Here is a list of the bench stones I have and have decided to stick with (almost). DMT X, C, F, E, Spyderco fine, Spyderco UF. I have a Shapton glass 8k bench stone on order. But, I have the 8k Shapton glass for the EP to use for this confirmation for myself. The only real confirmation I was looking for was between the DMT Ef and the Spyderco fine grit stones as far as progression. I wanted to judge by the scratch pattern and NOT the grit identifiers like fine or extra-fine grit because the stones were a diamond and a ceramic material. So I started with the DMT fine grit stone and progressed in the following order:
DMT fine (F), 25 micron
DMT extra-fine (E), 9 micron
Spyderco fine, 6 micron (according to the unified grit chart on CKTG.com)
Spyderco UF, 3 micron (according to the unified grit chart)
Shapton glass 8k, 1.84 micron
As I worked on the bevel after each stone I looked at the scratch pattern with a 30x and 60x loupe. The scratch pattern got better using the stones in the above order. I only used the above mentioned identifiers (not microns) of each stone to decide which to use first, next, etc. I only used my eyesight and the loupes to judge the scratch patterns. Then I went back to the paperwork to check the micron of each stone. As I said the only thing I wanted to absolutely confirm in my own mind was that I should use teh DMT extra-fine BEFORE the Spyderco fine grit if I wanted to use both. This was because they have seemed to be very close in performance in the past. What I have determined (in my mind) is that when I want to use all of these stones I'll use them in the above order regarding the DMT E and SP fine. However, they are close enough in scratch pattern that I can eliminate one in the progression. I could use the DMT F then (DMT E or SP F) then the Spyderco UF stone. Then the Shapton glass 8k stone.
All this really shows is the numbers and grit descriptions can be used to determine progression. I just did this paying close attention to confirm my belief about the DMT EF and Spyder fine grits (on the same blade). This is obvious when looking at the microns but Spyderco doesn't advertise the microns of their stones I don't believe. I got that info from the Unified Grit Chart on the chefsknivestogo.com site. I'm not 100% sure but I think this chart is established by comparing performance in some cases as well as the advertised grits and microns by the stone manufacturers. When shopping for a set of stones and deciding on grits/microns we can skip stones sometimes. Most will agree the more stones the better for the best and easiest progression but for one reason or another some want as few stones as possible to get the results they want. Most of the time this is to save money but some peole just want FEWER stones. So in this scenario you only need the DMT extra-fine or the Spyderco fine grit stone. I'm not saying this because this is the Spyderco forum but if I needed to choose I'd DEFINATELY select the Spyderco fine stone and not use the DMT extra-fine grit stone. Then comes the UF stone. I just got this stone (for the second time) a couple weeks ago and once again am extremely happy with it's performance. I had one and sold it a couple of years ago to fund some other stone to try. Now I got another one. I've done that quite a few times over the past 2 years or so and lost more money than I care to think about. But, I have a set I like through using them and not advertising and reviews. There are plenty of other "sets" but this is what I'm happy with.
I just ordered the 16k Shapton glass stone for the EP. If I like it enough I may get the bench stone later but I believe that's getting compulsive.