Hand Tools Archive
Maybe not what you had in mind, but I really like a soft ark to set up the finishing stone. I use mine with WD-40 but I've heard that some use them with water- can't vouch for how well that works. Soft arks are inexpensive and about as low maintenance as you can get. They do a great job of removing coarse scratches (from, say, a fine India or 1000 grit waterstone) quickly. I use mine with all tools, from western to Japanese.
I also have a Shapton 5000, which is a "splash and go" synthetic waterstone. It's a decent stone, removes 1000 grit scratches pretty quickly. My main problem with it is how "sticky" it feels sharpening full Japanese bevels- it really wants to grab the bevel and makes it hard to maintain a fluid sharpening motion. The soft ark with WD-40 is much nicer in that respect.
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