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View Full Version : Are Jnats worth the price?



karloevaristo
10-19-2011, 03:06 PM
Are the expensive japanese natural stones worth the price? I have zero experience/knowledge on them. I'm guessing they're expensive cause they're pretty rare and hard to acquire?

But what else? what makes them reach prices that just never fails to surprise and amaze me?

And also, if i have the money and buy a really expensive one... I just can't help but wonder how to explain to somebody, who has no idea what it is, why I bought a piece of rock for a 500 bucks? haha... kinda funny when I think about it... :wink:

Pensacola Tiger
10-19-2011, 03:38 PM
For producing a proper finish on a kasumi blade, there is no substitute. For monosteel knives, they are no better or worse than synthetic stones. For razors, they are invaluable.

maxim
10-19-2011, 03:39 PM
Try to compeer them to 30k Shapton then price seems reasonable :)
Then add they thickness and size and how slow they were out.

rulesnut
10-19-2011, 04:29 PM
I just can't help but wonder how to explain to somebody, who has no idea what it is, why I bought a piece of rock for a 500 bucks? Get your betrothed to explain to you why you need to spend mulitples of that on a tiny rock for her finger. :tooth:

Darkhoek
10-19-2011, 04:40 PM
I have bought a lot of JNAT stones in very different price ranges over the past few years. Main rule is that you get what you pay for. You can get very good quality stones for relatively little money by buying a smallish, ugly looking and irregularly shaped rock. There is, however, very slim chances to get a large stone of decent quality for little money. I have learnt that the hard way and I have a couple of very nice looking paper weights. Stick to people you trust and start small. Buy from vendors that accepts returns on expensive ($200+) stones. That way you can gain experience with JNATs and learn from your mistakes without having to sell your car. Also start with a softer stone on the fine grit side. Those rocks are by far the easiest to use and the most useful for your knives. If you are going to sharpen your straight razors you have to get a harder stone.

From my perspective my best JNATs are worth every penny I paid for them, even if some of them are significantly above the price range you mention in your post. The "mistakes" are pretty much useless as sharpeners, but are luckily relatively low cost stones (sub $100) and as they are pretty they make great paper weights in my office.

Good luck on your quest.

DarKHOeK

tk59
10-19-2011, 04:59 PM
Good question. I don't know. So far, I like my synthetics and naturals have been okay. If you sharpen all day, you want fast stones. That means synthetic. If you sharpen occasionally, you don't need your stone to last forever so that pretty much means synthetic. As for kasumi finishes, I've seen plenty of them done with something other than a natural stone. I still like the idea of using natural stones but I just haven't been blown away by anything yet other than Belgian coticule.

Eamon Burke
10-19-2011, 05:42 PM
Wow, I agree with everyone somehow

EdipisReks
10-19-2011, 06:38 PM
Good question. I don't know. So far, I like my synthetics and naturals have been okay. If you sharpen all day, you want fast stones. That means synthetic. If you sharpen occasionally, you don't need your stone to last forever so that pretty much means synthetic. As for kasumi finishes, I've seen plenty of them done with something other than a natural stone. I still like the idea of using natural stones but I just haven't been blown away by anything yet other than Belgian coticule.

can you talk more about the Belgian coticule?

wsfarrell
10-19-2011, 07:07 PM
My favorite finishing stone is a Narutaki tomae, here:

http://downtotheday.com/photos/narutaki.jpg

It looks beautiful, smells good, has a great feel, and in a way connects me with sword polishers from centuries ago (I'm talking tradition, not skill). It's 6k-8k, cuts fast, makes a little mud, and is all the finisher I need for kitchen knives.

I have synthetic stones that can do the same job, but this is usually the one I end up grabbing.

Worth every penny.

Darkhoek
10-19-2011, 07:26 PM
I just haven't been blown away by anything yet other than Belgian coticule.

Strange... The first natural I got was a Belgian coticule combo stone, but I can't seem to find any use for it anymore after getting some nice JNATs. It is very efficient and good looking, but to me it just feels wrong compared to my Japanese rocks. Go figure. Belgian coticule combo stone anyone? :)

DarKHOeK

DwarvenChef
10-19-2011, 07:47 PM
Personally I feel that what ever system works for you is what you should use. My own view points here are that synthetic stone go with my work duty knives (90% of my kitchen knives and others), while my natural stones go with my razors. I have Coticles and Jnats and enjoy them both, and would buy more of both of these natural stones for my razors.

For my kitchen, outdoor, and EDC's I like the toothier edge left by synthetic stones.
While my razors feel better from natural stones, this is purely a personal thing and each person needs to find what they like. Natural stones leave a "softer" edge (the feeling on ones face) vs synthetic that have a "sharper" feel. Both a soft and sharp feeling edge shave just as well and sharpen just the same. It's all part of the discovery of what works on a number of levels... I could go on but I'll leave it here and see what people want. :)

Chef Niloc
10-19-2011, 07:59 PM
Yes

aaronsgibson
10-19-2011, 08:04 PM
I would also have to agree that they are worth it. Not only does it negate having to buy more stones, but they last longer. For an example an aoto takes the place of stones from the 2k-5k finish and so on. I have three, an aoto, Jyunsyouhonyama, and Ozuku Asagi. While I can easily finish off any of my carbons, (I do prefer my naturals over synthetics for white and such steels) with the Jyunsyouhonyama, I do like to see how far I've come in sharpening so I'll also use my Asagi. If that makes any sense.

Lefty
10-19-2011, 08:11 PM
I'll take it, DarkHoek! :D

Lefty
10-19-2011, 08:15 PM
For me, the biggest thing is the buttery soft feel and splash and go advantage of a Jnat. Are they a necessity? For most, heck no. They sure are convenient, fun and effective though.

Dubsy
10-19-2011, 08:32 PM
Jyunsyouhonyama
something about that word makes me think you made it up, even though i know you didnt. its just a funny word.

as for me, i only have one natural stone.
http://www.woodcraft.com/Product/2004920/6180/Natural-Water-Stone-8-x-234-x-114.aspx
but i honestly dont use it. i just use a norton 8k to finish. personnally, i love norton stones. the 8K leaves a better polish than .3 micron paper, better feel too.

aaronsgibson
10-19-2011, 08:39 PM
haha yeah a few people I know ask me about the ones I have and when it comes to that one I normally just say "it's about 7 or 8 K" I don't even want to attempt to pronounce it :)

tk59
10-19-2011, 09:06 PM
can you talk more about the Belgian coticule?I don't actually know all that much about them but there are a number of different "types" if you can call them that. I've tried a few and the cream-colored stone is a very nice (supposedly 8k ish) finisher, imo. It's fast for a natural stone, the edge has plenty of bite to it and seems to last a long time. It's worked well on every steel I've tried it on. It does a decent job at a kasumi finish. The drawback is the hardness. It's not great for blending.

@DarkHoek: I haven't given up on the J-nats. I just haven't found something that makes me crazy about them at this point although I do like the wet earth smell...

Justin0505
10-19-2011, 10:41 PM
Funny that this post should come the first week that I stopped asking myself the same question and just went ahead a bought my first J-nat from Jon at JKI:
http://www.japaneseknifeimports.com/shop/media/catalog/product/cache/1/image/800x600/518a337f71d8af45c99bc01d0812e43a/i/m/img_0035_1_1.jpg
http://www.japaneseknifeimports.com/sharpening-supplies/shiage-toishi/takashima-awasedo-large.html#

I think that this question is very similar to "is a $1000 honyaki really worth it?" and what it really comes down to is your own personal perception and enjoyment.

I really enjoy the sensory experience of sharpening on it: the smell is the first thing that I noticed: like a wonderful mix of summer rain on hot sidewalk, potter's clay, and slate chalkboard... with a dash of "spice" from freshly cut steel. Visually they look cool even dry or wet before sharpening, but the visual experience of seeing a sparkling edge develop behind a thin layer of pale mud and watching the mud wear finer and finer is really fun too. The sound and "feel" are also very different from a synthetic.

As will any quality piece of equipment, I think that the end result is far more dependent on the operator.

I also own an edgepro pro system and some synthetics over 10K. Just like my j-nat it makes really sharp edges, its just a different experience.... it all depends on what you're into. - I like variety.

karloevaristo
10-19-2011, 10:48 PM
follow-up...

i've read it hundreds of times in other posts that it's always best to flatten your stone just before you start sharpening... My question is...

would you flatten a $500 Jnat just before sharpening? I feel that it's the same as draining 5 bucks down the sink every time you do... hehe

Justin0505
10-19-2011, 11:23 PM
I don't flatten my stones very often. I follow the Carter method of trying to even the stone out by using different parts of it. However, flattening a j-nat wouldnt be a total waste as the mud created is useful.... just don't wash it down the drain.

mr drinky
10-19-2011, 11:35 PM
Funny that this post should come the first week that I stopped asking myself the same question and just went ahead a bought my first J-nat from Jon at JKI:
http://www.japaneseknifeimports.com/shop/media/catalog/product/cache/1/image/800x600/518a337f71d8af45c99bc01d0812e43a/i/m/img_0035_1_1.jpg
http://www.japaneseknifeimports.com/sharpening-supplies/shiage-toishi/takashima-awasedo-large.html#

I think that this question is very similar to "is a $1000 honyaki really worth it?" and what it really comes down to is your own personal perception and enjoyment.

I really enjoy the sensory experience of sharpening on it: the smell is the first thing that I noticed: like a wonderful mix of summer rain on hot sidewalk, potter's clay, and slate chalkboard... with a dash of "spice" from freshly cut steel. Visually they look cool even dry or wet before sharpening, but the visual experience of seeing a sparkling edge develop behind a thin layer of pale mud and watching the mud wear finer and finer is really fun too. The sound and "feel" are also very different from a synthetic.

As will any quality piece of equipment, I think that the end result is far more dependent on the operator.

I also own an edgepro pro system and some synthetics over 10K. Just like my j-nat it makes really sharp edges, its just a different experience.... it all depends on what you're into. - I like variety.

That's a great description and a perty stone. Just be careful, Justin, how you use that last line "...it all depends on what you're into. - I like variety."

k.

Justin0505
10-19-2011, 11:47 PM
That's a great description and a perty stone. Just be careful, Justin, how you use that last line "...it all depends on what you're into. - I like variety."

k.

HA! I use that line in many different contexts (but those are subjects for other forums), and "careful" is usually not high on my list, but I guess it's nice sometimes too.

Dave Martell
10-20-2011, 12:31 AM
Are the expensive japanese natural stones worth the price?

Not all of them are.....Precise(ly) worth the price

Darkhoek
10-20-2011, 03:15 AM
follow-up...

i've read it hundreds of times in other posts that it's always best to flatten your stone just before you start sharpening... My question is...

would you flatten a $500 Jnat just before sharpening? I feel that it's the same as draining 5 bucks down the sink every time you do... hehe

Flattening before sharpening depends on what I will be sharpening. For double sided edges, especially with a curve on the edge and a hamaguriba grind, an absolutely flat stone is not that important. For an Usuba or a Yangiba, however, flatness is critical.

DarKHOeK

mainaman
10-20-2011, 07:31 AM
something about that word makes me think you made it up, even though i know you didnt. its just a funny word.

as for me, i only have one natural stone.
http://www.woodcraft.com/Product/2004920/6180/Natural-Water-Stone-8-x-234-x-114.aspx
but i honestly dont use it. i just use a norton 8k to finish. personnally, i love norton stones. the 8K leaves a better polish than .3 micron paper, better feel too.
your nat stone is the Chinese supposedly 12k natural stone, that is totally different than a Jnat.


@OP yes they are worth, the quality ones anyway.
Maksim sell top notch stones here, talk to him and see what he can tell you.
I can say a natural does not present the wire edge problems that synthetics do when used properly.

maxim
10-20-2011, 09:46 AM
I dont know guys i use mine Jnats for mono steel too and with very good results.
They are very fast too compered to they fines !!
About that grit rating try to polish your knife on 10k or 12 k then on your Jnat and see scratches under good lighting.
On mine they are much finer and smaller then on 12k Naniwas !
You also have to remember they are much more shallower then on synthetic stones, that you can not see with your eyes !

Here is little demo on my mono steel Sakai Takayuki carbon steel:
My JNS1k and Ohira Renge only 2 stone sharpening


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IY56GFHc3xg

Mike
10-20-2011, 03:04 PM
Thanks for the video maxim, now off to drain my bank account... A while ago I bought a couple of cheaper stones and thought it would be it and the bug was gone, but after seeing your videos, I'm itching to buy a few more.