New to stones

Kitchen Knife Forums

Help Support Kitchen Knife Forums:

BrokenChef

New to sharpening and high quality steel
KKF Supporting Member
Joined
Nov 18, 2023
Messages
38
Reaction score
41
Location
North Charleston, SC
I'm a chef of over 30 years looking to learn how to sharpen my knives myself. I've always sent them to a "pro" in the past, but am not usually pleased with the results. I'm pretty sure they all used a machine. I'm disabled now, so I have time to learn.

I have about a dozen Forschner blades. From 12" chef to 3" paring. I have some older blades that I'm not sure of the manufacturer. As well as sharpening various pocket knives and kitchen knives for family.

I looked on Amazon for a set of whetstones, but am not satisfied with the reviews. In my quest to learn which stones are worth buying and what I should start with, I figured my best bet is to join a forum where I can chat with seasoned pros.

I'll add that I'm a PA native and went to Culinary school in Pittsburgh (PICA) back in 1991. I've been in the Charleston, SC area for the last 25 years.

Very much looking forward to chatting with some pros and hopefully making some new friends.
 

daveb

Staff member
Administrator
Global Moderators
Joined
Mar 11, 2012
Messages
15,295
Reaction score
9,010
Location
St Pete, the one in Florida
Welcome.

Couple of quickies and I'll get out of the way. Forschner are frequently recommended as a starter knife to those looking to learn. Good values.

But.

The steel is not hard enough to enjoy the retention that you will find with Japanese and Japanese "style" knives. Even if you get em sharp they will not stay that way beyond minimal use. There's a "Which Knife" questionnaire on here that will help you find a "good" knife to help that part of the journey.

I've bought many of the Shapton Pro and Glass stones from Amazon. Good stones for a beginner as well as seasoned old farts. Pro 1000 and 2000 are my most recommended stones. Glass 500 is a foundation stone for me - can't imagine being without one.

I heart Charleston. 2 years in the Navy there and back when I can.
 

BrokenChef

New to sharpening and high quality steel
KKF Supporting Member
Joined
Nov 18, 2023
Messages
38
Reaction score
41
Location
North Charleston, SC
Thanks for the advice, much appreciated!

I'm aware Forschner isn't the greatest. It's what they gave us at culinary school and they served me well through a 30 year career. Replaced a few and added a few along the way.

I used a diamond steel all day long and had them sharpened (usually) monthly by whichever company the restaurant used, or took them out to a guy at the flea market who did a great job. I rarely had times where I wished they were sharper.

Now that I'm disabled, I can't even begin to afford expensive knives, and have no need for them, but I have the time to learn how to sharpen them myself.

I honestly never came across another chef/cook who could "out cut" me with their $200 knife... So I never saw a reason to spend big $ on a blade.

I can see the desire and there are certainly situations that would fare better with a nice blade, but I never had to worry about someone messing up my knife. I had a sous chef once who had a $300 ceramic chef knife. It was all he ever talked about, especially after he dropped it and it broke into pieces.

My main concern is that I don't waste $$ buying junk stones from Amazon, so your suggestions for stones is what I'll be looking into. Much appreciated.
 

HumbleHomeCook

Embrace your knifesculinity.
KKF Supporting Member
Joined
Oct 24, 2020
Messages
7,718
Reaction score
16,764
Location
PNW USA
Welcome.

Considering your financial situation and the knives you'll be sharpening, I'd strongly consider a 300 and 600 of these:


Diamonds work well on soft stainless, there's minimal mess and they never need to be flattened. If you do go with diamonds, these or others, just remember they don't need much pressure and being heavy handed is bad for the stone. I mention because many sharpening videos using synthetic stones will talk about pressure and starting out with more.
 

BrokenChef

New to sharpening and high quality steel
KKF Supporting Member
Joined
Nov 18, 2023
Messages
38
Reaction score
41
Location
North Charleston, SC
Thanks for the advice!!

Those look to be more in line with my budget...

I've been reading and I see that, for example: 1000 grit of brand A is not the same as 1000 grit of brand B.

That said and my zero experience, do you think I need something as course as a 300? Isn't that for things like ultra dull and removing nicks?

From all the reading I've done, I have been looking for a 600 and 1000... I see they have a 600 and 1200 set.

Do you think a 300 and 600 would get them sharp enough? Ideally, I think all 3 would be best, but I'd like to have one of the finer grits. I'm afraid I might be more prone to doing damage with a 300.

Or maybe the diamond grit isn't the same as others?

I dunno, just asking, lol
 

Heckel7302

More knives than sense
KKF Supporting Member
Joined
Mar 4, 2021
Messages
1,500
Reaction score
3,552
Location
Indianapolis, USA
I often use a Shapton glass 500 on soft stainless and don’t go higher. It performs a little higher than its grit rating. I’ve never felt disappointed in those edges. You’ll need some kind of holder for it though, as they are so thin they can’t really be used just on the counter. Unless you get the double thick, which comes with a case/holder.

Alternatively, Shapton Pro 1000 will also be a good one stone solution, and bonus it comes with a case/holder.

Best cheapest option is King Deluxe 800. It’s a soaker, so less convenient, but thick enough you can use it on a counter without a holder.
 
Last edited:

BrokenChef

New to sharpening and high quality steel
KKF Supporting Member
Joined
Nov 18, 2023
Messages
38
Reaction score
41
Location
North Charleston, SC
MTC is running a 20% off sale for black friday. Makes many stones cheaper than amazon. Shapton Sharpening Stones : MTC Kitchen

If I had to only grab two stones I would get the Shapton Glass 500 and a Shapton pro 1500.
All I see are glass and traditional.
I don't see a 1500 of either.
Would I also need a holder for each type or are they universal?
Would I also need a flattening stone?
 

HumbleHomeCook

Embrace your knifesculinity.
KKF Supporting Member
Joined
Oct 24, 2020
Messages
7,718
Reaction score
16,764
Location
PNW USA
Thanks for the advice!!

Those look to be more in line with my budget...

I've been reading and I see that, for example: 1000 grit of brand A is not the same as 1000 grit of brand B.

That said and my zero experience, do you think I need something as course as a 300? Isn't that for things like ultra dull and removing nicks?

From all the reading I've done, I have been looking for a 600 and 1000... I see they have a 600 and 1200 set.

Do you think a 300 and 600 would get them sharp enough? Ideally, I think all 3 would be best, but I'd like to have one of the finer grits. I'm afraid I might be more prone to doing damage with a 300.

Or maybe the diamond grit isn't the same as others?

I dunno, just asking, lol

The soft stainless you'll be dealing with won't hold a higher grit edge so there's really no point in going there.

Here's you first sharpening lesson: We can't grit our way into sharpness. :) Meaning, we need to set the apex on the lower grit stone. All the higher grits do is refine that established edge.

300 grit is coarse but it isn't as coarse as it might seem. I mean in wood sanding, that would be considered a fine finish. 😁 That 300 will get your burr up pretty quickly. The 600 will give you enough refinement and still be a good kitchen edge.
 
Joined
Jul 30, 2023
Messages
259
Reaction score
743
Location
Seattle
Thanks for the advice!!

Those look to be more in line with my budget...

I've been reading and I see that, for example: 1000 grit of brand A is not the same as 1000 grit of brand B.

That said and my zero experience, do you think I need something as course as a 300? Isn't that for things like ultra dull and removing nicks?

From all the reading I've done, I have been looking for a 600 and 1000... I see they have a 600 and 1200 set.

Do you think a 300 and 600 would get them sharp enough? Ideally, I think all 3 would be best, but I'd like to have one of the finer grits. I'm afraid I might be more prone to doing damage with a 300.

Or maybe the diamond grit isn't the same as others?

I dunno, just asking, lol
You don't need three stones to start. Like Heckel said, a single mid grit stone like the Shapton Pro 1000 can work for all your knives.
 

BrokenChef

New to sharpening and high quality steel
KKF Supporting Member
Joined
Nov 18, 2023
Messages
38
Reaction score
41
Location
North Charleston, SC
The soft stainless you'll be dealing with won't hold a higher grit edge so there's really no point in going there.

Here's you first sharpening lesson: We can't grit our way into sharpness. :) Meaning, we need to set the apex on the lower grit stone. All the higher grits do is refine that established edge.

300 grit is coarse but it isn't as coarse as it might seem. I mean in wood sanding, that would be considered a fine finish. 😁 That 300 will get your burr up pretty quickly. The 600 will give you enough refinement and still be a good kitchen edge.
Uhh, good to know! So what on earth would anyone ever need a 16000 grit stone for? ... a $20,000 katana that one plans to "use" ? Lol
 

HumbleHomeCook

Embrace your knifesculinity.
KKF Supporting Member
Joined
Oct 24, 2020
Messages
7,718
Reaction score
16,764
Location
PNW USA
Uhh, good to know! So what on earth would anyone ever need a 16000 grit stone for? ... a $20,000 katana that one plans to "use" ? Lol

Well, there's a place for everything. Hard steel can take and hold much keener edges so we start climbing in grits. Up at that range though is usually for cutting a lot of raw fish.

A lot of us keep our hard knives in the 2k-4k range. I rarely take soft stainless above 500ish.

Another very good option for soft stainless would be a Norton India combo stone. These stones are best used with oil so they can be a little messier but they are great stones and can go a very long time without being flattened.
 

The Forest Ninja

Active Member
Joined
Nov 14, 2023
Messages
26
Reaction score
33
Location
Canada
I only have 3 synthetic stones for my stainless steel knives and I like my Naniwa Aotoshi 2K Green Brick.
Leaves a nice toothy edge and it's so thick it will last me a freaking long time.
 

Qapla'

Senior Member
Joined
Jun 30, 2018
Messages
1,568
Reaction score
639
All I see are glass and traditional.
I don't see a 1500 of either.
Would I also need a holder for each type or are they universal?
Would I also need a flattening stone?

This is a Shapton Pro 1500.
https://www.**************.com/shaptonpro1.html (It's at Chef Knives to Go.)

MTC seems to now call that line "Traditional". You'll also see it referred to as "Ha no Kuromaku", which is what is written on the box.

If you're looking to buy it specifically from MTC Kitchen and it's not shown, then call them up and ask about it; the website doesn't list 100% of what they sell.
 

BrokenChef

New to sharpening and high quality steel
KKF Supporting Member
Joined
Nov 18, 2023
Messages
38
Reaction score
41
Location
North Charleston, SC
Thanks to everyone who replied! I'll look at the various suggestions and pick one or two.

I feel much better about making a choice now and I'm glad I didn't buy one of those 3 stone sets for $50 on Amazon. They had a lot of good reviews, but I generally count the 1 star reviews as more legitimate and coming from people with experience. It stops me from buying a lot of junk I don't need, or would regret buying!
 

BrokenChef

New to sharpening and high quality steel
KKF Supporting Member
Joined
Nov 18, 2023
Messages
38
Reaction score
41
Location
North Charleston, SC
I'm embarrassed to say, I also have a few Dexter Russel blades and want to sharpen my mom's set of Wolfgang Puck - says China 0212 on them. 🙄🫨😵‍💫

Are these soft like my Forschners?

I know Dexter Russell is better than these junk Wolfgang's from China, but want to make sure I can sharpen them.

As of right now, I'm planning to get a Shapton 500 glass DT and a pro 1000. 20% off seems like a nice discount.

I messaged MTC because the description for the DT 500 glass shows a pic of a holder, but doesn't mention a holder, so I want to make sure I get a holder.

Another Q... Do the Pro 1000 and DT glass 500 fit in same holder?

If I have to buy holders separately, I may change to a different (cheaper) brand, or just get 1 stone.

This is going to be my Xmas gift from my mom, lol, so I'm trying to stay around $100.
 

daveb

Staff member
Administrator
Global Moderators
Joined
Mar 11, 2012
Messages
15,295
Reaction score
9,010
Location
St Pete, the one in Florida
Any Shapton box will hold any Shapton stone.

The 500G XThick is the only glass stone to come in a box. Well worth the upgrade to get the thicker version. Shapton #500 Glass Sharpening Stone Double Thick 10mm HR

The Pro 1000 will come in a plastic box / holder. This will also hold any Shapton stone though you may want to put it on a damp towel to keep it from sliding around the counter top.

The Wolfgang, Kitchenaid, Cuisinart Chinese knives are all crap. I used to take part in a charity knife sharpening event and half the people would bring these. Zoom, zoom, two passes on the sharpening "system" and give em back. Thanks, Kerching, and will see you next year.
 

BrokenChef

New to sharpening and high quality steel
KKF Supporting Member
Joined
Nov 18, 2023
Messages
38
Reaction score
41
Location
North Charleston, SC
Any Shapton box will hold any Shapton stone.

The 500G XThick is the only glass stone to come in a box. Well worth the upgrade to get the thicker version. Shapton #500 Glass Sharpening Stone Double Thick 10mm HR

The Pro 1000 will come in a plastic box / holder. This will also hold any Shapton stone though you may want to put it on a damp towel to keep it from sliding around the counter top.

The Wolfgang, Kitchenaid, Cuisinart Chinese knives are all crap. I used to take part in a charity knife sharpening event and half the people would bring these. Zoom, zoom, two passes on the sharpening "system" and give em back. Thanks, Kerching, and will see you next year.
Ay $50-$100 for a set of 12 blades, you kinda have to expect they are garbage.
My mom goes against the rule.. I give her a sharp knife and she cuts herself, every time. But sometimes I need to use her knives, so I'll sharpen all of them, let her kill one and at least I'll have a fairly sharp blade for a few minutes, lol I can run my finger up and down the edge at this point, so I can at least improve them...

Perusing Japanese blades at MTC ... and I thought $200 was a lot for 1 knife, lol

But in that $200 range, I like the

Sakai Takayuki Damascus Hammered VG-10 Gyuto 240mm (9.4") on sale for $186​

I prefer wood handles and I like the hammered and Damascus appearance.

Had I not made so many bad choices in my early years, and wasted sooo much money "having fun", I might have known the joy of Japanese blades, lol
 
Joined
May 26, 2021
Messages
1,273
Reaction score
3,345
Location
Singapore
16000 grit and up is meant for razors.

1700471958957.jpeg

With apologies, while the general point is true, I have here a can of worms to share re the SG16k specifically …

the 16K is too nonuniform to be a good razor stone

I had all (!) HR stones at one point and all of them are excellent for razors except the 16k, which I absolutely hate.

Shapton only recommends (for razors) the Hr 1k ,3k, 10k and 30k

It is the 16k that's a pickle, its grit range is not narrow, (like the rest of the Hr series) and it was and is intentionally made that way for knives, planes ,tools

What’s everybody alluding to?

The Shapton Glass 16000 (specifically, not the rest of the range, and not 16k stones from other manufacturers) appears to be both (on the one hand) not recommended for straight razors due to a less uniform grit distribution,
First of all, particle sizes of abrasive are not perfectly even. The abrasive of GS16000 has wider distribution of particle size relatively. Of course, its center particle size is smaller than the one of GS10000. However, because of such feature of the abrasive of GS16000, we don’t recommend to use GS16000 after GS10000 and GS8000. The strong point of GS16000 is that you can jump to it from lower grit stone. For example, our 50408/3pcs Set is composed with GS500, GS2000, and GS16000.

and (on the other hand) perfectly usable for straight razors due to a very uniform grit distribution.
Shapton engineered abrasives are available in extremely uniform particle matrices. A .92 micron (#16000) Shapton abrasive has a uniformity of +/- .01 microns. This level of uniformity does not occur in nature and is unmatched by competing products.

The full rabbit hole can be explored at

From Shapton:
By the way, we usually don't recommend 16000 for razors. That is because the abrasive of 16000 has wider distribution in terms of a particle size. Instead, it is better to try 8000 HC
1700471119219.png
 
Last edited:
Joined
Apr 22, 2021
Messages
168
Reaction score
396
Location
Belgium
Thanks for your thorough precisions! I don't own the SG16000 so I can't speak of my own experience, I mainly wanted to point out that there are other uses for sharpening stones than just knives and swords.
Personally I go no higher than a 1000 or 2000 grit synthetic stone and then finish on a natural, probably in the 4K-8K range (that is for simple carbon steels).
For soft stainless I both SG500 and Shapton Pro 1000 will work but these two are a bit close to each other. I would rather go SP 320 - SP1000 (for dull and soft stainless) or SG500-SP2000 (more universal range suitable for most knives)
 
Joined
Aug 13, 2022
Messages
31
Reaction score
39
Location
NC
If I was only buying 1 stone and working with stainless (or anything else for that matter) I'd go with the Shapton Glass 500. Double thick if you can afford it but if not then the regular. With stainless it will cut/sharpen nicely and some would argue you don't need to go any higher for stainless and general kitchen use. You will never regret having this stone and if you decide you don't want it anymore for whatever reason you can easily sell it assuming you price it fairly.
 

BrokenChef

New to sharpening and high quality steel
KKF Supporting Member
Joined
Nov 18, 2023
Messages
38
Reaction score
41
Location
North Charleston, SC
Edited to rephrase.

Should I happenn onto a hard steel knife at an estate auction...

What one single stone/grit would you suggest?

Being that a 500 or 1000 would be adequate as a single stone for my Forschners, is there a one single stone that would work for hard steel?
 
Last edited:

Qapla'

Senior Member
Joined
Jun 30, 2018
Messages
1,568
Reaction score
639
Edited to rephrase.

Should I happenn onto a hard steel knife at an estate auction...

What one single stone/grit would you suggest?

Being that a 500 or 1000 would be adequate as a single stone for my Forschners, is there a one single stone that would work for hard steel?

It depends what you are doing.

Re-forming a working edge beveling on a knife that's just plain dull? Use the coarser stone (in your case, your Shapton Glass 500, which is well-reputed by forumites, though some go for yet coarser).

General-use sharpening? Use the mid-grit stone (e.g. Naniwa Pro 800, Shapton Pro 1000, Shapton Pro 1500, etc.). If a "one stone solution" is desired, this is likely the range that you're looking at. (Though one can make the argument that if one is consistently dealing with knives that are just plain dull and not merely no-longer-passably-sharp, something somewhat coarser such as your Shapton Glass 500 [or perhaps Naniwa Pro 600?] would be a better choice for that one stone.)

From what I see, most forumites tend to prefer something in the 2000-4000 range for a finishing polish on high-quality stainless kitchen knives (though some might take it finer depending on the application). But this is less important overall than getting it sharp with the coarse or mid-grit stones.

Note that grit ratings aren't an exact science as different abrasive materials and different bindings can have different effects. In the greater scheme of things, just use what works.
 
Last edited:

Qapla'

Senior Member
Joined
Jun 30, 2018
Messages
1,568
Reaction score
639
Perusing Japanese blades at MTC ... and I thought $200 was a lot for 1 knife, lol

But in that $200 range, I like the

Sakai Takayuki Damascus Hammered VG-10 Gyuto 240mm (9.4") on sale for $186​

I prefer wood handles and I like the hammered and Damascus appearance.

Had I not made so many bad choices in my early years, and wasted sooo much money "having fun", I might have known the joy of Japanese blades, lol

VG-10 steel is a bit controversial among forumites, but if that's something you like, then you might also find this to be of interest:
 
Top