Staying away from throw-away blades puts you int the $200-$300 per saw category. If that's where you want to be, go for it. You will be able to se the standard feather files then. The diamond ones are ok to use to refresh throw-aways. I don't know how much bite they have on the edge since the edge is very narrow. That being said, they can be used to refresh teeth to where you can immediately see improvement in the cut.
The m-power system is the only woodworking item I remember returning because I did not find it satisfactory. I tried it on chisels and narrow plane blades. The tools would not stay in place. I tried having a stronger hold on the tools, but stuff was still moving around. It doesn't help that the difference between your edge being sharpened and your edge binding in the mechanism is very tiny and difficult to get right.
I also remember reading other reviews saying there is quite some slop in the dovetail, but that was after I returned mine so I didn't look for that. The only thing I remember is the thing not working for me.
So there, my opinion is to spend the money on something else. Sharpening to where you can shave is an expensive business. Getting a decent edge for woodworking is still an expense, but it's not such a bad deal. If you are really tight for cash, use some sandpaper and do the scary sharp thing. I personally don't like the idea of using sandpaper to sharpen (there is no Zen there), but it gets the job done.
I have a diamond coated feather file that I have used on two saws (look for it on Amazon). It does a good job on impulse hardened saws. You have to be careful not to dig it too strong between teeth and rip out diamonds when you move it. Another thing that helps is evening out the set with a diamond stone. Two full length strokes on a medium grit does the trick.
I happen to be a software engineer and I just really like the whole sharpening gig (waterstones, diamond stones, japanese naturals, tormek, jigs, stropping compounds, etc.). I currently go up to 15K, then I sometimes strop on 0.5 micron. The 30K stone is on my short list. Alternatively, I could try to find a small Nakayama asagi which may just cost less than the 30K stone.
I would say the jump from a 1K to a 6K King is too much. The King S3 in itself is a very hard stone, would benefit from a nagura to produce some slurry. Even then, this 6K will take a long time to replace 1K scratches.
That being said, are you not happy that the 6K leaves 6K scratch pattern behind? If that's the case, try stropping with some compound. Are you not happy with how sharp the chisel ends after the 6K? Go with a higher grit.
LOL, from the subject line, I thought you just painted some cows grazing on a pasture on your newly acquired Stanley #1. Just buy whatever you need, dude. Don't go trying to extract metal ore to forge your own chisels to do some woodworking!
I'd like to see a side view of the blade from those planes. I have seen some (and I own one) that have very thin blades with no tapering at all, basically 1/8" thick at all points. Those are trash. I am not sure that's what's being sold, but those planes you mention are the bottom end of pricing and I am tempted (possibly mistakenly) to link that to the bottom end of quality.
If you are in the $50- $60 range, I think you are much better off picking a used one off eBay. If I were in the market right now, these are the planes I'd target:
Quangsheng are basically the Woodcraft Woodriver planes. Some people like them, some people have vested interest and therefore praise them, and some people just don't want to deal with them - that be me.
The Forum: I rarely use the forum, but sometimes I read it. I wouldn't touch it in any way.
<no opinions about the middle parts - I don't use any of them>
*New* Chat: A better web IRC client might be the answer. I am not sure if the forum chats are cursed, but every single one of them I have used before has come and gone at some point; and that regardless of the topic. I like the chat as it is, and I use mIRC. I hear there are other clients that are just fine. For those that think a chat linked to this forum would be nice, dare to venture on the current TWW chat and see how you like it. There is no need to register, just drop in and say hi. Just don't call yourself woodfan.
Sounds like you got yourself a working set together. Don't be afraid to use the DMT extra coarse to flatten the water stones. Use the ruler of a square to check for flatness of stones (the pencil lines trick never works for me). Let us know how it all works out.