I'm often asked to give referrals on sharpening stones for both beginners and seasoned sharpeners who are looking for upgrades. There are many variables that I have to factor in when considering my response, one of those being the cost of the stones to purchase (customer's budget). Most times the customer is looking to stay below a specific dollar amount yet knows that they want the best that they can get so that they don't have to upgrade later on down the road.
Since starting to sell stones one of my main goals has been to bring to market stones that I believe in, use, and are affordable to purchase. We've carried some stones that don't always fall in line with all of those categories though, the biggest culprit being price tags, though this is something we're looking to correct for the future.
Just recently we dropped the Naniwa Chosera series of stones simply because the cost of these stones is too high for most people. Too many of our customers expressed their interest in obtaining the complete set yet the most desired stones (the 5k & 10k) they couldn't afford. I believe in these stones as being some of the very best available however I know that the results achieved on them can be obtained from other stones for far less money.
With this in mind I've decided to only sell stones that are value based, stones that give great results for less cost. I have rededicated myself to finding these rare treasures and bringing them to our customers. We still have our old standbys like the Beston 500x, Bester 1200x and the Synthetic Aoto but will soon offer many new stones that will work great with these core stones. These new stones will only add to what we already offer allowing our customers to choose from stones that produce superb results but don't cost a small fortune to obtain. We believe that everyone should be able to get good sharpening results even when they don't have a lot to spend.