First of all, I still consider myself a newbie to sharpening and will for years to come, but when I was first starting to sharpen I watched the three videos (Carter, Korin, and Dave's) and noted down preparation/sharpening tips that I thought I might forget, but would be good to remember.
Even after some time now, I still find myself referring to them every now and then just as a helpful reminder before I hit the stones.
So anyhow, here was my list from way back when:
* Wash hands and knives before handling stones.
* Flatten stones before each sharpening session.
* Clean flattener before moving on to next stone, so as to not contaminate grit.
* Examine knife blade (for chips, bends, cleanliness) before sharpening and correct if needed.
* Hone knife blades before sharpening.
* Debur after each stone (felt pad).
* Remember to turn stone around during sharpening to even out wear.
* Wipe off grit on knife before moving to next stone.
I know that those tips are more about preparing for sharpening and the in-between stuff than actual sharpening. Sharpening techniques are so varied, I only had a few sharpening tips on my list.
* Use light pressure on stones.
* Place fingers directly over the portion of blade you are sharping.
* Raise a burr along the entire blade.
If you were instructing a newbie, would you add any other tips or good practices (or take any away)? Just wondering.