edge and have to be handled accordingly, ie: stay away from bones and other hard stuff; show good technique on the board, no twisting.

Looking at just some recent posts is a good idea.

Rick
 
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