After declaring several times my fear of learning how to use a stone, I broke down and bought one yesterday. Rationale: I have two really nice knives, and lot of OK knives. I have no problem sharpening the OK ones on an electric. A number of people (including some here) have scared me off of using the electric on the nice ones. If I send them out, I have no control over what happens to them. Odds are, the store will just use the same electric machine that I already own. Other option: send them back to the maker. That seems like a pain, and it will take a long time. I recently took a class and the instructors all implored us to learn to use the stone, and to rely only on ourselves. They don't use any angle guides, just their hands. The said, essentially, you will learn the correct angle by feel and by sound. So ... any tips? Thomas? Feel free to lace any advice with ridicule and taunting, I deserve it.