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Good Whetstone Brands?

Discussion in 'Maintenance, Tinkering & Embellishment' started by N Gremory, Nov 13, 2013.

  1. N Gremory

    N Gremory

    Oct 21, 2013
    I'd like to get a good grasp on freehand sharpening, and was looking at different whetstones. I'm not looking to spend much over $50 per stone (combination stones can be a bit more).
    I've looked into King (and King's Deluxe line), as well as KASUMI, so far.
    Do any of you have any recommendations, as far as brands go?

    I was looking at a coarse/fine DMT stone, a stand-alone 1000 grit whetstone, and a 4000/8000 combination (or similar) whetstone. Would you recommend something else?
    Perhaps dropping the DMT and going for a similar-grit whetstone?

    All suggestions are appreciated. Thanks, in advance!
  2. Jason B.

    Jason B. KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Jun 13, 2007
    What type of steels to you plan to sharpen? I would recommend diamond hones if you like high end super steels otherwise waterstones are the way to go.

    The King brand you have found is well respected but also the most basic of waterstone. They are slower cutting and often have troubles grinding newer stainless steels. In their place I would recommend the Arashiyama 1k and 6k stones. These are faster cutting higher quality stones that put a great edge on many types of cutting tools. Beyond that you have many types of stones and quality levels most of which are usually at a good price.

    Tell us a bit about the steels and knives you plan to sharpen and also what features you would prefer in a stone. Some you don't have to soak some need a soaking. Some are muddy and soft, some are hard like granite.
  3. N Gremory

    N Gremory

    Oct 21, 2013
    Unfortunately, I have a bunch of different steels. AUS-8A, ATS-34, 1095, Moly-Vanadium, CPM-S30V, CPM-S35VN, 440C, and VG-10. In the future, possibly some CPM-154CM, M390, INFI, SR101, etc.
    Mainly, it'd be for the Moly-Vanadium kitchen knives; ATS-34, 440C, and CPM-S35VN folding knives; and the possible M390 folding knife and the Busse/Swamprat steels in knives for different tasks involving wood.

    I have absolutely no issues with stones that require soaking and routine wetting while sharpening, and would likely prefer a slightly softer stone, though I could get used to either.

    I've heard conflicting things about the difficulty to sharpen M390, but I don't currently have a knife in that steel, so it's not a big deal. Based on what I have, would you recommend a set of diamond stones, over whetstones?

    Thanks for the reply. Is there anything else you would like to know?
  4. Jason B.

    Jason B. KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Jun 13, 2007
    I would still go with waterstones but probably shapton glass stones. They are hard splash-n-go type stones but would work well with a wide range of steels.
  5. sinnyc


    Sep 9, 2013
    I'm just starting to learn freehanding, too, and went with the Shapton Glass Stones. CKTG has a starter set that comes with a stone holder, a loupe, a flattening stone, and a felt deburrer. The set comes with the 1000 and 4000 stones and there's an option to add in the 500, which I did. I've found that the 500 is far more useful to me than the 4000 so I'm glad I got it. I've been practicing on beat up kitchen knives and the 500 has been great for removing metal fast. The truth is, I'm not skilled enough yet to get great results with the 4000 but the 500 has saved me a lot of time and frustration.

    - Tim
  6. Alberta Ed

    Alberta Ed

    Jun 29, 1999
    I've been using DMT hones for two decades or more now, and they still work as good as new. I also have an ancient Black Arkansas bench stone, around 12" long, which I inherited from a great-uncle who was a carpenter and a pretty good cabinet maker. I save it for my high carbon steel blades.
  7. daberti

    daberti Gold Member Gold Member

    Apr 2, 2005
    Maybe my setup is quite expensive but I use DMT Black, Blue and Red benchstones, followed by Naniwa Chosera 400, 600, 1000, 3000, 5000 and 10000.
    You could limit to DMTs and Naniwa Chosera 400 and 1000. from 3000 included on you need a very steady hand/wrist and some good wallet though ;)
  8. notsim


    Sep 16, 2013
    the shapton glass 500/1k/6k set at cktg is probably going to be all you may need, just get some 400 grit wet sand paper tape it to the back of the stones, and use that to lap the others.
  9. Jason B.

    Jason B. KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Jun 13, 2007
    You have a few points of overlap. A fine (red) DMT is basically the same as a 1k waterstone so the only diamond hone you could use and it actually be useful is the XC because its coarser than the 400 chosera though that's not to say its any faster. The 600 chosera is a completely wasted step because between 400 and 1k you just don't need anything.
  10. N Gremory

    N Gremory

    Oct 21, 2013
    I found a thread where somebody mentioned that you recommended keeping his Arashiyama stones completely submerged?
    I found the 1000 and 6000 grit Arashiyama stones. I don't see any other grits. What would you recommend as a very coarse stone for removing damage and similar? Something like a 500 grit Shapton Glass stone?
  11. daberti

    daberti Gold Member Gold Member

    Apr 2, 2005
    So you're roughly with me mate as I suggested him 400 and 1000 Choseras ;)
    But I'd have to specify something though.
    First please read this:

    400 Chosera is not as fast as DMT Black on steels with high contents of Vanadium/Tungsten carbides as far as an actual regrinding/rebevelling is to be done. I've a bunch of steels that actually do need diamonds to do that in decent amount of time: [email protected], Elmax @62.5, [email protected] which all have been heat treated in the secondary hardening range. Even BG-42 needs same medicine, yet for different reasons dealing with non-Pm melting process. In these cases 400 Chosera is the very first stone used by me to remove diamonds deep scratches more than doing the bevel itself.
    I have 600 and 3000 Choseras only as some customers of mine just happen to like these as the final finishing stones for kitchen and general utility blades (notably out of N690 steel) respectively.
    DMT Red is a 30micron roughly puts same finishing (still matte) as 400Chosera given that are both 30microns. Talking about finishing grade, not abrasive power though. IMHO 1000 Chosera is a step up, i.e. less matte finishing as it is 11.5micron (roughly comparable to DMT Green which is 9micron).
    Thus I do agree that having 400Chosera and 1000Chosera make DMT Red and Green (not Blue) probably useless.
    Last edited: Nov 15, 2013
  12. daberti

    daberti Gold Member Gold Member

    Apr 2, 2005
    Only natural Japanese stones should be kept submerged for long amounts of time and Choseras 400 and 600 just as long as no more bubbles are released.

    For removing deep nicks or any other heavy damage you should probably use DMT Black or even Gray (Extra Extra Coarse) yet get ready to invest some good time to remove the deep diamonds leftovers though.
  13. Jason B.

    Jason B. KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Jun 13, 2007
    Stones that need to be soaked can often be left in water as is the case with the Arashiyama stones. Constant wetting and drying can actually cause stones to crack. You don't see any others because there are only two Arashiyama stones that I know of the 1k and 6k. You can add about any coarse stone you want but this set is going to have troubles on the more wear resistant steels like S30V and S35VN Thus why I recommended the glass stones.
  14. Jason B.

    Jason B. KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Jun 13, 2007
    Not really. Most Japanese natural stones should not be soaked at all. The chosera stones need no more than a few minutes and should never be soaked for more than 1 hour due to the binder (says so on the stone;) ).
  15. daberti

    daberti Gold Member Gold Member

    Apr 2, 2005
    There is NOT a perfect time delimited countdown that can guarantee the perfect wetting. Only Chosera 400/600 need to be "soaked" at the point of not releasing any longer any bubble (normally 2minutes in tap water) after which putting a veil of water sparingly will do. 5k Chosera is very thirsty and 10k is but less than 5k, when we would expect quite the opposite: I don't soak Chosera excluded the above mentioned.

    Coming to Natural Japanese I would add some more literature as you've correctly said that not all of them require soaking (yet I didn't mean happily floating in the water for a couple of hours).

    Origin and Cut: The names of the stones generally come from the mountain where they were quarried. Here are some examples of names from Kyoto and its surrounding region:
    Western mountains: Ohira, Shinden, Mizukihara
    Central mountain: Atago
    Eastern mountains: Nakayama, Ozuku, Kizuyama, Okudo, Shoubu, Narutaki
    Currently nearly all quarries are closed. But there still exists a lot of raw stone material mined in the past waiting for being cut to appropriate sizes.
    The stones are cut horizontally, so that the layers of sediment are parallel to the stone’s face in order to present a consistent grit size and quality. This can be compared to flitch-sawn wood.
    The proper watering time serves to stabilize the structure of the stone to allow consistent results. It is important to remember that these are natural stones, every one is different, and so each has a different need for water. Harder stones, for instance, need more time in the water than softer ones.
    But, recognized and respected experts in Japan also say that regularly-used natural stones can be left permanently in the water. They base this advice on the idea that, contrary to the various kinds of artificial stones which can be damaged if left in the water too long, natural stones can withstand this treatment in that they are in principle stones that were formed under water (sedimentary stones).

    I disagree.
    Natural sharpening stones are normally composed of about 2/3 SiO2 (Silicon-dioxide), which provides the sharpening grit, and about 1/3 KAl2AlSi3O10(OH)2 (Sericite, finely rippled Muskovite) which serves as a binding material. The stones were formed about 70 million years ago. As they were formed from sediment laid under water, one would think they would be stable when wet. But after the stones have been quarried and cut to size this can change, as the binding material, which is at least in part water soluable, can dissolve over time and the abrasive particles can flake off unevenly. This decomposition process normally takes place over many years, and so if the stones are in use every day, it doesn’t matter much at all. But for most people today, to respect the investment in the stones and their quality and rarity, it is best to store them dry to avoid any possible damage and exposition to heating/cooling plants.

    The most important lesson had been learned the hard way.
    One day last year I broke my Chosera 600 because I took it out from resting at 20°C and put under very cold water (10°C or alike). How much water it is a matter of experience, but the least Thermal shock as possible it should have been just plain common sense. Me dumb :(
    Last edited: Nov 15, 2013
  16. pmeisel


    Jul 29, 2012
    I recently had to reboot my sharpening collection after a move. I settled on a coarse/fine Norton India Stone, and a soft/hard Arkansas stone, both in 2"x6" (big enough for most of what I do).

    I used to use diamond stones primarily in coarse and medium, and was happy then with the toothy edge. I'd like a little finer edge now and didn't want to go the money for a bigger set of diamond stones or water stones. What I have is fine for me.... but if you have finer tastes and a little more money, well there ain't nothin' wrong with that.
  17. daberti

    daberti Gold Member Gold Member

    Apr 2, 2005
    The is nothing wrong with your setup mate.
    I started resharpening my own blades, then a local cutlery shop have seen my skills and asked me to sharpen their high end kitchen knives, then all became a part time job.
  18. Rsq


    Aug 7, 2011
    You cant go wrong with shapton glass stones. I've tried a lot of brands, and on m390 (for instance), you really need diamonds or shaptons to get anywhere, or you'll spend days trying to get it cut and just not make any progress
  19. Modoc ED

    Modoc ED Gold Member Gold Member

    Mar 28, 2010
    A Norton Silicon Carbide (Crystolon) combination coarse/fine stone and a Norton Aluminum Oxide combination coarse/fine stone would be a good step - both 6"x2"x1". You can pick up both of them at that size for under $50.00 total.
  20. David Martin

    David Martin

    Apr 7, 2008
    Glad someone finally said this. These stone also offer good economy. DM :thumbup:

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