Will I Hate Water Stones (Again)

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Smoke Blower
Original poster
Nov 25, 2023
I am contemplating going back to water stones again to sharpen the more expensive kitchen knives. I say "again", because I gave water stones a try for sharpening wood working chisels and plane blades. It was so miserably slow and messy I gave it up. I currently use the Spyderco "Tri-Angle Sharpener" and it does Ok on kitchen knives, but I am a bit particular and again, its just OK. I watch videos of chefs and others getting great results with water stones and I find myself contemplating getting a couple again... What say you?
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I love my whetstones. It took about 3 sharpening sessions on all my knives to reset the cutting edges from years of pull-thru's and a Chef's Choice Edge Select 120. The Chef's Choice did a decent job, but the edges only lasted 6 months to a year even when steeled each time. Plus, it scratched the heck out of my knives.

The trick with me on my whetstones was to get aggressive with the 320 grit and not worry about removing metal. Get the burr, swap sides, burr. Then swap back but use a slightly lighter pressure, burr, swap sides. Then same thing a third time.

Move to the 1000 grit, use a lighter pressure, burr, swap sides. Reduce the count and get lighter as you swap sides. Finishing with polishing strokes. For most of my knives, I'll stop here and strop with a homemade leather strop. Some I'll polish with a 3000 grit before I strop. I can do all the above in 5-10 minutes per knife.

I love sharpening my knives, but my last session was 6/03/2022, 19 months ago, because the edges are still set and sharp. Stoning has worked for both cheap and pricy knives. The steel maintains thin paper sharpness (no catches or hiccups on the thin paper used for junk mail). I don't have enough arm hair to shave off, but they would.

Happy sharpening!


Best $10 I spent was on a lighted jeweler's loupe. I forget the magnification, but it's like 20x. You can see edge dings to remove on the stones and shavings to remove with the leather strop.
I was trained on using 4 stones. I take all my edges to a Japanese edge. Fully flat, no bevel.
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