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The Exide combo is an excellent hone, it does the job quickly and well, and is a breeze to use. I'd recommend it to a beginner over the waterstones, as it is easier to use, much less expensive, and compact.
The hone is grey and glittery on the coarser side, and glossy black on the other. I'd estimate the coarse side something like 3-4K in waterstone grit terms. The black side is very smooth, maybe 6-8K, (just my subjective judgement based on the scratch pattern etc), but used with lather, and a light touch, I am getting a better edge off this than my 10K waterstone, which makes a more polished scratch pattern. The coarse side cuts fairly fast used dry, but taking out a nick on anything other than a really hollow blade may be a bit time consuming. For just maintaining blades though, it's great, and if I were to damage one, no doubt a rainy day could be passed sorting it out on this stone, with good results. You'd just have to use it dry, and a bit more pressure, maybe put the hone on a worksurface rather than having it on your hand.
To use it, lay it on the palm of your hand, apply a thin coating of lather, and away you go! The size is perfect, it makes you do those diagonal, sweeping strokes, which I'm starting to find really do make the best edge. I can use straight strokes on my big waterstone, but the edge is not so satisfactory, and overhoning seems to develop far sooner.
With lather, the suction effect of a nearly sharp blade is greater, so you know when to stop. When suction develops, it holds the blade flat by itself, so you can do the lightest possible strokes, with the lather doing the work of keeping the blade flat. This results in a wonderfully sharp, consistent edge, without the trouble I've experienced on waterstones that the blade "floats" on the water if you use no pressure.
The hone took a while to lapp flat, so it's quite a lot harder than a waterstone. This means much less maintenance, also I don't need to soak it. The lather keeps the hone perfectly clean as you go- no need to scrub it with the nagura stone as there is with a waterstone- swarf floats off in the lather and never gets a chance to get embedded in the hone.
I gave it 10 for packaging, because it arrived well wrapped, and I'm pleased with the box I made from cardboard and paper!