I need to start getting water stones

I was given a “Japanese” knife for Xmas. Went out and bought a matching Japanese 3.5" parer to go with it.

I have the old fashioned Arkansas whetstones, which may have worked fine with my French carbon steel knives but are not going to cut it with 61-62 HRC SS knives.

I am thinking of starting with this sole stone until I know what I’m doing: Chosera 1,000 Grit Stone with a Base by Naniwa Chosera.

https://www.amazon.com/Chosera-000-Gr

Comments, observations, other recommendations? I know nothing about these water stones. At this point I just want to avoid an expensive mistake, so second guessing myself here.

Thanks in advance.

What kind of Japanese knife is it? Do you have the brand name or the steel? Your Askansas stone may work ok.

As for Chosera (or the new Professional), it is considered one of the best water stones, so I don’t think you can go wrong with it. It is the highest end among Naniwa. You can probably go cheaper, but if you are comfortable with the cost, then this is a perfectly good stone. I also agree that a Japanese ~1000 grit (800-1200) is probably the best stone to start.

Chem,

Thanks for the affirmation. I have learned the hard way to avoid buying twice, cheap first time and a correction purchase the second time.

The knife given to me is an 8" Shun Kaji Kiritsuke Knife (a William Sonoma exclusive-over priced, I know, even on sale which ended Monday).

http://www.williams-sonoma.com/products/shun-kaji-kiritsuke-knife/\

The is my first knife with a compound profile. The belly is very flat the first half near the heel, and then presents an increasing curve as the blade runs to the tip. Strange balance, very handle heavy. Even more so with the paring knife.

Still getting use to it. All my other knives are old fashion French knives with full-sized bolters. This new knife does veggies really well, which is all I intend to cut with it. OTOH, I eat a lot of veggies, so this is a sweet knife for me.

I was actually given the 6" version, but I quickly upgraded to the 8" model. Definitely a better fit for how I do veggies.

My knife block is very nearly full.

Chem,

The SS is SG-2 powdered steel. I have an EDC folder from Folkekniven with this steel.

Hi John,

I have had the Kaji SG-2 hollow ground 7" Santoku for about a year. So far, I’ve just stropped it (with and without compound) like mad. Works like a charm. When it comes time for serious sharpening (which should not happen very often), I’m sending it to Shun in Oregon.

Ray

Ray,

I just got a new leather strop because my old one is beat. I have compound. I will take your advise and strop first, which is dead simple.

The idea of sending knives out for a third party to sharpen leaves me stone cold. That’s just me.

The Chosera stone should have no problem with SG-2 powdered steel.

John,

I do understand. I’d trust the manufacturer since I have such little confidence in my own prowess. If you can get comfortable with water stones, that’s clearly the path to take.

Ray

Any stone will sharpen it. Some will do it faster than others. Waterstones are popular these days because they’re fast. They’re also soft which means they have to be dressed more than other stones. You can get a lot of info about them and other stones on the woodworking sites like Rocklers & etc. Woodworkers sharpen stuff a lot. I’ve seen woodworkers having serious discussions about sharpening plane blades to 13,000 microns.

Whatever stone you select I’d practice with a cheap knife first so you get the feel for it before trying an expensive knife on it.

Hiracer,

By the way, getting the 8" Kiritsuke over the 6" is a great idea. Kiritsuke is really meant to be a long knife. Many people have 10" or longer. More and more professional chefs using a Kiritsuke for their main knife.

I think the handle heavy is unique to the heavy Shun Kaji design. Most Kiritsuke are blade heavy due to the long blade.

If you have been sharpening your French knives with a stone, then you will have little problem with the waterstones. Yes, there will be some adjustment, but you will pick up the differences as you go. Have fun.

Chem,

I am aware that my particular so-called kiritsuke is a deviation from the norm. First, it’s double edged, which is not traditional. Further, it’s both shorter and wider. So, really, it not a kiritsuke except vaguely by outline or shape.

What it is, is a killer vegetable knife. Because it is handle heavy, I can quickly chop like a nakiri even though it’s much heavier than a regular nakiri. It push cuts, slices, and rock cuts with aplomb. So, on veggies it’s very effective and versatile.

If it were long, skinny, and blade heavy like a normal kiritsuke, it would behave entirely differently and I would not like it at all. Not on veggies at least. I view this knife as a veggie specialist and within those parameters it excels. I am pleasantly surprised because I am aware that it doesn’t fit traditional notions of a Japanese knife or a European knife. It’s sort of its own abortion that accidently turned out quite well-- at least for my purposes.

I have viewed and used other Shun knives and have never been impressed. Many of them have too much belly to be “real” Japanese knives (in my view). I’ve frequently thought of Shuns to be poorly designed, even confused in design.

Not this knife. I don’t know if Shun knew what it was doing, or got lucky. But for me this knife just plain works.

Ray,

By the way, the other night I stropped this knife and it’s now sharper than out of the box. I wonder how long I can go without using a stone if I strop with compound and bare on a regular basis?

This has quickly become my most heavily used knife, mainly because I go through a lot of veggies.

Personally? I went with the Splex 1000 grit stone from Mike’s Tools.

I’ve been using it for all of my HRC 60-62 SS knives for the past 4 or 5 (or 6?) yrs, & it’s still nearly full-sized. Like Chem said, I’d recommend either 1000 or 1200 to start out (if I were re-buying today I’d buy the 1200), & then add a 4000 grit finishing stone later if you really enjoy the zen of sharpening. I bought the King Ice Bear 4000 a year ago & it’s a decent stone for the price.

Agree. One higher grit stone at around 3000-4000 would be nice to refine the edge. For some knives like 420-ish steel, this may be unnecessary, but for the SG-2 steel, I think it is worth it.

1 Like

You shouldn’t need to sharpen for a long time if you strop–especially if you strop with compound. I use green.

Ray

I’m pretty good with a steel so I rarely sharpen kitchen knives any more. Stropping should last you a long time if not indefinitely. Assuming, of course that the edge isn’t damaged in some way.

I have a couple cheap carbon kiritsuke and love the shape. The flat belly is great for rapid slicing of softer vegetables using a more up down locomotion type movement compared to a rock chop or push slice

Scubadoo,

Yes, quick chopping seems in general to be more efficient for smaller veggies than rock cutting Still learning and experimenting.

As a further experiment this morning I have put away all of my carbon steel knives and pulled out from storage some cheapish SS knives which I will use and sharpen exclusively for a year or so to see how they work out.

I notice that I tend go through a major knife revamping about every decade or so. This new kiritsuke seems to have triggered something. Not sure where it’s leading to. Definitely reassessing my situation. Strange and unexpected ripple effect from this new knife. I guess I have a need for some sort of coherence to my entire collection and this knife has upset the balance. I’m weird like that.

1 Like

Well, I returned the SS paring knife as the ergonomics were ridiculous. I also put away all the SS stuff except the kiritsuke.

Just ordered a Dexter carbon steel cleaver to replace my SS meat cleaver.

Old habits die hard.

Which paring knife did you try? The Shun? I also hated their 3.5" parer. I had to switch to their 4" parer to actually enjoy using it. The extra bit of length made all the difference for me.

“Food is a pretty good prism through which to view humanity.”

― Jonathan Gold