Are these pretty decent stones?
The pictures are inverted, yo.
Yes they are and even a lot more than decent. Actually these are the best combo stones I've used.
Now I'm only commenting on initial impressions (3 knives - all double bevel carbon) but these stones have all pleasantly surprised me so far. The one that's really got me standing back on my heels is the 400x. I can't believe how fast it cuts with such a great feel for bevel lock up. The test will be single bevels though, how will it do wide bevels and how will it it wear, I have to wait for this info though.
Yeah these stones are very good.
I forgot to mention that one of the three knives I tested these stones on was one of my own Martell gyutos in O-1 and the 400x moved the steel the fastest of any stone or diamond plate I've tried yet - quite impressive. Again though, this is just initial impressions.
Are these soakers?
"The Buddha resides as comfortably in the circuits of a digital computer or the gears of a cycle transmission as he does at the top of a mountain."
I've been sharpening with our new 400x stone for days now and I'm really digging it. Without a doubt this stone is the fastest 400x I've ever used and it runs about as fast as the (use in case of emergency) 220x pink brick without wearing as quickly as that does. Make no mistake about it this stone does wear fast though. If it's oversoaked (like permasoaked) or leaned on in one spot it'll show some deep grooves but damn does it just attack the steel faster than it wears!
The most impressive work I've done so far is re-grind two Takeda bevels that were rounded and needed a lot of thinning. I stopped 3 times to flatten the stone (it's always easier to flatten a little [often] than to wait and do a lot at the end - plus stones wear less when flattened frequently) and it kicked ass on this work like I've NEVER seen from a stone before. It just ground down the swelled section and connected it all up making the bevel thin again. I almost wished I had more of this work to do because it was so quick and fun..... for once.
I'm impressed enough with this stone that I'm getting full single grit versions in within the month (hopefully) to sell.
For me this stone is worth the trouble of it's wear rate and that's because it cuts so much faster than it wears. If you're looking for mucho speed for thinning and even nick repairs consider this 400x stone, I bet that it'll impress you.
Will it help thin my A-type? It's taking forever on a beston 500.