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good Wetstones

Discussion in 'Maintenance, Tinkering & Embellishment' started by VTguy17, Nov 5, 2017.

  1. VTguy17

    VTguy17 Gold Member Gold Member

    Aug 4, 2011
    I've been free hand sharpening for a while now. Getting decent at it and it's time to upgrade. Right now I just have a bunch of random things, couple dmt stones, some spyderco rods, fallkniven pocket stone, etc... These are just the random stones I have taught myself on.

    I would like to get a nice set of wetstones. Their are so many choices though I have no idea what to get. I'd like a complete set from coarse to fine that I can do all my blades on from start to finish. Kitchen knives, pocket knives, camping knives, tomahawks, etc... Can you guys give me a little advice on what to look at? I have an amazon gift card I would like to use up if that helps. This will be my main method of sharpening. Thank you!
  2. JJ_Colt45

    JJ_Colt45 Gold Member Gold Member

    Sep 11, 2014
    Alot will depend on what steels you are planning on sharpening. many will recommend DMT diamond plates which will sharpen any steels and I do use them some...

    but for softer steels I prefer Norton India stones or Ceramics I think I get better feedback using them ... I recently got some Shapton Glass and am really liking them but they are more expensive then some options ... I also recently upgraded to some Chosera Professional stones and haven't used them alot but they are a definate inprovement from my old stones.

    There are alot more knowledgable people that can and I'm sure will give you more spefific recommendations if you post what type of steels you will be sharpening.
  3. silverds


    Jul 8, 2015
    So If I may offer some "lingo" assistance. Whetting, is the process of sharpening and does not in and of itself imply the use of water or oil as a lubricant or agent for collecting slurry.

    For modern "super" steels I would advise against natural stones although some folks may have a preference for natural stones no matter the steel. I do not think they will hold up as well as ceramics.

    My favorite ceramics for cost, durability and results are Spyderco Bench stones. They come in three grades and save for the medium stone, the fine and ultrafine may never require lapping for normal frequency sharpening. These require no lubricating agents and won't produce much of a slurry anyway. They clean right up with some Comet and green abrasive pads. They are made of the same material as Spyderco Sharpmaker rods.

    Shapton ceramics are on another level, and will require a bit more care to keep them flat as they wear down. But they have so many grades that you could sharpen anything from Gnat beard razors to precision planer, or chisel blades.

    If you want to sharpen quickly and don't care to spend a lot of time grinding away, you might want to Look into DMT diamond. They have a good range of grades that will make quick work of the hardest steels.

    Also I applaud your interest in using bench stones rather than a guided sharpening contraption. Nothing wrong with them but, to me, they are like riding a bike with training wheels.

    I'm a nerd, not an expert. So salt to taste.
    Last edited: Nov 5, 2017
  4. VTguy17

    VTguy17 Gold Member Gold Member

    Aug 4, 2011
    Thanks guys. I have a coarse/fine dmt duo sharp I use a lot. The fine doesn't put the razor edge on it that I would like though. It get's it sharp but not where I want it. The steels I'm mostly sharpening are, A2, sr101, 1095, 154cm, S30V. Various others here and there. I was looking at the spyderco bench stones but 78$ for a 3x8 fine stone seemed a bit ridiculous.

    I'm fine with ceramic if thats a better choice I would just like a full set of stones that I can get good with and do most of my knives.
    silverds likes this.
  5. silverds


    Jul 8, 2015
    Depending on what you are sharpening I don't think you'll need 3x8 UF. On the bright side they are cheaper than DMT Diamond and with proper care, will pretty much last forever.

    check these
    Spyderco Bench Stone Sharpener (Ultra Fine) 302UF
    Spyderco Bench Stone Sharpener (Fine) 302F
    Spyderco Bench Stone Sharpener (Medium) 302M
  6. FortyTwoBlades

    FortyTwoBlades Baryonyx walkeri Dealer / Materials Provider

    Mar 8, 2008
    I'm biased, of course, but I'm rather a fan of the ones I designed. The Arctic Fox series, in particular, has been quite a popular choice. :)
    maximus83 and willc like this.
  7. maximus83

    maximus83 Basic Member Basic Member

    Nov 7, 2011
    OP, I've recently gone thru updating my freehand stone setup. So, let's say you want a moderate lineup of stones that can sharpen ALL your knife steels from carbon steel to stainless to super steels, without going too crazy cost-wise to start and buying really high end stuff. If I were starting from scratch today, here's what I'd start with that would cover all basic sharpening tasks, and steel types. This is what I wish somebody had told me when I started getting into freehanding a few year ago. Total cost of everything combined, about $250.

    * DMT 3-grit combo of 8" diasharp plates (XC, C, EF -- can skip the F stone, don't need it). Getting them this way saves you some $$, and this set will sharpen every steel you have. $165.
    * Can use these for profiling, repairing, and resetting a good toothy edge on any steel using the XC and C plates. And use the EF to apex and finish.
    * Note: Some folks here on the site would advise to skip the DMT XC and C stones in this combo, and instead, get a coarse SiC stone, for example, a Norton Crystolon in 240 or 320 grit. You could do that too, and would be much cheaper. But the coarse DMT work pretty well, and you don't have to flatten them. If you get a SiC stone, you have to worry about flattening it regularly. ​
    * Add the DMT bench stone holder with magnetic adapter for holding any diamond sharpeners including DMT, that are based on steel plates. $24.99
    * Add the Baryonyx Arctic Fox bench stone. $40. I use this stone to sharpen all NON super-steel knives: carbon steel, regular stainless, etc. If you need to profile/repair an edge on these steels before you sharpen on the AF, your DMT XC works for that. And if you want to refine your edge after apexing on the AF, go to your DMT EF plate.
    * You can, but don't necessarily need to, buy a separate stone holder for the AF stone. I often set mine on top of my DMT holder between the clips, and the rubber feet on top of the DMT hold this stone in place just fine. ​
    * Add a strop of some type. I use a 2x2x12 block of hard basswood together with CBN 1 micron compound. $16 for the compound on the Big River site, the basswood you can get from a hobby store or places online. This is a good option to maintain all your knives.

    So all this gives you 4 total stones, a holder, and a strop that will sharpen and maintain every type of steel you have. When you want to get fancy later and start adding more stones that can do more things, you can get lower grit SiC stones for whole blade profiling (I recently got a Norton Crystolon 120 grit stone for this, these are only $23 and work awesome). Or at the other extreme, you can get super high-grit stones like 6k to 8K grit for polishing and refining edges. Like the DMT EEF, or the Baryonyx Ptarmigan. These are more expensive, special purpose stones, but are also awesome. But all these things are extras, definitely not necessary to get great edges and do good general purpose sharpening.

    Last thing: If it were me, I'd stay away from ceramics for general purpose sharpening. I've used them, and it's admittedly a subject of some divergence of views on this site: use them for general purpose sharpening, don't use them at all, or use them only for special niche cases, like edge refinement after sharpening. I'm in the last group. Just my 0.02, don't think ceramic benefits you at all for general purpose sharpening, there are much better performing options that are less prone to have issues with the stone itself.
    Last edited: Nov 5, 2017
    FortyTwoBlades likes this.
  8. adamlau


    Oct 13, 2002
    Personally, I would opt for a single vendor set if just starting out. Shapton Pro. Gesshin. DMT. Doesn’t really matter so long as you stay within the series from low to high. For lines which offer them, combo stones are a way to test a series without breaking the bank.
  9. VTguy17

    VTguy17 Gold Member Gold Member

    Aug 4, 2011
    Great advice thank you guys. That DMT 3 grit combo that maximus suggested seems to be what I would need. Thank you guys, lots of good info I really appreciate it!

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