i know im still new here, and very well could get shunned for saying this, but its worth it. so here we go.
ive always hated how in culinary school they taught you that a steel sharpens a knife, and when you get out into the real world you realize it doesnt, and you have to learn a whole mew set of rules for using stones. thousands of methods, and ALL of them mean scratching your knives while learning. i HATE those scuff marks. but i thought this was the way it had to be, so i just went along with it. im decently good, i can get a blade shaving sharp quickly enough. but when i was asked to be a Teaching assistant, i didnt want to overwhelm kids on learning to sharpen knives, so ive been looking for a good alternative. i think i found a better one.
i picked up a set of MAC ceramic steels (white 1200gr. and black 2000gr.) and quickly realized that they sharpen knives. they dont take off a whole lot of metal, but a DMT diamond steel does. in total, it comes to around $100, which may buy you two stones. and the 2000gr. MAC steel makes, in my opinion, a PERFECT finishing edge on a kitchen knife, and ive used it as a hone for about a year.
in short, i found that for me a set of abrasive rods work alot better than various stones. its just my opinion, and i thought id put it out there for you guys to try.