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Jan 8, 2014 09:50 AM

Which whetstones to get for my Global knives?

I'm new to knife sharpening but really want to learn how to do it properly with whetstones. I'd like to be able to keep my Global knives in good shape, but I'd like to keep costs low and don't want to purchase superfluous stones.

I've been looking at the double sided, medium/rough (240 and 1000 grit) Global whetstone. What else would I need? A super fine stone (6000 grit)? Or would a honing rod suffice? The super fine stone is about the same price as the honing rod, so it would be nice to pick just one of them.

Thanks for your help! I also looked at the minosharp sharpening gadget, but don't want to scratch up the sides of my knives. I also just feel like this is a skill I should learn. I have a victorinox chef knife I can practice on before trying the global knives.

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  1. Check out used arkansas stones on Ebay.

    1. Since Global's aren't - relative to true Japanese knives - very hard (in the 56 - 58 HRC range) I'd suggest staying at or above ~3-4 micron in grit size for best performance. This means that I don't think you'd see any benefit from going finer than a 4000 grit JIS stone. Shapton and Chosera/Naniwa are nice choices for relatively worry free stones--no need to soak, you just splash and go.

      4000 grit is still pretty fine, and you will be approaching a mirror finished edge. It's more important to get a good 1000 grit stone.

      Unless you do a lot of bevel setting, I don't really see a need to get a stone below 1000 grit. You can look around for a 1000/4000 grit combination stone or, which I would recommend, get two separate stones. Picking up two Naniwa Super Stones in 1000 and 3000 grit would only be ~$75 and would be all you would really need--unless, that is, you started getting really into the deeper end of sharpening.

      1. <I've been looking at the double sided, medium/rough (240 and 1000 grit) Global whetstone. What else would I need? A super fine stone (6000 grit)? Or would a honing rod suffice? The super fine stone is about the same price as the honing rod, so it would be nice to pick just one of them.>

        A combination stone is good. I am not too into combination stones, but they are fine. I would say that most combination stones are good, and you don't have to buy a Global whetstone -- unless it is on sale. Usually speaking, a whetstone from a knife maker is marketed pricier than it should be.

        I don't think you need a 6000 grit stone now. You can, but it is not required especially you don't want to spent too much.

        I heard this is a good stone:

        I used to use this one (below), but the price has jumped up, so I rather not recommend it anymore:

        1. I don't know anything about Globals in particular, just giving the advice I would give about any japanese knife. I am assuming that Globals share a similar hardness and bevel angle.

          I would recommend the fine stone over a honing rod, hands down. Anywhere from 4K to 6K grit should be fine.

          1. You don't want to use a course 1000 grit stones because you'll remove too much metal while you're still learning. Stay in the 4000-6000 range.

            The single grit waterstones are usually wider than most of the combination stones. Wider stones will help you make better contact with the knife. Especially, when working 240mm or longer knives.

            I still use my first waterstone, King 4000. The pores will get saturated. But all that gets cleaned out when I flatten it.

            5 Replies
            1. re: unprofessional_chef

              With all due respect, I disagree about starting with a finer stone.

              You're of course correct that a finer stone will remove metal more slowly, and could help a novice sharpener avoid grinding away much excess metal once the bevels of an edge have already met.

              But IME, the bigger problem for novice sharpeners is getting frustrated and second guessing themselves while learning to sharpen. They sharpen for a while, and when the edge doesn't seem sharper, they change their angle, often compounding the problem and making them take even longer (or else sharpening at too obtuse an angle). Very dull knives can take a good while to sharpen with a stone in that range. Additionally, Global knives can exacerbate this problem, because they come with a slightly convex bevel, which generally should be flattened the first time they're sharpened on stones - using a 4k-6k stone, this would be kind of a pain in the ass.

              Anyone who's removed a decent sized chip with a 1000 grit waterstone knows that it takes a LOT of work even at 1k to grind far up into the blade. And coarser stones have the additional advantage that they create a larger, more easily detectable burr more easily, which can be helpful to a beginner.

              Instead of relying on only a medium-fine stone, I'd suggest that a beginner is better off with one in the 1000 grit range, and also get a cheap, relatively soft knife that reliably takes a decent edge to practice on - a Victorinox or a Kiwi or a Rada, for example. Once a beginner is proficient, it's easy to avoid removing excess metal. And IMO, it's easier to learn to sharpen with a coarser stone. Even as an experienced sharpener, I rely on my 800 grit stone more than I do my finer ones.

              1. re: cowboyardee

                An important technique is knowing how to angle knife so the primary bevel is completely flat in full contact with the stone. Some people use the magic marker/sharpie trick. But I'm at the point where I know how to feel and listen for it. IME the finer grit stones will give a more noticeable feed back and distinct sound than course stones like a 1000 grit.

                I started with a King 4000 and I'm glad I did. Because one of the first techniques I picked up is if I positioned the knife correctly the primary bevel would almost stick to the stone. Making perfect contact. I was hoping to steer novice sharpeners in this direction.

                I've never sharpened a convex edge so maybe 1000 grit is the way to go.

              2. re: unprofessional_chef

                cowboyardee's post is spot on. Even flattening a convex bevel to a V bevel - without any real thinning - could take 5 - 10 minutes on a 1000 grit stone. A novice sharpener will quickly get frustrated or bored within the first few minutes, and will begin changing angles thinking that they are doing it wrong. This creates a compound bevel along the length of the bevel.

                A stone in the 4000 - 6000 grit range is going to have a grit size in the ~4 - 2.5 micron range. In comparison, most 1000 grit stones are typically in the ~16 - 14 micron range. This means that a sharpening job could take 4 - 6.4 times as long to do. A job that a 1000 grit stone could do in about 10 minutes could take upwards of an hour to do: this is far to long to ask most people to hold a consistent angle when sharpening. This is not even taking into consideration the cutting speed of the stone.

                It is true that novice sharpeners will likely take off too much steel at too steep of an angle, but I don't think that there is any real danger in the 1000 grit range. It's not until you start hitting 25+ micron grit sizes that you can easily take off too much steel.

                Unless the OP is going to pick up some knives with harder heat treatments, I'd still recommend staying at or below 4000 grit JIS. Most Henckels/W├╝sthof's that I sharpen (which are hardened to 55 - 57 range) do best with a ~7 micron edge--they don't hold a more refined edge for very long, and so this is the best balance of a fine edge and increased edge retention. The slightly harder Global (56 - 58) would probably be ok in the 6 - 4 micron range, though getting into the 2 - 4 micron range would likely be a little too refined for the blade to hold an edge for very long.

                1. re: unprofessional_chef

                  I think 1000 grit is not a bad start especially for a knife like Global, which is convex. In fact, this is why I thought the original poster's idea of getting a 240/1000 comb stone may not be a bad idea. The 240 can really help to flatten the convex edge. It will take way too long on a 4000-6000 grit stone to flatten the convex. On top of it, Global knife steel is not that special. I don't think it can take advantage of a 4000-6000 grit stone.

                  As for the concern of taking too much metal, this is definitely a valid point. I think this is why it will be good that the original poster starts and practices on a cheaper knife.

                  1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                    Thanks so much for the advice!

                    I'm also getting another knife or two and I am considering going with Mac Pro or Masamoto instead of Global.

                    I have pretty small hands and like the handle and weight of Global. However, I've also heard great things about Mac Pro knives. Not sure if any of you have experience with these knives and have any advice.