Given that two “fine” finishes may not mean the same thing to different people the following chart was designed to assist knife owners in identifying 10 grit levels that will help them achieve their edge-sharpening goals.  Realistically speaking 90% of knife owners that want a high-quality “above average” factory edge only needs to use level 5 and level 7 stones.  Stones below level 5 are primarily used to repair heavily damaged knife edges by removing lots of metal.  Stones above level 7 are used to achieve knife edges that are extremely fine and polished but provide the user with minimal improved sharpening benefits.

LevelDescriptionParticle SizeApproximate Grit
1Extremely Coarse – Provides the fastest metal removal rate.  Leaves very visible scratches on the cutting edge.100+ MicronUnder 150 Grit
2Coarse – Very fast metal removal rate.  Leaves visible scratches on the cutting edge.  This grit range consists of coarse stones that are commonly available.60-100 Micron150 – 220 Grit
3Medium Coarse – Fast metal removal rate.  Scratches are not as visible.  Finest recommended grit for dull tools and knives.45-60 Micron220 – 300 Grit
4Medium – Good metal removal rate.  Light scratching on edge.35-45 Micron300 – 400 Grit
5Medium Fine – Modest metal removal rate.  The edge does not appear scratched but frosted.   A good grit range to utilize in the initial stage of sharpening a dull knife edge.25-35 Micron400 – 600 Grit
6Vary Fine Modest sharpening rate.  Leaves metal edge frosted in appearance. Edge sharpness is equivalent to most “above average” factory edges on knives and tools.15-25 Micron600 – 1000 Grit
7Extra the Fine – Slow sharpening rate.  Provides a very sharp edge.  The edge shows a polished-looking edge.  Achieves “above average” factory edges on most good quality knives.8-15 Micron1000 – 2000 Grit
8Extremely Fine – Slow sharpening rate.  An extremely sharp edge.  Edges reflect light very well.  Provides very minimal improved sharpening benefits. 4-8 Micron2000 – 6000 Grit
9Near Mirror Polish – Edge is very near perfect.  Leaves the edge polished to the naked eye.    Provides very minimal improved sharpening benefits.2-4 Micron6000 – 10,000 Grit
10Mirror Polish – Sharpest edge possible.  Extremely slow sharpening rate. Only provides very minimum additional sharpening benefits.0-2 Micron10,000+ Grit