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View Full Version : Natural Stones - If you could only have one



JasonD
08-02-2012, 05:54 AM
So I've been thinking about taking the plunge into natural stones and I wanted to pick your brains a bit. I don't have a ton of money and I definitely won't be buying more than one for quite some time. Assuming you have decent synthetic stones from 500-10k, what would you look for in your first natural stone. I should add this is with a focus entirely on edge quality and will be used on double beveled carbon steel knives. The beauty of its kasumi finish on a single bevel isn't a priority for me.

I know they can vary a lot so it's not always the most productive discussion to try and talk about a specific stone, but perhaps something more general? Do you think something in the Aoto grit range and then either left as-is or finished with a synthetic 8-10k would be a nicer "toothy smooth" edge that everyone claims comes from the naturals? Or would it be better to set up synthetics up to 2-5k and then finish with a natural (something like the Takashima Awasedo comes to mind here).

What would you guys get first, and why?

Keith Neal
08-02-2012, 06:09 AM
"finish with a natural (something like the Takashima Awasedo comes to mind here)."

The Takashima Awasedo puts a marvelous edge on my knives.

mainaman
08-02-2012, 07:04 AM
you need something higher than Aoto, anything that is lvl 3.5-4 will be good IMO. There are many mines that produces such stones to you need to talk to the seller and figure out what will work best for your needs.

bieniek
08-02-2012, 07:26 AM
If I could only buy one, [and my stone setup for quite some time now is only 3 natural stones + JNS 1K for rough work and DMT for extra rough work], and its purpose would be to give excellent edges to double bevel knives, I would get quite hard [I have Maxims white binsui] low grit natural and set of naguras.

that gives you one sharpening medium with wide spectrum of grits, and gives very sharp edge.

Other advantage is it costs like under 100 $ plus three naguras would give you 150 bucks total, and you dont need anything more really.

JasonD
08-02-2012, 08:03 AM
A set of naguras? Is the point to have a wide range of "grits" of different naguras to build up their muds on the stone? I hadn't thought of this before. I always just assume nagura = "slurry stone" but more in the form of working up your main stone's own slurry than imparting a foreign one.

mainaman
08-02-2012, 08:08 AM
A set of naguras? Is the point to have a wide range of "grits" of different naguras to build up their muds on the stone? I hadn't thought of this before. I always just assume nagura = "slurry stone" but more in the form of working up your main stone's own slurry than imparting a foreign one.
Nagura is a type of stone that produces slurry to sharpen with, slurry stone is for example a diamond plate it produces slurry from the sharpening stone. There are many different kinds of naguras with different properties, the term Nagura is used incorrectly on the forums, instead of slurry stone.

pitonboy
08-02-2012, 08:38 AM
Where are you located? Maybe I could lend you a couple to play with if you are not across the world.

pitonboy
08-02-2012, 08:41 AM
Where are you located? Maybe I could lend you a couple to play with if you are not across the world. What knives and steel are you planning to sharpen, and what are you cutting, and home vs. pro?

jgraeff
08-02-2012, 08:53 AM
I've tried quite a few I like the takashima from Jon the best it leaves a very fine edge but still very toothy and doesn't wear down too fast. I never use nagura just start with more pressure to build mud and slowly lighten pressure as I go. Depends on what you want though.

bieniek
08-02-2012, 09:36 AM
A set of naguras? Is the point to have a wide range of "grits" of different naguras to build up their muds on the stone? I hadn't thought of this before. I always just assume nagura = "slurry stone" but more in the form of working up your main stone's own slurry than imparting a foreign one.

Yes, Im talking about adding grit from, lets call it, slurry stone. Binsui doesnt produce much mud plus imho works faster with lot slurry
I have three different naguras and sometimes I import mud from aoto [i muds like hell] to binsui, It might sound like blasphemy but hey, I get the result.

Cutty Sharp
08-02-2012, 12:18 PM
I was wondering about the same overall question, though I already have one Jnat. Still, interesting discussion for me, so please keep it going!

zitangy
08-02-2012, 02:36 PM
personally,for sharpening most of the time, I prefer a cross contamination of 1000 grit + whatever higher grits that I am finishing it with. Hopefully this will also leave some 1000 grit striations on the edge adn thus a "toothy" edge . ONly reason I use a 1000 grit slurry stone is because a smaller version of this stone of is available.

For polishing esp on single bevel knives.. I use a cheap diamond plate as my nagura. However, do ensure that the plate is seasoned to the extent all the loose diamond flakes / particles have come off. Otherwise it will scratch the surface. You will know as it the scratchy sound will be audible..

Try it out and stick to whatever works for you .

hv fun.
rgds
d

Keith Neal
08-02-2012, 02:55 PM
Most of the time my Takashima Awasedo is used just for touch-ups. I leave the slurry on it, let it dry, and just re-wet it next time. This avoids having to build a slurry each time.

chinacats
08-02-2012, 02:59 PM
Most of the time my Takashima Awasedo is used just for touch-ups. I leave the slurry on it, let it dry, and just re-wet it next time. This avoids having to build a slurry each time.

That makes perfect sense!

GlassEye
08-02-2012, 03:11 PM
Most of the time my Takashima Awasedo is used just for touch-ups. I leave the slurry on it, let it dry, and just re-wet it next time. This avoids having to build a slurry each time.

I also leave the mud on my stones, never heard of anyone else doing the same.

Cutty Sharp
08-02-2012, 03:22 PM
I also leave the mud on my stones, never heard of anyone else doing the same.

Me too!

AddictforLife
08-02-2012, 03:35 PM
I also leave the mud on my stones, never heard of anyone else doing the same.

I also leave the mud on the stone, i'm just to lazy to clean up since I use it everyday. It seem like a lot of former co-worker only use a 1k stone.

Eamon Burke
08-02-2012, 03:59 PM
Don't you guys who leave mud on the stone have a problem with it accumulating rust?

heirkb
08-02-2012, 04:03 PM
Or dust?

Justin0505
08-02-2012, 04:08 PM
I also have the Takashima as awasedo and I also leave the mud on it.
I only have one other jnat, but the Tak' is my favorite stone even compared to all the synthetics Ive used.

Its not the best stone for polishing, but it creates my ideal "all round" edge (fine, but still a little toothy.) and is just about perfect as a touch up stone for taking a 70-80% edge back to 100%.

I doubt you will find another jnat this good for under $500 much less the $200 that it costs.

Keith Neal
08-02-2012, 04:08 PM
Don't you guys who leave mud on the stone have a problem with it accumulating rust?

Interesting. I hadn't thought of that. And since the stone is rust colored, I might not notice. My use of it involves very little metal removal, so I probably just didn't see any. Would it hurt anything?

bieniek
08-02-2012, 04:21 PM
I live mud on all naturals and never had any rusting problem. But never the slurry of off sharpening stainless - that I wash of the stone before i start on carbons

never even thought of that.

Eamon Burke
08-02-2012, 04:36 PM
hmm. Interesting. I can see some rust on my Rika 5k if I just leave it muddy whilst stropping. I come back, and it's all reddish-brown.

I'm not sure if rust would have a negative effect on sharpening. I never tried it, I just keep them clean instinctively.

I notice the difference if I share mud from different knives because of the swarf in the mud. Sometimes it's a bit extra scratchy, or loads up the stone.

*edit*
Sorry, a bit :offtopic:

To add to the OP's thread more constructively:
I have gotten to a pretty happy place with my synthetics, and recently have crept down the rabbit hole of naturals. I am really very interested in the one-stone-solution thing, but it is not appearing as clear cut as that. So I do not have one natural I would use exclusively, yet. I am still testing them, in combination with different slurry methods, strops, steels, etc. They sure do feel good though.

Taz575
08-02-2012, 05:49 PM
I dove head first down the Natural hole! I have a bunch of synthetics: Kings 1000/6000 combo, 800, Shapton Pro 2K, Henkels ceramic 3000/8000, Rika 5K, Beston 1200 and a cheap 600 grit. For Naturals, I have a cheap Chinese Natural in 12K from woodcraft, an Ozuka Asagi Koppa (spelling???), small Monzen, a Blue Aoto that is a mix of natural and synthetic, and just got a Shobu San, Kyushu Ohmura and an Amakusa. Which do I like the best?? No idea :) I would say something in a mid range 4-6K as this gives a nice toothy edge that I like and is great for quick touch ups. The edge off the Rika 5K is nice for this, but the edge off of the Ozuka Asagi (??) is ridiculous sharp; toothy and smooth at the same time.

If I was going to get 1 natural stone, it would be a fine/hard finisher stone like the Takashima Awasedo (large or medium) if you can swing it or a Ozuku Asagi (Koppa) (smaller stone) if you are on a really tight budget. Then add in a medium Natural like an Aoto or a step below your highest and work your way down the grits if you want.

cwrightthruya
08-02-2012, 06:07 PM
Admittedly, a finishing stone is all I really need. Whether that would be a tsushima nagura, Ohira renge suita, or Atagoyama, I can't say because I use them all for different purposes (knives, steels, etc). But, I do know that, for me, going into the coarser grits on naturals is more about having fun than about necessity.

Mingooch
08-02-2012, 06:09 PM
I would vote for the Ozuku Asagi, love that finish. Toothy for such a high grit finish.

JasonD
08-02-2012, 07:35 PM
I'm surprised no one has spoken up for a more middle grit stone. How many times have I read reviews of Aotos/similar that really extend the life of the edges people are getting? Even with the same finishing stone. While the idea along bieniek's line of thinking (with a rougher stone and a few nagura to change the mud you're working with) is quite interesting. I don't know that I'm honestly a good enough sharpener at the moment to really make a system like that work. And it would be pretty discouraging to get a new "natural system" set up and not be able to produce great results from a technique issue. Maybe I'm selling myself short, but it's a concern.

I don't just want this to be a discussion for my shopping purposes though. For the guys that are used to getting the "full mileage" out of a stone's capabilities, would you rather have something that starts in the 3-5k range and try to stretch it? Or just use a finisher that you found and like that for sake of discussion is closer to the 8-10k+ range? All of this in the context of double beveled knives, and I suppose this would also somewhat be running into the discussion of where you determine to be over-sharpening.

mainaman
08-02-2012, 07:48 PM
I mentioned mid range stones in my previous post. Aoto is not mid range unless you can find a really good one, common aotos are in the 2k range.
High end 4-5k range Aoto is really really hard to find and very expensive. You need to look into softer Hakka, Takashima, Atago stones, for higher level finisher you might want to look Ohira, Atagoyama, softer Ozuko etc.

Cutty Sharp
08-02-2012, 10:32 PM
Was wondering, for you natural stone gurus out there, aside from reading and discussing on this forum, have you found any particularly good source of info on stones? The Jnat world is kind of daunting.


Last edited by JasonD; 08-03-2012 at 08:37 AM. Reason: I accidentally a word

Poor guy! Now he'll have to go and edit this editting comment as well.

mainaman
08-02-2012, 11:04 PM
Was wondering, for you natural stone gurus out there, aside from reading and discussing on this forum, have you found any particularly good source of info on stones? The Jnat world is kind of daunting.



Poor guy! Now he'll have to go and edit this editting comment as well.
In a nutshell
The slurry breaks down as you work it
You should buy from a reputable seller that has tested the stone for you to make sure it will work for your purposes.
All the info about mines and and strata is just extra information that does not matter for the stone performance, but can matter for price.

cwrightthruya
08-02-2012, 11:13 PM
In a nutshell
The slurry breaks down as you work it
You should buy from a reputable seller that has tested the stone for you to make sure it will work for your purposes.
All the info about mines and and strata is just extra information that does not matter for the stone performance, but can matter for price.

+1

cwrightthruya
08-02-2012, 11:13 PM
I would add. No 2 natural stones are alike.

jgraeff
08-02-2012, 11:34 PM
The midrange natural does help the edge I get and helps it last longer however if you don't have the skill it won't matter. Took me a really long time to get even a decent edge as far as lasting took me even longer. Never changed my equipment really and now I get much sharper and longer lasting edges on all my knives.

I use the 400 gesshin, 1k minosharp, red aoto, takashima awasedo.

Honestly normally just use the two jnats unless I need to set a new bevel or repair work. Love the combo!

Tristan
08-03-2012, 01:50 AM
If it was just one natural after a synthetic, might for for a 3.5-4 stone? I use only one Jnat typically after a chosera 5K, as my finisher, then I strop it for like 5 strokes per side.

Cutty Sharp
08-03-2012, 08:19 AM
Was wondering, for you natural stone gurus out there, aside from reading and discussing on this forum, have you found any particularly good source of info on stones? The Jnat world is kind of daunting.
In a nutshell The slurry breaks down as you work it You should buy from a reputable seller that has tested the stone for you to make sure it will work for your purposes. All the info about mines and and strata is just extra information that does not matter for the stone performance, but can matter for price.

Thanks guys. Yes, I know. But what I said and meant was I'm interested in sources of info on this. Me, I actually want to know something about the location of the different mines, the names, strata, characteristics. Even the historical role of these mines and stones is interesting. There should be a book.

Cutty Sharp
08-03-2012, 09:32 AM
http://www.japan-tool.com/tech_knlg/toishi/Natural_Stone_Mines.html

This kind of info is interesting, but there's not too much of it around.

Taz575
08-03-2012, 10:31 AM
Some good info here:

http://www.japanesenaturalstones.com/JNS-WiKi-s/1821.htm

Cutty Sharp
08-05-2012, 03:19 PM
Tah!