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800 grit flattens backs of blades and forms the edge
The 1000 grit is perfect for use on edges that have only just dulled and there is a slight but noticeable drop in performance.
Medium 1,200 grit waterstones are used to remove scratches and further refine and partly polish the surface following honing on a coarse stone.
For anyone who has not used a Japanese waterstone before then a combination provides a good introduction.