My newest batch of Edge Pro custom stones

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Rob Babcock

Head Chef
Dec 23, 2004
Big Sky Country
Okay, here's some more lovely EP Stone Porn! <ro> Just got these in from "Santa Ken" today.

L-R: 150 Ohmura, 2000 Naniwa Green Brick. Next group: 3/4 width Shapton Pros- 120, 320, 1k. Back: Choceras, 3k & 5k (extra thick).

The Green Brick & Ohmura is a combo I wanna try. I've heard that for many knives (beaters) that this is a good "one-two" combination that will do a good job. The latter is reputed to be one of the fastest cutting coarse stones you can get, yet it's supposed to finish well enough to remove DMT XXC scratches. We shall see.

Naniwa Green Brick & Ohmura 150

Same stones, taken with flash

I special ordered the narrow stones for use sharpening recurves, like boning knives and some hunting knives. Notice in the close up of these stones how they're cut very consistently with no beveling of the edges- just a very precise, sharp cut. Absolutely every bit as clean as an OEM stock EP stones, just narrower.

Narrow Shapton Pros (about 3/4 width), L-R: 120, 320, 1k

Another shot, same stones

Shaptons, taken with flash

This gives you an idea of some of the variety you can get. Many thanks to Ken Schwartz for another batch of great stones.
I tried the new stones out tonight on two Messermeisters that belong to a guy I work with. The first was a semi-flexible boning knife with a small recurve section near the bolster, and ideal candidate for the narrow stones. The second was a Messermeister utility/petty. For that one I used the Ohmura & Naniwa Green Brick.

The first one I did was the boning knife. Since it had no discernible edge I started off with the 120 Shapton Pro. I have to say I didn't really like that stone at all! Oh, it's perfectly cut and sized, but there are few coarse stones I find pleasant to use. This one is the roughest coarse I've ever seen, so much so that it felt a bit "crumbly" in use. I was a bit surprised that it didn't cut faster, given the feel of it, but I wouldn't characterize it as especially quick. Odd. But things improved greatly when I moved on to the 320 Shapton Pro. This is a terrific stone, probably my 2nd favorite Arato that I've used (my favorite being the Naniwa Chocera 400). I have it in a standard 1" wide EP size and it's every bit as good cut narrower. The feel is almost creamy and the stone generates a lot of mud, yet for all that it doesn't really dish all the fast. It leaves a finish that's pretty easy to polish out with the 1k. So I did a quick deburr and switched to the Shapton 1k stone. This is among my favorite medium stones and probably the nicest of the Shaptons, feel wise. It leaves a good polish behind and feels very nice while cutting. It took some time, but the boning knife went from having no edge you could feel to shaving, although you wouldn't wanna replace your razor with it.:ROFLMAO:

As I mentioned, I decided to do the utility knife with the Ohmura & green brick. As you can tell from the pictures, both of these are pretty thick chunks. I was surprised to find the Ohmura didn't really cut very quickly, certainly not like I expected it to. It has a reputation for being fast to dish but an even faster cutter...well, maybe it was the steel or my technique but I didn't find either to be true. Many stones have a "glaze" you could call it when they're new, so I roughed it up a bit with a DMT Dia-sharp XC. That seemed to help but it still didn't cut nearly as fast as the DMT XC or C. After thinning it a bit I raised the angle a few degrees to put a secondary bevel on it. This has two purposes- thinning it makes it cut better while adding the micro-bevel with make the edge last longer. This is especially nice since this kid doesn't sharpen and is a bit hard on his knives. Sadly, he doesn't really even clean them up before he puts 'em away! Everything I've sharpened for him, I had to wash thoroughly first.:glare: Overall, the Ohmura did the job, and I'll have to try it more before I really have a firm opinion.

I can say, though, that the Naniwa Green Brick flat out rocks! I don't think the guys at Naniwa could make a bad stone if they tried! The Green Brick is a 2k stone; it doesn't leave the kind of polish that a Chocera does but it feels remarkably similar in use. Again, I can only describe it as 'creamy', like A&W Root Beer!:LOL: It's just fun to use. Like most Naniwa stones it seems to be really "dense" with particles, and I had no problem at all jumping from the 150 grit Ohmura to the 2,ooo grit Naniwa. You can't make jumps that large with every type of stone, that's for sure.

In summary, these are good stones, especially the Shap 320 & 1k and the Naniwa Green Brick. The Ohmura seems to do the job and I'll have to see how it behaves on harder steel like VG-10. The 120 grit Shapton I'll avoid like the plague but take that with a grain of salt- I just generally dislike ultra-coarse stones. I think I'll stick to my DMTs for the really chunky stuff.
Allright Rob It looksl ike you have every stone made to sharpen any

So which ones should I buy to sharpen Tojiros and Shuns? I don't want to spend a ton on stones :ohmy:. My other half would kill me :). Thnaks for the detailed writeup on the new stones.
Allright Rob It looksl ike you have every stone made to sharpen any

So which ones should I buy to sharpen Tojiros and Shuns? I don't want to spend a ton on stones :ohmy:. My other half would kill me :). Thnaks for the detailed writeup on the new stones.

Well, that depends on a lot of factors. First, which EP stones do you already have? Shuns and Tojiros are made of steel superior to that used by most European makers, but there's nothing innately "magical" about it. If you have OEM EP stones in 220 & 320, and stones in the 600/800/1000 range, with good technique you can get any Shun or Tojo sharper than it was new. The 1000 grit stones Ben is selling would be about the equivalent of a 4k-5k Japanese synthetic waterstone. Many people never sharpen to any finer grit than that. Presumably your Apex came with a tape blank- with the polishing tapes available from EP you can polish up to about the 8k range or better. You can buy 3M PSA film in extremely fine grits pretty cheaply, too- that would take you up much higher than any water stone I've ever used (IIRC 3M makes a film in .3 micron!). None of those things would cost a lot yet will give you a screaming edge.

Next, how much are you willing to spend? I have over 20 custom EP stones, plus DMT's I mounted myself and have probably spent six or seven hundred dollars! There's no need for all those just to maintain your own knives but I like to tinker. If you are looking at Shaptons I'd say the minimum would be 1k, 2k and 5k. The next one I'd add to that mix would be the 8k. At that point, if your technique is good you'll have the sharpest knife you've probably ever seen or used. At some point if your knives get very dull or you start doing other peoples knives you're gonna want something coarser than the 1k. I really love the Shapton 320- it's fast but has a great feel. It's real muddy which helps the level of polish you get. The last one I'd add would be the 15k. It's a great stone but really it's overkill for most apps. Still, if you wanna know how sharp you can get...;)

In the Chocera my recommendation would be similar. Get a 1k, 2k and a 5k first. One caveat- the Naniwa 5k is softer than the Shapton 5k. You have to use a lighter touch. Not a big deal, just something to be aware of. The only Chocera above 5k is the 10k, and it's really expensive. I think it's the best stone I've used and well worth it, but that doesn't change the fact that it's almost $60. Of course, you can mix and match. The Chocera 400 and 1k are amazing stones, some of the very best. I like the Chocera 1k more than the Shapton 1k, but both are terrific. The 320 Shapton is competitive with the Choceras, too, but in all the other grits I give the edge to the Naniwas.

Of course, you could also just use the stone you have and get Shaptons in the finer grits, say a 5k & 8k, or 8k & 15k depending on which OEM stones you have.

I will close with this: It's more the user & technique than the stones. I can get a knife like yours very, very sharp with just the EOM 220, 320 & 800. No uber stone is a substitute for practicing with your machine.
Okay, Take 2 on the Ohmura. Turns out my hunch was spot on- this stone is pure magic following the DMT XC!:sorcerer: I tried this combo on a Wusthof that I sold to a coworker a month or two ago. It was in decent shape, to be honest, but he wanted "a little more" out of it, and why not!

I slapped my DMT XC on the EP and dialed in about a 17 degree angle, then ground a clean bevel with the diamonds. No matter how many times I use it I'm still surprised at how quickly it cuts. I actually went a tad too intention was just to thin it a bit but I actually generated a burr.
Looking at the edge at 10X you can see the typical XC finish- a very bright shine with some fairly deep striations down to the edge.

With a clean bevel already established, I went to work with the Ohmura. This time I could really feel it cutting. In very short order I had the deep scratches polished out. The Ohmura is a pretty coarse stone, but looking at the scratches under my loupe one could be forgiven for thinking it was a finer stone. If someone told you it was a 500 you might believe them. I deburred and switched to the Naniwa Green Brick 2k. This might seem like a big jump but in no time the edge was clean and hair-popping sharp.

17 degrees is a bit too acute for that knife, especially for this owner. Hint: Any time a person gives you a knife to sharpen that's completely filthy, he either doesn't respect the tool or has no idea of even the rudiments of knife care. So I went back to the Ohmura, raised the arm 3 degrees and put a small micro-bevel, which I polished up with the Naniwa.

I think this is a near-perfect combo. The DMT does the heavy lifting, ensuring the Ohmura can do its thing without dishing too much. The Naniwa is "dense" enough to get a nice polish even coming off of the 150 grit stone. Seems like a killer 1-2-3 deal.:punk:
Jay Fisher has some interesting perspectives on this subject eg:
What if I need more detailed information on sharpening knives?

Are there different degrees of sharpness? Of course there are. A scalpel has a completely different geometry than an axe, and the edge on a skinning knife is different than a combat tactical knife. A balance must be made between durability, longevity, and serviceability.
When I got into knives, I looked for the ultimate resource on the cutting edge. What I found was a man who had made a living for over 45 years as a sharpening consultant to the textile and meat packing industry. In industry, these guys don’t screw around. They don’t have time for confusing and mystical gimmicks or hyperbole. They must have the sharpest cutting edges, for the longest time, with a sharpening technique that is clear, maintainable, and very keen and effective. If you’ve ever seen the line at a packing plant, it is an amazing thing- the people are whipping meat off the bone at an incredible pace, and there is a reason they wear cut-resistant Kevlar gloves with wire reinforcement! In textile plants, razor sharp wheels, shears, and blades cut through thousands of miles of materials, textiles, and plastics, without snagging or tearing. This guy advised them on how to maintain their cutting edges.
His name was John Juranitch, and he wrote a good, short, concise book on what he knew. It’s called Razor Edge Sharpening and it’s available on the Razor Edge Sharpening website (at this link). This book is an absolute must have for every person who has ever or will ever sharpen a knife, and if you are reading this, you need to get this book. It blows away a heap of wives tales, myths, superstition, sales hype, misconceptions and outright lies about what it takes to create and maintain a sharp cutting edge on knives, axes, broadheads, and even fish hooks.
I have no personal or professional association or relationship with the owners of this site, but I do have a lot of respect for Juranitch's work and his no-nonsense writing style.
On the site, they also sell gadgets that help you maintain that sharpening angle, but I don’t recommend them on a custom knife, because they clamp on to the spine of the knife and can mar the finish. But the book resource is worth it, and that’s why I recommend Juranitch's book on every knife care sheet I supply with every knife. I can’t live long enough to have the experience this man has had sharpening blades, so I recommend what he learned.
Chef's Knives, Kitchen Cutlery, Knives for Cooking
I've never heard of Jay Fisher, but Jurantech's book has some good info, although it's a bit dated. He wrote it in the 70's, and science has debunked some of it, too. Still, it's a good resource, especially for someone starting out. BTW, that Fisher guy makes some goofy kitchen knives...makes me wonder if he's ever seen the inside of a kitchen!:ROFLMAO:
17 degrees is a bit too acute for that knife, especially for this owner. Hint: Any time a person gives you a knife to sharpen that's completely filthy, he either doesn't respect the tool or has no idea of even the rudiments of knife care.

grrr. Chefs like that get me so angry.
I confiscated a knife that I'd sold to a female apprentice once because she turned it into a stick. I gave it back to her fully sharpened after a week and let her know that if it ever got that blunt again she wouldn't be getting the knife back next time.
Sadly that' an almost routine occurrence. Although it seems too obvious to need saying, I'm going to have to start implementing a rule: If you want me to sharpen your knife, it must be clean and offered to me in a blade guard of some type. That's another pet peeve of mine, just handing me a naked blade. What am I supposed to do with that, just stick it in my pocket? If it's super dull maybe I can get it home safely that way, but I sure can't bring it back that way after I've put a good edge on it.
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