King - 800 / 6000 Grit Waterstones (Rating: 5)

I've been using these waterstones for about two years now, and after I put them away today I decided to write a quick review.

I bought the two stones for about $20 (800 grit) and $25 (6000 grit), plus the supplies to make a leather strop. I have sharpened plane irons, chisels, and even the odd knife on the stones. The stones have yet to fail me.

Waterstones are a bit messy, what with having to soak them prior to use and keep them wet while using them, but aside from that they are dead easy to use. Once you have a bevel ground (I use 60-80 grit sandpaper for that at the moment, lacking a power grinder), it takes less than a minute per stone to polish up the bevel. They cut steel a lot quicker than anything I've used before.

Given an unlimited budget, I would have gone past the waterstones right to diamond plates, but those things are quite spendy. For a total of about $70 (for two stones, a flattener, and the leather to make a strop), King waterstones are a good value as the core of my personal sharpening system.

You can do better with a Tormek, but that's an order of magnitude more money than even diamond plates.