I've decided to get some Spyderco sharpening products. If I'm only be going to be sharpening plain edge knives, would medium and fine grit Spyderco benchstones be enough, or do you guys think I should just get the 204??
A sharpmaker will keep them sharp but when the time comes to reprofile the edge you will need something a little bit more heavy duty to do the reprofiling,it will take a long time to do it with the sharpmaker!
If you like bench stone sharpening, you should get all 3 spyderco stones. The sharpmaker coems with the medium and fine triangle stones, but in the bench stones you can get ultra fine too!
The 204 will give you much versatility, but versatility is only good if you will use the features. If you are a bench stone sharpening type of guy, DMT or Spyderco ceramic are the way to go, in my opinion. Either choice you make (bench vs. 204)you'll be happy with.
Hey jefroman -- I'm probably one of the least qualified forumites to give sharpening advice. But, I do know a couple practical things. If you decide to go the Benchstone way, I strongly suggest you get yourself a cheap knife or two to practice on. I'd suggest a couple garage sale kitchen knives. Should give you lots of steel to work with, and you wouldn't be out more than a few bucks, and wouldn't damage any knife you value.
I don't know what a "204" is, but I've been achieving very good results (at least by MY standards, and it's pretty easy to figure that my standards are decent if the knife shaves hair) with the gray medium grit stone of my Spyderco Profile.
I also have a Sharpmaker, but I don't really use it anymore. I used the V shaped thing to build experience and confidence (plus I really didn't know about the Profile) but then when a very knowledgeable guy at a local gun show demonstrated the way he gets a superior edge from the Profile, I bought one from him. (Funny story: I showed him my lightweight Walker and mentioned I had sharpened it myself and thought I'd done well. He sliced some magazine paper with it, showed me how easily/not-easily it cut, then worked for about half a minute with his profile, and there was a NOTICEABLE DIFFERENCE in how it cut after that. NOTICEABLE. I was impressed. I took a little instruction from him and now use what I remember of his technique to get a better edge when I sharpen.)
The profile has the advantage of allowing you to choose your own sharpening angle, which is bound to be different from knife to knife. I don't think you really will even need the white fine stone, but you might as well buy the Profile and start building experience and technique with it. In the end, you'll be happy with what it can help you do.
You ever meet somebody who's got a knife and you find out they've had knives allot longer than you and when you test their edge it's duller than s!#t. Well you get that Sharpmaker and you'll have one-big-grin on your face because your knife is sharp as sharp can be.
For tips on reprofilling, something hard to do on the 204 check out this thread.Sharpmaker tips