Quick Summary: Speed: 6 out of 10 / Feedback: 7 out of 10 / Wear: 6 out of 10 / Overall Performance: 7 out of 10
Quick Summary: The King Deluxe 1K has a favorite of many hand sharpeners, including myself. It is a good-performing whetstone but not great for knives over 61 Rockwell. While it is not my go-to whetstone, it does offer a lot of value for those starting. There are very few whetstones for the money that can provide as much as the King.
Importance of a 1K whetstone: The 1000 grit whetstone is essential. Every whetstone maker will offer 1000 grit whetstone. If a company makes a poor quality 1000 grit whetstone, that will set the tone for the rest of its product line. When purchasing a whetstone from a new company, one always buys the 1k stone before all else.
Speed: 6 out of 10 – There is endless debate about the cutting speed of King Deluxe 1K. You can fall into one of two camps, and it depends on what types of knives you own. Those with average hardness knives of 55-57 Rockwell will find the King a relatively fast cutting whetstone, while those who own knives ranging from 58-61 Rockwell will feel it is too slow. Those sharpening 62 Rockwell knives find themselves frustrated with the stone. I have successfully sharpened knives at this hardness, but it was substantially slower than higher-quality whetstones.
For reference, the Suehiro Cerax 1K and Naniwa Pro 800 are incredibly fast-cutting whetstones. On a dull knife (either bricked or used in my kitchen for 30 days), both whetstones can produce a micro-burr in 2-3 passes. Learn what a “pass” is in this video. The King Deluxe 1K takes double the amount of passes to achieve similar results.
Feedback: 7 out of 10 – What the King lacks in efficiency makes it up for it in feedback. It is a lovely feeling stone. It could be the nostalgia of sharpening on the whetstone that started me down the path of Japanese knives and hand sharpening. Whatever the reason is, the King Deluxe 1K is a joy to sharpen on. It offers an organic feel lacking in synthetic stones, yet there are no natural components. Even those who believe the King is a slow performer agree on how nice it feels to sharpen on.
Wear: 6 out of 10 – The King Deluxe 1K wears faster than ideal. I find the wear is average when sharpening knives up to 59 Rockwell, but once you get into the 60s range, the wear accelerates dramatically and is what most users will complain about the King’s biggest drawback. Sharpening knives in the 60 Rockwell range is acceptable, but those with higher Rockwell knives should consider higher quality whetstones.
Overall Performance: 7 out of 10 – It is tempting to discount the King Deluxe 1K and call it old-fashioned. True, it is using a formula that is decades old. Nevertheless, it is outperformed by many current offerings, though those offerings may come with a price premium.
Conclusion: The King Deluxe 1K exists today because it offers the chance for those on a budget to experience a well-made whetstone. The average price for a synthetic Japanese-made whetstone is $50. Considering you can easily spend $200 on a quality Japanese knife, such as the Yoshihiro Aogami Super, another $100-$150 for whetstones can start to feel like you are falling into a rabbit hole. Therefore, it is nice to have the option of a quality Japanese-made sharpening whetstone for around $30.
*note – KING KDS 1000 side is the same as the King Deluxe 1000*