Yes. On one hand, people overthink the angle thing, what matters is how often we sharpen, not how perfectly we sharpened last year.
I go entirely by feel. It's very easy to feel when one has slipped back to the point where the edge isn't making proper contact, or when one has slipped forward to the point where digging into the stone is an immediate risk. The sweet spot is somewhere right in the middle between these extremes.
I work in a quiet room (other than the dribble of the faucet). I use an Atoma diamond stone to smooth the surface of my Shapton Glass stones frequently, often between knives. Perhaps I secretly want to actually wear out a water stone in this lifetime. More likely, when the stone is very smooth it gives very good tactile feedback as to how the knife is riding. A just-polished stone is like waterskiing a glassy Adirondack lake at dawn.
There is the potential for a feedback loop, here, taking my knives off course: The feel each time I sharpen has everything to do with how I sharpened last time. My chef's knives may have drifted, while for some reason my cleaver sharpening is spot-on.
Further evidence for this theory is that I'd already noticed I can get the 8" Fujitake chef's knife sharper than the 10" Fujitake chef's knife. In both kitchens. I'd always assumed it was something different about the knives, but this could be a reproducible experiment coming down to how I hold each knife as I sharpen.
A variant on your theory: While the VG 10 core is the same, the cladding varies on the different knives, and how straight each edge is. Both of these would affect the feel while sharpening. I go for "what feels best" while sharpening (an apprentice Japanese woodworker asks how to cook the rice for rice glue? So it tastes good), but this may serve me better on some knives that others.
There have been many reasons I've craved a good microscope. This would be one. A really sharp knife is actually more serrated than a dull knife. Whatever we imagine, we're all really just using bread knives.
Are you free hand sharpening? If so, it could be nothing more than the way you happen to hold the cleaver compared to others. I don’t believe it’s the stones necessarily, I use shapton glass on all my Japanese knives with excellent results. Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
This is a puzzle for me.
In each of two kitchens (my wife's home in California and my work apartment in New York) I have a set of three Fujitake chef knives and a Tojiro DP 3-Layer Chinese Cleaver. Since adopting the cleaver I rarely use the other knives. One can learn to do everything with a cleaver.
I sharpen my knives with an assortment of Shapton Glass stones. A deep dive reveals that one can buy Shapton Glass stones tuned for original, softer Japanese knives, or these stones for more modern formulations such as VG 10. I had noticed on previous stones that it was nearly impossible to sharpen western knives, while the Shapton Glass stones handle western knives easily. This is that hardness issue, again. Somehow I'd made it years without worrying about it, but I'm better off knowing.
So here's the puzzle: Nominally all of my knives are VG 10, yet it seems that I manage to get my cleaver sharper than the other knives.
I checked out the website, and it claimed a hardness of 58-60 HRC. This will be much harder than your stainless blades. If you use a sharpening angle of 12°-15°, you’ll have a very nice cutting tool that will hold an edge for quite some time. I highly recommend you use only quality edge grain, or synthetic cutting boards, and stay away from bones. It likely seemed easier to sharpen because the harder steel burrs, instead of rolling back and forth, making it harder to actually create an edge. Get a jewelers type magnifying glass and you can see what’s happening while you’re sharpening, or check out you tube..just make sure you’re watching someone using stones. Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk