Had to post simply because after sharpening knives for nearly 30 years, having a wonderful Arkansas very fine stone (an old one) break in a move, studying, learning, enjoying getting it right and the resulting pride that comes with a super sharp knife - I have finally discovered the joy of sharpening with water stones.
I'll try to be brief, but this all started recently when I picked up a Murray Carter neck knife from a member here. I researched the care and sharpening recommended from the maker and found that Carter's recommendations seeemed to be based on simple common sense and experience (this is not intended to be an endorsement for Murray Carter - but I find myself in agreement with his practices and highly recommend his knives/services/equipment). So, I gave his basic recommendations a try. I figured, what could I lose? A little bit of dough to get started and some technique to practice. Admittedly, maybe I was more adept than some in adapting to hand grinding / honing on waterstones since I did most of my sharpening by hand anyway - for 28 years.
I think the basic "kit" sold by Murray is based on the man-made water stones by King in 1000 and 6000 grit. I then proceded to start with a very well used, carried often manix2 CTS-XHP for a test subject. I am very pleased with the results. An extrememly fine edge, a hair popper! And the finish achieved is very nice as well. This work took about 15 minutes.
Then, I searched for an additional practice subject and thought it would be a good idea to see if ZDP-189 was as worthy as the hype surrounding it. Well, I now own two ZDP enduras and have more ZDP on the way in the form of the Stretch and Delica - all flat ground of course. I cheated a little with the ZDP blade and set the new, acute angle, with a cheap diamond plate by hand - just to save time and the wear from the grinding (1000) water stone. Still went through the 1000/6000 grit cycle and would guess the inclusive angle to be in the 18 degree range with a very small primary(edge) of probably 22 degrees. This steel raises a very nice burr with the 1000 water stone!
The natural rocking motion of hand sharpening produces a bit of convex which is very desireable and something I could not achieve on hard stones or with jigs and other apparatus things.
All of these blades cut like lasers and I thought I would share my experience. The finish is also remarkable - especially for the amount of time invested which is really only minutes! The ZDP blade is apparently sharper, to me, rivaling the custom Carter blades. But maybe I'm just getting better with as I practice.
I'm not claiming to be better than any other system or certainly any other real talents out there, but the pure enjoyment experience was worthy of posting.
Oh - and now I feel a bit more confident in maintaining the array of Murray Carter knives that seem to keep growing in number.
Carters - I know this is the "production forum" but thought one additional photo wouldn't hurt.