A few quick points up front. Yes, I've run a search, and read a few threads. I've read the Sharpening FAQ. I didn't want to derail frogfurr's Professional Knife Sharpeners thread. I know the general theory of sharpening and was taught how to do it as a kid. Apparently, though, I either wasn't taught very well, or things have changed. I suspect the former. I own a grand sum of one Washita stone and one sharpening steel. A few weeks ago, I sharpened a kitchen knife that Mrs. McGee and I have had for ~25 years, and I rather enjoyed it. It was somewhat like my enjoyment of cleaning my guns. I don't get many opportunities to work with my hands these days. Anyway, I took that knife from "hack through lettuce" to "feels like a knife" again, but it took me a while. Unfortunately, as a kid I was taught to use a little oil when sharpening, so I guess my Washita stone is now an oil stone, rather than the 'water stones' I've been reading about. I'm looking to both upgrade my sharpening stones and improve my skills here. I've read the FAQ, I've read reviews, I've looked at Apex, Wicked Edge, KME, Tormek. One problem is budget. I just can't spend $150+ on a sharpening system. I don't do enough sharpening to warrant that. It's unlikely I ever will. I've looked at the lower-cost guided systems, like a Gatco. (I almost bought one, too.) Another problem is that I don't really want a system that's too 'automated.' That takes away some of the art of sharpening that I want to do. Then I had the brilliant idea of texting a buddy of mine. His wife is an executive chef and it occurred to me that she may sharpen her own knives. She does. She recommended these and this. I really like the idea of the more expensive set for the base and the flattening stone, but I have exactly zero clue how often I might need a flattening stone. Any thoughts on these two sets of stones? Or any others that I absolutely, positively need to look at?