I have a nice Henkel 9" which is my primary knife along with a smaller K-Sabatier. So far I've been keeping them sharp with a henkel sharpener but I've now decided to buy a stone instead.
Henkel's own stones cost around r400 which in euros would be around 40 euro. Should i dish out for one of those or is a cheaper one ok?
Southern, all of the above is good advice, but if you're really paranoid about sharpening, you might want to pick up a Lansky sharpener or a GATCO, which has a bit wider stones. The stones are configured in a small jig that sets the sharpening angle for you.
And you might want to practice on regular stones first. Diamond stones can take off a lot of material too fast in the hands of the inexperienced knife sharpener.
re: Jimmy Buffet
Well, you could try going the real cheap way:
basically, sharpening your knives with sandpaper and a
piece of plate glass. I've done this and it works. And it's
kindof fun to think you're sharpening your knife with sandpaper.
But because I was sharpening a lot of other things too (chisels,
planes) I finally settled on a diamond stone. those DMTs are
pretty darn expensive, but apparently last forever. And at least
around here the price is roughly the same as 20 professional
sharpenings, so in perspective it's not too bad.
re: Jimmy Buffet
Hard for me to respond to your post because I’m not familiar with Henckel stones.
So I’ll just throw out some general thoughts.
Most knife-maker branded stones are made by an OEM, so the relevant brand quality is the OEM, unless this is a rare exception.
If you’re not familiar with all the brands out there, I would stick to the tried-and-true ones like King, Norton, and Shapton (ceramic). There are a lot more, but most of them are hard to find and can be very expensive. Some are in the USD100 to USD20,000+ range (not kidding).
Is the Henckel ceramic? Ceramics wear slower so they will last longer and need less frequent flattening. You also don’t need to soak them in H2O for 20 minutes or so before using. You just make sure that you keep them wet as you sharpen (a spray bottle works nicely).
How big and how thick is the stone? Obviously a thicker one will last longer as it wears down. And a larger stone is much easier to work with.
What are you planning on using to flatten the stone?
Is it a single grit or combo stone with a different grit on each side?
What grit(s) is it? 40 euros is roughly what a good medium grit 75mm x 200mm x 35mm stone might cost in the US. But I’m sure it’s possible to do better on price.
re: a priori
Sorry, I think I know what is confusing you.
When I wrote, "Is the Henckel ceramic?," I was actually referring to the Henckel stone, not the knife. I knew that your knives were steel. Sharpening stones are available in different types of materials, and therefore are used differently.
One other point. The best way to learn is to have someone teach you. The web tutorials and books make it seem harder than it really is. And I guess a video is better than the writen word. When you're starting out, practice on a knife that you don't mind scuffing up a little.
re: a priori
For German, Solingen steel knives, I feel that diamond impregnated stones work very well. I like to use water on them, but that's just because I'm used to using the water soaked Japanese whetstones. You can use them just as well dry. I have the large DMT series of stones. I got them locally, but here is a link to Amazon:
Look around for different grits (each "stone" has 2 grits, back to back - you will need at least 3 grits, including extra-fine (coarse, fine, xfine) to get a nice edge. Also buy the holder for this kind of stone - to get the right height and usability. You can also buy the other models that don't need holders, but they end up being more expensive since they do not have different grits back-to-back. I do not recommend the 6" stones, especially if you are doing 10" chefs knives - they are just too small to get the full length of the blade in an even stroke.
Here's a long but very informative article I highly recommend on sharpening written by one of the most reknown and well read authors on knives, Joe Talmedge: