My father taught me to sharpen his kitchen knives on traditional Arkansas oil stones, and I've continued to sharpen my woodwoorking tools on the two (soft and hard black) I inherited from him. But, getting more seriously into woodworking, I've now spent some time on the internet and heard about the miracle of Japanese water stones. My question is: are they really significantly improved over my oil stones to justify the expense of my getting a set? I can get a pretty decent edge using my oil stones, but possibly not the "extra extra visible-only-under-an-electron-microscope one-molecule-thick sharp" edge I hear bandied about after sharpening using water stones. (Some exaggeration for dramatic effect.) I also have to resharpen more often than I care to, although that might be more due to the inferior quality of my chisels (blue-handled Irwins -- I'm saving up for Ashley Iles as we speak).
If they are worth my switching over, what is considered the basic set I would need? What grits, flattening equipment, etc.? (I'm sharpening only chisels and plane blades, nothing fancy like carving tools.) And what are recommended types and brands? There are so many water stones out there that I'm tempted to paste all the advertisements to a wall and throw a dart at them to choose.
Advice, lectures, rants, and bickering all appreciated.