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Thread: What defines a beginner finishing stone? Rika 5k, Arashiyama 6k, Gesshin 4k & 6k?

  1. #1
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    What defines a beginner finishing stone? Rika 5k, Arashiyama 6k, Gesshin 4k & 6k?

    I have a Bester 1200 and want to get a good finishing stone, looking at the Suehiro Rika 5k, Arashiyama 6k, Gesshin 4k, Gesshin 6k.

    I've often read that the Suehiro Rika 5k is a good 'beginner's stone.' My question is, what defines a beginner stone? Is it ease of use, or just cost related?

    My sharpening skills are decent for a beginner, can hold a steady angle—but I'm still learning. Any advice would be appreciated—especially on the stones mentioned. My knives are mostly carbon.

  2. #2
    Actually, of those I've only ever used the Arashiyama but I'm sure they're all great options in the sense that they're easy and pleasant to sharpen on.

    There might be other factors to consider, however, which are related to care. For example, are they soakers or not, does one dish more than others, do any have a rep for cracking. In my case I think long ago I made a mistake and soaked my Arashiyama and it developed cracks, though just hairline, and was probably saved due to it being mounted on a stand. I didn't know any better at the time.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Asteger View Post
    Actually, of those I've only ever used the Arashiyama but I'm sure they're all great options in the sense that they're easy and pleasant to sharpen on.

    There might be other factors to consider, however, which are related to care. For example, are they soakers or not, does one dish more than others, do any have a rep for cracking. In my case I think long ago I made a mistake and soaked my Arashiyama and it developed cracks, though just hairline, and was probably saved due to it being mounted on a stand. I didn't know any better at the time.
    Good point about stone care. I've been thinking that the splash and go stones would be a good option.

  4. #4
    I think the main thing a beginner might want in a finisher would be something a little on the softer side. Super hard stones are not very forgiving, and can result in "faceted" edges if not used properly. Of the ones you mentioned, I like the Rika---after it soaks for an hour or so.

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    The more I play with stones, the more I'm convinced the word "beginner" is mostly used to identify good practical purchases while trying to justify a larger collection. After the "beginner" stone is acquired, one can either stay where they are (which generally is not a disadvantage in the sharpening game), or can more easily move in a direction of preference (softer/harder, soaker/splasher, size, feel, whatever).

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by XooMG View Post
    The more I play with stones, the more I'm convinced the word "beginner" is mostly used to identify good practical purchases while trying to justify a larger collection. After the "beginner" stone is acquired, one can either stay where they are (which generally is not a disadvantage in the sharpening game), or can more easily move in a direction of preference (softer/harder, soaker/splasher, size, feel, whatever).
    + 1. you get the beginner set. Then you want bits and pieces to polish and get the edges perfect. Then you wonder what the heck is special about natural stones. Then it's too late.

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by DitmasPork View Post
    I have a Bester 1200 and want to get a good finishing stone, looking at the Suehiro Rika 5k, Arashiyama 6k, Gesshin 4k, Gesshin 6k.

    I've often read that the Suehiro Rika 5k is a good 'beginner's stone.' My question is, what defines a beginner stone? Is it ease of use, or just cost related?

    My sharpening skills are decent for a beginner, can hold a steady angle—but I'm still learning. Any advice would be appreciated—especially on the stones mentioned. My knives are mostly carbon.
    They are cheaper than average and easier in it's usage IMO, and probably cheaper to produce as well. I've never thought of the Rika as a beginner's stone though. Cuts many steels fast enough and the feedback is very much to my liking. Also, higher cost stones do not always equal better stones overall. Rika is an exceptional buy for the money. Definitely consider one if you haven't decided yet.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by mistascoopa View Post
    They are cheaper than average and easier in it's usage IMO, and probably cheaper to produce as well. I've never thought of the Rika as a beginner's stone though. Cuts many steels fast enough and the feedback is very much to my liking. Also, higher cost stones do not always equal better stones overall. Rika is an exceptional buy for the money. Definitely consider one if you haven't decided yet.
    What's creating some major indecision is reading too many great stone reviews—and thinking that if I will someday upgrade the stones, why not just buy the best stones I can? I think I'm leaning towards the Rika, mainly because of the consistent reviews and lower price point. Had thought that the convenience of a Gesh splash n go would be good, but the Rika seems a wiser choice at this stage of my sharpening skills.

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by DitmasPork View Post
    What's creating some major indecision is reading too many great stone reviews—and thinking that if I will someday upgrade the stones, why not just buy the best stones I can? I think I'm leaning towards the Rika, mainly because of the consistent reviews and lower price point. Had thought that the convenience of a Gesh splash n go would be good, but the Rika seems a wiser choice at this stage of my sharpening skills.
    I think what makes a stone 'best' is a very subjective thing. The Rika is a good starting point to figuring out what you like - it's inexpensive, it feels great, cuts fast, & leaves a really nice, toothy edge. If you don't mind soaking (and with your Bester you can leave them both in a bucket 24/7), it's what I'd recommend.

    There are a lot of great options in the 3-6k range. Once you get familiar with a Rika you could then decide if you want a slightly coarser edge, or a more refined one, if you want to go Splash & Go or stick with soakers, if you want something soft & muddy like the Rika or something harder.

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by DitmasPork View Post
    What's creating some major indecision is reading too many great stone reviews—and thinking that if I will someday upgrade the stones, why not just buy the best stones I can? I think I'm leaning towards the Rika
    Sure, at $50 or less ($30 or less in Japan without shipping) I think there's no risk.

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