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    Username Post: Sigma Power and Bester 500        (Topic#820460)
    blok
    Master Member KnifeNut!
    *
    04-21-08 21:50.43 - Post#1505049    



    I’ve been kind of anxious to post this, because I just received my Bester 500 yesterday and the Atomas a couple of days before.

    DMT Diasharps are known to be superior to Duosharps. The continous surface means it cuts faster, and the matrix surface of duosharps can snag edges sometimes.

    Atomas have a continuous diamond surface, but on a small scale have a matrix surface. The diamonds are arranged in rows of tiny star-shaped clusterscircular patches by electrodeposition. This design, and also the design of Duosharps, prevents the surface from clogging with steel, since steel falls into the channels between the diamond clusters and is flushed out with water.

    Atomas aren’t a solid plate, there’s a 1mm steel base glued to an aluminium base. I had been under the impression 1mm was pretty thin, but on seeing it its thick and provides the necessary support. However, water can get between the plate and aluminium and rust the plate from the inside, and thereby cause warping. DocNightfall had the idea of using epoxy to seal the gap at the sides between the plate and the base, to prevent this from happening.

    I haven’t used them for sharpening, but reportedly Atomas are faster and leave a finer finish than equivalent diamond plates. The flatness is also usually better. I have been using them for lapping, and the glide is much smoother than the flattening stones I was using previously. I think the channels between the diamond clusters help reduce stiction.

    Well yesterday I did some sharpening with the following stones: Bester 500, Pink Brick 220, Bester 700, Sigma Power 1000. I also have a Sigma Power 2000, which is a nice stone, but I didn’t use it on this occasion.

    I was also a bit anxious about receiving the Bester 500, because after having ordered it I heard there might be overlap with the Bester 700, and that the 500 possibly isn’t an alternative to regular 220 stones.

    The Bester 500 isn’t actually made by Bester, and is a ceramic stone whereas the other Besters are sintered: compressed abrasive without binder. The Bester 500 glazes more than the 700, but is easily cleaned. By comparison the Pink Brick loads up heavily and almost instantly. The Bester 700 doesn’t glaze much at all, but it has a textured surface so steel can settle temporarily. The Sigma Power stones have a smooth surface, and these stones reject swarf. The stones are extremly porous, so they discolour slightly as they absorb steel particles, but the cut steel doesn’t adhere to the surface after proper soaking. Both Besters and Sigma Power stones require about 20 minutes to half an hour soaking.

    The Bester 500 seemed slightly faster than the Pink Brick 220 on the soft steels I was sharpening, and the Pink Brick is one of the faster 220 waterstones. But I’ve heard where the Bester 500 comes into it’s own for speed is on extremely hard steels. I assume this is due to silicon carbide content, as opposed to most waterstones which contain only softer aluminium oxide. The 500 is also far harder and slow wearing than the Pink Brick. I believe there are slower wearing stones, such as the Glass Stone 220, and the Naniwa Chocera 400 may be both slightly faster and slightly slower wearing although expensive. For coarse waterstones, there is also the Naniwa Omura 150 which may be one of the faster waterstones available, with a dishing rate roughly equal to the Pink Brick. I haven’t got any of these stones at the moment, I probably should have had the foresight to order an Omura with the other stuff from JWW, but I may look into it in the future.

    The attraction of the Sigma Power 1000 has always been that it may offer a solution to the Bester 700 for both speed and finish. The Bester 700 is often used to prep a knife and remove scratches before going on to Shapton Pro 1ks for example. The Shapton 1ks, either Glass Stones or Pros, aren’t ideal for removing scratches from the DMT XXC. The Sigma Power 1000 does remove these scratches and easily.

    I used the Sigma Power 1000 and the Bester 700 stone side by side. Both are good stones. After first receiving it I had a negative impression of the Bester 700, but this was probably due to my confusion over using waterstones to begin with, as I was used to an India stone which is a lot harder and acts differently. However, the Sigma Power 1k is less ‘noisy’ and has better feedback. The smooth surface means the edge makes good contact, and can be moved around more freely. In terms of stock removal, the Bester 700 may be a slight amount faster. I think of it in those terms possibly just due to the noise and the rougher surface. But the Sigma Power 1000 does almost the same thing, and takes you to a higher progression. The finish is a lot better. Neither the Besters nor the Sigmas will provide a mirror finish, I think as a factor of having silicon carbide in them they produce a smokier or hazy finish. However, the finish in terms of sharpness from the Sigma 1k has been described as being in the ballpark of Shaptons and as better than Nortons. It probably isn’t a good idea to debate where exactly.

    I wouldn’t recommend anyone who has a Bester 700 replace it with a Sigma Power 1000, but if it’s a choice between the two, the Sigma has to be the superior stone. I feel there is overlap between these two. The Bester 500 is a different animal, and has caused the retirement of my Pink Brick 220. I doubt it’s a speed solution for the coarser diamond plates in all instances, but it is a reprofiling solution for whatever speed. For example I’ve heard the DMT XXC can cause chipping on thin single bevels due to the deeper scratches, whereas the Bester 500 doesn’t. There’s a lot more out there though, such as the Naniwa Chocera 400 and the Naniwa Omura 150. I should probably look into getting some of those Norzon belts and gluing it to a glass backing.
     


    ken123
    Master Member KnifeNut!
    *
    04-21-08 23:43.55 - Post#1505073    


        In response to blok

    Blok, A beautiful review. Nice background and accurate information. I looked it over CAREFULLY for points of disagreement with your observations. I found none at all. None.

    I've been playing around with Thom's 1k Sigma Pro and you've placed it quite accurately in terms of it's capabilities. I'll add a couple of observations regarding the Choceras vs the Sigma power and 500 Bester.

    The 400 Chocera seems to be a bit more agressive than the 500 Bester and slower wearing. Similarly slow to take on a working level of water.

    The 1k Sigma Pro is very similar to the 1k Chocera with the Chocera 1k slightly more agressive and slightly nicer finish, but by a very small margin, of practically no significance at all. They could be used interchangably. Both seem faster than the GS 1k, but with a less fine finish. If you are going for a 1k final finish the GS is better, but for most other circumstances the speed of these stones makes these superior to the GS. Nice mud too. Both seem much more agressive if run slightly on the dry side. They (1k stones)both also respond well to a bit more pressure then I usually use.

    I like the 1k Sigma Pro. It's a nice versatile stone.

    ---
    Ken
    Facebook
    Nubatama Stones, Diamond/CBN Sprays
    Natural Stones
    Atomas

    Ken's Corner


     
    blok
    Master Member KnifeNut!
    *
    04-22-08 00:39.21 - Post#1505090    


        In response to ken123

    How hard and slow wearing is the 1k Chocera though? I’ve heard the Glass Stone and Sigma Power 1000 are about as hard as each other, wouldn’t know about slurry. And does that mean you would use the 1k Chocera instead of the 1k Glass Stone as part of a progression? I understand your device requires light pressure so the Glass Stone may be better, but freehand?

    Also, is it all right to say how much the Naniwa Chocera 400 and 1000 costs? I haven’t been able to find quotes for these.
     
    thombrogan
    Master Member KnifeNut!
    *
    04-22-08 04:48.32 - Post#1505242    


        In response to blok

    Nice reviews, guys!

    Not having the Bester 700, but having the Bester 500, I can (and will and do) say that the Sigma 1K renders it obsolete for double-bevelled knives (including waifer-thin Takeda gyutos) as there is no problem going from the D8XX to the Sigma 1K (same for the Norton 1K, but with more dishing). Also, at least on the steels I've used, the Sigma's surface turns black with steel particles whereas the Bester 500 doesn't get so dark. That, plus the coarse mud that forms on the Bester 500, suggest that the stone isn't offering all of the cutting power it could offer should it have been somehow designed differently.

    Blok,

    Instead of denying your single-bevelled knives a fleeting and pleasurable brush with D8XX-ellence, the plate could still be used to grind almost to the edge (stopping short by about a millimeter) on the bevel side (not the concave side) before you switch to your Sigma 1K. When the Sigma 1K has finished scrubbing away the 120 grit gouges and furroughs, it will be colliding with the edge and providing your knife with electric shivers in anticipation of your Sigma 2K and finishing stones.
    -Thom Brogan

    "I knew you before you knew you had hands!" ~Tracey Brogan


     
    thombrogan
    Master Member KnifeNut!
    *
    Sigma Power and Bester 500
    04-22-08 04:48.32 - Post#1505243    


        In response to blok

    I didn't think it was possible to double-post on this board. Wrong <--<< I was that.
    -Thom Brogan

    "I knew you before you knew you had hands!" ~Tracey Brogan




    Edited by thombrogan on 04-22-08 04:50.03. Reason for edit: double post
     
    blok
    Master Member KnifeNut!
    *
    Re: Sigma Power and Bester 500
    04-22-08 05:17.59 - Post#1505274    


        In response to thombrogan

    If using a DMT XXC the Bester 500 is obsolete for double bevel knives, but me and about ½ another person don’t wish to use diamond for sharpening, and to use a waterstone instead. I don’t know why I’m not sharpening on diamond, it probably isn’t entirely a rational decision. Those videos of Vasilli sharpening were interesting and show the edge is good, and can seem to be refined by nothing more than 60k chromium oxide. But without understanding the science, something about the scratches from diamond causing stress nucleation points has negative connotations for me. And I think it may work against me for finish higher up on the bevel.

    However, I am real pleased with the Bester 500 over the Pink Brick. The flatness and hardness make me wish for something coarser that won’t dish, so I’ll probably skip the Omura. Perhaps I should just give in and use diamond, but the plates I have now cost money, and at least for Atomas, possibly due to the clusters, the diamonds can get thinned in the middle and become less effective for flattening. That’s why I think I have to look into getting some cheap Norzon belts for the moment.
     
    thombrogan
    Master Member KnifeNut!
    *
    Re: Sigma Power and Bester 500
    04-22-08 05:47.30 - Post#1505285    


        In response to blok

    • blok Said:
    me and about ½ another person don’t wish to use diamond for sharpening, and to use a waterstone instead.



    Half of another person? I'm having bad thoughts.

    I don't 'push' for any diamond benchstone beyond the D8XX (even though I wuv the D8EE) and even that benchstone could be replaced with sanding belts glued to hard surfaces for both rebevelling and flattening waterstones for a much lower cost.
    -Thom Brogan

    "I knew you before you knew you had hands!" ~Tracey Brogan


     
    jwpark
    Master Member KnifeNut!
    *
    Re: Sigma Power and Bester 500
    04-22-08 06:11.26 - Post#1505308    


        In response to thombrogan

    Every since I've gotten my Bester 500, all I use my DMT 8XXC is for lapping. The Bester 500 works just as fast, but doesn't leave a bad scratch pattern.

    BTW Blok, my Bester has never glazed over on me. But I do put on a lot of water. That Bester stone seem to talk water in like a camel. When I spray it, even after a couple minutes from being taken out of the water tub, and it sucks in the water like a sponge.

    Jay
    Jay

    • watercrawl Said:
    It's a MANkiri!!



     
    thombrogan
    Master Member KnifeNut!
    *
    Re: Sigma Power and Bester 500
    04-22-08 06:38.48 - Post#1505346    


        In response to jwpark

    Just as fast? Do you use a lighter touch with the D8XX? I can get the D8XX to cut faster than a belt sander with an 80 grit belt when I bear into it. That's weird, but if it works that way for you, it's very very cool.
    -Thom Brogan

    "I knew you before you knew you had hands!" ~Tracey Brogan


     
    blok
    Master Member KnifeNut!
    *
    Re: Sigma Power and Bester 500
    04-22-08 07:19.22 - Post#1505383    


        In response to jwpark

    Perhaps I didn’t soak it enough, but if I did, the Bester 500 does glaze a lot more than the 700 which is a different stone of course, and doesn’t glaze at all. The Sigma Powers are just slippery. But the Bester 500 is much better than the Pink Brick, and I think the speed may be in part due to that. Also, the finish is much finer, or perhaps due to the hardness I simply prefer using it and get better results.

    Yeah it is like a sponge, I was watching the water drain out of it. Perhaps that's why it glazed, I let it get too dry.

    I’m not trying to ignite the debate on speed of waterstones v diamond, but I remember hearing that waterstones cut faster than diamond. So a 220 stone is comparable speed, but from what I’ve heard not equal, to a 120 grit diamond stone. I don’t think it’s ever been disputed that a 220 Glass Stone or the Bester 500 is faster than the DMT C #325.

    Edited by blok on 04-22-08 07:27.00. Reason for edit: No reason given.
     


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