First sharpening stones? Looking for ~1000-2000 & 5000+

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justgreg

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Hi

I have been going to a specialist to get my japanese knives sharpened up.
I want to learn to sharpen my knives with a whetstone.


Budget:


I don't really have a budget; I just want the right gear (I've seen single whetstones online going for 300$ or less, that is fine for me)

I have nothing, as far as sharpening goes. I do not want to make my own equipment, I'd rather buy everything as-is and of good quality.

I'm looking for something like a 1000-2000 grit "medium" stone and 5000+ grit stone for polish, based on what I read?

I'm a total noob in this area, would love pointers.
All the other threads I've seen I either can't follow (too technical in regards with stones) or people that want a 50$ or less recommendation.

Thanks!

EDIT:

My daily knives at the moment:
  • Masamoto KS Usuba (White Steel #2) // single edged
  • Takamura VG10 santoku 165mm
  • A set of Zwilling Diplome knives (paring, chef's, santoku, bread)
 
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Random

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I have quite a few stones, but I'm particularly happy with my Suehiro Cerax 1000 and Suehiro Rika 5000. About $45 each on Amzn.
 

Kristoffer

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I recently got a Shapton Pro 2000, which I’ve been very happy with. It’s relatively fast, gives a nice toothy edge (which has worked very well for stainless and soft carbon) and is a pleasure to sharpen on “feel”-wise.

Building around one of those, perhaps add a Pro 1000 and 5000 (neither of which I have tried myself should be said)?
 

Xenif

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+1 on SP2K and Suehiro Rika

If you have nothing and buying from the start with no budget considerations, here is a suggestion:

1)Atoma 140 - Flattening your stones
2)Shapton Glass 500 - quick bevel setting/finish very soft stainless
3) Shapton Pro 2K - just a good stone/finishes beter stainless/working edge for carbon
4)Suehiro Rika 5K - great feel and feed back on stone, nice edge for 5k, mediocre polish
 
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kayman67

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There are so many options...

But first, what are the knives exactly?

Seeing this and thinking about another topic around here on how hard is to sharpen ZDP-189, I sometimes forget that I have so many stones and gear, I find very easy to handle most stuff.
 

PappaG

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I usually suggest cheap stones because its impossible to know what you will personally like or not like until you start sharpening. You are going to get many recommendations here. I really enjoy trying different stones. However to make this easy, I'll keep it simple such that I don' t think you can go wrong:

1. Gesshin 1200 https://www.japaneseknifeimports.co...nes/products/gesshin-1200-splash-and-go-stone
2. Geshing 6000. https://www.japaneseknifeimports.co...nes/products/gesshin-6000-splash-and-go-stone
 

SeattleBen

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KDS 1/6k combo is dirt cheap and you have money left over for a flattening object and a holder.
 

Nemo

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Do you want splash and go or do you have time to soak (or space to permasoak) your stones?

As mentioned, which knives are being sharpened?

Definitely get a stone flattener. A diamond plate is a good idea. The Atoma with a handle makes flattening easy.

There are lots of good options. In the end, your skill is much more important than the stones. However a good stone can probably help you get results faster when you are learning.
 

M1k3

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I'm of the opinion that the King KDS 1k/6k is great for a beginner. Soft enough to literally show you bad technique (gouges or scratches) and easy to flatten. 1k is good enough to get a good edge on. Cheap. Throw it in the toilet water tank. Comes with a 6k side to play with.

That said, I personally prefer the Shapton Pro 2k. But I still use the King from time to time.
 

kayman67

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I am one of the guys in favour of learning on a softer stone. I usually go for King, but some Suehiro are just as good or some other stones similar in behaviour.
 

Random

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Although I recommended the Suehiro stones (above), I agree the King 1k/6k is a great stone to learn on. In fact, it is a damn fine stone, period. They are really a joy to work on. If other stones are not working for whatever reason, I know I can always go back to the KDS and enjoy a sickly smooth organic experience.

Ya, I still like Suehiros, and Choseras too, but the KDS is probably the best starting stone ever made.
 

Michi

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King KDS 1000/6000 is a really, really nice stone. And, for many people, also the only stone they'll ever need.
 

daveb

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Stones are pretty subjective. Most will work well for you across a range of knives. There are differences in soakers vs splash and go, feedback, speed, how quickly they dish. My favorite synthetics can be grouped as good, better and best.

I like the Shapton Pro for good. They're no frills, solid stones that will certainly get any knife sharp. They are splash and go so they are easy to keep up with. They offer little feedback, just wham, bam, thank you ma'am, sharpening. I have the 320, 1K, 2K and 5K from this series. I use them at work on house knives and other peoples knives and do the occasional quick and dirty touch up on mine.

A slightly better set-up is the Bestor 1200 and Rika 5K. They are soakers and offer good feed back. They work well for me on Jknives and also German stainless. I don't like the Bestor 500 at all and would suggest a different coarse stone. I don't use mine a lot simply because I prefer the Gesshin.

My favorite synthetics and what I think of as the best available are the Gesshin soakers from JKI. The 400 is good, the 2K may be the best synthetic made and either the 4K or 6K will complete the "set". With vgood feedback the stones are a pleasure to use. They cut well and while I find the 400 to be "dishy" the others are not.
 

justgreg

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There are so many options...

But first, what are the knives exactly?

Seeing this and thinking about another topic around here on how hard is to sharpen ZDP-189, I sometimes forget that I have so many stones and gear, I find very easy to handle most stuff.
Looking to sharpen these at the moment, mostly:
- Masamoto KS Usuba (White Steel #2) // single edged
- Takamura VG10 santoku 165mm
- A set of Zwilling Diplome knives (paring, chef's, santoku, bread)

I'm looking to get 1 or 2 more japanese knives later, next year.
 

GorillaGrunt

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Gesshin 2000 and Suehiro Rika 5000. Plus the aforementioned Atoma 140 for flattening.
 

justgreg

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Do you want splash and go or do you have time to soak (or space to permasoak) your stones?

As mentioned, which knives are being sharpened?

Definitely get a stone flattener. A diamond plate is a good idea. The Atoma with a handle makes flattening easy.

There are lots of good options. In the end, your skill is much more important than the stones. However a good stone can probably help you get results faster when you are learning.
Updated with my knives.

what would you recommend for flattener, diamond plate (? what is this for) and any link to the Atoma you are speaking of?

Thanks!
 

Benuser

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Naniwa Pro 800. The most versatile I know. End result is some JIS1200.
For refinement and deburring the 3k from the same series. Equivalent to JIS4k. With a tight budget Blue Belgian Brocken is great for deburring — with the OP's VG-10 in mind. A piece of rough split leather helps with deburring: moving the debris to the other side and deburring that one.
 

kayman67

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For single bevel I pretty much prefer using Gesshin 1000, an old Suehiro 6000 (but you can replace it with maybe Rika 5000 or the softer Gesshin 6000), Bester 1200 sometimes. And for the final touch-ups, some polishing paste (it's an easy substitute for finishing on naturals with desired contrast).
All will work with the knives mentioned, as well.

This being said, you can do good or very good also with King 800 and 1200 plus a more popular finisher than King 6000 (I like a lot King 8000, but needs good technique or you won't understand what it is capable of and put in lonely corner fast). Going a full King setting will make some people mad :D

On the long run I would also get Nano Hone 200 and 400. Maybe 400 would be enough, depending on what knives you get and how much usage they will see in the future. King (yeah, again) has some new stones I don't know about that much, but might be worth a look.

There are a bunch of other stones, but they have their drawbacks in some way or another. Will work eventually, no question about it. I would just prefer the above first, having most of them. I also use usuba and some other single bevel knives and sharpen some frequently.
 

inferno

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wattahell, not a single mention of shapton glass!

i think shapton glass stones are good.

for a starter kit i would get 500/3k/6k and then an atoma. and a stone holder.
or a 500/2k/4k
or a 1k and a 3k/4k

i have a kit at work to sharpen coworkers knives and thats a shapton pro 1k and a 2k. and an atoma 400. thats all you need really.
since i never sharpen anything better than globals there is no need for more than a 2k. otherwise i would have used the 3k glass.
 

inferno

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yeah lets have a starter stone sticky!!
 

Nemo

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Updated with my knives.

what would you recommend for flattener, diamond plate (? what is this for) and any link to the Atoma you are speaking of?

Thanks!
My handled Atoma came from Knives and Stones (KnS).

I mainly use Choseras (Naniwa Pros are very similar). Splash and go, reasonably quick. Good feedback. Not the cheapest stones. Some people report problems with cracking. Mine are sealed and I have never seen a crack (I also live in a mainly dry environment). Naniwa uses thir own grit scale and their stones are a little finer than comparable grit JIS stones.
They are fairly hard stones and don't tend to leave a nice contrast or even a nice finish on wide bevels. Quickly fixed with another stone or some sandpaper, though.

I have 400, which is good for Western stainless and minor thinning. The 1000 is a great all-round stone and could be the only stone you need. If you can't make a knife sharp on this one, you need more practice. The Chosera/Pro 800 is similar and also has lots of big (probably even bigger) fans. The 3000 is a good finishing stone. It's said to be equivalent to around 4000 JIS. Many people have said that the 5000 is the only stone in this line to avoid due to having poor feedback.
 

inferno

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i think the naniwas actually start out wet with no slurry at the stated grit, but then gets finer. my 800 abrades just like any other 1k. it just finsihes finer.

I also get the best possible contrast out of mine. its quaite coarse but even and good without silver streaks in the cladding.

ymmv i guess.
 

Nemo

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i think the naniwas actually start out wet with no slurry at the stated grit, but then gets finer. my 800 abrades just like any other 1k. it just finsihes finer.

I also get the best possible contrast out of mine. its quaite coarse but even and good without silver streaks in the cladding.

ymmv i guess.
Interesting perspective. Thx.
 

inferno

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yeah my 800 nanipro does the best kasumi. for me that is. i have thread here about it too. to show it.
 

Runner_up

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If you have nothing and buying from the start with no budget considerations, here is a suggestion:

1)Atoma 140 - Flattening your stones
2)Shapton Glass 500 - quick bevel setting/finish very soft stainless
3) Shapton Pro 2K - just a good stone/finishes beter stainless/working edge for carbon
4)Suehiro Rika 5K - great feel and feed back on stone, nice edge for 5k, mediocre polish
I think this is a perfect suggestion for someone learning how to sharpen. You wont spend a ton and these stones will get you very far. I think the shapton pro stones are fantastic. I using a 1500 grit pro before finishing on a natural stone.
 

kayman67

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wattahell, not a single mention of shapton glass!

i think shapton glass stones are good.

for a starter kit i would get 500/3k/6k and then an atoma. and a stone holder.
or a 500/2k/4k
or a 1k and a 3k/4k

i have a kit at work to sharpen coworkers knives and thats a shapton pro 1k and a 2k. and an atoma 400. thats all you need really.
since i never sharpen anything better than globals there is no need for more than a 2k. otherwise i would have used the 3k glass.
SG are nice, but not that nice for single bevels unless you won't care about the finish.
While 500 works and actually has a pretty decent finish, as you move up, you need HC or it looks not so good.
SG 2000 compared to SP 2000 is more like Naniwa Pro 2000. SP 2000 is really nice with single bevels. Develops a very fine paste and gives this very homogeneous satin finish with a decent contrast if used right. SG 2000 and Naniwa Pro 2k, not so much. I've tried Naniwa even with different amounts of slurry. By doing this I found something else. With slurry, Naniwa, on a White steel, gave me a much nicer edge than SP 2000. Quite interesting. Honestly, unexpected. I'll have to test this further.
I've also compared SG 500 to NH 400 and the more I used the Nanohone, the better the contrast. With SG was a bit the other way around.
But even as nice as SP 2000 is here for contrast and finish, for single bevel I liked more the Gesshin 1000. It's just easier to use. With Shapton I had to adjust several times.
I like Shapton, have or had most of them, but definitely not the easiest or best for everything. And for some reason, Gesshin after Nanohone gave me the best contrast faster compared to after SG 500. Seemed a bit strange to me. I'll repeat this with a different knife.
 

inferno

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i have the exact opposite experience with the shapton pro2. it can either make so so contrast or completely remove it. just like the glass 2k.
the pro1k does make some contrast but yoou have to work for it. not as good as the naniwa 800 at least.
the naniwa pro 800 and 2k makes very good contrast each and every time here. i guess ymmv.
 
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When I first started looking at stones, I made the decision to get stones that will stand up to the hardest steels that I may be purchasing in the future(in my case, probably 66HRC, in the most extreme case). There are many good choices available to you, since you don't have a fixed budget. As already mentioned, in the end, your skill is what will get you sharp knives, by a much larger degree than your tools. That being said, higher quality, & larger stones will provide a higher quality experience than a $30 1000/6000 combo stone, given that you have the budget for quality stones. It helps to get your stones at about the height of the top of your stomach(as opposed to waist high) IMO, because this will allow you to rely less on your shoulders, which are ball joints, and in turn, tend to give you somewhat of a swooping motion, making it more difficult to maintain a consistent angle. For this purpose, I purchased an inexpensive($15) polycarbonate basin 20.75 x 12.75 x 6 inches (L x W x D), which I fill with about 3" of water for soaking stones, and a Suehiro sink bridge($40 on Japanese Knife Imports). I haven't tried any other stones, (except for cheap combo stones waaay in the past), other than the ones I currently own. ATM, I own:
Suehiro Cerax #1000($43 on Amazon)
Suehiro Rika #5000($45 on Amazon)
Kitayama #8000($70 on Amazon)
Kangaroo stropping set w/1 & .5 micron Richmond diamond sprays
Both of the Suehiro stones I'm currently using give great feedback, fast slurry production, are reasonably fast cutting for their grit, are fairly large, provide great results & sharpening experience, & I would absolutely buy them again, knowing what I know now. The Kitayama #8000 feels like it comes with some sort of protective finish on it that can be removed with a stone flattener, or a nagura, and the stamp that it comes with IMO needs to be wore down, or removed before it feels right. After the Kitayama #8000 is worn in, it's somewhat slow producing slurry(a nagura will expedite slurry production), but after it does, it feels really good to finish on, before stropping. Since you mentioned you were interested in stone @1-5k+ grit stones, in the beginning, you may want to hold off on getting anything above 6k grit, until you know it's it's actually something that will be useful in your case. In addition to the 1k & 5-6k stones, something in the range of 300-400 grit would be useful for repairing minor chips, & gradually thinning you knives as needed, in order to maintain the best width behind the edge to provide the most effective cutting experience(I have a Suehiro Cerax $320 arriving today, I bought based on it's reputation). In the future, you may want to consider an in between stone(#3000 grit), and the Chosera #3000 has the best reputation that I'm aware of. Also, something like an Atoma #140 diamond plate would provide a dual use purpose for both flattening your stones as needed, as well as in case you ever need to do any major repair work in the future. A must have IMO, is rust erasers($12 for both a course & fine grit on Amazon) for both removing any minor rust spots on your knives, as well as load up on your stones while & after sharpening.
 
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