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A question that’s often asked is “What is the best sharpening stone to use?”
The simple answer is, you’re going to need more than one. The basic purpose of a stone is to restore the proper shape to the knife and to establish a new edge. In order to do that, you’re going to need an aggressive stone that’s going to remove stock quickly. Using to fine of a stone will take much too long and wear the stone prematurely.
After the edge has been established and you are satisfied with the shape of the knife it’s time for the next stone. From this point it becomes a polishing process. The coarse stone you started off with is going to leave deep scratches in the knife and you need to polish them out. The finer the polish the sharper and stronger your edge will be.
The best practice is to not wait until the knife has turned into a butter knife. Try to keep up with it. If you can reestablish the edge with a 1000 grit stone the rest of the process will go much faster. We often use a 1000 to 5000 to 8000 grit combination.
If you are just starting out don’t expect perfection right away. It takes practice. Start with an old knife you don’t care too much about and use light pressure so you don’t wear out your stone. Develop your technique and build up muscle memory. Consistency is the key to sharpening. If you can maintain the same angle throughout the process you’ll get good results.