Synthetic waterstones are widely available and are more affordable than natural stones, but they have a reputation for dishing quickly, which spoils the flat surface you need for sharpening. So we tested nine stones from leading manufacturers to see how well they held up under repeated sharpenings, how easy they were to flatten, how quickly they honed, and whether they left a surface free of tearout, rough grain, or other defects.

Models tested include 1,000, 4,000, and 8,000 grits from Bester/Imanishi, Bester/Kitayama, King, Naniwa Chosera, Naniwa Superstone, Norton, Shapton, Sigma Power, and Sigma Power Select II.

From Fine Woodworking #224