Well, he HAS sharpened on a cinderblock and a piece of cardboard for that exact reason. He uses them because they are cheap, widely available, and helps to underscore his methods of focusing on technique over tool.
Which is true, but your tools don't HAVE to suck.
LOL! I gotta be careful about reading KKF while eating... almost had a gazpacho-out-the-nose incident.
All of my favorites have already been mentioned, but I'll list 'em anyway:
Takishima Awesedo (L): this stone makes me wish that I could sharpen one-handed and that I was ambidextrous just so that I could use 2 at the same time. Before using this stone, I thought that the j-nat crowd had a bit of a mental disorder, but now I realize that such disorders can be easily contracted from exposure to takishima mud.
Dave's 2k "blue" synth Aoto (XXXL): I added the 3'rd X because it really is a huge stone, and it's also dirty... dirty in a good way, but perhaps it needs an age/experience restriction so that new sharpeners don't watch it and then get unrealistic expectations and think that all stones behave this way. Heeding Dave's warning that it's a little fragile / unstable and might fall to pieces if I'm too rough, I dressed mine up with and epoxy&tissue paper wrap and a granite base. Despite the nice clothes, it lives in a bucket, so it's always wet and ready to go.
On a more serious note: I have never used another stone that made creating an even finish this easy.
JNS 4k: just when I think that I'm starting to understand the way things work in the world of knives, I have my mind blown. I always thought that "higher-grit = slower cutting".... WRONG! meet the JNS 4k... cuts so crazy fast, that I really dont NEED a lower-grit stone unless I'm drastically changing a bevel or doing some major thinning. It also cuts everything that it touches. 154cm or cpm, sg2, zdp189, s30v? Meh, no problemo. The feel is really interesting too: smooth like a high grit stone, and very even, but oddly aggressive at the same time... like you can feel it peeling the dull steel away. It leaves a very bright finish.
JNS 400: FEED MEE THEODORE!!! This stone eats steel so quickly and feels both wonderful and terrifying at the same time that it would be easy to fall into a trance and end up holding a steel-less handle. It's a great "boo-boo eraser" or bevel flatterer or behind-the-edge-thinner. It seems to shed mud fast enough that it doesn't ever clog, and doesn't have the cinder-block feel of many coarse stones.
HA horse-hide strop and Dave's .25 poly diamond spray: This is like the salt&pepper of my edge recipes: just about everyone includes it. It works on just about any steel and it's one hell of a corpse reviver (keeps bringing back dead edges again and again).
jns 400 and 4k?
I haven't been around much but mine is still the Shapton Glass stones in 2x intervals from 200 to 8K followed by the Kitayama and the strops. I am using a simple double sided diamond stones I can carry when hunting for my skinning knives. But then a skinning knife doesn't need the finish a kitchen knife does.
It's good to see you posting. I hope you and Dawn are doing good these days. :)
Hey you got your set figured out and that's great and yeah I agree that diamond for a skinning knife is perfect.
It's funny I've never seen this thread before. I think it's awesome 2 of Dave's faves are the King 800 and 1200. They are 2 of my most-used, favorites. I was always kinda embarrassed to tell anyone because they are so cheap!-Well, not in quality.