Maybe I missed it, but what are the 2 main you will be sharpening? stones are heavy, a loaded strop is pretty lightweight and might be adequate for touchups. Or you could consider a smaller sized stone, there are pocket sized arkansas stones as well as smaller sized J nats to be found. You could use the DMT EF/F followed by something finer.
Along the lines of Brandon's advice of a King 1K/6K combo, the Ohishi 1K/6K combo stone in regular or large (recommended!) size is a great bang for the buck. They are a bit nicer than the King, but are priced similarly.
The big difference with the GS is they're really compact, cut fast, stay flat longer, you don't have to soak them, and you can use them till the bitter end. Two downsides: they're not ideal for large bevels, and they cost more but the value is still high. I've had mine since they came out and use them almost every day especially the 8k which I still haven't worn down yet. But if you go for a complete GS set up I wouldn't get the 8k again as it loads too easy. Oddly I've heard 10k and 16k supposedly don't load as much. I may find out some day. Anyway GS aren't cool nowadays but they're probably the most dependable stone you can buy. Just not exciting. If you're wearing the 500 too fast you're not using for the right application. It's excellent for making small bevels. But if you're trying to thin a blade with it I wouldn't bother with anything 500 grit if you don't have to. I know I did dish my 500 initially when I started using them and got a bester 500 which wears slower but also cuts slower and you need to soak it. Unless you're sharpening the front of a single bevel. I wouldn't bother with anything else for double bevels. For thinning I'd at least go down to 220 or better yet learn how to use a belt grinder. Start out with junk knives and have a bucket of water to cool the blade periodically. I find thinning on diamond plates to slippery and they wear too fast if you use them for thinning.
If at all possible, get a variable speed belt grinder or slow it down with step pulleys to about 30% of full out on a 1800 rpm motor. Water for cooling is still a great idea.
I typically start with a 120 grit belt, Then a 600 grit belt, Then on to the buffer to burnish the edge with Green Chrome compound. This works great for Americana Euro knives. For Japanese I continue with a 15 micron about a 1200 G and then a 9 micron about 2000 G. Then to the buffer for burnishing with the green Chrome.
This system works great on a 2" x 72" Vari speed belt grinder.
Some days I sharpen around 100 blades plus many other items, Scissors Tweezers etc.
It makes sense to have the stone move while I hold the correct angle.
Not sure a belt-grinder; let alone one with step pulleys; would be all that portable for a travelling chef. Finding a ventillated room and remembering to take a good respirator along might be skipped and would be very regrettable, too.
You're correct. I was pointing out that a belt grinder is the best option for thinning a blade. Not sharpening. Anyway who said you can't keep a belt sander in your trunk? Or van?
Originally Posted by thombrogan
We are not getting very portable here.I always sharpened my Ice Carving chisels wt. Arkansas slip stones I sm.can of oil,kept both in my chisel bag.
I cannot think of the brand now ,but they do make portable smaller diamond plates esp for wood tools or for carrying into the field.So I think a small diamond plate & a couple grits of slipstones.Japanwoodworker sells the H2O slips.The diff. is you hold the stone in your hand,but you can still get an edge sharp wt. those slips & good tech.