01-22-2014, 08:49 AM
I think learning about naturals is kind of like, for example, learning about wine - though more difficult and expensive. With wines you would traditionally have an idea of how something will be based on the AOC or vintage or, now, the brand or varietals, and with stones you have the layers and the mines and only occasionally a kind of 'brand'. The wine trade, names and AOCs of course are way more organized and transparent, though still often not. Anyway, if the natural business were still big in Japan, they'd probably have more of a system: standard naming conventions, quality assessments, and so on. Instead you hope that someone can test and recommend stones to you first, or that a stone is an Asano or Maruichi or Maruka or Asano, etc. Too bad there isn't more of that. Though on the other hand, if you start to learn a bit and can dig around, because people don't know and there aren't clear standards, then you might be able to find a bargain too.
01-22-2014, 11:02 AM
Totally agree, Asteger. I'am quite experience in matter of wines .
I dig a lot also in Jnats for now. I have not a huge, but quite good collection, having not only some simple Awasedos, but also good Nakayamas Kiita, Different Suitas ( Shinden, Okudo as well), some other stones etc. i agree, the matter of stratas, layers, Tomae or Suita, Uchigumori or whatever, that is clear. You know, in wines you have to know not only the terroir or the vineyard, but also the millesime. BUT: inside the millesime, and taken from same vineyard the wine can differ only if you are not lucky with the cork. With Jnats it seems to be different- you can immagine, knowing that this mine gives in generally softer stones, and that the more harder one, than this layer is softer rather then that etc. And then comes the question is transparency with the sellers
The market is quite limited, this is more like the amplifiers for vinyl stuff ( my old passion). You have the lamps, but you never know if it will work as it should be before testing it ..
Same here- you know more or less the features ( from different sourses), but in reality before you try it with your own hands and knives...
That is thrilling, that is the kind of play, wether you've guessed or not...
But in general - i like it, i use it, i will continue it etc!
This week i'll get ( i hope) some great stones. Fine! And 2 great knives ( one of them is Shige Kitaeji!!). Tomorrow i pick up a Nakayama Kiita Nashiji, so, it's great! I'm still in doubt reg Tsushima, but this is more the idea whether to order it or not. Of course i will, and for sure from Maksim. Do i need it? Not sure. Will i order it? Sure!
So keep in touch et let us get the fun from it!
01-22-2014, 11:33 AM
Asteger or anyone...have u used blue aoto? What would a good progression be blue aoto ikarashi then something like a takashima awawswedo
01-22-2014, 11:33 AM
Wjat before the aoto?,if anything
01-22-2014, 12:01 PM
I have got a latest blue Aoto from Maksim, + i have a different one.
The question is- what do you use before ( i use some coarser stones, like Amakusa, White Bunsui). Of course, if your knife is a pretty dull one .
The Blue Aoto from Maks is rather hard, so do not expect some quick slurry as soon as you start using it ( as with the regular Aoto). My Aotos ( the one i have and the other from Max) have even same stickers on their sides, but are COMPLETELY different ( this is to continue my thoughts exchange with Asteger).
I "help" the Blue Aoto with some Nagura - i use a Botan for it. Or a diamond nagura. Since you have some slurry, it works good. But as a finisher... I am not sure.. Of course, it depends on your knives. I use mostly Aogami/Shirogami ( all the 1/2 Super), Sweden steel, sone PM's, so quite hard with rates over 60 Rockwell. For softer steels or steel alloys ( like 57-58), f.ex Global knives etc- it can work. The finish is not that nice, but cloudy, and you will get sone " microserrator" . If you like it- welcome! But a good finishing stone is a good finishing stone ! I would advise you ( just sharing my experience, if you allow) to get one 3-4 lv hard and a 3 Set of naguras from Maksim- and that will work great!
01-22-2014, 12:04 PM
I have completely forgotten all the synthetic stones, though some (8000 grits) gut very good! But being the Jnat " crazy"...
So- Amakusa/White Bunsui - great stuff , especially for softer steels
01-22-2014, 08:31 PM
Yes, Ikarashi -> good aoto -> Takashima would be great. However, aoto are generally considered to be good knife finishers anyway (the 'king of knife finishers' or something like that) - unless you want to go extra fine like many KKFers seem to prefer. The term 'aoto' is used in many ways, though, so it's hard to generalize about them, though generally you'd still imagine that they're grey/bluish/blackish and from the Tanba area in west Kyoto. If you mean the recent 'blue aoto' on JNS, I haven't tried one, but I assume they're good and a nice price if they are. And by the way 'ao' means 'blue' and 'to' means 'stone' and so by definition an aoto is a 'blue stone'. (So odd for us to call aoto 'red blue stone' or 'green blue stone' or 'blue blue stone' etc.)
Originally Posted by CoqaVin
01-22-2014, 10:29 PM
Agree. You need the finer ( and much more expensive) stones only if you really care about extremely fine up to perfect finish. That what most Jnat's users like ( otherwise you take Shapton, Naniwa, JCK custom etc 8000 grit et voila)
The JNS Blue Aoto ( funny, blue blue stone) is really harder then others similar, give a pretty sharp cutting edge, but is not so quick, one should work rather hard on it. My observation: some nagura ( depends on your needs) is needed, because it helps a lot, here can be used ( my opinion as well) the diamond nagura, the fine one, like DMT 1200.
And anyhow- the harder the steel, the finer the stone. Under 58 no need to go up, waste of money. The great " bite" will be achieved already with Aoto, but the real " rafinesse" - with good finishers and good investment... Again: my observations.
01-22-2014, 11:27 PM
+1 to what was said about the current blue aoto being sold
I'm still working on learning its quirks. I also don't know if it's just crusty/dried out - I don't break in any of my naturals b/c I only have a cheap, not so flat diamond plate. I figure it does more harm than good. I was really surprised (even though Maxim mentions it is harder and finer than most aotos) by just how hard, fine & not so muddy it is. I couldn't work up any mud putting serious pressure on the edge - it wasn't until I laid the blade flat that it started to mud up. It's fairly slow cutting as well.
I've put basically my whole kit on it & it reacts well to carbon and leaves a nice edge on it. Surprisingly it also worked well with my Gesshin Ginga stainless, which is some swedish stainless AFAIK, but it really didn't like any of my more inexpensive stainless. Not surprised there, but I wanted to at least try.
I bought a set of Asano naguras from Maxim as well, not because I thought I'd need them with my Hakka or Aoto, but when you factored in free shipping it only cost me around $10 - glad I did. I've been using them on my aoto as well after the first knife, and it helps a lot with this stone.
All in all, I'm happy I got it. It's not as soft or muddy as I'd like, but it's slow dishing, inexpensive, and leaves a pretty good edge once you work at it
01-23-2014, 08:41 AM
Exaclty what i mean- same experience with my Blue Aoto from Maksim. Very hard, no mud, slow, but: some nagura helps a lot! AND: with the nagura it becomes totally different in comparisson to my " normal" Aoto. So to say: this Blue Aoto can be used up to me as a finer stone then the soft muddy Aoto.
Reg diamond plate: i preffer not to use it on fine expensive stones as nagura, but here it really helps a lot. Botan works great on it. The stone needs some " kick". The stone is consistant, hard, has a very uniform body, is also heavier in comparisson to same size " normal" Aoto ( wich means is harder and finer). And considering it's price+ Maksim's service it's a gift!! Use this possibility! Recommended !