Stone/combo stone for a beginner?

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acc22
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Stone/combo stone for a beginner?

Post by acc22 »

Hi there!

After a lot of research, I'm planning on going with a Kohetsu Blue #2 Nashiji Gyuto for a chef's knife upgrade. I'm a bit nervous about learning to sharpen, but see the value in learning and being able to do it yourself. I plan on purchasing the $15 sharpening service when buying the knife (seems like you all have recommended this?), and I'd also like to get a stone or combo stone (for this knife) to eventually learn on.

I've gone through the forums here and elsewhere on the internet, and there seem to be lots of opinions on the best stones to start with! That said, here are a few thoughts/questions I'm hoping to get some help with:
  • I was initially thinking of getting a ceramic rod for honing, but it seems like a higher grit stone can achieve the same results with less risks of damaging the steel, so I'd like to make sure whatever stone(s) I get can also be used for this application.
  • I've seen some people recommend low-grit (under 500) stones paired with a stone in the 1-2k range as a good combo starter stone. It seems to me though that that low of grit is reserved for blade repair jobs, and I'm not sure if that will be relevant in the near future--especially if I'm getting the $15 sharpening service?
  • I've seen others recommend something like a 1k/3k or 1k/6k combo to start with. What are your thoughts on this setup vs the above one?
  • Brand-wise, the Cerax combos seem well reviewed (the 280/1.5k, 1k/3k, and 1k/6k all come to mind) and reasonably priced (I'd like to spend at most $60/70 on stones, not including a flattening stone). I've also seen King 1k/6k combos recommended a lot on various forums. Sharp Pebble also has a highly reviewed one on amazon, but have heard less about that one in general.
  • For a flattening stone, I was thinking of the CKTG 140 diamond flattening stone, but that's recently out of stock. The 80 grit doesn't seem as good for my applications, but I imagine that might change depending on what stones I end up with? Regardless, would love any recs for flattening stones that you may have!
Thanks!
Last edited by acc22 on Tue May 19, 2020 2:09 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Ut_ron
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Re: Stone/combo stone for a beginner?

Post by Ut_ron »

You’ll get a lot of different advice. First question is these stones for the knife you bought. If so you will not need a course stone. A 1000 grit of 2000 grit is all you will need to keep it sharp. I really like the shapton pro. I like the convince of not having to soak my stones. Just get it out and splash and go.
https://www.chefknivestogo.com/shpro20.html

This 2k will work for stroping your knife for a long time before you need to take it to the stones for a real sharpening session.

As far as using ceramic rod. I use it all the time in the middle of cooking. Easier then getting out your stone. It just requires a slut light pull to get the edge back.
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acc22
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Re: Stone/combo stone for a beginner?

Post by acc22 »

Ut_ron wrote:
Tue May 19, 2020 12:48 pm
You’ll get a lot of different advice. First question is these stones for the knife you bought. If so you will not need a course stone. A 1000 grit of 2000 grit is all you will need to keep it sharp. I really like the shapton pro. I like the convince of not having to soak my stones. Just get it out and splash and go.
https://www.chefknivestogo.com/shpro20.html

This 2k will work for stroping your knife for a long time before you need to take it to the stones for a real sharpening session.

As far as using ceramic rod. I use it all the time in the middle of cooking. Easier then getting out your stone. It just requires a slut light pull to get the edge back.
Thanks for the advice! You're correct that it is for the Kohetsu knife I mentioned (edited post to make that more clear!)

Do you think the 2k Shapton would be better than a 1k/3k combo? And good to know a ceramic rod can be used, but ideally to begin with I think I'd rather start with a few sharpening accessories that can overlap funtionally vs. buying a lot of different things (stones, rod, etc.) that serve specific purposes. Is that a good way to go? If I can avoid spending hundreds (in addition to the knife cost) on accessories, I'll definitely do so :)

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Re: Stone/combo stone for a beginner?

Post by cliff »

The 2K Shapton is more practical because it's splash and go. Cerax makes great stones. It's a tough call. I don't use a rod -- just strop on your highest grit stone, or get a leather strop. They're cheap.

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Re: Stone/combo stone for a beginner?

Post by d_rap »

The 80 grit diamond plate is probably coarser than you need. The beauty of the 140 for flattening is that it can double as an aggressive sharpening stone, best for a very dull knife, chip repair and the like. The Atoma 140 is more expensive than the CKTG option, but it's a nice, versatile piece, very worth the price imo.

And then, obviously on rods there are legit differences of opinion. To me, at around $20, you've got touch-ups at your fingertips even during prep work, which, as Ut_ron says, can be very useful. I've been using a ceramic rod for years (with very gentle, vertical passes, alternating sides 3-4 times, at or just above the angle you sharpened at) with very satisfying results.
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Re: Stone/combo stone for a beginner?

Post by ChefKnivesToGo »

Sorry guys but we blew through 300 of the 140 plates in a short period of time and I'm out. I have more that just shipped so I should be back in stock in about a month. The 80s are down to 1 at the moment. We still have a couple dozen of the 400/1K combo plates left.
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acc22
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Re: Stone/combo stone for a beginner?

Post by acc22 »

cliff wrote:
Tue May 19, 2020 2:15 pm
The 2K Shapton is more practical because it's splash and go. Cerax makes great stones. It's a tough call. I don't use a rod -- just strop on your highest grit stone, or get a leather strop. They're cheap.
Maybe I'm overthinking it but stroping on something other than a stone seems like another animal to tackle after learning to sharpen? Don't want to bite off more than I can chew, and it seems like what you said about stroping on your highest grit stone would make a combo stone with a higher grit side more appealing? Or is a 2K shapton considered high enough?

Re: splash and go, maybe I'm missing something but if it's just a matter or soaking a non-splash and go for 10-15 minutes, I'm totally fine doing that. Are there other upsides to splash and go? I'm just a casual home cook so I don't feel like I'll be sharpening all that often to begin with?

acc22
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Re: Stone/combo stone for a beginner?

Post by acc22 »

d_rap wrote:
Tue May 19, 2020 2:35 pm
The 80 grit diamond plate is probably coarser than you need. The beauty of the 140 for flattening is that it can double as an aggressive sharpening stone, best for a very dull knife, chip repair and the like. The Atoma 140 is more expensive than the CKTG option, but it's a nice, versatile piece, very worth the price imo.

And then, obviously on rods there are legit differences of opinion. To me, at around $20, you've got touch-ups at your fingertips even during prep work, which, as Ut_ron says, can be very useful. I've been using a ceramic rod for years (with very gentle, vertical passes, alternating sides 3-4 times, at or just above the angle you sharpened at) with very satisfying results.
Do you mean the CKTG diamond rod? I didn't think that was ceramic--the idahone ceramics seem to be $30-40.

I see the benefit of having something that you can easily use for touch ups, but being new to sharpening in general, I hesitate to spend a lot off money initially on any new hobby--want to make sure it's something I can get the hang of and enjoy first before buying too many things! That's why I was thinking if a combo stone can double as something to do honing/touch ups on--in addition to sharpening--seems like a good way to go.

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Re: Stone/combo stone for a beginner?

Post by cliff »

acc22 wrote:
Tue May 19, 2020 2:54 pm
cliff wrote:
Tue May 19, 2020 2:15 pm
The 2K Shapton is more practical because it's splash and go. Cerax makes great stones. It's a tough call. I don't use a rod -- just strop on your highest grit stone, or get a leather strop. They're cheap.
Maybe I'm overthinking it but stroping on something other than a stone seems like another animal to tackle after learning to sharpen? Don't want to bite off more than I can chew, and it seems like what you said about stroping on your highest grit stone would make a combo stone with a higher grit side more appealing? Or is a 2K shapton considered high enough?

Re: splash and go, maybe I'm missing something but if it's just a matter or soaking a non-splash and go for 10-15 minutes, I'm totally fine doing that. Are there other upsides to splash and go? I'm just a casual home cook so I don't feel like I'll be sharpening all that often to begin with?
Stropping is easy. It's much more forgiving than sharpening and much, much more than a ceramic hone.

Splash and go is more convenient, but it's not a huge deal. The stones dry faster, and you don't have to deal with drying whatever you soak them in. In an apartment kitchen, these things matter. Elsewhere, maybe not so much

Likewise, the difference between 2K and 3K is hard for me to say. I don't know how the Cerax stones run -- stated grit level can be uneven. The Shapton Pro 1K is on the coarse side of 1K, for example.

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Re: Stone/combo stone for a beginner?

Post by wrathen »

I'm also researching this and going to be getting into sharpening. One thing I've read is that a good starting setup can be the combo stone OR go with a 800gr & 3000gr seperate stones, OR a 1k & 5k stones. The ones I've been looking at are ether the Chosera 800 (~$75-80) or the Cerax 1000 (~$40-50), then a Suehiro Rika 5000 ($50-$55). I was thing going to pick up a leather strop. I've also considered the Atoma 140 in the first round of purchases.

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Re: Stone/combo stone for a beginner?

Post by lsboogy »

Until you get good at and are confident sharpening, the thing is to practice, and not worry so much about what stone(s) you have or are going to buy. That said, the Cerax 1K/3K is the stone I have purchased multiple copies of for my nephew and neices. 5-10 minutes of soaking and they are ready.
https://www.chefknivestogo.com/ceraxcombo1k3k.html
They are very good stones to learn on, I like them much more than King stones (If you want a King 800/4K I would probably send it to you for $10 to cover postage - bought it at WIlliams Sonoma many years ago - can't seem to make it work). But I would look at the Cerax (when it comes back into stock) and find a beater to learn to get a burr. The cerax stones are easy to use, have great feedback, and will last a home cook a lifetime, and a 3K edge is far sharper than 99.5% of the population have ever felt or used.

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Re: Stone/combo stone for a beginner?

Post by Radar53 »

If you're learning to sharpen there's a couple of things to consider here. Firstly, it's worth thinking about what knife you're going to learn to sharpen with. Will it be your new pride & joy or do you have (borrow or steal) an existing knife that you can make mistakes with and not have that deep feeling of regret. I'm presuming that you're not a pro cook / chef and if that's the case your new knife with the sharpening service shouldn't need anything lower than a 1k stone for some considerable time.

I have the Cerax 1k / 3k combo, which I mainly use for my travelling kit. It likes a short soak 5 - 10 minutes and it's good to go. It's a good stone in it's own right, (a little softer than the Shapton), it provides good feedback and is nice to use. For me this is a good combination of grits, the 1k can do some useful work and the 3k is a good all around finishing grit for kitchen knives. Hard to go wrong here as if you really get into this rabbit hole you can replace or add to this stone, gift it to someone, use it in a travel kit etc etc. So it's unlikely to go to waste.

Once you get more practiced and expand your collection, you can initially bookend this stone with others (say 500 / 5k or 6k) start to get a feel for what your preferences are and build from there.

A ceramic rod can be useful for sure, but unless you are doing huge amounts of prep, just ongoing maintenance should keep things well in line most of the time.

Stropping can be a very good way of cleaning up and maintaining an edge. Again you don't have to spend a lot of money to get into this. I strop on newsprint straight off the stones and this works well. I will follow that up with bare leather, but you can use a number of other materials eg denim, old leather belts etc etc in the early stages.

Just try and keep things simple at this stage. Hope this helps.
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Re: Stone/combo stone for a beginner?

Post by acc22 »

Radar53 wrote:
Tue May 19, 2020 4:51 pm
If you're learning to sharpen there's a couple of things to consider here. Firstly, it's worth thinking about what knife you're going to learn to sharpen with. Will it be your new pride & joy or do you have (borrow or steal) an existing knife that you can make mistakes with and not have that deep feeling of regret. I'm presuming that you're not a pro cook / chef and if that's the case your new knife with the sharpening service shouldn't need anything lower than a 1k stone for some considerable time.

I have the Cerax 1k / 3k combo, which I mainly use for my travelling kit. It likes a short soak 5 - 10 minutes and it's good to go. It's a good stone in it's own right, (a little softer than the Shapton), it provides good feedback and is nice to use. For me this is a good combination of grits, the 1k can do some useful work and the 3k is a good all around finishing grit for kitchen knives. Hard to go wrong here as if you really get into this rabbit hole you can replace or add to this stone, gift it to someone, use it in a travel kit etc etc. So it's unlikely to go to waste.

Once you get more practiced and expand your collection, you can initially bookend this stone with others (say 500 / 5k or 6k) start to get a feel for what your preferences are and build from there.

A ceramic rod can be useful for sure, but unless you are doing huge amounts of prep, just ongoing maintenance should keep things well in line most of the time.

Stropping can be a very good way of cleaning up and maintaining an edge. Again you don't have to spend a lot of money to get into this. I strop on newsprint straight off the stones and this works well. I will follow that up with bare leather, but you can use a number of other materials eg denim, old leather belts etc etc in the early stages.

Just try and keep things simple at this stage. Hope this helps.
This is super helpful! 1K/3K seemed most logical to me, and it seems like a good mix of quality and price.

Re: knives to start with, I'll have the Kohetsu that I mentioned in my original post, but I also have a 5-6" santoku beater knife that I've had forever, as well as my roommate's Zwilling classic/paring/utility set (I'm sure I could convince him to let me practice on it since they are currently very dull). I know the non-japanese steel will be different, but will it still be helpful to learn with?

Re: stroping, nice to know you can start with household items like newsprint! I'm sure I can find more info on google, but if there are any guides you know of to getting started with general household things, would love to take a look!
Last edited by acc22 on Tue May 19, 2020 5:04 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Stone/combo stone for a beginner?

Post by acc22 »

lsboogy wrote:
Tue May 19, 2020 4:31 pm
Until you get good at and are confident sharpening, the thing is to practice, and not worry so much about what stone(s) you have or are going to buy. That said, the Cerax 1K/3K is the stone I have purchased multiple copies of for my nephew and neices. 5-10 minutes of soaking and they are ready.
https://www.chefknivestogo.com/ceraxcombo1k3k.html
They are very good stones to learn on, I like them much more than King stones (If you want a King 800/4K I would probably send it to you for $10 to cover postage - bought it at WIlliams Sonoma many years ago - can't seem to make it work). But I would look at the Cerax (when it comes back into stock) and find a beater to learn to get a burr. The cerax stones are easy to use, have great feedback, and will last a home cook a lifetime, and a 3K edge is far sharper than 99.5% of the population have ever felt or used.
Nice! It seems like there's some good feedback around the Cerax 1k/3k. That's also a very generous offer! Although I imagine if you're having trouble with them, I'd definitely have the same issues if not worse? ;)

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Re: Stone/combo stone for a beginner?

Post by Ourorboros »

Regarding Amazon reviews - I'd disregard that.
There are paid reviews and inexperienced reviewers. The people here have used all kinds of stones.
Also, from what I've seen most knives have between 4 & 5 stars. That obviously doesn't reflect on the real life quality.

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Re: Stone/combo stone for a beginner?

Post by lsboogy »

Ourorboros wrote:
Tue May 19, 2020 5:15 pm
Regarding Amazon reviews - I'd disregard that.
There are paid reviews and inexperienced reviewers. The people here have used all kinds of stones.
Also, from what I've seen most knives have between 4 & 5 stars. That obviously doesn't reflect on the real life quality.
I think almost all Amazon reviess are either 4 or 5 stars - I rely on them as much as my old MG (called the "Might Go" - don't drive farther than you are willing to cab and tow home, but it's fun as all get out). I think most of the contributors here are at least real knife nerds, and some have great skill and knowledge

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Re: Stone/combo stone for a beginner?

Post by ken123 »

So many separate comments.
If you need a diamond plate, I do have a 150 grit plate as well as a 46 and 60 grit plate. And a couple of Atoma plates. And a 3000 grit plate. Just send me a pm.

Regarding combo stones, Im a big fan of the 150/1200 Nubatama combo stone. Over time coarser stones are becoming more popular - deservedly so. Why? They save time. 400 isnt that coarse. 220 is a bit coarser. 24, 46 and 80 are much coarser stones. These have their place.
So where to start? If your knife came sharp, you're good for now. But the nature of this process is that knives get USED - Dropped on the floor, stuck in garbage disposals, used to open cans , used by your friends, etc etc. Your friends find out you can sharpen and bring you the 'knives from hell' to sharpen. This is where coarse stones save you. Reprofiling also require coarser stones.
I just wanted to open this discussion up a bit more.

Ken

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Re: Stone/combo stone for a beginner?

Post by jeremyl »

Sounds like you are in the same space I was deciding on stones a few months ago. I went with a Shapton Glass 320, Cerax 1000, and Kitayama #8000 and an Atoma #140. Having the convenience of a splash-n-go is certainly a thing - even that 'only 5 min soak' is a slight mental block when actually getting the stones out, but more-so when you are slicing and find the need for a touchup. I only broke out the Kitayama yesterday and it was a joy and made the paper-cutting edge that I wasn't really getting on the 1000. Likely 1000% user issue on that tho. But I also took more care in my sharpening session yesterday. I just ordered a Rika 5000 to fill in the gap b/n the 1000 and 8000, thinking it would be better to touch up on that more often. I'm absolutely a noobie, but that's what I went with FWIW.

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Re: Stone/combo stone for a beginner?

Post by acc22 »

jeremyl wrote:
Sat May 23, 2020 4:37 pm
Sounds like you are in the same space I was deciding on stones a few months ago. I went with a Shapton Glass 320, Cerax 1000, and Kitayama #8000 and an Atoma #140. Having the convenience of a splash-n-go is certainly a thing - even that 'only 5 min soak' is a slight mental block when actually getting the stones out, but more-so when you are slicing and find the need for a touchup. I only broke out the Kitayama yesterday and it was a joy and made the paper-cutting edge that I wasn't really getting on the 1000. Likely 1000% user issue on that tho. But I also took more care in my sharpening session yesterday. I just ordered a Rika 5000 to fill in the gap b/n the 1000 and 8000, thinking it would be better to touch up on that more often. I'm absolutely a noobie, but that's what I went with FWIW.
Appreciate the info! Sounds like a good setup. My budget is pretty small for stones to start out with, so I don't think I'll have the cash for everything in your setup--knowing what you do now, if you had to choose a combo stone or a max of two individual stones, what would you pick?

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Re: Stone/combo stone for a beginner?

Post by lsboogy »

jeremyl wrote:
Sat May 23, 2020 4:37 pm
Sounds like you are in the same space I was deciding on stones a few months ago. I went with a Shapton Glass 320, Cerax 1000, and Kitayama #8000 and an Atoma #140. Having the convenience of a splash-n-go is certainly a thing - even that 'only 5 min soak' is a slight mental block when actually getting the stones out, but more-so when you are slicing and find the need for a touchup. I only broke out the Kitayama yesterday and it was a joy and made the paper-cutting edge that I wasn't really getting on the 1000. Likely 1000% user issue on that tho. But I also took more care in my sharpening session yesterday. I just ordered a Rika 5000 to fill in the gap b/n the 1000 and 8000, thinking it would be better to touch up on that more often. I'm absolutely a noobie, but that's what I went with FWIW.
I love the ritual of putting stones into water to soak before I sharpen - kind of a zen thing for me. I put the stones in the water, listen to the bubbling, and go exaine the knives I am going to sharpen under a loupe to get an idea about how much will be needed on each. I used to just use the right side sink for soaking and sharpen over the left side - now I am under orders to soak stones in a few glass baking dishes that are specific to soaking stones - Jen got tired of the sink having a red hue.

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