This set of two Norton combination waterstones provides four grits and also includes a flattening stone as an added value. The 220, 1000, 4000 and 8000 grit sides will handle everything from aggressive shaping to final polishing. They are 8" long by 3" wide, big enough to handle most knives and tools easily. Our most popular waterstone kit, this has everything you need to both sharpen with waterstones and maintain the stones themselves. A great starter set.
Grit choices should fall in line with the steel used to make the knives you plan to sharpen. If your knives are all European, relatively soft steel knives, then you could finish off your knives at the 1,000 – 2,000 grit level. There is a lengthy explanation regarding this topic but suffice it to say that at 2,000 grit, these knives can be made extremely sharp.
I do have to question the grit ratings of these stones. I didn't notice anything before using them, but after a day, the 2000 grit actually felt courser than the 1000 grit side of the other stone. Whether that could be a byproduct of other factors or an indication of the more obvious, being that the grit ratings aren't accurate, I don't know. But that seemed to be the main criticism of cheaper whetstones, that their grit ratings often aren't accurate. Or maybe it's less a problem with accuracy and more a difference that most synthetic stones might have in common when being compared to much pricier natural stones?
It’s only the 2nd electric powered sharpener on our list but you can’t lose if you make the Chef’s Choice Trizor 15XV your sharpener of choice for double and single bevel Asian knives. This 3-stage sharpener provides something others don’t in that it converts any blade to a hyper-sharp 15 degree blade. The graduated manner by which it reaches that preferred angle also ensures the blade stays sharper, longer. And isn’t that the name of the game?
Whichever method you choose, be it a waterstone (also known as a whetstone), or a pull-through (either V-shaped or ceramic wheels) it's important to regularly hone your knife with a honing steel, which we'll also cover below. You'll be pleased to hear that you won't have to reach for the stones too regularly – once every two or three months should suffice.
There are two broad classifications of knife sharpeners — manual and electrical knife sharpener. The former is mostly used by the most seasoned professionals since it requires a lot of patience and skill. An electric sharpener is a worthy substitute of the manual ones for professional chefs and busy housewives who don’t have the privilege to spend hours on sharpening their knives. After reading about the pros and cons of both of these, you’ll hopefully be able to pick the best knife sharpener for your specific requirements.
When starting out sharpening, it won’t be long before you hear about the “toothy” vs “polished” edge. It will suffice to know that a 1k stone is going to give you an edge that will perform beautifully as will a knife finished at 5k. There is a belief that a knife that has a highly polished finish, 5k and up will be so polished that it’s toothy goodness will be erased. This knife will not bite into the skin of a tomato for example because the edge is too polished, it will slide over the top. This is not always true, if the knife has been sharpened well, i.e. if Side A and Side B of the blade meet precisely at the Apex of the knife, that edge will slide into a tomato quite beautifully. I have seen many brand new Japanese knives with highly polished 8k edges that no tomato skin can stand up to.
In summary: Peter Nowlan is a professional knife sharpener based in Halifax (Canada) and he recommends the KnifePlanet Sharpening Stone Set, a beginners and intermediate kit that includes 4 sharpening grits: 400/1000, 3000/8000, a bamboo base and the KnifePlanet Flattening Stone. The Japanese Naniwa 3-stone combination is also a great (and more expensive) choice, ideal for professionals and more advanced sharpeners: the Naniwa stones are slightly bigger compared to KnifePlanet’s. In both cases, a coarse, medium and fine grit combination is very effective to sharpen and refine the edge:
One of the only things we don’t like about the Idahone is the lack of a prominent finger guard where the rod meets the handle. As a result, we highly recommend using the safer “supported” technique for honing a knife, as demonstrated in our guide to chef’s knives. In this method, the rod is held against the counter or cutting board, and blade always moves away from your body and grip-hand, greatly reducing the chance of a nasty accident.
This premium tool comes with a double-sided premium quality whetstone that has a course 1000 grit and a fine 6000 grit. The 1000 grit stone performs very well through getting all the nicks and chips out of the blade and the 6000 grit puts a nice smooth polished finish. This best blade sharpener has a bamboo base for holding the stone steadily while sharpening is done. It also includes a knife sharpening angle guide which is really handy.
Prior to using any kind of sharpening stone, it is advised that individuals soak the sharpening stone in light machine oil or household oil for at least 12 hours before being used. Before being used, it is advisable to wipe the surface of the sharpening stone to get rid of grime, grit or dirt that may have accumulated overtime during the time of storage.