Let me give you some history. Back 20 years ago I bought a 3 piece set of Wusthof knives. Since I've owned them they've never been sharpened. Recently I bought a set of inexpensive Chicago Cutlery steak knives (non serrated). That's when I realized how dull my Wusthofs had become. They still have a good edge because I've always taken care of them but anything delicate they're not so great. I'm using my steak knives for now because I can't go back to using dull blades. So I began researching how to sharpen my Wusthofs and maintain my steak knives, that's when I stumbled upon Ryky Youtube Channel Burrfection. Man I love that guy, I've been binge watching all his videos, learning all about hand sharpening. Now I'm getting ready to buy some stones and I've narrowed it down to a few but have some questions before I pull the trigger. Stones I'm Considering: 1. My first choice: Chosera 800 & 3000 Ryky and most everyone rave about Chosera. The main things I like it's great quality, excellent feedback, and the convenience of splash and go. There are two downsides: first they're expensive and the second more troubling I've seen many complaints about them cracking. I've read the thread here that soaking or uneven drying causes cracking. It's simple not to soak them but the drying part seems more tricky. I live in area that has extremes, hot humid summers and dry cold winters that I'd imagine could cause drying issues. Some people say turn them on their side, others say seal the sides, other people say they still cracked. It's hard to tell how prevalent the cracking issues really is. I would hate to invest all that money on a fussy stone that's likely to crack. The other thing I'd have to decided is whether to get the one that has the plastic base. Less expensive but not as compact for storage. 2. My second choice: Suehiro Cerax 1000 & Rika 5000 This also is a highly regarded combo, inexpensive (half the price of the Chosera) with no cracking complains. Only minor downside is it needs to be soaked for 20 minutes. I think that's a minor complaint. Other alternatives: Shapton Glass. As a beginner I'm more inclined to get a stone that has better tactile feel but I've read many people here swear by them. And there is the King 1k/6k seems to be the gold standard value pick. As a beginner I probably should get this but I could see myself second guessing not getting the other ones. Questions: 1. Are polishing stones necessary? Should I start out with only a sharpening stone like a 1k? I've seen Ryky sharpen and hone on a 1k. My only concern is if I touch up my knives on a regular basis I'll wear them down using a 1k. 2. Is it difficult to build and maintain your skill? I'm aware that even though I use my knives every day they're only for personal use. I can imagine after I become competent and sharpen my knives my stones won't get much use except for an occasion touch up. Even though I like the idea of owning high quality stones like the Chosera and I can afford them, I get the feeling that they're going to get very little use and it's a little crazy spending $160... I also understand while I'm obsessing over what stones to get, results are mostly due to skill. Can anyone talk me out of spending a lot money on stones?