Newbie stone advice

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Newbie stone advice

Post by Abeaz »

I got my first, but not last, Japanese knife and I want to learn to keep it sharp. It's a little overwhelming trying to choose what stones to buy. What grit, soak or splash, stone material, size, brand? I'm lost right now.
What I got is a Fujiwara carbon gyuto. I also bought my daughter a set of Tojiro knives in stainless and I will sharpen them also. I'm a home cook so the knife will not see nearly as much use as a chef would. I don't want to spend a lot on stones but I want something that is decent quality. I've seen sets of 3 stones with a base for around 80.00 but would spend more if needed.
I've watched the sharpening video and I believe he used a 500, 2K, 5K plus leather. Would this be a good combination or can I get by with 2 stones? Is a set recommended or individual stones.
Any advice the experts here can offer would be appreciated.
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Re: Newbie stone advice

Post by lsboogy »

Get a Cerax combo stone to start - I gave them to my nieces and nephew for graduation - excellent basic intro to good whetstones
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Re: Newbie stone advice

Post by Radar53 »

lsboogy wrote: Sat Jan 16, 2021 11:43 pm Get a Cerax combo stone to start - I gave them to my nieces and nephew for graduation - excellent basic intro to good whetstones
+1 & good advice here, the Cerax combos are a well regarded good quality stone. I have the Cerax 1k / 3k in my travel sharpening set-up. Start here and then once you develop your skills and get a feel for what you like or what you are looking for then you can bookend the combo with a coarser stone eg 500grit and / or a finer stone eg 5k or 6k.
Cheers Grant

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Re: Newbie stone advice

Post by orezeno »

I think that the Cerax 1k/3K stone is good advice. I have not used this stone, but I do own the Cerax 320 and Cerax 6000 stones. Both of these require a soak before use, so I assume that the 1k/3k stone does as well. If you go this route, soak (in water) until you don't see bubbles emitting from the stone.

You will need to place the stone on something. You can use a sink bridge or just get a brick, put a small wet towel over it and put the stone on that. Or, you can buy a stone holder, of course.

And you will need a flattening stone. The Atoma 140 is excellent but expensive. The CKTG 140 grit is a lot less expensive and does the job.

If you have done freehand sharpening before, you can probably ignore the following. Otherwise ...

For $165 you can get the Norton sharpening stone kit. It has two stones, a 220/1K, and a 4K/8K. It also has a flattening stone. Each stone comes in a plastic box that doubles as a stone holder. The Norton stones require soaking before use and they are porous so you will learn water management and "mud" management from using them. They have relatively low density abrasive content (kind of the opposite of a Shapton Glass Stone, or a Nubatama Platinum stone which have very high abrasive content). While your learning this is a good thing. You spend more time on the stones developing technique and your mistakes are not amplified by rapid removal of material.

After you have done a bunch of sharpenings and can get consistent results, you can move on to higher quality sharpening stones. You will definitely want to do this if you find that you enjoy sharpening.

Lastly, I urge you not to begin sharpening on your Tojiros or your Fujiwara. Get a "beater" knife; one that does not have a bolster, and one that you don't worry about scratching up while you dial in your form. This knife should have soft-ish steel so you can easily feel the burr and learn to manage it. You can get this on Ebay, or CKTG has a $25 Tsubazo that will probably do the trick.
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Re: Newbie stone advice

Post by Abeaz »

Thanks for the advice everyone. I have the Cerax 1K/2K on the way.
I practiced today on an old kitchen knife and an old stone I have. It’s sure not as easy as the videos make it look. It’s going to take a lot more practice before I sharpen my Fujiwara.
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Re: Newbie stone advice

Post by Emieloss »

Just start slow, lock your wrists in place so you don't mess up the angle, relax your shoulders. Feel the blade touching the stone so you know what the right angle feels like. Listen to the sound as well, it tells you a lot about how consistent you are. Count the passes. Burr all the way on one side? Flip it over and repeat the same amount of passes and pressure on the other side under the same angle. Deburr with some light strokes on both sides and you should be good to go.

Remember, slow and steady wins the race. It's all about building that muscle memory.

I'd start with just the 1k until you get consistent results where your edge looks even all the way through when you shine light on it. It has no use going to a higher grit stone if the foundation isn't good.

Practice makes perfect :)
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