I'm going to buy and learn to use a sharpening stone for my Wusthof and whatever else I end up with. The edge is too far gone for the steel to do its' job.
Is there much difference between the various water stones?
I saw one at Bridge for $15 or so.
Likely a $15 stone is a medium carburundum and a bit small for a good stroke. I feel you can do better with a cheaper knife and a pricey stone than the reverse. Many commercial kitchens have the Norton triple stone. Usually some moron poured salad oil on it and the pores are clogged. Cleaned up these are awesome. There's a fine Arkansas stone about 12" long...replacement of just the Arkansas stone used to be about $70 and is surely MUCH more now. The carburundums are cheap to replace...but this is overkill for at home, a medium/coarse carburundum and a hard arkansas,each 8" would be fine.
I had a stamped Forschner 10",about like the current model and got it VERY sharp with a very low bevel more like a Japanese knife done on medium...and a slightly less laid down working edge done on the Arkansas. That I touched up and steeled about every other shift. It was way sharper than I could get the Head Chef's forged Henkel,about even with a Global Santuko another cook let me try out recently.I've seen a few high $ knives that were not too well sharpened--and they were not close.
Sone extra fine stones tend to not have much traction. If you lay the blade down to try for a really sharp bevel..the edge kind of skims the surface without much happening. Ceramics often do that.
It's nice if you can do my cherry tomato trick...drop a cherry tomato and cut it in midair. If you are SHARP....you get a clean cut. Otherwise you bat the tomato across the room. That won me $5 from a cook who thought I was using the wrong technique with a steel.