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What stones for a beginner?

Discussion in 'Maintenance, Tinkering & Embellishment' started by asterik216, Apr 21, 2017.

  1. asterik216


    Apr 21, 2017
    Let me start by saying i did read al the pinned topics so no one freak out on me lol. So I am new to sharpening knives and am wondering what stones would be good for me. I would like to sharpen kitchen knives and pocket knives so pretty much all knives I guess. I also am not looking to drop a lot of money on stones right away as I am new to this. I was thinking I might need 2 different stones and something like maybe 1k or 2k grit and something higher like 4-6k to finish up and get a good polished edge. Again I am new to doing this so I might be way of base. I think also if I had a blade that the edge was really that messed up I could get away with using some of heavier grit sand paper to reshape the edge so maybe I wouldn't need a stone for that. I just want to be able to maintain a edge that is already there mostly. Thank you
  2. Kai Winters

    Kai Winters

    Mar 16, 2012
    Hi, welcome
    I'd suggest you start with a basic three stone set for free hand sharpening which is better for longer blades than the "systems" such as Lansky, etc.
    You can get the kit...three stones mounted in a triangular base that are coarse, medium and fine...I started with this kit and still use it for my kitchen knives. It works fine and I think I paid a bit over $30.00. It's a great started kit. Start with an inexpensive knife, kitchen or otherwise, to learn how to hold it, angles, strokes per side, edge formation, etc. Use Youtube, etc., there are more how to videos than you can shake a stick at.
    If you discover you don't care to go any farther, more costly stones, etc. you still have a very nice kit to keep all your knives sharp.

    Kits such as Lansky, etc. start at around $50ish and are also good to start with.

    Most of the stones in these starter kits are for milder steels opposed to the harder steels which respond faster and better? with diamond stones/hones but at a price increase.

    It all depends on you...start small, learn, have fun and move forward at your pace and choice.
    Good luck and keep us informed.
  3. asterik216


    Apr 21, 2017
    Thanks for the reply and i did see a 3 stone kit like you describe on walmarts website. It is smith's diamond trihone it says and there is also just a trihone version that is cheaper and actual stones and not diamond. Would the diamond one or the regular stone one be better?
  4. sandraTEx


    Apr 7, 2017
    My suggestion.
    Top 5 Knife Sharpening Stones 2017 - Shortlist

    • 1. DMT WM8EF-WB 8-Inch Duo Sharp Plus Bench Stone
    • 2. King Two Sided Sharpening Stone with Base - #1000 & #6000
    • 3. Lansky Dual Grit Sharpener
    • 4. Smith's 50008 8-Inch Diamond Tri-Hone Bench Stone
    • 5. Norton Waterstone Starter Kit: 220/1000 grit stone
  5. DavidHoback

    DavidHoback If you see me posting, remind me to STFU & leave.

    Dec 10, 2014
    There are many ways to go about this. And several options for under $50. Kai said it well. I think your original thoughts would be good. Two stones to start. But you don't NEED to have a 1K & 2K, AND 4K & 6K. You can start with a 1K & 6K. And your idea to fill in with sandpaper is fantastic! Funny, there is another thread where someone recommends sandpaper to a member who already had several different stones, and had been sharpening for sometime. I chastised that, saying that the sandpaper idea is for, well, people EXACTLY like you! New sharpeners who don't wish to invest a lot of money into getting started. Several others come down on me.. Hee! I hope they get to see this!

    Sorry! But yes, your thinking is ideal for your situation right now.
  6. bucketstove


    Sep 23, 2014
    Hi, What is the name of this kit, what brand is it?
    Are you talking about Smith's TRI6 6 In. Three Stone Sharpening System?

    Do you own any sandpaper or other abrasives?
    Have you tried sharpening anything? Even using bottom of coffee cups?
    How many minutes per day or week are you going to practice sharpening?
    What is your budget how much do you want to spend?

    Are you only shopping online, or ship to store?
    or are you within walking distance to one of these stores: ace hardware, lowes, sears, dollartree, or harbor freight ?

    I think its best to try sharpening first before buying sharpening equipment,
    you learn the most by doing not by reading :)

    The stores I mentioned above should currently stock sharpening stones in store , today, no waiting, you can walk over, bicycle over, to one of them,
    and get a basic coarse/fine double sided stones for $1, or $3-$12 usd,
    $13 four sided diamond (harbor freight 200/300/400/600 ),
    lowes has smith's tri 6 3 stone sharpener for $30
    lowes has Smith's Standard Precision Knife Sharpening System $26.98
    $3-$6 buffing compound or automotive sandpaper for high grit shaving comfort
    Still a good idea to check online or call store cause sometimes they run out of stock cause they stock low amounts of items (sears) but not a problem if ship to store

    There are other stores that carry higher grit and higher priced stones, like japanese/korean/asian groceries (400/1000 diamond paddle $17-$19, 1k waterstones), knife shops (smith's, sharpmaker, dmt), wood working stores (everything:D), luxury kitchen/housewares stores (expensive japanese waterstones)...
    if you use google shopping to search for "sharpening" stuff that is filtered by "available nearby" you'll see some of the luxury offerings, they have some kind of three stone sharpening system for $50 they say they stock in store

    my main advice is try sharpening today

    If I was getting into sharpening today I'd start with coffeecups, then go to dollartree and get
    one non-skid shelf liner (huge sheet)
    some ducktape ($1 roll will do if you dont have any)
    permanent markers (you can get 3 big chisel ones for $1)
    two $1 dollar tree stones (in stock over here , they come and go out of stock few times a year last two years)
    reinforce the corners of plastic box stone comes in inside and out
    then reinforce the bottom inside and out
    then cut out shelf liner and tape to bottom and up the sides a little
    put a few soda bottle caps inside the stone holder to raise the stone above the LIP

    now you safely hold stone in your hand, or put it on kitchen table/counter/anywhere,
    and it will keep your left hand dry and keep the water/swarf off your kitchen table

    get stones wet and take 5 minutes to rub the two stones together to make sure they're flat (thats why you get two)

    then practice sharpening, take 5 minutes to sharpen a 3-4inch kitchen paring knife
    and repeat this 5 minute practice session up to three times per day
    and repeat sharpening practice three times a week, or seven times a week :)
    always the same knife,
    think about what you're doing,
    ask yourself questions
    and ask others (us) when stuck,
    by the end of the day/week/month you'll have huuuge experience and a sharp knife,
    and when you read stuff about sharpening
    or sharpening stones/equipment
    you'll have a better idea of what these internet knife guys are talking about,
    and be better able to decide just how much and what kind of equipment you want, where to spend your next $$$

    reading doesn't exercise your hands, if you can drink a glass of water without spilling the whole thing you can learn to sharpen

    after 1st sharpening (5minutes) you'll have questions, write them down, type them up, ask them it only takes a little knowledge and a little practice to increase/improve sharpness

    on a personal note, having spent many years cutting with mostly dull knives, only experiencing sharp knives every few years when we buy new ones, and having only spent 2+ years sharpening with sharp knives,
    my family could get by with a single $1 sharpening stone for the next 100 years and I oversharpen all the time, I sharpen as a hobby,
    heck, after lowering the angle with the $1 stone, I could get by with coffe cups sharpening for the next 2+ years easy,
    we just dont do that much cutting and food is soft,
    combined family knife cutting time is barely 20 minutes per day
    and we don't have fancy/fast knife skills, we mostly slow chop food, slow slice food , slow peel food, none of which requires high grits or high sharpness (hair whittling)
    for us freshly sharpened knives just means maybe bandaids today, but by tomorrow the knives wont shave

    It takes some 1000 slices into hardwood for knife edge to stop shaving, and thats with ~320grit finish knife edge , the fine side of basic coarse/fine stone,
    I've only done that much whittling wood cutting at one time once or twice in the last 2+ years,
    just for fun, and it was quite a workout for my hand/wrist/arm ... and I'm a guy who doesn't work out

    To take a huge leap in push cutting ability ,
    talking about wood working, wood chopping, wood slicing, face shaving, head hair whittling,
    all it takes is light stropping on about $3-$6 dollars worth of buffing compound or high grit automotive sandpaper or metal polish which lots of people own already (flitz, simichrome,
    Mother's Mag & Aluminum Polish, blue magic ...)

    I've still got a dozen knives that have never been sharpened! :)
  7. HeavyHanded


    Jun 4, 2010
    I make a sharpening block (linked through signature line below)that would be worth a look - website has all the details, user manual and videos. It uses wet/dry sandpaper, lapping films, copy paper and honing compound to sharpen and maintain, but does it with a level of hardness and flatness that is comparable to a benchstone. It really shines as a maintenance strop. The honing compound I make contains diamond and does a solid job on high Vanadium steels as well as everything else.

    Whatever you go with, you should shoot for three surfaces at your disposal - a coarse, medium, and fine. A regular hardware store combination stone can stand for the first two, and a strop or honing steel of some sort for the fine.

    The other possible of coarse wet/dry and Norton 1k/6k stone also not a bad option. Realistically, you just need to cover the three basic finishes and depending on need you could then flesh it out with an extra coarse and extra fine etc etc. There are literally dozens of options with one caveat - if your pocket knives are going to have high percentages of Vanadium carbides you should go with diamond plates (DMT, EZLapp etc) right from the start, as all other abrasives with exception of CbN will be unable to do a good job at higher finishes (above 6-800 ANSI).
    Chris "Anagarika" likes this.
  8. Kai Winters

    Kai Winters

    Mar 16, 2012
    There you go...lots of info...now it's up to you to start...start simple and practice...move on as you gain experience, skill and comfort using the stones you start with...best thing is if you dull a knife while learning you can sharpen it...woohoo
  9. jc57

    jc57 Gold Member Gold Member

    Nov 28, 2012
    If I could start over, I would get a Norton IB8 combo India stone, some honing oil, and make my own leather strop with some green compound on it.

    I have lots of stones but unless I am sharpening my more expensive kitchen knives, that's about all I ever use these days.
    Last edited: Apr 22, 2017
    David Martin likes this.
  10. David Martin

    David Martin Gold Member Gold Member

    Apr 7, 2008
    Yep. ^ That's the way I went and it still works. A Norton IB8 & strop will carry you a long way and very economical. Thru the years I've added 3 SiC stones for harder steels and to speed things up. Still, what you recommend is a good start for several years. While resisting going crazy buying stones. DM

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