Posts Tagged ‘Edge Pro sharpening’

Razor Honing with Jende Diamond Films

November 14, 2014

The new Jende Diamond Films are great for honing razors. I personally use the 1″x6″ size with PSA for all my razors, but you can use larger sizes, with or without PSA backing just as well! Here I go through the 45, 30, 15, 9, 6, 3, 1, and 0.5 micron films. For most razor applications, I recommend the Polishing Set from our website, which is the 15, 9, 6, 3, 1, 0.5 micron films (1K through 30K).


Jende Diamond Films – Using PSA and Non PSA

November 12, 2014

Our new diamond films come with the option of being PSA backed or non-PSA backed, and this video gives a quick how-to about securing your non-PSA film to a surface, and how to change the PSA backed film. This is on the 1″x6″ Edge Pro size films, but the methods will work on all sizes.

The Edge Pro and Taiwan’s Coast Guard

November 24, 2012

There aren’t too many Edge Pro users here in Taiwan, and I was quite surprised when I received an inquiry from Mr. Randy Chen asking about some of the Ken Schwartz Diamond Films for the Edge Pro. I immediately called him up to discuss his questions, and found out that he is a career officer serving in the Taiwan Coast Guard, and while he is stationed in Taipei, he is originally from Kaohsiung city. I extended an invitation for him to come over to my workshop the next time he visited Kaohsiung. As luck would have it, he was coming down to Kaohsiung for a ceremony, and our schedules worked out where we were could meet up and play with some of the Edge Pro stones!

Randy likes and collects folding knives as a hobby, and has gotten into sharpening and maintaining them as a way to reduce stress and relax. He doesn’t use them “on the job”  since he is on the administration side of things with the coast guard. He purchased an Edge Pro, and since the steels in his knife collection are varied, he was looking for something more versatile than the stock EP stones.

Randy made it to the workshop, set up his Edge Pro, and we profiled a new knife (sorry, I forgot the name and the steel type). We started off with the Atoma 140 plate, which made quick work of establishing the bevel on both sides of the knife. I chose the Atoma 140 over the 125 or 165 micron diamond papers because while both products are diamond abrasives, the Atoma plates are more aggressive due to the raised clusters of diamonds in a very controlled grid pattern which scratch deeper. Conversely, the more “matted” texture of the films will prevent chipping on more brittle steels, and do an excellent job of cleaning up the deeper scratches from the diamond plates.

From the Atoma 140, we jumped to the 74 micron diamond film. Randy was completely impressed with just how fast the Atoma 140 scratches were removed and the 74 micron scratches established. They are also quite uniform, and even though the edge is still rather unrefined (74 micron = approx #200 JIS), it was almost work sharp. That’s the major advantage to using guided sharpening – you get very sharp knives very early in the game because the shape of the edge is established so consistently and because the texture of the films won’t scratch as deep.

After the 74 micron film, we jumped to the 30 micron film (approx #500 JIS). We could’ve jumped to an even finer grit from the 74 micron, but Randy wanted more perfection in his progression. Once again, the 30 micron scratches were quickly established and I would call this knife work sharp, even though work sharp is generally considered 1K-2K JIS.  Then on to the 20 micron ( approx. #800 JIS). Honestly, the knife could’ve stopped here, but we took it to the 9 micron (approx. #1,500 JIS).  Randy was more and more impressed at each level of refinement, and his edge looked fantastic, and was easily shaving arm hair. For fun, and since our time was limited, we did a quick 5 strokes on the 0.5 micron CBN to give the edge of the edge just a little more “umpfh”.

Randy’s knife was never sharper! 😀

Unfortunately our time ran out, and Randy had to leave – but it’s good to know that Randy is now proudly serving his country with sharp knives at the ready!

DMT vs. Atoma Diamond Plates For the Edge Pro – A Microscopic Comparison

September 25, 2011

Since we added the Atoma diamond plates for the Edge Pro to our website, people have been asking what the differences are between them and the DMT diamond plates.  I thought that these microscope pictures of each series may help you choose which is best for your needs.

I will say that the only major difference is that the Atoma is available in a standard EP size –  1″x6″ while the DMT is only available in the 2″x6″ size.  The standard 1″x6″ obviously makes things more consistent, but there are advantages to the 2″x6″ as well, especially with longer knives.

It is also quite obvious that the DMT diamonds are “sprinkled” into the matrix while the Atoma diamonds are precisely placed “clusters”. As with everything sharpening, arguments can be made for and against the merits of each, depending on specific situations. I will make my personal comments at the end of this post.

So on to the pictures 🙂

All photographs were taken with a Veho 400 USB microscope at 20x for macro and 400x for micro, and are approximately 13mm wide x 10mm high and 1mm x 1mm, respectively. The pictures have been re sized to fit the format on this blog, but no other alterations were made. Here are the links to the original photos for the Atoma and the DMT plates. All of the plates pictured are already broken in. Atoma does not have any official micron ratings as of this post, so all sizes are loosely compared to the JIS (Japanese) standard.

First up are the Atoma #140 and DMT Extra Coarse. These are not equivalent comparisons, as the the Extra Coarse is 60 microns or #220 grit, and the #140 Atoma is more closely related to the Extra-Extra Coarse (XXC) DMT, which is rated at 120 microns.  You can easily see the major size difference. Nonetheless, these two are the coarsest of the bunch available for the Edge Pro.

#140 Atoma Diamond Plate

#140 Atoma Diamond Plate – Macro

DMT Extra Coarse - Macro

Extra Coarse DMT Diamond Plate – Macro

#140 Atoma Diamond Plate - Micro

#140 Atoma Diamond Plate – Micro

Extra Coarse DMT Diamond Plate - Micro

Extra Coarse DMT Diamond Plate – Micro

The Extra Coarse diamonds at the micro level almost look like pebbles on a beach in comparison to the giant, almost 1mm wide cluster of diamonds in the Atoma (don’t forget – the Atoma is rated much coarser than the Extra Coarse DMT).

Next are the Atoma 400 and the DMT Coarse. These two plates are more closely matched in terms of micron sizes with the DMT Coarse being 45 microns (#320 grit), and the #400 Atoma falling into the JIS 400 range, which is 40 microns.

#400 Atoma Diamond Plate - Macro

#400 Atoma Diamond Plate – Macro

Coarse DMT Diamond Plate - Macro

Coarse DMT Diamond Plate – Macro

#400 Atoma Diamond Plate - Micro

#400 Atoma Diamond Plate – Micro

Coarse DMT Diamond Plate - Micro

Coarse DMT Diamond Plate – Micro

The DMT coarse clearly has a more even coating than the Extra Coarse DMT, and the Atoma #400 cluster is roughly half the size and height of the #140.

Onto the Atoma #600 and DMT Fine. The DMT Fine is 25 microns while the JIS 600 puts the Atoma #600 at around 29 microns.

#600 Atoma Diamond Plate - Macro

#600 Atoma Diamond Plate – Macro

Fine DMT Diamond Plate - Macro

Fine DMT Diamond Plate – Macro

#600 Atoma Diamond Plate - Micro

#600 Atoma Diamond Plate – Micro

Fine DMT Diamond Plate - Micro

Fine DMT Diamond Plate – Micro

At this level, the Atoma #600 ‘s cluster seems to have reached it’s smallest width, and the DMT Fine has a dense, even coating of diamonds.

Lastly, is the Atoma #1200 and the DMT Extra Fine. The DMT is rated at 9 microns, while the JIS standard loosely puts the #1200 Atoma at 13 microns.

#1200 Atoma Diamond Plate - Macro

#1200 Atoma Diamond Plate – Macro

Extra Fine DMT Diamond Plate - Macro

Extra Fine DMT Diamond Plate – Macro

#1200 Atoma Diamond Plate - Micro

#1200 Atoma Diamond Plate – Micro

Extra Fine DMT Diamond Plate - Micro

Extra Fine DMT Diamond Plate – Micro

Personal Thoughts

As with all things sharpening, the answer to which is better is “it depends”. There is no doubt with my experiences that the DMT and Atoma diamond plates both deliver, they just do it differently.

The Atoma plates have a lot of positive things going for them: the #140 is certainly more aggressive than the Extra Coarse DMT, making it a better low end plate for profiling and chip removal. The systematic grid pattern of the Atoma plates make the diamonds less likely to “rip out” – for example, the knife may get between the spaces between diamonds on the DMT Extra Coarse. The Atoma plates also leave a very predictable scratch pattern at each level, which really appeals to my OCD and completely compliments the way my Shapton stones work. The clusters seem to ensure a longer lasting life of the plate, too.

But the Atoma plates come at a cost – literally. The labor in making the Atoma, while worth the cost IMO, may be a little over budget when compared to the price of the DMT plates.

Aside from the price factor, the DMT plates also have a larger surface area, which makes them better suited for working on longer knives, and even arguably faster since there are 2 inches worth of abrasives vs. 1 inch on the Atoma plates.  The sheer density of the diamond coating on the Fine and Extra Fine DMT plates leave a very even finish and “smooth” scratch pattern, as well, which makes progressing to the next stone level easy.

So once again, I recommend getting them all and trying them for yourself 🙂 One thing is for certain in all this – I don’t see either series getting much rest between performances 🙂

Shapton Pro Slip Stones – Available in 4 sizes and up to #30,000 Grit!

September 14, 2010

We have added a line of Shapton Pro slip stones in several standard sizes*!


There are 4 standard sizes available in all Shapton Pro Grits – From #120 to #30,000 (.5 micron):
6″ Rod – 14mm x 14mm x 6″
Rectangle – 2″ x 3″ x 15mm
“EP” Size – 1″ x 6″ x ~5mm
Narrow – 0.6″ x 6″ x ~5mm

The beauty of these slip stones is that they go all the way up to 30K, leaving traditional slip stones in the dust.

There potential is only limited by your imagination, and can be used on knives to plane blades to straight razors to scissors to periodontal curettes.

Pictured below: The entire slip stone line up, including Chosera stones and DMT Plates for the Edge Pro; Shapton Pro 6″ Rods; Shapton Pro 2″x 3″ Rectangles.

Stay tuned as we will be adding Chosera slip stones soon!

*Custom sizes are also available. Please contact us for more information.

Customer Review: Chosera 2K, 5K, 10K Edge Pro Stones + DMT Extra Coarse for the EP

August 24, 2010

This is a comprehensive review of the Chosera 2k, 5K, and 10K Stones for the Edge Pro that a customer posted on The Knife Forums. It touches on many of the major arguments both for and against using the Edge Pro stock stones, and the Choseras for the Edge Pro.

The full thread with all of the replies can be seen here.


When reading this review please bear in mind that I am new to the EP. I have had many years experience sharpening woodworking tools, chisels, plane blades etc, and have sharpened all my own kitchen knives for a long time using wet & dry paper together with 3M Mylar film on glass backing.

There are those on this site with centuries more experience than I, and there are those who have sharpened several thousand for every one knife I have done.

That said I will report as logically, honestly and knowledgeably as I possibly can. Bear in mind the views expressed are mine and are worth, as a friend of mine is want to say, exactly what you paid for them.

The test was conducted as objectively as possible given my set up, resources and experience. The results are however highly subjective and personal.

I believe I possess a reasonably logical mindset and I lean toward the sceptical. I accept little until proven and am highly value driven – bang per buck is king and knives to me are tools.

Ireland is a country with very stringent gun and knife laws. Knives are found in the kitchen, are owed by fishermen, divers, sailors, climbers and other specialist endeavour / interest groups. Trades people all have knives in their tool kits, typically utility knifes of the disposable type such as those manufactured by Stanley – the market leader. The very very large majority of knives in Ireland are traditional Western style (French / German) kitchen knives.

Test Run 1

To compare the Chosera 2,000, 5,000 and 10,000 with 2,000, 3,000 and 7,000 EP tapes

The Knives:

Two identical Wusthoff Classic Chefs Knives. Bought the same day from same wholesaler – these knives had been sharpened by me previously so were in reasonable shape. Knives are for home use only and are well looked after receiving only a regular touch up on a ceramic hone between sharpening. The knives are sharpened at 17° on each side, 34° included. Normally knives would be sharpened as far as 600 grit stone.
One knife was marked A the other B.

The Process:

I sharpened each of the knives alternately on the same stone one knife after another in the same progression starting with 320, and progressing through 600 and 1,000 stones.

A marker was used at each stone change on each knife to ensure that the exact same angle was being hit with each stone progression.
Standard EP techniques were used to de-burr together with hard felt to remove all traces of a burr before progressing to the next stone.

Paper slicing testing together with the three finger test at this stage showed zero differences between the two knives.

Knife A was then further refined on new standard EP tapes in the progression 2,000, 3,000 and 7,000. Both the 2K and the 3K were mounted on standard EP aluminium blanks the 7,000 was mounted on a glass blank.

Knife B was further refined on the new Chosera 2,000, 5,000 and 10,000 stones.

Visual Inspection

Knife A – the tape treated knives showed atypical levels of finish and polish, with superior levels of polish and high performance paper slicing results. Standard A4 80GSM photocopier paper, newsprint and 3M post it notes could all be slice and push cut.

Knife B – the Chosera finished knife showed a slightly higher level of polish with less scratch marks being evident. Standard A4 80GSM photocopier paper, newsprint and 3M post it notes could all be slice cut and push cut but with an ease not evident with the tape finished knives.
The three finger test on the tape finished knife was similar to tests I had conducted before on similar knives taken to this level.

The three finger test on the Chosera finished knife provided feedback not experienced before. This knife felt considerably sharper and had to be treated with considerable respect during the three finger test.

Magnification test

I currently use a cheapie 30X Loupe to check my edges. The Chosera knife and Tape knife showed a relatively high level of uniformity along both horizontal and vertical axes of the bevel with the Chosera knife displaying a slightly better uniformity of scratch pattern. Scratch pattern depth on the Chosera knife was also more regular with the Tape knife displaying the odd slightly deeper scratch.

The edge difference between the two knifes was however quite evident. A toothiness seen in the tape knife was not present in the Chosera knife and the edge on the Chosera knife was noticeably more regular or straight.

Overall Impressions

If asked to select the better finished knife I would opt for the Chosera knife – it is hands down the winner in terms of polish, finish and sharpness.

If 100 average people at a shopping mall were asked to compare the two knives I doubt if more than 1 or 2% would notice the difference.

A pack of 2,000 polish tapes costs $7.00 for 15 tapes – a 2,000 grit Chosera stone costs $36.00.

A pack of 3,000 polish tapes costs $7.00 for 15 tapes – a 5,000 grit Chosera stone costs $36.00.

A pack of 7,000 polish tapes costs $7.00 for 15 tapes – a 10,000 grit Chosera stone costs $60.00.

The Chosera stones were on special sale at the time I bought them so the price I paid was less than that detailed above. See the Jende Ind. web site for current pricing.

I would normally get between 4 and 5 knives out of each polish tape. Based on the costs above I would need to get 385 knives out of the 2 and 5K Choseras for them to work out at the same cost per knife and I would need to get 640 out of the 10K stone for the two options to work out at the same cost. This of course assumes that equal results are obtained from both the tapes and the Chosera stones. My initial impressions are that the stones provide a superior finish but we are talking at an extreme level compared to what most (99%) of users are used to.

The Chosera stones are considerably thicker than the standard EP stones – I would be reasonably confident that achieving the above number of sharpening per stone would be achievable.
There is the debate about having to change tapes every 4 to 5 knives versus the more continuous use of the stones. Stones however do need flattening – to what degree with these stones I have yet to discover but more of this anon.
If asked whether tapes or high level stones are necessary to get very sharp knives – I would say no.

If asked if one wanted to experience a well finish polished bevel at very low cost – I would advise that you try the tapes.

If asked that if money was no object which system would I prefer – I would undoubtedly opt for the Chosera stone approach.

In my view the Polish Tapes are very accurately named – they do yield a very nice polish when used after a 600 or 1,000 grit stone and where the scratch marks of the previous stone have been eradicated through each stage. They do not, in my humble estimation, have a huge effect on the edge in terms of contributing additional sharpness i.e. edge angle reduction, they simply don’t appear to have the cutting power after the first couple of passes to achieve this objective.

By contrast the stones are not a surface only abrasive medium – new layers of abrasive material is constantly being exposed thus giving the stones the edge in the cutting performance stakes. Allied to this is a level of polish equal, if not superior, to that of the tapes.

Test Run 2

Sharpening Japanese Knives on Chosera Stones

I have used Japanese chisels for many years. I bought one to begin with and then bought many more afterwards. I personally have never used or sharpened a western chisel that compares with a Japanese.

I am however very, very new to Japanese knives. I bought two Japanese knives six months ago – a Hiromoto Aogami Super TJ-50AS 120mm Petty from Koki and a 210mm Tojiro DP Gyuto from Mark.

Neither had yet been sharpened and had received nothing but an odd touch up on a ceramic hone.
Today I sharpened the Hiromoto Aogami at 12° each side and the Tojiro at 15° each side. When purchasing the Choseras from Tom & Ken I also took the opportunity to get a mounted DMT XC. The DMT took all the work out of grinding the new bevels.

I then took the two knives through all the EP grits up to 1,000 before progressing to the Chosera 2K, 5K and finally 10K.

When I had finished I used both knives to prepare dinner this evening – mainly prep work on onions, carrots, potatoes, courgettes and the like.

Although both knives were sharp out of the box I believe I can now say that I have never held a sharper knife in my hand. I realise that both these knives are low end and budget compared to knives used by the majority of knife nuts reading this but for my purposes they are quite simply superb and more than adequate for the tasks my culinary skills can ask of them.

Test Run 3

To fill out my knife collection I wanted to add a slicer. I did not however wish to part with the $$ necessary to acquire a Japanese version mainly because it would get only occasional use.

To bridge the gap, and due in no small part to the acquisition of the EP, I snagged myself a 4 Star Elephant marked Sabatier slicer. Using my 120 – 1,000 EP stones and tapes I set about putting a very low angle bevel of 10° followed by a 15° micro bevel on one side having previously completely flattened the back side.

Today I re-worked the knife using my EP stones and Chosera stones. The edge I had put on the knife simply didn’t stand up to any sort of prolonged use. So I re worked the bevel again at 10° but put a micro bevel of 15° on both sides.
I’m hoping that the knife will perform almost as well in terms of slicing abilities but will hold its edge considerably better given that the included angle is now twice what it was previously.

I have not, as of yet had the opportunity to put the knife through it’s paces however in terms of finish it is as good if not slightly better than previously.

Choseras – Ramblings & afterthoughts

As previously mentioned the Choseras are thicker than the standard EP offerings. However I could not get the ramp high enough to meet the edge of the Chosera stones which in effect meant that I could not risk using the entire length of the stone for fear of catching on the edge. This leads me to believe that the middle of the stone will dish sooner than if one could use the full length.
Tom, Ken or anyone else reading this – if you have a solution or workaround I’d be happy to hear it.

The 5K stone feels very different to me. It is a thirsty stone and is almost reminiscent of an old Arkansas very fine oil stone I used to use many years ago.

Ken, when he was mounting the 10K stone left it wide and bevelled the edges. This proved useful in terms of productivity and will, I’m sure, extend the life of the stone. With its extra width it made fast work of the polishing process.

The feedback from the stones is infinitely better than that of the tapes. From day 1 I have found it difficult to feel or read what the tapes were doing.

The Choseras on the relatively soft Wusthoff knives created quite a bit of mud. This I cleaned off at very regular intervals. When using the same stones on the Japanese knives they created a lot less.

Having used the Choseras for the test runs outlined above would I buy them again – the plain and simple truth is I really don’t know yet, time will tell. If they hold up as well as I expect them to and I get reasonably equivalent life out of the stones compared to the tapes then I would say yes. But if I were to discover that I had to buy a new set of stones after say a couple of hundred knives – maybe not.

Although not strictly relevant to the report here – I really really hate the standard EP 220 stone. The 120 is no great shakes but the 220 is just awful. I normally try to avoid using the 220 but for the Japanese knives I reckoned that the jump from 120 to 320 would be asking a bit much of the 320. On reflection I should have just persevered with the 320 rather than suffer that horrible 220.

That’s about it for my initial feedback. Hope somebody gets some use out of the ramblings.

Review of the D-11 Maestro Wu 7″ Chinese Slicer Cleaver – Part 2

July 21, 2010

In this continuation of the Maestro Wu 7″ Chinese Slicer Cleaver review,  Ken has put the knife through its paces to the point of failure. This is not failure in the sense that the knife didn’t hold up its end of the bargain, but in the sense that it was a very thin edge (16 degrees total) and intentionally mistreated and used in ways the knife was not necessarily designed to be used (i.e. used as a cleaver instead of a slicer), and the tip chipped after parking the knife tip first in the cutting board one too many times. In other words, if my mother-in-law had a go at it… 🙂 Overall, the knife received a very favorable review, and was deemed superior over the equivalent CCK cleaver.

Once again, this is text taken directly from the forum on the knife forums. The entire thread is located here.

So I put the ‘Wu’ through it’s paces for this review. Actually, I gave it hell I mean you didn’t want a wimpy review, right?

I prepared a kabocha squash dish, cooked in a tagine, a Morocaan clay vessel (I used a modern version made by Emile Henry). It was a ‘fusion’ recipe, with Indian spices and fresh ingredients.
I was purposely rough on the knife.

For those not familiar with kabocha squash, it is considerably harder than a pumpkin, with a woody stem and large seeds. Normally I use a heavy cleaver to cut it up, not a slicing cleaver so this was purposely designed to be a ‘torture test’. I also cut up the kabocha first as I wanted to see how the edge held up by doing the delicate cuts last.

I did the cutting on a Chinese chopping block. During the ‘procedure’, I purposely ‘stuck’ the cleaver into the board – often and tip first.

After splitting the squash in half, I scooped the seeds out with a spoon and then diced the squash into ~1 inch cubes. Note that this edge was sharp enough to slice paper push cutting 2 inches out from where I gripped the paper (straight down, not slicing), so it was not the factory edge, which would be less delicate. MOST of the cuts through this OLD kabocha squash required force to cut it, enough so that it stuck into the board on most every cut.

After doing this I cut some red chili peppers, filleted a large red pepper ‘a la Martin Yan’ and sliced a handful of garlic cloves and three mild onions and a few mushrooms.

I started out with sauteing the onions and mushrooms, adding some coarse Arabian sea salt, and a masala made of freshly roasted coriander seeds, a Goan Masala mix and some dried Morocaan chili powder (used in making Harissa), all ground in a ceramic mortar and pestle). In the center of the onion mix I added an Indian whole tumeric pickle (not powdered tumeric). After the onions and spice mix ‘broke down’ a bit, I added the squash, then some artichoke hearts (from a jar) and some chicken stock, mixed it up a bit and let it slow cook for a couple hours in the tagine. The long cook ‘mutes’ the heat of the dish a bit, but still leaves it fairly spicy. It can stand on it’s own as a main course for a vegetarian meal or as a side dish for another meat course.

Pics to follow ….

Look at the last pic closely and you’ll see that the edge seems to have survived the squash cutting in good shape. On to cutting up the rest of the ingredients!

Onions were effortless to slice with no appreciable edge loss in performance. Chilies and garlic cut cleanly without requiring the knife to be slid into the board. The red pepper (not shown) after the initial ‘coring’ of the center, done by holding the knife parallel to the board and rotatong the pepper, easily and cleanly was cut into small ~ 1inch strips. In all instances the cuts were clean, which requires a good sharp edge.

So, after undergoing the torture test, how did the edge hold up? Well, quite well, better thsn I had expected. If I had done this to my CCK1101, I know I would have chipped the edge out, but this held up through all of this. But then, in a moment of irrational exuberance, I just HAD to stick the knife into the chopping block one more time.

Well, I chipped the edge on this move – at the end of the cleaver. I probably twisted the knife entering the board. I just don’t know, but I did chip it. I rounded off the tip a bit, redoing the cleaver tip and was back up in short order. Lesson learned. Don’t keep sticking the tip of a slicer into the board even if it feels like fun, ESPECIALLY if you thinned the factory edge to a razorsharp profile. If you put a thin edge on a knife to slice food, don’t expect it to chop wood.

My overall impression – I like it! I’m going to use it a lot and leave it out as my everyday knife. I’ll feel free to smash garlic with it and do all the tasks a slicer should perform, but I won’t ‘park it’ tip first into the board. It’s a comfortable knife to use and if the task called for a slicer cleaver or nakiri type task, it’s an excellent knife for this. The steel is easily superior to a CCK and, especially with a factory edge, should hold up well in a commercial kitchen where space is at a premium. I didn’t see any evidence of rust or discoloration cutting onions and chilies and didn’t wash it down until I had gotten all the ingredients cut and into the tagine.

Hope you enjoyed the ‘foodie’ part of the review as well as the knife review.

The Philosophical Debate about Shapton and Chosera Stones for the Edge Pro

January 30, 2010

In the cosmic order of things, there is a balance made up of equal opposites. Newton said, “To every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.” The Asian Yin and Yang are basically two sides of the same coin, so to speak.  Even though I have been very vocal about the fact that no one should dismiss the quality of the stock Edge Pro stones, I can’t help but feel that there is or are some factions of the Edge Pro user world that feel or may feel threatened by the arrival of the Shapton and Chosera stones for the EP.   The following is basically a short stream of consciousness that reveals both sides of the coin from my point of view.  (Just in case you don’t need the philosophy, I’ll conclude  that the Shapton and Chosera EP stones are nothing but good for the Edge Pro.)

The Edge Pro is a great sharpening device, and the EP stock stones have long been the sole choice for it.The arrival of Shapton and Chosera stones creates 2 thoughts – the first is that now EP users will have even more flexibility and options for obtaining great results. The second is that it creates confusion in an otherwise very simple and straight forward (yet very effective) method of sharpening.

It is this second thought that keeps me up at night asking “What if EP users don’t want more options?” After all, as a freehand sharpening stone user, it can be very expensive and time consuming to play around with all of the stones on the market. There is always another possible combo that might work better or faster for a specific knife or tool (that thought keeps me awake, too!) For so long, the Edge Pro has “kept it simple,” offering a single choice of reliable stones and tapes. The idea of opening up the options (or simply having more than 1 option) might cause a loss of stability to long-term users, and confuse or even worse, repel prospective newcomers.

Another issue is the possibility of dividing EP users, since there will inevitably be a “contest” where epic battles will be fought between those with preferences for the different stones. This could also lead to a loss of stability to long-term users, and confuse or even worse, repel prospective newcomers.

However, against these negatives, there are positive possibilities for the arrival of what seems to be direct competition for the stock stones. It hit me that, just like Harley Davidson motorcycles, there is a whole industry of accessories that revolves around the motorcycle itself. You can get custom engines, lights, alarms, luggage, wheels, rims, apparel, etc., that are all for Harleys, but not necessarily made by Harley (I’ve used this argument before). This accessorizing by other companies has not taken away from the appeal of the motorcycle, but has, in fact, added to it. No other motorcycle company has such a large and dedicated “culture” around it.

If you liken the Edge Pro to a Harley, the introduction of the Shapton and Chosera EP stones compliments and raises the status of the Edge Pro. With all due respect to the other sharpening devices out there, no one has deemed it necessary (or more accurately, on one has deemed it cost effective) to actually enhance the functionality of the basic design without changing the device itself (for example, you see lots of usually inferior or altered copies of the original, or DIY projects that boast their inexpensive material costs). In other words, adding or using the Shapton and Chosera EP stones does not change the Edge Pro anymore than adding a chrome kit to your Harley changes it. Much to your satisfaction, you are still purchasing and using the Edge Pro.

To conclude, The Edge Pro has just started it’s own culture, making the negative notions of this endeavor seem petty.

Watch out Harley-Davidson!!! : )

Which Edge Pro Stones – Stock, Chosera, or Shapton?

January 10, 2010

Since the introduction of the Shapton and Chosera stones for the Edge Pro, people have been asking which ones to get – the Stock, the Choseras, or the Shaptons?

As I’ve stated before, the stock stones are certainly very capable of creating an ultra sharp edge. Since it’s conception, the reputation of the EP and the stock stones has been nothing but stellar and I expect that it will always be that way. For those brand new to sharpening or sharpening with the Edge Pro, I suggest starting with the stock stones until your results consistently meet your expectations if for no other reason than the stock EP stones are cheaper to replace – like all things, there is a learning curve and you will probably mess up a stone or two along the way.

Once you are comfortable and confident using the Edge Pro or are ready for more stone options, you have 2 choices when expanding your EP stone collection. The first is to continue from where the stock EP stones leave off onto the Chosera or Shapton stones, and the second is to change out the stock EP stones for equivalent Chosera or Shapton stones. The best part is that no matter which you choose – EP, Shapton or Chosera, you will be happy – having different stones in your arsenal only makes you and your Edge Pro more versatile.

Before making any recommendations for specific stones, I think it best to first put these stones on a more even playing field since they use different, and often confusing grit measurement standards.  The chart below breaks each stone down into its abrasive particle size in microns. It is based on an existing comprehensive breakdown by others, but is by no means an exact comparison. I based the EP stones on the US ANSI standard, the Shaptons off the glass stone micron markings (probably the most exact), and the Chosera off the New JIS (Japanese) standard. To be thorough, I added the EP polishing tapes, but there seems to be a inconsistency in the math between the EP stones and the polishing tapes on the ANSI chart. (If anyone has more specific numbers for the EP stones and tapes, please let me know).

As you can see, the most common denominator is the EP stock 1k, the Shapton 2K and the Chosera 2K. If you choose to continue for more refinement after the stock 1K, the 2K Shapton or Chosera will pretty much duplicate the stock 1K as far as abrasive size is concerned.

If you choose to go with Shaptons, it is highly recommended to start with the Shapton 2K to really prepare the edge for the 5K Shapton pro. The 5K Shapton will only polish. You can skip from 2K to 8K in the Shaptons, but I personally prefer to use the 5K as the first polishing stone, then go to the 8K or even skip to the 15K.

If you start changing out the coarser EP stock stones for Shapton Professional stones, the #220 is formulated for stainless steel, and the #320 is formulated for carbon. The #120 is a hungry stone, but wears the fastest of the coarse Shaptons. The #220 is the “hardest” of the coarse stones, but any one of these stones will make quick work of profiling and removing chips. The 1K is probably the most mathematically correct intermediate Shapton stone. From there, you can go to 2K or skip to the 5K. the #1,500 stone is a little better at skipping to the 5K than the 1K. If you are going for a more cosmetic finish, 1K to 2K to 5K is best.

If you choose to go with Chosera, the 2K or 3K Chosera will set up the edge for the 5K and 10K Choseras. Since the 3K is not a polishing stone, going from the 1K stock EP to the Chosera 3K is reasonable. Skipping from 2K to 5K and 3K to 10K is also acceptable, although still using the 5K  before the 10K is probably best in the long run. Because of the close proximity of the 2K and 3K, the best option for you will depend on which stone is used before and after.

If you start changing out the coarser EP stones for Chosera stones, the #400 is not as slow as it’s grit number sounds. It can hold its own when changing the profile or removing chips. The #400, #600 and #800 Choseras are probably best for simple maintenance sharpening – the #600 is also very nice for removing coarser scratch marks before the 1K.  Like the Shaptons, the 1K Chosera is a mathematically sound stone before either the 2K or 3K Chosera.

So – What do I recommend? Get them all and find out for yourself which is best for you and your knives!  : )