bdpf79 wrote:

JpKrHk, I'll have a look at the Jap waterstone as well but it looks like it might require more skill.
It looks like some might be reasonably prices at $50/$60, not sure if they're any good though.

Be careful. Some cheaper stones are as soft as clay and will need constant flattening. More expensive stones tend to last longer but still need to be flattened (some are still very soft by design). The ones I like are Shapton Professional stones. There are also Shapton Glass stones which are also nice but a little harder and don't give as much feedback.

If you look on the Bay the Japanese version of the Shapton Professionals (same stones, Japanese packaging with no english) run about $40 to $60 each. You'd at least want a 320 (blade repair) and a 1k (normal sharpening), which will run you about $80. If you get the American market version it will run about $100 for the pair. I'm not sure of the Shapton Glass prices on the Bay though.

You could also get a 30k grit for about $350 or more... for ONE stone... lol

And Japanese carbon steel (Shirogami/White #1) is probably one of the only blade steels that can take a refinement that high. lol