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  1. #1
    Dave Martell's Avatar
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    What's your favorite stones?

    So what are your favorite sharpening stones, the ones that you just can't live without, the ones that would get replaced immediately if something were to happen to them? I'd like to hear your thoughts on what you love & why you love them so much, what they're used for, etc.

    I was just cleaning & flattening my stones and the thought came to me how a few of these are irreplaceable for one reason or another. Here's my favs....


    I have to start off with what I consider to be the Holy Trinity of double bevel Japanese knife sharpening. I simply can't imagine not having this to use as a set.

    Beston 500x - best all around coarse stone to start off almost every sharpening session with. A must have for AS steel

    Bester 1200x - I simply can't make a more crisper near perfect bevel if I don't roll through this stone on my way up the ladder. This one also serves as my ura (back side) single bevel flattening stone, it's white color greatly helps here.

    Suehiro Rika 5k - I could love this stone for no other reason than it's feel, what a joy to use. Good thing that it also aids greatly in the making that all around toothy edge serving as the last stone needed for the gyuto & nakiri.



    Now I'll mention the must have coarse stones I keep on hand always.

    Gesshin 400x - One of the few stones that went into my bucket and never came out. I find this stone is a must have for single bevel, it makes quick work of cladding prep on blade roads. I'm at about 3/8" on my current stone so Jon's got an order coming soon from me.

    Pink Brick 220x - I can't say it's all love here because I also sort of hate this stone, or I hate that I need it, but it's one that I always re-order over and over again. I like to think of this as my "use in case of emergency" stone. It's just a serious steel hogger - well that is if you keep it flat while using it. Get the point of why I hate it?



    Then there's this stone that came to me and I fell in so lust for right away. I'd re-order it again if I had to.

    Takashima Awasedo (large) - I can't really describe what exactly I use this stone for but I love it anyway. It's a stone that feels great to use, smells earthy, is nice and soft, super muddy, and one that I think about all the time. Yeah like I said, I lust over this stone.



    Now for my long term deep love affairs....

    King 800x XL - This is one of my most used stones - great feel, lots of mud, and essential to aesthetics. I use this to blend bevels during a hamguriba grind single bevels and wide blade doubles like Takeda, etc. and I use it to create the base for a misty bevel look. I went through maybe 5 normal sized stones before buying my current XL version and I re-fell in love with this stone after getting the big boy size because it's so much more effective and it wears so much slower. I don;t think that I could professionally sharpen Japanese knives if I could not have this stone anymore.

    King 1200x - My 2nd favorite 1k(ish) stone. This is IMO soooo much better of a stone than most everything out there. It allows for perfect feedback for locking up on the bevel, cuts super quick, and provides excellent pre-polish for jumping to 5-6k. Considering the cost it's highly recommended from me. Beware though - this isn't the crappy King 1k found everywhere, it's hard to imagine they're made by the same company.

    Synthetic Aoto XL - I'm starting to tear up here, my old aoto is getting REAL thin and needing replacement soon and I can't hardly stand the thought of putting this old gal out to pasture but I will. I love this stone for it's size, it's feel, it's burr reduction capability, it's polishing, mud making, and ability to push the quality of a single bevels' edge to really high levels. I've been lucky with my stone (whereas many haven't been) as it's still in one piece and has been living in my bucket since day #1 which was probably 5-6 yrs ago. Yup my aoto is old, delicate, and really thin but one that I need to replace soon.

    Kitayama - I saved the best for last. This is a controversial stone - a love it or hate it stone - but one that I figured out early on and has come back to help me push my edges to the highest levels over and over again. I find this stone to be absolutely 100% necessary to providing the level of edge quality that I've come to give for single bevel Japanese knife sharpening. This stone takes the edge quality left from any previous stone (even 10, 12, 15, & 30k) and pumps it up to make it even better while also providing the ultimate pre-strop ready edge. I've had my Kitayama since I started hand sharpening at the very beginning, it's getting real thin but it's slow wearer that still has lots of life in it. Boy if this stone could talk, it's tell some sharpening stories, it's got a ton of miles on it - mucho grande! Yup I'll replace this one day but not until I've sharpened another thousand knives or so.



    So what are your loves?

  2. #2
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    For fast removal of pretty much any steel on any type of knife: Gesshin 400. IMO, this stone has no weakness. I like the effectiveness of the Beston 500 but I don't like the "sound" and I've found chunks of gravel mixed into the stones.

    1k ish stones: Best combination of feel and finish is Gesshin 2k but I'm finding that I get sharper with the Sigma Select II 1.2k. It's a harder stone and leaves some faceting on large bevels but I love this stone as a pre-finisher for double bevels.

    3-5k stones: Gesshin 5k for burr reduction and Rika for finish.

    8k+: Awasedo (what Dave said), coticule (possibly favorite edge for carbon steel and less wear resistance stainless), 8kSS (I just like it. I'm not sure why.)

    Dave's old strop. Not the HA and not the most recent variation... Best strop ever made, IMO.

    Honorable mention goes to sintered diamond "stones" and sigma power 400/Gesshin 1k. The diamond stones are growing on me and they give super aggressive edges without the crappy, crunchiness of DMT/Atoma's and I still appreciate a nice splash n go. Dang... I like a lot of stones... I'll stop now though... Gesshin 4k should have a place somewhere... Choseras...

    BTW, Kitayama 8k... meh...

  3. #3
    Marko Tsourkan's Avatar
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    Beston 500 - can't have too many of those, love this stone
    Beser 1200 - same as above
    JNS 1K - hard stone, cuts very fast, I like it a lot
    DMT (1200 equivalent) plate - splash and go, no flattening needed
    Rika 5K
    DMT 8K use to finish DMT 1200
    Jnat in 8K range - use after DMT 1200 for an aggressive and lasting edge
    My own felt with diamond spray strop


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  4. #4
    Senior Member EdipisReks's Avatar
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    my Kitayama is probably my absolute favorite stone, followed by my green brick of joy. i don't really have any favorite coarse stones, though i really like the finish the King 800 can produce, though i wish it were faster. i really like my Shoubudani Asagi, but it is too specialized in terms of what steels it works well with that i can't quite say it's a favorite. when it works, though, it really works! i have a bunch of other stones that i use regularly, but the Kitayama and the green brick get used constantly.

  5. #5

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    I've got some weird ones.

    Shapton Pro 2k. I absolutely love the feel of it, because I learned to sharpen on it. It's fast, hard, and mostly splash and go(the entire Shapton Pro series benefits greatly from like 5 Minutes of being wet). It just ends up finding it's way in when I get confused or am testing out a new blade, because I know it so well. If you are patient and diligent, you can keep up your knives with just this one stone and a leather strop.

    Maruka Nakayama fingerstones. I love them because I love how they feel, and they end up producing my favorite finish on every knife I used them on. If I bring out the pattern in my Shig with these things, the steel is actually less reactive. I want a real one so bad, but it's like a rent payment to get one.

    Atoma 140x. Amazing. Solves countless problems. If I were sent back to the year 1000 and could only bring one thing, it might be this dead-flat, structured-abrasive diamond plate.

    This is the most unexpected one, even to me:

    Naniwa Aotoshi. One of the strangest things that has ever happened to me. I tried around a dozen stones in a quest for an elusive thing--a SINGLE synthetic stone that can go straight from a diamond plate and finish a cheap stainless blade, like Forschner or Wusthof. I do not understand why, but I spent literally hours trying to figure out what the hell is up with this stone, and I still don't know. If you put a good knife on it--Swedish Carbon, 154CM, even VG10, the edge is pretty crappy. It's like the edge off a cheap ceramic rod. But you put a Calphalon or Pampered Chef on it, and it brings out the absolute best in those blades, it's fast on them, it leaves a consumer-friendly shiny bevel, and it's soft enough that if you wobble over the edge, it'll lose a chunk of itself and not damage your crappy Chinese stainless. I have a booth at a Farmer's Market, and if I dropped this thing or it got stolen, I'd just have to buy another one.

    *edit* Forgot to add the Aotoshi feels like crap and is not fun to sharpen with. It's all results and no help at all. It's like having a guy help you move you that doesn't speak your language, won't look at you, forgets things, and smokes indoors, but can lift an entertainment center by himself.

  6. #6


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    Rika 5k for the feedback

    Gesshin 5k. Just a great stone.

    Gesshin 20k, because sometimes I just want a super refined edge.

    Gesshin 10k - My FAVORITE stone. Harder than the SS10k, leaves a great finish and a very nice bite for a 10k stone.

  7. #7
    Senior Member mattrud's Avatar
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    Dave- do you remember the first time you used a kitayama? I do.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by unkajonet View Post
    Rika 5k for the feedback

    Gesshin 5k. Just a great stone.

    Gesshin 20k, because sometimes I just want a super refined edge.

    Gesshin 10k - My FAVORITE stone. Harder than the SS10k, leaves a great finish and a very nice bite for a 10k stone.
    Aw, man. Really? Do I need a G10k?

  9. #9
    Senior Member mattrud's Avatar
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    My current stone line-up and a great one

    500 beston
    1200 bester
    rika 5k
    gesshin 8k
    strop (s)

    Love all of the stones. I feel that after I go through the beston and bester I will switch to Gesshin stones, But I really like the 1200 bester and that may have to stay. I love the 8k gesshin, feed back, speed, refined yet toothy edge.

    I have used the awesado and also have these innate love for it. But my current lineup is a staple and I can not see it changing anytime soon.

    Yes I have a kitayama, and it has its place with certain knives. and not ever knife gets the same treatment.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by tk59 View Post
    Aw, man. Really? Do I need a G10k?
    LOL, I was thinking the same thing, but then there's always the 8k as well.

    For me I've only ever used two sets of stones, Shapton Pro 1k, 2k and 5k and my most recent addition of the Gesshin line, 400, 2k and 4k. I am absolutely smitten by the Gesshins and I have stopped using my Shaptons.
    Twitter: @PeterDaEater

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