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Dave Martell
07-20-2012, 10:00 AM
http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_8pygLC__Eu4/Sqp-Km7uLKI/AAAAAAAAADo/ffrA-dqKpms/s1600/P1010020.JPG


I've recently been (once again) reacquainted with the qualities of this unique stone and thought that I'd re-post an old blog article I wrote years ago to share my thoughts on how this stone works.



The Misunderstood Kitayama


If there's ever been a stone that's been misused, misread, misdiagnosed, and mislabeled then it's got to be this one - The Kitayama 8000x.

I could go into great detail about all of this but I'll spare you my thoughts and instead provide a few things I feel to be facts that will hopefully explain why this stone is so misunderstood and often, as a result, mislabeled and misused.

Besides being labeled as an 8k stone it has little more than this in common with other stones in this grit range. Typically an 8k stone will sort of pull along a 4-6k grit edge to a mirror polish very quickly while at the same time will provide an even crisper "bitier" (yeah I know it's not a real word) edge but this isn't something that the Kitayama does. If used as an "8k stone" it will fail in comparison to others as it does not appear to refine lesser edges easily.

Over the years I've had an off and on relationship with this stone. I've tried many times to stop using it simply because I wanted to reduce the number of stones I was using on each knife and I wondered if this stone was doing any good at all. One thing that's become evident to me in all this time is that it's role seems to be that of an edge finisher much more so than a typical 8k stone. I've found it's best used following great polishing stones such as a Naniwa Chosera or SuperStone 10k or the like. It seems to take what these stones do and make it better. This is why I tend to think of it as a "finishing stone". I also have some theories on it providing increased edge retention but this isn't anything that I could prove so I won't go into that here.

For the surface finish (or appearance) that this stone imparts it's often been labeled as a stone that provides a cloudy hazy appearance and to this I used to agree with, however, since I've stopped using this as a stand alone 8k and now follow other polishing stones with it, I get deep mirror luster instead. The finish it provides me often imparts a depth of color which transforms bright shiny edges to a deep darker 3D appearing sort of a look. I'll often see extremely fine wispy lines within the reflections. I'm assuming that the wispy lines come from the natural stone particles contained within the stone's matrix but I have no way to know if this is true or not.

For me the Kitayama (http://www.japaneseknifesharpeningstore.com/ProductDetails.asp?ProductCode=Kita8000)is a stone that I just can't seem to live without.

markenki
07-20-2012, 10:42 AM
Thanks, Dave. I should try this stone soon. The one I bought from you some time ago remains unused!

K-Fed
07-20-2012, 10:51 AM
I was finishing up my under used yanagiba with the kitiyama about 10 minutes ago thinking about this very write up. I wouldn't want to do without it either. Great read for anyone who hasn't used or gotten a grip on the stone.

jm2hill
07-20-2012, 02:33 PM
I have one that I use to finish single bevels. I like it. Its different from any other stone I own but after a good go on a 6k I use this to finish off the edge and it gets them nice and sharp.

EdipisReks
07-20-2012, 05:40 PM
i love my kitayama.

Crothcipt
07-20-2012, 07:57 PM
Just what I have been looking for. May be a couple mo.'s but on the list.

Justin0505
07-23-2012, 02:38 AM
Thanks for the the concise write up Dave. As you said, getting a straight story on this stone has been pretty difficult and your write-up cleared up the confusion for me.

I currently finish with 2 j-nats: a takashima awasedo and an Atagoyama. However, it's hard to get an even finish on my single bevels with the Atagoyama and while very even, the takashima is just a tad too coarse for a mirror polish. I've been lusting after some pricey j-nat finishers, but this might be a more reasonable option to try first.

Thanks!

Duckfat
07-31-2012, 09:08 AM
I seriously dig my Kitayama.

Dave

Dave Martell
09-04-2015, 02:52 PM
:bump: for some Kitayama love!

Zwiefel
09-04-2015, 03:05 PM
:bump: for some Kitayama love!

My sharpening skills aren't worth mentioning in the company of the people on this forum....but I will echo what you said about the edge...in every case that I've used the Kitayama, I've gotten a very definite mirror finish....and I've never found that it left the edge too refined for how I used knives in my kitchen.

FWIW, my progression is (I don't always use all of these stone, but this would be "the works"):

pink brick (not even sure what the grit is on this? 120?)
400 gesshin
1000 gesshin/1000 mizayuma
5000 mizayuma
8000 kitayama

TheDispossessed
09-04-2015, 03:59 PM
To totally add some confusion to the mix....
Not to go against what has been said by Dave here but,
I swear I worked with a kid who rocked a suisin IH petty all day and that thing was sharp as could be, his knife work was near impeccable. And he only used a kitayama every night, occasionally he said, the 6k arashiyama.
It boggled my mind a little especially because we used poly boards.
Having said that, I do very much like my kitayama and got a screaming deal on it at MTC kitchen, i paid less than $60 with tax because i worked for a company they discounted to.

mkriggen
09-04-2015, 04:06 PM
Despite having read this thread, when I first got my Kitayama I used it following following a Gesshin 4k. My reason for doing this was simple... I'm not very good at listening. I now use it following a Gesshin 8k and am much happier with the results.

Be well,
Mikey

Dave Martell
09-04-2015, 04:11 PM
My all time favorite use of this stone is on yanagibas. I will use it only on the core steel bevel to bring up a shine (that has those cool little wispy lines in it) and also on the back side. Then I strop the front bevel on felt (loaded with diamond spray) and hit the back side on the Kitayama - back and forth like this a few times until I raise the hair on my neck when I touch the edge. Oh yeah! :D

mkriggen
09-04-2015, 04:18 PM
To totally add some confusion to the mix....
Not to go against what has been said by Dave here but,
I swear I worked with a kid who rocked a suisin IH petty all day and that thing was sharp as could be, his knife work was near impeccable. And he only used a kitayama every night, occasionally he said, the 6k arashiyama.
It boggled my mind a little especially because we used poly boards.
Having said that, I do very much like my kitayama and got a screaming deal on it at MTC kitchen, i paid less than $60 with tax because i worked for a company they discounted to.

Actually, I don't find this confusing at all. Just based on my limited experience as a home cook, I'm convinced that my knife skill is the largest factor determining my edge retention. Unfortunately, I would grade my knife skills somewhere below my sharpening skills (which itself is nothing to brag about). But they're getting better, and my edges are lasting much longer as they do. So the idea that someone with great knife skills could get by with just a touchup every night on a Kitayama does not really surprise me.

Be well,
Mikey

Newbflat
11-21-2015, 07:21 PM
Kind of an old thread but hay...

I bought my first Kitayama somthing getting close to 20 years ago and have got threw two of them. Not that many in all those years but I'm not a professional sharpener. When I got my first stone there were no forums around to help me out with stones or anything for that matter. It took a few years with it befor I liked it. I thought it was ok and definitely sharpened my tools and knives but so did my King 8000. After a while I started to use the stone difrently. Mostly a lot more slurry and a lot dryer. More a thick paste than a wet slurry. Also I was using more pressure as well. Doing this the slurry would turn black and my blade would shine like a mirror. So for me using the stone with a dryer slurry really more a paste and more pressure helped a lot. But the stone was less forgiving like that and you must watch your edge or you will do some digging. I never used it after a 'finer' stone, I always always used it as a finish stone. It would really well in polishing the backs of carving tools to a mirror so they glide along the surface of wood with ease. It just seemed to be a 'greaser' shine than most for lack of better words. I don't really use it much anymore as I don't do nearly as much woodworking as I use to. Sometimes I bust it out jus fore fun.... Oh!... Shiny.

Is this how you spokesperson the stone Dave? Dryish and with more pressure?

Bill


Bill

Dave Martell
11-25-2015, 02:27 PM
I don't run the Kitayama on the dry side (not on purpose anyway) but I do use a lot of pressure and feel this makes a difference.

richard
04-15-2016, 08:37 PM
Have a question for Dave or others who regularly use the Kitayama. Would it be a good stone to follow up as a finishing stone after the Arashiyama 6000 (aka Takenoko 8000) on Western J-knives? Currently my progression is Shapton 1000->Naniwa SS 5000->Arashiyama, which I am happy with, and I'm trying to figure out if it's a good idea to add a Kitayama to this progression.

I do also have a Naniwa SS 10000 that I rarely use, except to polish wide bevels or occasionally single bevel knives for friends, and from Dave's post it seems the Kitayama is a really good stone to follow the SS 10000 with, although I think going to SS 10000 and then Kitayama doesn't really make a lot of sense for Western J-knives...or am I wrong on this? (This progression would be good down the road if I get into high-end single bevels, I guess)

TB_London
04-15-2016, 09:14 PM
What is lacking from the edge you currently get

jacko9
04-15-2016, 10:20 PM
I bought this stone from Japan Woodworker the last weekend their retail store was open and only recently have discovered how great it is. I have been using it as a edge tune up stone much like a strop and it yields a great refined edge. It's quite different than my Shapton Glass 8K - much more refined.

ThEoRy
04-15-2016, 10:33 PM
For western style (double bevel) knives the kitiyama is overkill. I usually stop those knives at 5k. Anything more and the edge is just to slippery and won't retain as long.

richard
04-15-2016, 11:25 PM
What is lacking from the edge you currently get

Nothing really...but curious to possibly try out this well known stone.

Also curious to see what mirror polish I could achieve with this in combination with the Naniwa SS 10000, but admittedly this is somewhat impractical right now as I don't have any single bevels :-P

Dave Martell
04-18-2016, 02:21 PM
Have a question for Dave or others who regularly use the Kitayama. Would it be a good stone to follow up as a finishing stone after the Arashiyama 6000 (aka Takenoko 8000) on Western J-knives?

Not really. IMO the Kitayama is not a true 8k, meaning it doesn't really provide an 8k edge all by itself, it won't pull a 6k edge to 8k. This isn't saying that the Kitayama won't give better results here (it might) but it's just not how I use it for any practical purpose.






I do also have a Naniwa SS 10000 that I rarely use, except to polish wide bevels or occasionally single bevel knives for friends, and from Dave's post it seems the Kitayama is a really good stone to follow the SS 10000 with, although I think going to SS 10000 and then Kitayama doesn't really make a lot of sense for Western J-knives...or am I wrong on this? (This progression would be good down the road if I get into high-end single bevels, I guess)

Yes, this is exactly what I use the Kitiyama for, following good 8-10k (and even higher grit) stones. The Kitayama seems to offer edge refinement following almost any high grit stone. As you noted doing this type of thing on western Japanese knives (like gyutos) doesn't make much sense but for single bevel knives the edge can get pretty scary, and useful, with this level of refinement.

richard
04-18-2016, 11:27 PM
Thanks Dave for confirming my suspicions about the Kitayama. I think I'll hold off in pulling the trigger on the Kitayama for now, but definitely keeping it in mind if pursuing single bevel nirvana!