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Jan 11, 2011 07:06 PM

Another knife sharpening question...

Hi guys,
First post here. I have searched the forum to see this question has been answered, but I haven't found it, so here goes...

I have recently acquired a Global G4 knife (7-in Oriental Cook's Knife), which I love love love, but it was the display knife on Williams Sonoma so I was warned that it needed sharpening (got it discounted anyhoo so I was ok with that). I did hone it using my husband's Spyderco Ceramic Bench Stone (med and fine grits), and it was truly amazing afterwards. However, I was thinking of getting my own sharpening stone, and was leaning towards the Naniwa Super Stone 1000 grit. Is this fine, or should I just get a Ceramic Sharpening Rod for now, and hold of on the whetstone? I am a newbie with this. My previous knife was a cheapie 6-in chef's knife that got the job done but would not hold an edge so I was constantly using a sharpening steel with it:(

Thanks for any help you guys can offer.

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  1. I highly recommend using a diamond sharpener - The issue is getting the correct angle. If I was in the market I'd buy this :

    Although this one has only coarse rods..maybe they have one with a finer 'finishing' rod.

    After each use it's important to wipe(scrub) the rods with a wet paper towel to remove metal particles. Good luck!

    1. The Naniwa Super Stone:
      +Good finish for a 1000 grit stone
      +Doesn't require soaking - just splash with water and go at it
      -Slow cutting for a 1000 grit stone
      -A little soft and easy to gouge
      -A little pricey (not awful- cheaper than, say, Chosera)

      A ceramic sharpening rod is really just a portable, unstable, and narrow sharpening stone that doesn't need water. If you don't take much advantage of the portability and dry-ness of the ceramic rod, I see no reason not to just use a stone instead.

      As to whether you should get the Naniwa... the 1000 grit is my least favorite of the Naniwa stones I've used. However, it works well with other Naniwa stones (which are excellent, so that may not be a fair comparison) and is one of the few waterstones that require no soaking (offhand, shapton glass stones are another option). So if you think you might eventually put together a larger set of stones that require no soaking, the Naniwa 1000 is an excellent choice, since you should probably start with something around 1000 grit anyway. If you don't mind soaking a stone, consider a Bester 1000 or 1200 - these are very fast once they're wet, and they last forever. And if you are just looking for a single affordable stone, get a combination stone instead - King makes a very affordable 800/6000 combo stone, and I bet you'll like your Global's cutting edge sharpened up to 6000.

      10 Replies
      1. re: cowboyardee

        I would agree and add that for the most part most kitchen knives can be kept very sharp and serviceable using nothing higher than a 1000 grit stone. The Bester 1200 is known to be very good stones for regular maintenance. More polishing is will refine the edge more but it will cut very well with the Bester 1200 plus a follow up on a leather strop. The strop will make a big difference in performance. Hone on the strop until you are not getting that razor edge performance than back to the stone for a few passes. You don't have to get too OCD about it but it's happens.

        I will also add that you need to keep that stone flat for best performance. Sandpaper and a cinder block will do for basic flattening but a coarse diamond plate will be easier but more expensive.

        1. re: scubadoo97

          Good point. I like high grit edges on some knives, but that doesn't mean they are at all necessary. 1000 grit can still be plenty sharp - some of my knives will shave at 1000 grit without even stropping. Global's much admired factory edge is probably no higher than 2000 grit. And a 1000 grit edge actually slices more aggressively than a higher grit finish.

          I'll also add that my post was assuming the OP was interested in water stones (my personal favorite way to sharpen) and as such I gave advice in that vein. As others have pointed out, there are other perfectly good sharpening options for anyone who wants to go that way - the spyderico sharpmaker and edgepro are fine examples.

          1. re: cowboyardee

            I know we all get very OCD on our sharpening but most factory edges are done on no more than a 1000 grit stone, belt or wheel.

            The OP was indeed looking at hand sharpening with a stone and your advice was right on target as usual.

            1. re: scubadoo97

              Yes...definitely hand sharpening and stone:) Thank you again for all the knowledgeable responses, guys. As much as I loved the options from the US websites, I am really wary because of the extra fees incurred at customs, so I have decided on the Naniwa Super Stone 1000 grit after all, as it's on clearance at Paul's Finest (which is in Canada), and get a leather strop later on for maintenance.

              Thank you again:)

              1. re: bg031

                Enjoy your new stone!

                For the future, SharpeningSupplies says they have fast shipping to Canada (from Wisconsin), & you might have good luck ordering from Amazon.

                1. re: Eiron

                  Thank you for the site recommendation. I've never seen it before, and indeed, it does seem like they ship regularly and fast to Canada. The pricing is pretty good too even with the conversion...woohoo!

                2. re: bg031

                  Enjoy. It's a good stone. Let us know if you have any questions or problems once you get it.

                    1. re: bg031


                      I think Naniwa Super stone 1000 grit is a nice choice for you because it produces a very finish, and you are using it as a finishing stone. Paul from Paulsfinest is a fine man (pun intended) . You should feel free shooting him an email about any question you may have. He loves knives and to talk about them.

                      He used to be a regular here for awhile and we chit-chatted about knives. Funny thing, I didn't know he sells knives when we first met:


                      Cowboy, remember Paul?

                      1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                        I received the stone today. Paul's processing is super fast! Am really quite excited to try it over the weekend.

        2. bg031,

          You got some great advices thus far. Chezdy's recommendation is good. The DMT DiamondVee is easy to use. The only concerns I have are that (a) it is a coarse finish and (b) it seems to only have a 20o degree setup -- whereas a Global edge is closer to 16o. A Spyderco sharpmaker is a good alternative because it has finer stones and it can be adjusted for 16o.

          If you are interested in a flat stone, then a 1000 grit is an excellent choice to start. A 1000 grit stone is coarse enough to fix minor problems and fine enough for finishing. Cowboyardee introduced me to Naniwa Super stones and I have the 2000 and the 5000 super stones, and they are excellent stones. However, like coyboyardee said, Naniwa 1000 grit super stone may not be a great choice -- depending on your needs.

          The Naniwa Super stones will give a nice finish, but they are soft and slow cutting. I think cowboy’s other two suggestions are great. I have the 1000 Bester stone and I like it. Mark Richmond from Chefknivestogo recommends the Shapton glass stone. I will put the respective link here:

          One thing to consider, all stones will slowly becoming less flat and more concave as you sharpen your knives on them. While you are considering a sharpening stone, please also consider buying a flattening stone. Otherwise you will end up a concave stone very soon.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Chemicalkinetics

            Oh my gosh...thank you soooo muvh, guys, for the detailed responses. This is exactly the type of advice I need. I'm in Canada, and the Naniwas are the easiest for me to get locally...hence my preference for it. But the Shapton looks great!!! And the King one suggested by cowboyardee is also one I like.

            Much to mull over. Thanks again, guys!!! Will be printing this out.

          2. bg031, I'm going to swim upstream on this one & say you're in great shape with the two Spyderco ceramics you've already got (assuming you're talking about the 2x8 stones & that, of course, your husband doesn't mind you using them).

            Here's why:
            I have both of these stones & use them on my Forschner 7" santoku & 3-1/4" paring knives. They're an excellent, fast-cutting pair that require no setup, are easily cleaned & will wear forever. Spyderco developed them for their VG-10 survival knife blades, but my Forschner kitchen blades are about the same hardness as your Global (56-58 HRC). And, if you want to have a little fun, try resharpening used X-Acto blades on the fine ceramic. It's great practice for holding your angles (the factory edges on X-Acto blades are so rough that it's easy to see where the ceramic is hitting the steel), & you can make the old blades cut better than new, out-of-the-box blades! :-D

            The only drawback to the Spyderco ceramics is that they're not as wide as typical water stones, so you either have to take more overlapping strokes on the Spydercos, or hold the blade in a more diagonal position across the tops of them.

            Forget about the ceramic rods. They're going to fit in-between the medium & fine ceramic stones you've already got. If you want to buy your own set of Spyderco ceramics, Midway Knife & Tool sells "2nds" for 1/2 the cost of "1sts." No plastic box, but I got my Spyderco 2x8 fine bench ceramic from them for only $22!

            If you want to get into waterstones, follow CBAD's advice & start out with a 1200 & 6000 pair. (I have the 1000/6000 pair, & the 1200 will make a better transition to the 6000.) MikesTools has the best price on two large water stones that should last you for years, a Splex 1200 & Suehiro 6000. The pair will only run you just over $47, or just a little more than the Naniwa 1000 (from ChefKnivesToGo) all by itself.

            24 Replies
            1. re: Eiron

              Thank you, Eiron. That's great to know about the Spydercos! My husband is a bit OCD with his stuff :P, so that's why I want my own. I do like the Spydercos as they are so easy to use and maintain. I'm leaning towards Naniwa Super Stone 1000/5000 combo right now, but will look at those MikesTools suggestions. That's good to know about the ceramic rods. I would've just wasted my $$$ on it since I didn't know any better.

              Thanks again.

              1. re: Eiron

                Ok, while we're on the topic of sharpening stones, what about diamond? I do a lot of woodworking so I have plane irons and chisels to sharpen as well as kitchen knives. My kitchen knives are German and relatively new, so Jananese knives are not on the horizon. I'm really not intersted in different stones for different tools if that's avoidable. Now I use the "scary sharp" sand paper method for wood working tools, it's really quite effective, but if diamond stones would work for both kitchen knives and shop tools that would be great. I watched a DMT vidio on line for kitchen knives and it looked like a reasonable way to go. Thoughts and comments please.

                1. re: mikie

                  Short answer - you can use diamond stones, but there are some definite disadvantages of them.

                  The biggest disadvantage is that they are costly and tend to wear down much quicker than a waterstone of comparable grit.

                  The next biggest disadvantage is that their feedback is sorta awful - just a nails-on-chalkboard scratching feeling, whether you're hitting the egde properly or missing it. Obviously this is a non-factor if you aren't freehanding on them.

                  Then there are some issues that may just be baseless speculation.

                  There has been some buzz over at knifeforums that diamond abrasives may not be ideal for Japanese knives in terms of edge retention. The thought is that the shape of the abrasives can create microscopic little fissures and weaknesses in the edge that cause the edge to fail prematurely. This is more readily observed with edges that started with extra coarse and xxc diamond stones, but i've heard people who believe it's all diamond stones (strangely, strops charged with diamond spray are quite popular).

                  Personally, I've used the DMT XXC in the past, but I have now retired it from use on actual knives. I just flatten stones with it. It works on knives, but leaves such deep scratches that they are hard to remove even with a bester 500. I've had better results since I retired that stone. Also, the expensive XXC is more valuable to me as a stone flattener, and using it on knives was causing it to quickly wear down. I've also used a DMT fine on my mother's cruddy santoku. It created an edge for me quickly, and the edge, while notably coarse, was decent and useable. That edge also went dull fairly quickly in use, but that is more likely the fault of the knife than the stone.

                  Frankly I have no experience dictating whether a DMT would be bad for a German knife. My hunch is that it would be fine - German steel is softer, less likely to crack or split (and it's not really a definite that DMT actually causes poor edge retention in Japanese knives anyway). You'll still have to deal with the first couple of problems I mentioned though.

                  1. re: cowboyardee

                    CBAD: "strangely, strops charged with diamond spray are quite popular"

                    Perhaps not as strange as might initially appear. The leather is going to provide a resilient, porous foundation for the micro-fine diamond dust. The dust will settle into the pores (or nest in the papillae, if the skivved side is used), providing a polishing cut, while simultaneously allowing the enveloping dermal structure of the leather to buff the steel.

                    Also, unlike the unyielding plastic or metal base, the stropping material is going to deflect when the blade edge is pressed against it. This resiliency is going to naturally allow the dust to depress below the stropping surface, providing a protective "shock-absorbing" action of the grit against the blade.

                    Waddaya think?

                    1. re: Eiron

                      That's a plausible explanation. Though I'm still not sure why diamond spray would work better than chromium oxide (all I've tried), aluminum oxide, etc. Dave Martell uses and sells diamond spray and Salty seemed to get better results with diamond spray than with other stropping compounds in a series of tests.

                      The explanations I've read so far as to why diamond stones would be bad for edge retention (which have been vague and speculative, BTW) focused on the shape of diamond abrasives - sharper, more angular, less round than other abrasives - not their hardness. Again, aside from the very rough and somewhat problematic edge left by an XXC DMT stone, I have never experienced this phenomenon first hand.

                  2. re: mikie

                    I have three DMT diamond stones. Extra-extra coarse, coarse and fine. I am not 100% sure if you have a specific question. It seems you have an open-end question.

                    The advantages of diamond stones are that (a) they cut/grind really fast, (b) only water is needed (no soaking is required either), (c) they are very flat and remain so, thus no need to flatten them like other stones.

                    However, like cowboy said, they provide poor feedback to the users. I cannot say that all diamond stones produce microscopic weak points, but the extra-extra coarse one does, but that may not be unexpected.

                    Personally, I think diamond stones are quick and easy to use especially for starter stones and for reprofiling, but I prefer to finish the knife on a waterstone. I have used these stones on my Henckels and Wusthof paring knives and they are fine.

                    1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                      Well I guess my question was/is, given the advantages you pointed out that I am at least somewhat aware of, I didn't understand why they were not at the top of the list. Also, they seem to get a lot of notice on the sharpening web pages I looked at. I was aware of the cost, but thought that would be offset by wear resistnace, not much is harder than a diamond, but if wear is a disadvantage that really makes the cost go up. I like the fast cutting part as my hobbies don't include plane iron or knife sharpening, just their use. I was/am concerned about waterstones as I view them as soft and perhaps not suitable to use for both a 1/2 inch chisel and a 10 inch chefs knife. I don't want to spend all my time flatening a water stone and grinding away the cutting surface. I've never used one, so I had no idea on the feedback. It just looked so easy to use in that video, 5 strokes on this side then 5 on the other.

                      Back at square one, would you use different stones for a German knife than a Japanese knife and if so what differences would you pick? Keep in mind, I'm a push cut minded person with plane irons and chesels as my reference, so I prize a polished edge. I think the hardness of these is at least similar to most kitchen knives.

                      1. re: mikie

                        Hi Mikie,

                        I see. You are not wrong. There are not many things harder than diamond, so from that sense a diamond stone is very wear resistance. However, if you take into account of the true thickness of the abrasive, then you will see why. A 1 inch waterstone is made of 1 inch thick of abrasive. For a DMT stone, only the very first layer is the diamond abrasive. The rest is just a metal or plastic base:


                        So it is really a comparison of the wear resistance of a 1 inch worth of waterstone abrasive against an extremely thin layer of diamond.

                        I think for regular home kitchen use, they have plenty lifetime and my coarse and extra-extra coarse stones have not shown any sign of wear. My DMT fine stone is showing wear, but it is still working. This DMT fine stone was my first stone and I was using it from tough jobs to fine jobs, so it saw much more actions than it should have. To put it in perspective, I got this DMT fine stone along with a 1000/6000 comb waterstone and that particular waterstone has thinned a lot and has retired.

                        I actually use the same stone setup for my German knives vs my Japanese knives. The real difference are (1) I shapren my Japanese knives at a sharper (lower) angle and (2) I often finish my Japanese knives at a higher grit (finer stones). All of my knives (Japanese/German/US/Chinese) go through all the same lower grit stones.

                        The finest DMT stone I have is the fine stone, but DMT has extra-fine and extra-extra fine, so I have not had a chance to use those to comment about the polish level.

                        1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                          "my extra-extra coarse stones have not shown any sign of wear."
                          You must be better with applying less pressure while sharpening than I am - my XXC stone showed some serious wear after reprofiling my Tosagata nakiri. I don't know if it was the blue steel or just that I was pressing into it too hard (probably the latter) but that one just definitely took its toll on the XXC.

                          1. re: cowboyardee

                            Maybe we have different defintions of "wear". When I said my DMT fine stone shows wear, I mean I literally start seeing the bare metal underneath the diamond abrasive at two of its corners. Just the corners thus far.

                            Do you mean your stone becomes less aggressive after sharpen your Tosagata nakiri? DMT considers that as normal. So in that sense, a waterstone is superior because a waterstone surface is always new and therefore the cutting surface is consistant.

                            I have used my DMT XXC to reprofile my Tojiro Usuba and my Tanaka Nakiri. My Tojiro because I messed up the bevel and I wanted to fix it. My Tanaka because it had a wavy edge and I needed to take the bevel down and flatten/straighten the bevel along the entire edge. In both cases, I have not seen a major problem with my DMT XXC stone.

                            The Tojiro is white steel #1 and the Tanaka is blue steel #1, so these are not the finest #2 grade steel.

                            1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                              Took another look at mine. There is, like, one tiny bare spot on the metal. Not all that significant really - the stone will still work- but worrisome enough. More so, I could feel the stone cutting less and less aggressively the more I used it (with a big fall off soon after I got it). You might be right that this is normal.

                              What I wonder is how long you can expect a DMT XXC to last once that wear sets in. Do you still use yours on knives? Has it stopped becoming noticeably less aggressive after that first drop off, or has it continued to decline?

                              What about your other DMT - do they still have a place in your sharpening line up?

                          2. re: Chemicalkinetics


                            By the way, I do want to add that not all waterstones are super soft stones. In fact, as you know, Japanese knives are traditionally harder than German and American knives, so these waterstones can handle the harder Japanese knives fine.

                            There is nothing wrong with using waterstones for both chisel and for Chef's knives. As you can easily tell, most of us here use waterstones for knives and I can tell you that Japanese use waterstones for their chisel for wood working.


                            Now, you will have to flatten these stones, and there is no way around it. In fact, probably even more important to flatten them for chisels than for knives. Otherwise you will get a round chisel.

                          3. re: mikie

                            It's not at the top of the recommendation list (mine anyway) because I feel like there are better options for most users.

                            It's true that diamond stones work on tools, but unless you have exceptionally hard tools, water stones will work on them too - they work on knives hardened up to at least 65 HRC.

                            Also, unlike Chem, I don't think they cut any faster than a waterstone at the same grit. The stones we've been talking about are all quite coarse - even the DMT fine stone is only about the equivalent of an 800 grit Japanese stone (and it left an edge that felt coarser than my 800 King stone, BTW). I would expect such coarse stones to cut fast, diamond or not. True, DMT XXC cuts faster than anything on some metals (for other steels, a Bester 500 seems just about as fast, believe it or not), but that is at least in part because there are no good waterstones at a grit that low.

                            So yeah, they don't need soaking and they don't require flattening. There are waterstones that don't need soaking (Naniwa SS, shapton glass stones). Aside from their use for very hard materials and in flattening waterstones, I just feel there are better options for kitchen knives. If your tools are hard enough (waterstones may be too soft for tungsten carbide - I don't have the experience to say), then go for DMT. They'll work. Waterstones are just a little better for most people sharpening kitchen knives.

                            BTW, stone flattening isn't really that bad. Just do it every time you sharpen and it'll only take a couple minutes. It does require something like a DMT XXC though (some people use wet/dry paper on glass), which is expensive.

                            "Back at square one, would you use different stones for a German knife than a Japanese knife and if so what differences would you pick? Keep in mind, I'm a push cut minded person with plane irons and chesels as my reference, so I prize a polished edge. I think the hardness of these is at least similar to most kitchen knives."
                            I have used the same stones for German knives as Japanese. The difference is that German knives offer less reward for going up to a high grit - some knives won't take a high grit polish very well without messing up the edge, but more commonly the issue is that high degrees of initial sharpness are quickly lost. I typically sharpen German knives to 1000 grit or so (Japanese) and leave em at that - you get that aggressive slicing coarse edge factor at that grit. Also, since German knives typically grind away quicker, you can get away with slower abrasives - stuff like carborundum stones - with less hassle. Which is not to say you have to. Carborundum stones are another can of worms though.

                            1. re: cowboyardee

                              Thanks "guys", that makes things clear as mud ;), well actually thin mud, no really, I'm starting to catch on. I may just keep my wet/dry 2400 grit sand paper on a glass for the work shop tools and try a set of water stones for the kitchen tools. I've used the "scarry sharp" method on tools for so long I'm jsut not that in touch with real stones to know which way to go, this really does help. Thanks. I'll go back through a couple of posts to see which stones and grits you reccomend.

                              Part of my issue is I don't use the knives as much as the wife and she's not as careful with them as I would like. So keeping them finger cutting sharp (she hasn't cut one off yet, but got a good cut Monday night) is an ongoing issue. I could probably just rub them on the sidewalk and be ok, just kidding :P

                              1. re: mikie

                                "I could probably just rub them on the sidewalk and be ok, just kidding :P"

                                Her fingers or the knife? ; )

                                Curl them fingers. It only takes one good cut to fix a bad habit

                                1. re: mikie

                                  mikie, if you're looking for a single setup to do both your tools & your knives, then I'd also recommend the Spyderco medium & fine ceramic bench stones. I've never used the diamond sharpeners on knives, so I can't speak to their usefulness like Chem & CBAD can.

                                  But, like I told bg031, Midway Knife & Tool carries "2nds" on these for 1/2 the price of "1sts", making them an exceptional value. Being fired ceramics, they won't wear away like either diamond sharpeners or water stones. You'll be able to use them for your chisels without worrying about dishing the stones & ruining your knives. (To be fair, Spyderco says the medium ceramic is "open cell," & may eventually show some wear. But it still should outlast a DMT several times over, at 1/4 of the initial cost.) You can keep using your sandpaper & glass polishing step, or spring for the Spyderco extra-fine ceramic to possibly make that step a little easier.

                                  If you do decide to go with water stones, I think you can find decent flattening stones for as little as $20.

                                  1. re: Eiron

                                    I will second Eiron with the Spyderco Ceramic Bench Stones. They are, indeed, amazing! I just really wanted a whetstone to try, and plus, getting the bench stones are costlier for me:P

                                    1. re: Eiron

                                      I'll check it out, sounds like a good compromise. Like most stuff in the net, there is a lot of confusing information on stones and sharpening.

                                      Thanks for all the help and advice, it really is appreciated.

                                      Edit: Eiron, how do you get the 2nds, the prices I saw on the Midway Knife site are about $10 a stone higher than Amazon??? I didn't see anything for seconds.

                                      1. re: mikie

                                        mikie, call them up directly & ask if they've got any on-hand. I found them online (maybe thru Amazon?), but it wasn't until I called them directly that they told me what they had available. Stock might be limited to occasional shipments from Spyderco (I'm sure they try to minimize the number of 2nds they produce), so you might have to wait a week or two until they get a new batch. Just ask them when they might get some more in.

                                        The next best price I've found is CutleryShoppe at $35/ea for 1st quality stones. That's also an excellent price.

                                        1. re: mikie

                                          mikie, did MK&T have any Spyderco 2nds to sell?

                                          1. re: Eiron

                                            I haven't called, I'm balancing knives and chisels, the woodworking community seems to favor the Norton water stones, so I'm kind of leaning that direction. I'm terribly slow to pull the triger on things like this, they don't make very good paper weights if you decide you got the wrong thing. I know I can sharpen the woodworking tools, the knives still have me a little leary, so if I go Norton and can test out the knife sharpening and still have a fall back use for the stones. Norton has a 1000/4000 for $50. Although I'm sure I could sharpen the chisels on the Spyderco stones as well.
                                            Aganin, thank you for all the suggestions, it's been a tremendous help.

                                            1. re: mikie

                                              "I'm terribly slow to pull the triger on things like this"

                                              Do you have a friend who has a waterstone so you can play with?

                                              1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                That would make life easier wouldn't it. I can't think of anyone. Most of the woodworking guys step up to the Tormek sharpeners as these grind reasonably quickly to reshape the edge. If you think cutting into a cutting board is tough on an edge, try chiseling pieces out of one. They end up looking like someone took a bite out of the end. I was going to pick up a Norton stone at Woodcraft this past weekend, but didn't make it in.

                                                1. re: mikie


                                                  Let's us know how it goes. I think your experience will be useful for us.

                          4. Does any one know where in Canada or the US we can order round Naniwa stones? I noticed on an Euro web-store that they are available. Designed for long knives. Only saw 1000, 3000 and I think a 300 grit though.

                            I think getting a large round size is better if you use the "western stroke" (e.g. heel to tip one stroke) over the "Japanese stroke" (stone perpendicular to our body, knife at 45 degrees, fwd/back motions section of the knife at a time). Actually it might benefit people using the JP stroke as well. As the diameter is wider than the typical 8"x2" stone.