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  1. #291
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    Quote Originally Posted by vinster View Post
    There are lots of options out there. The challenge is that there could be a lot of variability even within the same mine. That's where having Maxim or another trusted vendor helps to test out the stones before you buy them.

    Generally speaking, a hakka is going to be finer than a tsushima. I'd go with either an aoto or tsushima, but not both (unless you're just collecting, then why not buy it all! ). I've had trouble finding good clean/pure aoto. They always seem to have some rogue particles that scratch up my single bevels.

    If you're looking for jnats to make a perfect kasumi finish, then the quality of your stones is much more important. If you're mostly looking for good stones to sharpen your blade edge, it's not as big a deal, and you may not need a full progression, depending on what kind of edge you're after.
    Very good explanation indeed.
    Reg Aoto: i have 2 stones, they look almost the same, same stickers on sides, same size, but completely different! The soft one and the hard one, the muddy one and the rocky one. The hard one comes from JNS. at the beginning i hated the stone almost- so hard and so " no response" is was. I even advised in the review to use the diamond nagura to speed it up. But now i see- it has become much quicker! I have noticed with Jnats: sometimes it takes time to " wake them up", it's funny, but i see it quite often. Tsushima is similar to a hard Aoto, but 8000 grit.... You know, TaJ, normally almost all the finisher are set with this number, like 7-8000?? so, IMHO, Tsushima is by far not that fine. You can compare both Aoto and Tsushima, Ikarashi and Bunsui or Amakusa ( though Bunsui is a little bit finer, and Amakusa coarser, then Ikarashi). You can have them all, sure, the coarser the stone is, the better the price is.The piece of Amakusa is so beautiful, and you'll get it for nothing, every good coarse synthetic stone will be more expensive. The question is why: to have or to use? I have them all( i mean Aoto, Tsushima, Bunsui, Amakusa) even in varieties, but the real difference begins in finer stones, and this is starting from 200€ and up. . The Suita is also not an ultimate finisher( it is actually, but there are a lot of stones to use after Suitas, like good Nakayama etc). So to repair the knife i would advise a coarse Shapton( they are damn good), if you like, an Amakusa ( just cheep and beautiful), Bunsui/ Ikarashi- up to you, but anyhow to concentrate more on finishers. Aoto from JNS is affordable and very good. You should try it out. Aoto was alway considered as a knife finisher, actually. The stone is just the stone, dark, no beauty, but it cuts very good. The other matter, why many people say ( 3-5000 grit, ok something like this) - is simple: you push while sharpening- you have more cutting power and lower grit, you do it in more delicate way, almost with the weight if the knife, the grit number changes, because the slurry becomes finer, so it can be characterized as a finer grit. In higher finer stones the difference is even bigger! So having same stone, but using different sharpening technics you get different results, and that is crazy about the Jnats! Don't forget the Naguras, they can help a lot, especially on harder stones. Hakka and Takashima are soft, i like it sometimes, but in generally i prefer harder hones with finer structure. And i prefer not to use any nagura on Suitas, if it is not Sunashi ( a Suita without Su/ holes). So think what do you really need, and try it out! Anyhow- the most magic and sh..t. is that even same mine/ same strata/ same name stones will not provide the same performance! It's up to us to keep on " digging" trying to find " your personal best ever stones" or to stay reasonable and to be happy with the good choice you already have or you can get easily ( a mix between some Jnats and the synthetics). I keep on " digging", but i understand- it's a quite expensive hobby, the knives and the stones, that's it. At least less expensive then to collect the watches .

  2. #292
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    Quote Originally Posted by vinster View Post
    The Tsushima works alright, but if my stone is any indication, it's a fairly high grit stone. My specimen isn't particularly fast either. It might be useful for removing the scratches from a coarser stone, but you'll want to use a coarser stone for any moderate or major work. The Ikarashi is a fairly common and consistent stone that works well enough. I think Maxim described it as being in the 1000-2000 grit range. You could probably go from that straight to a hakka.
    Sure, an Ikarashi i coarser, i would agree , like 1000-2000 grit range. IMHO Tsushima is even finer, then Aoto, the difference isn't huge, but it is there. I noticed they cut better when the angle is smaller. I like to change the cutting edge profile to a convex , so no straight bevel setting, it that way it works good with both Aoto and Tsushima. As i said before, i try not to get the knives that dull when i do really need the coarse stone to remove a lot. The chipped edge- yes, sh..t happens , then i use my 500 grit Shapton glass stone, the coarser are just to coarse for me ..

  3. #293
    Senior Member TaJ's Avatar
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    Thank you all for your help.

    Yes, it's good and needed to have a trustworthy vendor for these stones. Even though i did not buy my Ohira Suita directly from Maksim, it is one he sold in the first place.

    So a Hakka is finer than a Tsushima, good to know. I need to re-read these posts and make notes to all of these stones to finally get a little overview

    Btw, what does Tsushima, Ikarashi and Bunsui mean? With the finishers it's the mine, the stratum and some other qualifier like renge for the inclusions, but i did not find the meaning of these names yet.
    Tom.

  4. #294
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    Ikarashi is a coarse natural, just got one myself, raises a burr easily, when working the slurry leaves about a 2k edge, great for stainless knives. Trying to use it as a bevel setter on my carbons.

  5. #295
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    Quote Originally Posted by TaJ View Post
    Yes, it's good and needed to have a trustworthy vendor for these stones. Even though i did not buy my Ohira Suita directly from Maksim, it is one he sold in the first place.
    Of course, there are also trustworthy fellow members you can buy from or trade with on BST.

    Quote Originally Posted by TaJ View Post
    So a Hakka is finer than a Tsushima, good to know. I need to re-read these posts and make notes to all of these stones to finally get a little overview .
    Yes, I think a little bit finer. Or at least the Hakka slurry will break down and become finer than Tsushima, from what I remember. (Still have 1 Hakka, but sold my Tsushima.)

    Quote Originally Posted by TaJ View Post
    Btw, what does Tsushima, Ikarashi and Bunsui mean? With the finishers it's the mine, the stratum and some other qualifier like renge for the inclusions, but i did not find the meaning of these names yet.
    Tsushima - a faily large island off the coast of Kyushu and halfway between Kyushu and S.Korea, scene of a resounding defeat by the Japanese on the Russian navy pre-WWI. ('Shima' means island.) Tsushima stones used to be mined on land and - very interestingly - also underwater at sea! Therefore, the stones are sometimes sold as 'from the mountain' or 'from the sea'. If not specified, perhaps assume that the seller doesn't know or that it was mined on the land, as the sea ones are supposed to be the best and might be rarer or more expensive.

    Ikarashi - These were mined until the early 60's in Niigata-ken. There's a river that flows down to Sanjo in Niigata, and the mine was farther up in the mountains near the prefectural border with Fukushima. Aizu stones were mined very close to there, on the Fukushima side, and perhaps that's why they also have that blue-ish colour too.

    Binsui - Isn't a mine name, but the name for the 2nd stone in the sword-polishing progression. However, they're basically white stones mined in Amakusa in Kyushu. (Amakusa's also an island.) I think they're still mined today, as there are plenty of Amakusa available and they're not expensive. There are also other kinds of stones mined at Amakusa.

  6. #296
    Senior Member TaJ's Avatar
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    Very interesting info. Now i start to develop a blurry picture.

    So there are many different geographical places in Japan where stones are mined from. Oftentimes the name just specifies that place, or in the case of Binsui it's implied, sometimes just the colour of the stone, not even the place (Aoto). The stones from a certain region then have similar characteristics (matter they consist of, hardness, colour, the size of abrasive particles) but there are variations.

    One of these Regions is the Kyoto region where there are many mines for 'finishing stones from Kyoto', or Awasedo. Stones from that region have the mine in the name and then some other descriptive name parts like the layer (like Tomae), the colour properties (like Kiita, Renge, Shiro, Karasu and so on) and other characterisitcs like little holes (Suita). These stones sport similar sizes of abrasive particles, so the hardness influences how fine the finish will be (harder -> finer) because softer stones release particles faster whereas the harder stones enable the user to break down the particles for finer finish much more before newer particles (not broken down yet) are being released.

    I got the info about Awasedo from here, Maksim posted that link in a razor forum:
    http://easternsmooth.com/blog/jim-ri...-hows-it-going
    Tom.

  7. #297
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    Yes, it can be interesting stuff.

    I don't know if other people look at it this way, but for example when I think of J-stones I think of the apellation/denomination system in Europe, for example for such things as wines and cheeses. They're usually named according to their origin, because that's how their reputation developed, and they're also closely linked to their origin (which I think can also be interesting). However, in the case of J-stones it's too small of a business/phenomenon, I imagine, and there isn't really any clear system of guarantees and so on. Wish there were. The exceptions I can think of are Maruichi/Maruka Honyama and Asano Mikawa stones.

    Sure, you can imagine the geology of Japan - edge of continental plates - and that there would be a lot going on with different conditions that would lead to the creation of these stones, along with the culture and wherewithal to mine them and develop techniques. (Still aghast how they would bother miningTsushima underwater off of an island - why?)

    But, yes, there's that special focus on the Kyoto area and the 22km-long (or so) vein of rock (I forget the name) that supplies the famous stones from there. Lots of history with this. I also think what you said is generally correct. However, I think the way stones are normally sold in Japan does obscure things. It's too hard to learn about individual mines, etc, and so things are 'Honyama' and in the old days wholesalers would affix their labels and try to guaranteed quality through their reputations (today's 'vintage' stones) much like now we have our JNS, Metalmaster, etc. I think people would trust this stuff, and they would also follow the traditions regarding knives, tools or razors in their area, and use the stones others would. One thing I think we on KKF miss out on is the sense of regionalism with these, and that's interesting too.

    Aoto from Kyoto are another exception to what you said. I have no idea how far their tradition goes back, though we know that with Nakayama there is a big history in Kyoto, and maybe aoto also go back quite far. Aoto ('blue stone') come from the west side of Kyoto in the Tamba area, from several mines (Kozaki, Okabana, Aono, etc). Maybe they were called 'aoto' because they looked blue-ish in a way, and traditionally aoto definitely had that slightly blue-ish, but more grey/black look. (Sorry, but for me 'red' or 'green' aoto might be convenient but is also a confusing name to non-Japanese stone-heads trying to make sense of this.) But basically it seems that mames like 'honyama' and 'aoto' etc are used in different ways - maybe like 'Champagne' can mean real Champagne or wines from other places with bubbles, depending on who you talk to.

  8. #298
    Senior Member TaJ's Avatar
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    Good comparison with cheese and wine.

    When you say things are 'Honyama' do you mean all stones are called that? Did not quite get it. For Aoto and other stones with great variation it would be nice to know which mine they come from, if not it's like saying it's French or even Medoc wine, but not specifying the winery.

    I'm in the process of laquering my Ohira Suita. Is it normal that shellac does not get completely hard, or does it just take a long time? I can still dent it with my fingernail. Also, how many layers are advisable?
    Tom.

  9. #299
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    Honyama - originally used to be just from a few mines, Nakayama and Shobudani only I think, from Atago Mountain which is right at the NW corner of Kyoto City, up behind the well-known tourist sites of the Golden Temple and Arashiyama. Perhaps then after other mines were dug in Atagoyama - Okudo, Narutaki, Ozuku - and the Honyama term extended to cover these, which is probably reasonable. However, I think the 'Honyama' name is relatively well-known in Japan, and so sellers would later use it as a convenient way to label (and sell) other stones from the Kyoto area; I've seen it used for eg for Tamba aoto or Ohira, which weren't mined from the same mountain, and so it's a confusing description. (A bit like calling another wine 'Champagne' when it isn't from the Champagne AOC.) This isn't to say that stones that aren't true Honyama are inferior, just the way the names used can be misleading. I think that 'Aoto' is another example of this, where it means different things to different people.

    More on Aoto - Sometimes, yes, the individual mines are known but often they are not. For example, I've got 4 'traditional' aoto (the blue/black/grey Tamba kind) and I know 1 is from the Okabana mine, but I don't now the specific mine the others are from, though for me it would also be interesting to know. But I think that people buying these in Japan probably wouldn't care so much, so long as if they had a general sense of what they were buying, and so it wouldn't be thought important to preserve this information, at least for the majority. More important to people, I think, would be the recommendation of the seller, the label of the wholesaler, 'Honyama' etc.

  10. #300
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    Quote Originally Posted by TaJ View Post
    Good comparison with cheese and wine.

    When you say things are 'Honyama' do you mean all stones are called that? Did not quite get it. For Aoto and other stones with great variation it would be nice to know which mine they come from, if not it's like saying it's French or even Medoc wine, but not specifying the winery.

    I'm in the process of laquering my Ohira Suita. Is it normal that shellac does not get completely hard, or does it just take a long time? I can still dent it with my fingernail. Also, how many layers are advisable?
    Hi, TaJ
    Reg lacquering: the shellack gets hard normally during 24 hours. I put 3-5 layers to get the completely sure result. And, what's more important, i do it just with ca 1 hour distance between the layers at max. The result- the glossy surface( i've posted the pictures here already), not GUMMY at all, transparent, nice, and protective. No smell after getting dry and hard. Prevent from direct sunlight. I have chosen the medium- colored shellack, but there is an option to choose for more intense to almost absolutely transparent one.

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