Supplemental Jnat finisher
Having spent more and more time with my Jnats I have decided that I am looking for something else in a finishing stone. What I currently use is a Yaginoshima Asagi. There is nothing wrong with this stone and I would like to keep it around to see what Naka-to it best pairs with, but there are some things about it that are not working for me in my progression at the moment.
The stone is not hard like my Shobudani Mizu Asagi, which I use for razors. It is much harder than any other stones that I have, though. These are said to be around the 3.5-4 range but I think mine is closer to Lv4. Without first raising a little mud it is a little too hard and glassy but still gets the job done, just a little slower than I would like. With a mud raised it is still almost harder than I would like. The issue is that jumping to it from either my Tajima, Ikarashi or Binsui seems like a little too much work for it.
I had asked about bridging the gap before and I can do that with Tsushima but I prefer that stone for my razors. So rather than go that route I was thinking that there might be something better suited to work in conjunction with the Naka-to stones that I have. Maybe something a little softer and faster. Nothing to extreme, though.
I use non wide double knives almost exclusively. For this particular job I have found that I am not overly fond of very muddy stones. Nothing wrong with some mud or even a moderate amount of it but nothing like my soft aoto that bleeds mud when I look at it.
So here is where I am at. I have been looking at the usual suspects. Hideriyama, Oouchi, Takashima and Ohira. Now, a lot of trusted dealers seem to carry an overlap of these stones. JNS, JKI, Aframes and Watanabe. The issue is that none of these guys seem to use the same scale for hardness so I am not sure what to expect when looking at stones.
From my understanding of reading this forum, Aframes typically carries stones that are harder than the JNS and JKI. Watanabe low balls the hardness, IE if he says it is a six then it is often a seven. Jon and Maxim normally have softer stones unless otherwise stated. That is my take away from reading hundreds of thread here. The problem is that I have nothing to apply that information to.
So, if looking at Aframes what should I be looking for? Anything that is at 8-8.2? These seem to be what he calls softer finishing stone. With Watanabe something that is 6-7? JNS and JKI are a little more straight forward.
That out of the way: any thoughts on picking up an Ohira that is not a suita? I assume these are Tomae but that does not really seem important. I ask because I see a lot of Ohira, asagi/kiita/iromono etc listed on a few of these sites that seem to have the same relative hardness as the suita and have a description saying that they are fairly fast. Thing is, they are much, much more affordable.
Sorry for the giant wall of text, I am just lost in a sea of stones. As I said, I have a number (a growing number) of Naka-to stones and those I have a better understanding of. However, I think it is time to start playing with Awase-do.
As an aside, I know someone is going to say it. Yes, I don't need these stones but I do want to try more of them. I have plenty of synthetic stones and that is just not what I am looking for.
Any advice you can offer would be much appreciated.
Yeah, the hardness scales can be a real pain to interpret and honestly, its also down to the user. What feels hard to Watanabe might feel softer to you. Likewise, if you've only ever used softer stones, a med-hard suita can feel very hard indeed. For instance, I have four ohira suitas and my interpretation of their various levels of hardness doesn't necessarily line up with what I might have been given to believe by the respective scales of their sellers. I think it best to directly ask sellers specifically about a stone. Often they will dig it out, use it and give better info.
That aside, I've got an ohira kiita I picked up recently (about Lvl 3, for whatever that's worth to you...) and from my use of it, it sounds like it could be right up your alley. Its softer than my ohira suitas and does not mud excessively, but still works up a nice slurry and has a nice smooth feedback that feels a bit more creamy than a suita would. Having said that, there's no guarantee another ohira kiita or tomae would feel or act the same, but I think you are on the right track.
Hideriyama, Oouchi, Takashima are all relatively muddy finishers from my experience and what I've heard from others. I really like my hideriyama, but if you dont really use wide-bevels and you arent looking for mud, I'm not sure they'd be what you wanted. Having said that, they are affordable and easy to locate from trusted sources.
Here are some pictures of my hideriyama mud, first is wet and second is dry.
May i ask why you don't want to use your Tsushima and where did you get your Yaginoshima? Without knowing this, i would say Aizu for a coarser option and Hakka/Takashima for a finer option. Maybe a softer/coarser Ohira suita if your Yaginoshima is finer.
Thank you both. From those pictures it does seem a little more muddy than I would like but again, I guess I would have to try it to find out. I was thinking along the lines that you were, those particular stones are somewhat inexpensive so worth a shot. At least compared with other natural finishers. The Ohira option does sound more like what I was thinking. I do understand that another Ohira may differ from the one you have experience with.
As for the Tsushima, it isn't that I don't want to use it but I really just want to try something else. Something finer than the Tsushima and maybe a step down from the Yaginoshima. I got the Yaginoshima as a gift from another sharpener and I believe it was from Metal-Master but I would have to look at my notes from last year.
I am really just looking to play with something new but would like to make an informed choice. I realize it is still a shot in the dark, to an extent but the way I figure it is that it never hurts to gather opinions from those more experienced than myself. Just looking for a general opinion of the most common characteristics of particular stones as I know that no two are the same but they share, at least, similar properties.
The thing is that I am a very indecisive person by nature and these things play on my mind.
No worries, I think what you are appear to be looking for is a tricky one to find. There are well known soft muddy finishers and hard finishers, but finishers on the softer side of hard yet without drifting too far into the realm of muddy are probably going to be more difficult to locate without a bit of trial and error. I'd think you'll probably end up needing to look for a harder takashima/hakka/hideriyama or a softer awasedo/kiita of some description. I'd be interested to hear what Badger, Smash, or some of the other jnat junkies might have to say on the subject.
My Oouchi (from JKI) is supposed to run softer than the Hideriyama stones also carried there and IIRC it won't kick up even close to that much slurry just refining a narrow beveled primary edge.
Maybe also consider Maksim's lvl 2.5-3 Aiiwatani stones. My lvl 4 is very definitely one of the finest finishers I have, but Badger had a thread about his soft Aiiwatani that looked good
Yeah, seems I tend to make things difficult in every aspect of my life. I never seem to fit into that norm, lol. I see that Aframes has harder Takashima but they seem to be much, much harder by the description. I do not know if his hideriyama are much harder than others as I have not seen them compared by running a search here. I was trying to mitigate the trial an error but do realize that I can not get around it completely. Just a push in the right direction.
Originally Posted by tgfencer
That is why I gravitated to the Ohira stones. From what I have read they are more on the softer side of hard and somewhat quicker and coarser than other finishing stones. But that is only from the few posts I could find. After you get past 10-12 pages of google results your head starts to spin a bit! I guess harder is not so much the issue as the stone not being fast enough to work with the naka-to before it. At least that is how it seems to me at the moment.
That is a good point. I guess the stones will act differently with a smaller amount of the blade making contact. I had thought of that at first but then it drifted away somewhere in my mind. Thanks.
Believe it or not Foody, that hideriyama mud is actually from me sharpening two consecutive narrow-beveled knives. But on a whole, I definitely agree with you. One will certainly get less mud without a wide bevel. The aiiwatani is a good shout. Badger told me good things about his and several others I've talked too have had equally positive experiences with their aiiwatani too.
And yes, those Aframes takashima are not what I was referring too, they are very hard.
Hmmm alrighty, thanks tgfencer. The difference for me on mud generated from wide bevel vs not has been huge. Part of that probably also goes back to pressure used - on these prefinisher/softer finisher level stones, have been working to keep the pressure light since the bevel has already been set, and hard pressure with a slightly too high angle killing my edge is no fun. I'll try a knife on my Oouchi and get a picture soon
Originally Posted by tgfencer
OP- have you considered Khao Men?
I have read about it but was trying to stay with one family of stones for now. I have not got into stones from other countries as of yet.
Originally Posted by foody518