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Thread: opinion on Jnat stone?

  1. #1

    opinion on Jnat stone?

    Last week I visited a shop, Tanaka Toishi, in Kyoto and picked up my first natural stone. I was wondering if people thought it was a good purchase or not?

    It's a Hideriyama Awasedo 210x75x30 slate colour, with a very nice shape. I paid JPY 20,000 for it, or USD 250 - so hardly cheap!

    (Sorry - was trying to figure out how to upload a photo, but there appears to be no option!)

    I took a chance with this, I think. It's my first Jnat stone, never used one, and had only read about them a bit, and so deciced I'd have to trust my feelings. I was also in Japan and had the opportunity so thought I should take the plunge when I could. I read about Tanaka Toishi in Kyoto, and so paid a visit. (http://www.foodieforums.com/vbulleti...hp?t-7735.html)

    The shop and Tanaka-san were pretty much just as described in the article. The shop was a bit dark and garage like with stones everywhere. Mr Tanaka was quite easygoing and like to joke, but didn't speak any English. I attempted to ask for a recommendation for a Jnat finisher and told him my highest grit stone was currently 6000. (Same visit, I also bought a 10000 synthetic from him too.) He recommended this one, saying it was on the softer side, but not too soft. He also recommended a harder one for the same price, but which I thought might have been more appropriate for razors. (Can't remember the name.) He let me try out any stone I wanted with a knife, and the one I got did feel good and somewhat soft but not too soft or muddy. He had 3 and I chose the best one. Others were 25% or 50% cheaper, but were smaller, not as nicely shaped, and the cheapest had a line. He gave me a natural nagura with my stone 'service' and I later saw the nagura priced at another shop at over JPY 3000. He gave me a wooden base if I wanted to attach it, too. He also confirmed he was the go-to guy in with Kyoto Knive & Swordmakers' Association, and so I figured I should be able to trust him. He had way more expenseive stones there too, but didn't attempt to sell them.

    So does it sound like a good purchase? My SS are now a 400, 1000, 6000 and 10000 and the Higeriyama too. Does anyone know this stone and how it might fit in with my others? (I'm hoping I'm set and won't feel that I'll have to go back to Japan and shop some more!)

    ... Though that would be nice.

    Thanks for any info
    Kev
    Last edited by Cutty Sharp; 07-02-2012 at 11:55 PM. Reason: grammar!

  2. #2
    hard to tell with no pics at all.
    J-nats vary a lot and it is always good to test before buying, or to buy from a reputable seller.
    If you felt the stone worked well for you then that is all that matters. Please post pics, I think many of us like natural stone pron.

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by mainaman View Post
    hard to tell with no pics at all. J-nats vary a lot and it is always good to test before buying, or to buy from a reputable seller.
    If you felt the stone worked well for you then that is all that matters. Please post pics, I think many of us like natural stone pron.
    Thanks - would love to post my pic, but with 'Insert Image' it only allows me to post a URL to a photo. Meanwhile scrolling down, my posting permissions say, 'You may not post attachments'. Perhaps I am not trusted!

  4. #4
    Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cutty Sharp View Post
    Thanks - would love to post my pic, but with 'Insert Image' it only allows me to post a URL to a photo. Meanwhile scrolling down, my posting permissions say, 'You may not post attachments'. Perhaps I am not trusted!
    Use a photohosting site, such as photobucket, and use the image link from there.

  5. #5
    Alright, seemed like too much trouble before... Here's the photo, which is actually a scan as my wife's away with our camera. The colour appears more reddish-brown here. In reality, it's much more grey-slate with a bit of reddish-brown to it.
    http://i1059.photobucket.com/albums/...g?t=1341286355

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cutty Sharp View Post
    Alright, seemed like too much trouble before... [/url]
    I use Photobucket, too. If you click on the last link below a pic, the one that reads 'IMG Code', and then paste that into your message, the pic will appear in your message directly.

    Bill
    THAT was the equation. EXISTENCE!...SURVIVAL..must cancel out..programming!

  7. #7
    That's a nice looking stone. And "soft, but not too soft" sounds perfect. Congrats!

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by narcnh View Post
    I use Photobucket, too. If you click on the last link below a pic, the one that reads 'IMG Code', and then paste that into your message, the pic will appear in your message directly.
    Thanks Bill. Yeah, knew that but thought I could upload too. (You should join for a year.)

    Quote Originally Posted by wsfarrell View Post
    That's a nice looking stone. And "soft, but not too soft" sounds perfect. Congrats!
    Hey, thanks! That's what I was hoping to hear. ... I did try it in the shop, under the watchful eye of Mr Tanaka who wanted to know where I'd learned to sharpen, which I took as a compliment. Told him I'd watched in a few places in Japan and had seen internet videos. Really? he said. He hadn't thought of learning such things on the net. People are polite in Japan, though.

    Anyway... stone felt fairly soft with an unfamiliar knife in Tanaka's shop, but I was comparing it to the harder option he'd suggested.

    Tried it for the first time today and the kanji stamp has already faded. I used a carbon santoku which I was just attempting to polish (some tiny scratches from previous sharpening) but which actually had a bit of a chip near the heel. Stone felt a lot harder than I remembered, but in a short time was looking pretty polished. Looking more closely, I noticed the chip had also all but disappeared.

    Don't know what grit that suggests, but it does seem to indicate it's a useful/flexible stone and fits in with the others I have. Nice smell too. Fun to buy this way and I felt I was taking a bit of chance but that it could be a lot more interesting than an internet purchase.

    Go visit these places if you can. If you can get a deal on airfare, it's easy and not necessarily expensive when there. You'll just need to be good with maps an directions to slightly 'obscure' places.

    Kev

  9. #9
    Smell is one of the best things about j-nats.

    If I went to Japan, I'd have to hire a second plane just to bring the stones back.........

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by wsfarrell View Post
    Smell is one of the best things about j-nats.
    If I went to Japan, I'd have to hire a second plane just to bring the stones back.........
    Smell - yes. Sediment from millions of years ago when you think of it.

    Buying stones in Japan - Interesting. Knife makers in Sakai and this stone shop are extremely unassuming, from my experience. Completely non-descript. So you either know your stuff, or can communicate what you need and trust them, or you just leave confused. Mostly the 2nd option I think.

    For example with the stones I bought 2 SS - a 400 and a 10000 - in addition to the Jnat, asking for his recommendations. But they weren't the brands you'd know from these forums or lurking on the net generally. He recommended them based on what I said I'd needed and wanted to pay. I tried them, and in my (limited) experience they seemed just fine. (Have since used the 10000 at home now, my first 10k, and it's great so far. Haven't used the 400 yet. As said the nat is nice.)

    With the 2 SS and 1 JNat I bought, they were even unmarked. Plain, and could have been anything. But when I'd settled on them, Tanaka asked if I wanted them stamped - sure, I said - and he did it.... Who am I to question the recommendations or integrity of the leader of Kyoto's Knife & Sword Makers Association?

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