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Beston (Bester) 500 Grit
Synthetic Whetstone Review

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Beston(Bester) 500 & bester 700 Grit Synthetic Whetstones

One more "confused" stone. Half or most of the dealers in US have this stone listed as Bester 500. I knew this stone under that name, and I bought it as Bester 500. The real name is Beston 500. I've learned about that from Dave Martell, Japanese Knife Sharpening. The reason I picked up this stone is that I wanted something coarse for initial bevel cutting, but also something that could be used instead of the DMT 8XXC diamond stone. The thing with DMT 8XXC is that it's wearing down a lot faster than synthetic whetstones, and the price of maintenance is higher. Beston 500 is around 47$ as of Spring 2009, while 8XXC is almost twice as expensive. On top of that I need to use DMT 8XXC as a flattener for other whetstones, natural and synthetic as well.

General

 - Beston 500 stone comes packed in a blue box, without the base, which as I mentioned in my other Japanese whetstone reviews, is a pro, not a con for those who have more than one stone and an universal base. The exact dimensions of the stone are as following: 210mm×75mm×25mm. As all synthetic whetstones, Beston is also perfect rectangular prism. It's pretty smooth on touch, you wouldn't say it's 500 grit stone. I've inspected the stone as usual upon arrival, found no visible defects, cracks or chips that is. The surface looks pretty rough under magnification, as it should :) After all it's a 500 grit stone.

Performance

 - As its close relative Bester 700, Beston 500 requires about 30 minutes in water before you can start using it. As it is a coarse stone, no nagura stone massage is required. Sharpening speed is pretty good, but compared to DTM 8XXC Diamond Whetstone, or even Shapton® 220 grit Glass Stone™ it is slower. Generally, it works fine on most of the knives I use it on, except for the most stubborn steels such as CPM 10V, CPM 125V, Aritsugu knives and few others. So, in the end, it does serve its purpose - helps prolong the life of the DMT 8XXC Diamond whetstone. For the knives that aren't 64-65HRC or above it works pretty good.

Main complaint, as with Bester 700, excessive water consumption. It's a sponge. I have to water it every 3-4 minutes or so. It's not a biggie, but does distract form sharpening. After all it's a freehand sharpening and I have to keep the angle.

Conclusion

 - It's a good stone if you are dealing with medium or even hard knives, up to 61-63HRC, or made of not extremely wear resistant steels. In the extreme cases you do need a serious backup, such as DMT 8XCC. You will have hard time grinding primary bevels using Beston 500 on CPM 10V, CPM 125V steel blades. On the other hand, pretty much any mainstream knife, will be an easy work for this stone. Same is true for a lot of Japanese kitchen knives, until you go to super-hard blades.

Last updated - 09/01/11