Which stone/grit?

Discussion in 'Sharpening Station' started by jferreir, Nov 21, 2019.

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  1. Nov 21, 2019 #1

    jferreir

    jferreir

    jferreir

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    As a beginner/novice, I'm unable to evaluate stone hardness, muddiness, speed, etc. I don't understand what characteristics or properties certain sharpening stones may have, or what that means for the final edge/finish on the knife.

    So, my question is this: How do you select your stones and grit progression? Based on the core steel, the cladding, accepted wisdom, or something else?

    I understand the basic ranges (<1k for repairs, 1k-3k for sharpening, 4k+ for polishing), but how do you know when/where to make the jump? Some people go from 1k to 4k, others 1k - 3k - 6k, etc. etc. Some swear by a particular brand, while others mix and match. It's all very confusing looking from the outside in.

    Here is what I have...

    Morihei Hishiboshi (1k, 3k, 4k, 6k)
    Naniwa SuperStone (400, 1k/5k)
    Takeda Koppa (?k)

    Most of my knives are blue super, R2, or white 2 wrapped in stainless. What progression should I use for each, if that's a sensible question?

    Truthfully, I haven't put any j-knife through a full progression because (1) I lack confidence, and (2) it hasn't been necessary (frequent touch-ups). All I know is that I hate the Naniwa 5k (no bite), the Morihei are incredibly soft (without dishing), and the koppa imparts a really nice toothy edge on my Takeda knives, which confuses me because it's supposed to be a high grit finishing stone.

    Help?
     
  2. Nov 21, 2019 #2

    kayman67

    kayman67

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    You need to develop a pattern of your own. If a lot of people use some stones, doesn't make them good for you or everybody (but this is a different story).

    Take your time, sharpen, cut, sharpen some more trying new stuff. This is a long adaptation process, but since the stakes are on the long run (eventually years), it's worth the effort.

    Morihei sequence is out of my knowledge.

    Naniwa Sharpening Stone 5000 is a very good polisher. If you want that, learn it. If not, just sell the combo and get something suited more to your style or needs.
     
  3. Nov 22, 2019 #3

    zizirex

    zizirex

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    do you where you get your Takeda koppa? is it from knifewear GS? if it yes, then it might be a Takashima...
    if you already have Morihei 6k, I think that's the perfect finisher for a kitchen knife, it is sharp, pretty shiny polish and contrast, yet still have some bite to it.
     
  4. Nov 22, 2019 #4

    inferno

    inferno

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    i guess its up to you where to finish the edge. 2k or 6k or jnat? personally i would go 1k then 3k for soft SS. 1/4 for powder. 1/3/6 for carbon.
     
  5. Nov 22, 2019 #5

    jferreir

    jferreir

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    This is precisely what I find confusing. One the one hand, you claim stone selection is mostly determined by the preference or experience of the sharpener, and in the next sentence, you claim the Naniwa 5k is a good polishing stone, irrespective of who is using it. Isn't that an either/or?

    When I think of stone selection, I often think of pairing the stone to the knife steel/HT -- not to the sharpener/myself. I just figured certain steels will react in a predictable way to certain abrasives, and it is on that basis that stones should be selected. Is this a mistake?

    I'm not really talking about j-nats since the abrasive properties can be inconsistent, from what I understand.

    Yes, I picked it up during the garage sale a few years ago. Any advice on the best way to use it (or what it really is)? I typically use it as a finishing stone after the 3k or 4k. I don't have much experience with the 6k as I only recently picked it up (mostly as an experiment).

    What's the rationale or thought process behind each progression?

    For soft stainless, I usually do 1k - 3k. For everything else, it's been 1k-3k or 4k-koppa. I only recently picked up the 6k, so haven't properly experimented with it yet.

    Thanks for the responses btw.
     
  6. Nov 22, 2019 #6

    Qapla'

    Qapla'

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    Different sharpeners may have different goals. The Naniwa Super 5k is known for a lot of polish, but isn't known for speed of abrasion. If that fits the user's purposes, then the user might choose to use it; if not, they'll use something else.

    Stones vary in other ways as well; for example, user preference is what decides the choice of soaking vs. splash-and-go stones.

    And yes, there are also cases where stones are specialized for steels/HT's, e.g. how Sigma stones are known to be specialized for ultra-alloy steels.

    There are even cases where the esthetics of the resultant polish from the stone might matter, e.g. to someone who sharpens a lot of single-bevel or wide-bevel knives. Some users might prefer a "bright-polisher" stone in order to uniformly turn the bevel into a mirror, while others might prefer a "kasumi-contraster" stone that polishes the core-steel but leaves the laminate-steel "misty" for the kasumi effect.
     
    Last edited: Nov 22, 2019
  7. Nov 22, 2019 #7

    kayman67

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    It's actually not "irrespective of who is using it", as there is a consistency within the following sentence. And it's proving in fact, with your own experience, that one stone, even if good, will not by default be good for you. True, the reasons may vary, from usage to particular needs. So, if you get feedback for something, but it doesn't work for you in the same way, subsequently you can ask yourself why. It's like "can I use it to its full potential/purpose or are my needs in line to what it can do?". Based on what you can find out and what it did for you, you should have an idea where you stand.
    How did you get these specific stones? Why?
     
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  8. Nov 22, 2019 #8

    jferreir

    jferreir

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    Ah, now I see what you mean! But how do I know if a stone is "right for me" if I don't have the option of trying it first? Can I make assumptions based on the abrasives used, or steel of the knife? It's just very difficult to know what to try and what to avoid if you don't have access to these stones.

    The Naniwa combo was my first stone; the 1k/3k was sold out. The 4o0 grit was to repair/sharpen cheap, stainless knives. I purchased the 1k and 3k Morihei to replace the thinning Naniwa 1k/5k combo. I liked the soft feel of the Morihei stones, so I bought the 4k and 6k to round out the collection. Now, I just want to focus on getting better at sharpening, and learning how to best bring out the contrast between the core and clad steel.
     
  9. Nov 22, 2019 #9

    jferreir

    jferreir

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    Very helpful as well. How does one learn the properties of the various stones without using them? Or do you just have to bite the bullet and take a chance?
     
  10. Nov 22, 2019 #10

    Qapla'

    Qapla'

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    Best answer I have is "Forums help in that regard.".

    Yes. There are also assumptions one would make regarding how the stone is maintained as well, e.g. the binding of the stone can matter. (Don't soak magnesia-stones, for example.)

    Then you made a good choice with those Morihei's, as those are known to be "kasumi-contrasters" that polish the core steel but leave the cladding more "misty".
     
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  11. Nov 22, 2019 #11

    kayman67

    kayman67

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    I would establish some markers. What are those? Eventually you need to use something to get your barings. But first do a bit of research. On both ends, what manufacturers say, what users say. If a manufacturer says some line is made for something in particular, try to find if users reflect well on this or not. Those will be your markers. If the users are on par with the manufacturers, should be an easier choice to make. Go from there.

    Also try to explore as many sharpening routines as possible. These can open possibilities you might not even be aware of. I've learnt to sharpen in many ways with many things. Helped me a lot over the years. Give it time. Take side projects. Buy some stones. Consider what less money you might sell them for, an investment in you and your skills to better serve your needs. The better you know how to serve those needs, the more value you will get in return. It stacks.
     
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  12. Nov 22, 2019 #12

    zizirex

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    So what you have right now is Takashima Koppa, which around 6-8k, it has medium hardness, creates a decent amount of mud and pretty nice contrast. It would be nice for wide/single bevel, but for a kitchen knife, it's a bit to fine for me (it doesn't cut nicely for fatty meat.)

    the 3K or 4k would be nice for german and meat specialty knife, then 6K would be the all-around finisher.

    as for the contrast, you just need practice and playing around with the mud. Like Takeda knife is "Wide" bevel, where if you sharpen using the morihei, it will automatically create the contrast on the bevel.
     
  13. Nov 22, 2019 #13

    inferno

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    ok i'm not gonna read all responses since i'm drunk. but in general the 1k stone is the baseline stone. it can fix small chips and does reprofiling (slowly).
    a 3k or 4k might be the finisher for hiqual stainless, stainless is coarser grained in general than carbon steel so no need to go above 3-4k.

    so why no 2k in between? because its simply not needed. sure you can do a 2k after the 1k. but you would need to do like 30 seconds of sharpening on it before moving onto the 4k.
    and then you can just as well do the 4k for 45seconds more and skip the 2k. you know what i'm saying??

    you can jump from 1k to 12k. it just takes longer a little on the 12k. and almost no knives/steel can benefit from the 12k. it will just slide on things.

    thats why many people have several stones. its not because you need them all. you save time.

    ok lets say i'm doing a blue 2 blade that i want to take to 12k. and someone has run over it with a lawnmover 7 times.

    then i start out with the 220. remove the massive chips. then try to thin out the knife since i have moved everything "upwards" by like 5mm. now i need to make that 5mm upwards moved blade as thin in profile as it was when it was new. starting from the new edge. this can take anywhere from 10 minutes to ages.

    then to remove the 220 scratches i would go for either the 500 or 1k. remove all scratches from the 220.

    then to maybe a 3k is the knife was stainless. done.

    but since this is not stainless i'm moving to 3k and then 12 directly. the 3k is fine enough for the 12k not to take a long time.

    then i might spend some time on the 12k to get things juuuuust perfect. but the actual transition from the 3k to the 12k is within a minute, and then i have the 12k edge on there most likely.
    ----------------

    a 1k stone is actually a very fine stone, and when done at 1k moving up is just a matter of 1 minute or 3. or so. talking sharpening!
    ----------------------

    talking thinning/flattening/polishing blade sides. then it takes a whole lot longer then it will probably work out like this (a typical case):

    start flattening bevel on coarse diamond stone to see whats needed and how much of it.
    then 220, and this 220 will need to be flattened on the diamonds every few minutes as it dishes. this will probably take 20-30 minutes or so. for a general stainless SS clad knife.
    put it on the 500 to remove the 220 deep scratches, turns out my 220 was not that flat after all. reflatten 220, redo bevel 10 minutes more.
    500 5 minutes.
    1k 5 minutes. **** i can see scratches from the 140 diamond plate showing through. back to 220.
    500
    1k now its good.
    2k to remove 1k scratches.
    4k to remove 2k scratches.
    8k 2 minutes. until even finish
    12k mirror finish after 8k. this can take 2 or 22 minutes. its easy to push to hard to ruing the mirror here. and sometimes at 12k you find out you infact have a multifaceted bevel and not a flat one. you just didn't see/understand this until now.
    then back to 4-6k or so and fix that. depending on severity.
    **** the 8k and directly to the 12k. you are tired of getting stones wet that needs drying.
    12k 10 minutes.
    done. mirror mirror on the wall...

    so i guess it depends.

    are you sharpening or doing more?
    what is your end goal/result/finish you want?
    how much time do you have?
    what is your max time frame to get **** done?

    and so on.

    and all of this matters. there is no one size fits all solution here. but the more stones you have the less time it takes. and the more space you need to dry them :)
     
    Last edited: Nov 22, 2019
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  14. Nov 23, 2019 #14

    zizirex

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    thats pretty detail response for drunk person
     
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  15. Nov 23, 2019 #15

    inferno

    inferno

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    i got elaborate i guess.
     
  16. Nov 25, 2019 #16

    vicv

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    Stones are stones. Doesn't matter who's using it besides obviously their skill level. And if you're good you can get good results with anything. But besides reading about others experience all you can do is bite the bullet as you said and buy the stone you're interested in. 99 people may love it and you could hate it you never know.
    As for progression that comes with experience and what your end goals are. For water stones I almost always start with the king 300. If I want a more polished Edge than that I jump to a sigma select II 3K. And stop there as I see no need to refine it any further. This works for me through trial and error
     
  17. Nov 25, 2019 #17

    jferreir

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    Just wanted to say thanks again for all the feedback -- very, very helpful!
     
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