What type of sharpening stone is right for you?Natural and Synthetic Stones (oil or water)#220-#300 Grit
Coarse stones in this range are very abrasive. Though these stones definitely have their place for repairing chips and/or reshaping an all-new edge, beginners might want to stay away until they have developed good technique with a medium-grit or finer stone. Also, owners of easy-sharpening carbon steel knives will want to take extra care because coarse-grit stones will aggressively strip away blade material. But a 220-300 grit stone is very useful if you need to establish a new edge on dulled stainless steel blades, particularly those harder-to-sharpen alloys containing molybdenum and vanadium. Additional stages of sharpening on one or more finer-grit stones will be required to smooth and finish the blade.#800-#1200 Grit
This medium coasrse range is recommended for regular, primary maintenance of many fine blades; ideal for maintaining new knives, or any knife that has been well-cared for.
Slightly coarser #800-Grit stones make a better choice for some designer stainless steel alloys, particularly those with molybdenum and vanadium such as Global Knives or the Chroma Type 301 line.
#1000-Grit is the standard for modern carbon steel and high-carbon stainless steel blades such as Shun or Wusthof, and makes a sensible choice if you want one stone that can handle various brands/materials. (But please note that advanced ceramic blades cannot be sharpened by any natural or synthetic "sharpening stone" materials).
A slightly smoother #1200-Grit stone is considered somewhat interchangeable with 1000-grit, but can make a better choice for taking special care of your more traditional Japanese blade materials, such as the Kikuichi 7" Mioroshi White Carbon All Purpose Knife
and others that use a softer carbon steel.#2000 Grit
While the #2000-Grit stone is still considered a "medium" stone like the #1000-Grit, it is significantly smoother, and will remove less material per pass. That makes the #2000 a better choice for those few who prefer to maintain their edge every day.#3000-#6000 Grit
This is a broad range of fine-grit stones that are typically used for finishing. Many professionals feel that the 3000-grit stone is perfectly adequate for smoothing and refining an all-purpose edge that balances sharpness and edge retention. Others consider the 3000-grit to be a good stepping stone to an additional stage of #6000-grit polishing, which yields an extremely fine edge and superior sharpness, though the edge will be more delicate.Common use guidelines
A #1000-Grit (medium range) paired with a #3000-Grit make a solid combination for regular edge maintenance of most new and well-cared-for knives. Having both stones gives you the option for 1 or 2-stage sharpening, primarily using the #1000-grit followed by an optional stage of #3000-grit.
If you need to reshape a dulled knife to a completely new edge, you're going to minimally need one coarse stone and one medium Stone. But we recommend a tri-stone
or similar range of individual stones that allow for 3-stage sharpening. #240-grit, #1000-grit, and #3000-grit is a common and very versatile combination that can be used to repair burrs, shape a whole new edge, and perform regular maintenance for all your knives.Diamond and Ceramic Sharpening "stones"
Natural and synthetic sharpening stones are hard enough to shape an edge, but they are actually not too much harder than the actual blade steel. Diamond-abrasive plate and advanced ceramic sharpening "stones", however, are much harder than steel. So you can expect them to grind away more blade material per pass, without wearing down. That can be good or bad, depending on the knife material, the condition of the edge, and the experience and skill of the individual using it. It should also be noted that the fast, aggressive performance is not so good at leaving a smooth or polished edge. These sharpeners will also typically cost more than natural or manufactured stones, but they can be expected to last much longer, and stay flatter. They also don't require oil or water lubricants.
Diamond and Ceramic Stones can be found in various grits, similar to the above specs. But because these materials are so much harder than steel, they feel and perform somewhat differently in use than traditional stones.