Support BladeForums! Paid memberships don't see ads! I can sharpen my knives and axes satisfactorily to my standards, but I am a novice at best. I keep a fine DMT hone for abused blades, but prefer Arkansas and oil for end of day touchup. I have to be careful with the diamond hone, as it is aggressive (and thus reveals my crummy technique - this is how I know I have much to learn about sharpening freehand). I prefer the Arkansas stones (soft, hard and hard black) because they are more forgiving and slow cutting. This makes me feel like I get more time to practice my technique. I also like oil stones because many of my knives are carbon steel. I have learned to go slow and enjoy it. In the end, I always get a shaving sharp blade. At times I am tempted to get some sort of sharpening system. I mean really, they produce remarkable edges. I can imagine that they could arguably extend the life of a blade somewhat by maintaining perfect geometry, removing only what material is necessary, etc. I reserve myself the option to do that. For now, I think I enjoy putting a little of my own mark on the tools I sharpen. Sharpening by hand, whether you're good at it or not, makes a blade uniquely yours. No one else will ever do it exactly the same.