Very interesting. If you work flat, 45 degree is what I was taught. Love the wet stones, especially the oiled ones. The nice thing about the leather part, is the mirror finish on a razor sharp blade which is a must if doing fine wood working, carving etc. A rough blade simply does not have the fine detailed dexterity. I find that the oiled sandpaper can work great as well, but found that the refined clay bars (white refined fired clay rounds and flats etc) does a wonderful job of keeping those razor edges refined, smooth as possible and then one can high polish them for smooth cutting. Believe me, when working wood for a flute, one wants that refined edge.! Learning how to hone a blade on a flat surface teaches one to work outside without a table/wall handy too...:) But we all have to start somewhere!:) Anyway, great stuff and a great start for those who want more from their tools!:) Cheers!
The stones from Shapton are probably the hardest of all Japanese sharpening stones. They will remain flat for a long time. They are therefore the best choice if you are looking for a relatively coarse stone that cuts quickly without having to be dressed repeatedly. The finer-grained stones also work very well. But Shapton stones do not provide the mirror finish you can achieve with softer stones.
The abrasive particles in the Shapton stones are very consistently graded for optimal performance. In some grits, the particles are within .01 micron of one another. In other words, each particle is the same size. This uniform size allows the stone to sharpen faster and create a better finish. If a stone is inconsistently graded some particles are larger (thus providing a coarser edge) while some are smaller (slowing down the sharpening process). In usage we've found Shapton Stones to be very consistent and true to the specified grits.
1000 grit is fine for a kitchen knife. Finer grits are for woodworking tools such as chisels and plane irons. Unless you’re carving oak with your filet knife, you should be good. The physics of the cut is different. After honing a kitchen knife on a stone, a butcher’s steel is used to turn a microscopic burr along the edge of the blade, which is what cuts soft stuff like meat and tomatoes. The burr wears down regularly, and taking the steel to the knife turns it again. With practice, you can actually feel and hear when the steel turns the burr. You can feel it with your finger as a slight roughness. Eventually, the knife edge rounds, and you need to re-hone it on the stones. You’ll know it’s time when the steel won’t raise a burr anymore.

The video above, from the How To You YouTube channel, explains everything you need to sharpen with a whetstone at home, and the best methods for doing so. Obviously, you’ll need a whetstone (as well as a few other things), and you’ll want to work near your sink or a bucket so you have easy access to water. Fill a container with water, then soak the whetstone in it until it stops bubbling. Inspect your blades for any trouble spots, and get to sharpening using the methods and motions described in the video; making sure to check your progress as you go. We’ve talked about sharpening knives with whetstones before, but this guide is a bit more thorough and the old video has since been removed.
One of the most well-regarded natural whetstones is the yellow-gray "Belgian Coticule", which has been legendary for the edge it can give to blades since Roman times, and has been quarried for centuries from the Ardennes. The slightly coarser and more plentiful "Belgian Blue" whetstone is found naturally with the yellow coticule in adjacent strata; hence two-sided whetstones are available, with a naturally occurring seam between the yellow and blue layers. These are highly prized for their natural elegance and beauty, and for providing both a fast-cutting surface for establishing a bevel and a finer surface for refining it. This stone is considered one of the finest for sharpening straight razors.[citation needed]
The good news is that you can convert all sharpening media to microns and get a better picture of where your sharpening stone or paper is in the continuum from cinderblock (coarse) up to baby’s behind (very fine). Now I don’t want to bore you with a discussion of microns, but here’s the short explanation. A micron is a measurement of the diameter of each particle of grit in your stone and paper. Micron is sort for micrometer. One micron is one-millionth of a meter (hey, I just used the metric system). So the smaller the number in microns, the finer the grit.
Though not strictly a sharpening method using stones, the so called ‘scary sharp’ technique has become increasingly popular in recent years. At it’s simplest, a sheet of fine 400g abrasive is stuck to a dead flat piece of float glass and the blade, usually held in a honing guide, is sharpened on the surface. From that simple idea, the system has evolved so that it’s now much easier to apply the abrasive as a whole range of very fine, self-adhesive Hermes Aluminium Oxide papers are readily available. Lubrication is still required to float away the sharpening debris and either a fine machine oil, water or even WD40 (or similar) can be used.

If you only have one, it would be 1000. Personally, I have one much rougher to rehab knives with chips only. I also have an 8000 stone for final polish and a strop to finish. If you only used a 1000, it would probably work 80% as well as one that was refined a bit more. Does that last bit really matter? Not much, but I find that I can cut onions without tears with a very sharp knife.
The stones from Shapton are probably the hardest of all Japanese sharpening stones. They will remain flat for a long time. They are therefore the best choice if you are looking for a relatively coarse stone that cuts quickly without having to be dressed repeatedly. The finer-grained stones also work very well. But Shapton stones do not provide the mirror finish you can achieve with softer stones.
We recommend that customers invest in Kamikoto’s Toishi Sharpening Whetstone to keep handcrafted knives sharp and ready to cut. The Toishi Sharpening Whetstone sits on a beautiful wooden bamboo stand and features two sides – one with a coarse grit to grind away any roughness, and the other with a fine grit that sharpens and polishes the edge. The finer the grit, the finer the edge on your knife. The sturdy wooden stand holds the whetstone safely in place so you can concentrate on gaining the sharpest edge possible. 

Japanese whetstones (also called water stones) – both natural and synthetic – are known for their quick-working qualities, not only for Japanese blades, but also for their Western equivalents. The small particles that do the cutting are loosely bound together in the stone, and so during sharpening with the whetstone, the surface particles are quickly washed out, allowing new, sharp, particles to start working on the blade. These whetstones must be lubricated only with water! Never use oil or other lubricants!

Shapton 1000 grit stone - Hard stone that cuts fast and is hard to gouge. I chose this stone specifically because its hard to gouge and because you can get some pretty awesome patterns on the stone (because of it having a white background and cutting greyish steel). I've heard that the cutting speed of the Shapton stones are comparable to the Naniwa Chosera (the line higher than the Superstones). 

I enjoy these stones so much that the feedback is not a deterrent at all for me, I don’t even think about it. The results are always nothing but top notch, they deliver exactly what I want, some of the sharpest knives I have ever produced were sharpened on Shapton Glass stones. They may be thinner but they last a very long time, they are easy to maintain as well,
Diamond hones are made from very small, industrial grade, diamonds adhered to the face of a metal or plastic plate. Also, because Diamonds are so much harder than any of the other sharpening materials, they tend to cut very fast and last much longer than the other whetstone materials. But, they are also often more expensive to purchase. In addition, Diamond Stones generally consist of three different styles consisting of a solid metal plate coated with an adhesive and diamond dust with holes in the plate to allow the swarf to escape, a solid plate without holes for sharpening tools with corners that might catch in the holes, and a plastic plate with islands of exposed plastic interspersed with the adhesive and diamond dust to act as a lubricant.
DICTUM is about more than just tools - For more than 160 years, DICTUM has been offering an extensive range of tools, including garden tools, materials, finishes as well as knives for the kitchen and for outdoor use that meet the highest standards and requirements. In our opinion, first-class tools are defined by haptics, ergonomics, material and manufacturing quality. That is how inspiring, durable tools are made.

A new, or even experienced woodworker may be forgiven for finding the whole area of sharpening stones confusing. With so many different types available it becomes very difficult to know where to start. This buying guide will primarily examine the stones sold by Axminster. But, at the same time, will briefly explore some of the many alternative stones which the craftsperson might consider.
The video above, from the How To You YouTube channel, explains everything you need to sharpen with a whetstone at home, and the best methods for doing so. Obviously, you’ll need a whetstone (as well as a few other things), and you’ll want to work near your sink or a bucket so you have easy access to water. Fill a container with water, then soak the whetstone in it until it stops bubbling. Inspect your blades for any trouble spots, and get to sharpening using the methods and motions described in the video; making sure to check your progress as you go. We’ve talked about sharpening knives with whetstones before, but this guide is a bit more thorough and the old video has since been removed.
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