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Freehand Sharpening Stones, Rebuilding A Collection

Posted by jasonstone20 
Freehand Sharpening Stones, Rebuilding A Collection
May 09, 2018 10:45AM
On the Spyderco Forum:
Eli Chaps

Eli Chaps

First some background...

I know how to freehand and have been doing it, with varying degrees of success, for forty or so years. I'm of course always wanting to learn and soak up this stuff like a sponge but I'm just saying that I can get a good edge on a knife. However, the overwhelming majority of my freehand experience has been with "softer" steels and Arkansas stones. All through my youth and into my 20's it was Schrade, Old Timer, Buck, etc. Even when I got into Spyderco it was mostly VG10 and my as I procured better quality kitchen knives it was still fairly soft.

Several years ago I bought a KME with diamonds and I've been using that almost exclusively for the past few years. Well, I want to get back to more freehanding. The KME is an amazing system and worth every penny but I just love the process of freehand sharpening. And now my collection ranges from BD1 to ZDP-189.

I need to build/rebuild my freehand kit and while I think I have an idea what a lot of folks will respond with, I really am excited to see what people think.

So right now I have a good soft/hard Arkansas combo stone. Unfortunately my 8" Arkansas black stone got damaged in a move and all I have now is a four inch.

I have two initial inquiries:

#1: Ceramics vs. Diamonds - Diamonds are obviously very effective and efficient but I do find they leave some pretty hefty scratches. I think they shine at heavy re-profiling or damage repair but I wonder if the ceramics might not be a better, or at least a good alternative, for general sharpening duties. I'm primarily talking the hard steels like S90V, ZDP, etc. Stick to diamonds? If you like ceramics, what type and why?

#2: Arkansas vs. Spyderco UF - Specifically, Arkansas black and/or translucent vs. the Spyderco ultra fine bench stone? I have a translucent for my KME and I'm not sure it actually does a thing to the super hard steels. I sorta kinda think it does but I'm not really sure. That said, I love high hardness polishing. Good sized black/translucent stones aren't cheap and I'm very intrigued by the Spyderco ceramic UF.

Basically, I'm open to any and all inputs and very much value all your opinions. I'd love to see this as a discussion.

I would get both ceramics and diamonds, along with both the Arkansas stones and the Spyderco UF, along with some muddy Japanese waterstones like the Naniwa SuperStone 400, King 1k, and Naniwa Aotoshi 2k. Also I would get a SiC XXC Garden/Scythe hone, as well as a Norton Crystolon Combo stone and Norton India Combo stone.

"Gotta love living in 2019 baby, (63rc too soft on a production knife)"
--Shawn Houston
"I am still discussing issues of steels and performance at this stage."
--Cliff Stamp
"Cause geometry cuts, .....steel determines the level and the duration"
--Roman Landes
"But in general, I'm all about high performance, Ergos, safety. That's why I've been accused of 'designing in the dark' "
--Sal Glesser

Jason D. Stone on YouTube
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