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Choosing whetstones

Discussion in 'Maintenance, Tinkering & Embellishment' started by jrgreene1968, Nov 21, 2020.

  1. jrgreene1968


    Nov 19, 2017
    Hi, I’m trying to dive into sharpening with whetstones, and looking for a good 3000 stone.
    I’ve got the zwilling Kramer set already, which is 400, 1000, and 5000. Would like to add a 3k. I know zwilling/Kramer have a 3k, but I’d like to try something different. No particular reason, especially since I’m still trying to learn, but would like to experience other stones. what is a decent 3k that won’t break the bank?
    Thanks and hoping to learn this. I tried lots of times through the years to use a sharpening stone with bad results. But I’m thinking it was more stone choice than anything, since I didn’t have a clue. I think all the stones I ever bought were hard oil stones, therefore they didn’t remove any material , just polished a dull edge. ive been watching videos and googling all I can on the proper way to sharpen with whetstones, and hope to finally get it. As far as what type knives, my kitchen knives are zwilling ja henckel 4 stars, and of course I have way to many hunting knives, edc knives, etc
    Last edited: Nov 21, 2020
  2. Eli Chaps

    Eli Chaps Gold Member Gold Member Basic Member

    Apr 20, 2018
    With all due respect, the issue is not likely your stone choice but your technique. Oil stones work very well, especially at lower grits which is where you set your edge and make the knife sharp initially.

    Adding grits will not make a sharp knife. A knife off of a course stone must be sharp. Moving up simply refines the edge, it doesn't create it.
    MtnHawk1, Metal Man 007 and 000Robert like this.
  3. jrgreene1968


    Nov 19, 2017
    Yes when I was young, I was doing it bass ackwards though, and not starting out with a course stone, therefore the knives never got sharp, and I had to use the lansky.
    I’m getting good results now with the stones I have, I would just like to get a good 3k to go between the 1k and 5k I have
    Eli Chaps likes this.
  4. afishhunter

    afishhunter Basic Member Basic Member

    Oct 21, 2014
    I don't know where you heard Oil Stones don't remove metal. They do remove metal. They don't just burnish the edge. Burnishing/polishing isn't sharpening.
    Look at all the old knives that have been "sharpened to a toothpick". Chances are most, if not all, never saw a stone that wasn't an "Arkansas Oil Stone".
    By the way; a natural Arkansas "oil stone" works just was well with water as with oil. :)

    Personally, I've never noticed a difference between brands of stones. Then again, until recently all I used had been natural "Medium" and "Hard" Arkansas Oil Stones. Not a lot of difference in how Smith's and Lansky, for example, process the raw stones into a finished "sharpening stone".

    I don't know if water stones are natural or man made. If the former, and they are graded consistently, brand won't matter.

    I have to agree with @Eli Chaps, above. It is likely technique rather than the stone that is causing your difficulties.
  5. jrgreene1968


    Nov 19, 2017
    Ok.. I thought I explained. When I was younger, I was trying to sharpen a dull knife with a finishing oil stone, because I didn’t know any better.
    I think my technique is fine, since I started using whetstones, all my knives shave. I was just asking for a decent 3k stone to add to my setup, to avoid buying something that’s no good. I know there’s a lot of cheap stones that don’t work real well.
  6. KenHash


    Sep 11, 2014
    Waterstones can be synthetic or natural. The latter are very expensive and frankly, the former do just fine.
    You should be able to find a 3000 from King or Naniwa (chosera) which are the most popular Japanese stones. There are now tons of Made in China stones as well which are more inexpensive but quality is mixed, some are ok and some are terrible.
    You should also invest in a stone leveler or diamond plate, as your stones will lose their "flatness" over time and use. This is especially true of the 250-400 low grit "arato" stones.
  7. Skar


    Mar 24, 2020
    What steel are you Sharpening?
    I recently got a smiths diamond stone and getting an edge is alot easier.
  8. jrgreene1968


    Nov 19, 2017
    Thanks for the replies. Yes the Chinese stones are what I’ve been seeing pop up , and would rather pay a little extra now and get a quality stone. Just don’t want to pay a lot for a stone that’s so so. I’ve been leaning towards the king, chosera and shapton pro.
    As far as steel type. My kitchen knives are ja henckels which just says high carbon stainless hardness of 57. My carry knives are mainly stainless, aus8 etc. benchmade, bokers, customs
  9. KenHash


    Sep 11, 2014
    Your henckels are probably a German 4116 variant. At HRC57 it's on the soft end of Kitchen knives. I have a 25 year old Henckels carver in my knife set that sharpens very well on my Naniwa stones. Just need to be careful as it has the European bolster. Same stones do perfectly fine for Aus8, VG10 and R2 (SG2).
  10. Skar


    Mar 24, 2020
    Then you don't need diamond but... Would make short work of it.
    I have a crkt that was really difficult to get a edge on with a whet stone. With a diamond stone I had a edge in 5 mins.

    I never had a oil stone so I have zero to add to that. I recommend you get a good one just so you don't second guess it later.
  11. Ourorboros


    Jan 23, 2017
    I'd like to point out a 3K stone doesn't really make sense in your line-up, unless that's going to be your new end point. If the stones you have are any good it can handle a 1K to 5K jump.
    Also with that soft German steel, what you probably need is a strop. It's commonly held that German's can't take more than a 2K, then strop to clean up the edge. With your hunting knives you probably want a toothier edge anyways.

    That said, what exactly is your price point when you say "doesn't break the bank"? The Chosera 3K is about $120 and is an excellent stone. It also might be finer than the Kramer 5K.
    The Sigma Power Select 3K should feel similar, but costs less. Some people like the Naniwa Superstones or Shapton Glass, which would cost about the same - about $60-$80.
  12. MtnHawk1

    MtnHawk1 Basic Member Basic Member

    May 22, 2019
    Glad diamond worked out well for you. It didn't for me, although I thought it would. I had to go to SiC to hog off metal as quickly as I wanted because I could use more pressure with it than diamond.
    Beansandcarrots likes this.
  13. jrgreene1968


    Nov 19, 2017
    I went ahead and ordered a chosera 3k and a chosera 800 to add to my setup. Seems like most reviews of the choseras are good. There higher than the kings, but most reviews say the chosera stays flatter longer and overall just last longer.
    I’m sure I’ll add or change things up as I go, I would eventually like to look into Japanese knives, and learn the sharpening on them
    Beansandcarrots likes this.
  14. willc

    willc Gold Member Gold Member

    Aug 13, 2013
    The Chosera’s are a fine choice.
    I have the 400, 600, 800 and 1K and they all are excellent stones.

    In comparison to other lines of stones though Chosera stones are finer, if you double each number they then match up finish wise to the colored Shapton stones.
    Never tried the Zwilling so I have no idea there.

    You may want to be careful with the 3k, I heard reports that they can crack or craze on the surface if stored or dried improperly.
    The lower you go in grit less are these problems.
    My 1K has seen some rough treatment over the past few years and its surface is fine.

    Good luck and really the only way to get familiar with the stones is to keep running metal over them.
    Beansandcarrots and jrgreene1968 like this.
  15. Beansandcarrots

    Beansandcarrots KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Apr 15, 2014
    I like the Naniwa Lobster 3k and the Pride/SharpeningSupplies 3k is an excellent 3k, and the Rika 5k fits snugly into that area, but if I am fully honest with you, I don’t care for 3k stones. I like the 1k for toothy, which can be a true 1k or manipulated higher with a little stropping. The 5k is a great finishing grit. I don’t really see a need for a 3k. However, that wasn’t your question. Aside from my prior recommendations, my firsthand experience with 3k stones is limited. I have heard almost endless good things about the Naniwa Pro 3k, but that might land itself in break-the-bank territory for you (and if you do go with a magnesia-based stone, educate yourself on the difference between stone cracking and stone crazing and don’t panic)

    Also please come back and tell us what you think of the stone you choose, and give us pictures!
  16. Alberta Ed

    Alberta Ed

    Jun 29, 1999
    I prefer diamond hones over any natural stone as they'll work on any steel. I do have a Black Arkansas bench stone about 14" long that came from a great uncle who was a carpenter. It puts a fantastic finishing edge on high carbon steels.
  17. Ourorboros


    Jan 23, 2017
    Perfect for Japanese knives.
    Don't soak your Choseras, that will lead fine surface cracks. Dunk them or run them under water for a little bit. You can't have them in water too long, but if you don't get them wet throughout they are thirsty.

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