Home cook - one and only jnat

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Kai

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Hey good people,

New member here. Let me start off by saying that I admire the hell out of you all. I’ve been lurking here for as long as I can remember and feel like I’ve been given a free encyclopedia - positively filled to the brim and overflowing with superb, interesting, and brilliantly informed conversations. I’m humbled by the quality here and grateful for the quantity. For that, thank you.

There is no shortage of threads like these but, like stones, it seems every person has their own unique feel and style. Here is what I hope you could help me with:

I am a home cook that spends the majority of my day in the kitchen. I want to buy one and only one jnat - hopefully ever - a good one that will be my trusted partner til the end of days. A fantasy maybe. It’s a bit impersonal, but some cold hard facts may be of use.
  • I’ve never owned a jnat for kitchen knives
  • When I do, I’ll devote myself to learning it. Hopefully it will fit me.
  • I’ve used all manner of synthetics over the years and still use them today.
  • At the moment, do nearly everything with a morihei 1k (solid) and morihei 4K (fantastic). There are many more in storage, but this is all I really need.
  • Lap occasionally with either an atoma 140 or 400
  • Don’t like soaking stones
  • Have used a handful of jnats with kitchen knives and love them. Appreciate the feel and ethos. Haven’t bought one yet because I know it is a slippery slope and I’d rather focus on the food and blades.
  • Been sharpening an Iwazaki tamahagane razor for over a decade. This is how I know stones are a slippery slope.
  • If I’m honest with myself, all I need is a good gyuto (I am rough on a blazen ryu SS and loving with my favorite blue #2s)
  • And a good petty. I’m fond of my semi-stainless.
  • My w2 yanagi and ss cleaver probably have different sharpening needs outside of the scope of this question.
  • The vast majority of my cutting is vegetables

I’ve poured through the forums and have found outstanding information and excellent suggestions. It’s problematic because everything is too good and every stone is too beautiful. Talk about an alluring rabbit-hole.

Based on feel and experience, I think it makes sense to stick with my 1k and 4k synthetics then end with a jnat or maybe even replace that 4K. Many happily end their progression on a medium grit. People seem to enjoy Aizu’s. Going finer is fun and beautiful, but does it make sense? Scoop up those ohira suitas while they are hot! Many threads lead me down both paths. Hardness is a different matter.

I don’t need to chase the perfect mirror, but want a stone that I can use frequently and cook with happily. I want it to feel good and be well suited for the job. Deeply enjoy the act of sharpening, so want to finish regularly and have a stone that’s more often in hand than in storage. If it looks great I’ll be even more happy to grab it - iromono, nashiji, kiiji stones tend to find their way into my online carts.

I don’t exactly want to sell a kidney, but don’t want to go cheap and encourage the snowball to start rolling. I think a good stone is worth a good value.

So, my question for all of you is, given my situation, what one stone would you have - out of any other in the world?

It’s an unfair, contentious, and deeply personal question. Anyone else out here like me? Thanks for reading this tome. Once I’m here for longer and engage more, you’ll find me in the WTB section looking for your suggestions.
 
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toddnmd

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Following. From my limited experience, I won’t be surprised if you already know the answer and people will suggest Aizu.
 

childermass

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I‘m sure a lot of people here will suggest Aizu as the one and only stone needed.
But as I don’t really like the feel of these and given your actual setup I will support the Suita route. It doesn’t necessarily have to be an Ohira, any other fast and not overly fine Suita will do. They are usually fast enough for a quick touchup and should suit your needs just fine.
 

Brian Weekley

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My motto ... “if it’s worth doing ... it’s worth doing to excess”. If one was enough why did the Lord give me ten fingers, ten toes ... and an infinite number of thoughts.
 

Kai

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You all are a dangerous bunch. ;)

Of course I won't be able to stop at just one, but a man sure can dream. Thanks to all that sent over suggestions, very much appreciated. The good news is that there is a lot of unified thinking.

- Aizu's are well loved medium grits
- Suita's are something special, regardless of the mine. A softer, low-grit suita could fit my purpose
- Maruo Yama suitas offer an excellent and consistent edge
- Any stone could be magic or no-magic. Use good sellers
- Life would be easier if we had all the money

Lots of good things to think about now.
 
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Xenif

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Mid grit wise I really like my Aoto, although finding the "magical" Aoto in itself is a pretty stiff challenge. I really like the "lower grit softer suita" opinion too but again finiding them, at a realistic price posts yet another challenge.

When you buy your 25th stone you will look back and have a good laugh at yourself
 

Migraine

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My motto ... “if it’s worth doing ... it’s worth doing to excess”. If one was enough why did the Lord give me ten fingers, ten toes ... and an infinite number of thoughts.
Unfortunately he didn't bless me with infinite money, however.

I have managed to stop at 3 knives and 2 Jnats (and a couple of synths) for quite a while now. The itch definitely isn't starting. No sir. No no no. Definitely not desperate to buy a Kamon.
 
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Chuckles

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I like the idea of one natural with a couple naguras to change the flavor. I remember one member who had a binsui and different naguras. I think an Aizu could be a good substrate for that set up. I have never used a suita but trust that Matus is giving good advice.
 

musicman980

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I like the idea of one natural with a couple naguras to change the flavor. I remember one member who had a binsui and different naguras. I think an Aizu could be a good substrate for that set up. I have never used a suita but trust that Matus is giving good advice.
People do the nagura progression with knives too? I’ve done that with razors.

I would get a suita or an aizu, or even a nice hard aoto if you like your finish that way.
 

Kai

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Very interesting idea using nagura.

Use them on a very hard stone for my razor progression but it didn't even cross my mind for knives. If a stone self slurries - and I will likely choose a softish stone for cooking - is there good reason to use nagura? I see it useful for conditioning, but wonder if an aizu or soft suita would benefit.
 

musicman980

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Nagura are used to speed up hard stones that don’t release a lot of abrasive particles naturally. I can’t see softer stones benefiting that much from them, apart from maybe conditioning the surface.
 

Chuckles

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I am far from any kind of authority on natural stones. I only have a few. If you are in a situation where you are only using one stone and sharpening often you would get to know that one stone very well and I would imagine the small difference that a nagura would make would be noticeable albeit subtle in the grand scheme of things.
 

Qapla'

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At the moment, do nearly everything with a morihei 1k (solid) and morihei 4K (fantastic). There are many more in storage, but this is all I really need.
If you like your 1k and 4k, then I'm assuming you want a stone to cover the 7k-10k range?

Have used a handful of jnats with kitchen knives and love them. Appreciate the feel and ethos. Haven’t bought one yet because I know it is a slippery slope and I’d rather focus on the food and blades.
So which ones did you use? What were your experiences with them? That might be important.
 

lemeneid

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There is no point going superfine, most knives won't be able to hold 8k and higher edges for most practical use. Instead I would suggest replacing the 4k with a jnat. Something like a superfine aoto which will finish anywhere between 3k-6k range. You get amazing cutting edges with Aoto, very aggressive and effective, which is what you need in a good cutter.
 

childermass

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There is no point going superfine, most knives won't be able to hold 8k and higher edges for most practical use. Instead I would suggest replacing the 4k with a jnat. Something like a superfine aoto which will finish anywhere between 3k-6k range. You get amazing cutting edges with Aoto, very aggressive and effective, which is what you need in a good cutter.
The hard Aoto is definitely good advice, although as Xenif already mentioned, finding a good example for a reasonable price can be a challenge.

As for the Nagura thing: I got several Nagura in the medium grit section and these definitely make a difference if you got the right base stone. For example I sometimes restore a pretty dull edge on my hard Binsui using a Nagura progression of Omura-Binsui-Aizu/Jokyoji-Suita not needing any other stone in the process.
 

lemeneid

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The hard Aoto is definitely good advice, although as Xenif already mentioned, finding a good example for a reasonable price can be a challenge.

As for the Nagura thing: I got several Nagura in the medium grit section and these definitely make a difference if you got the right base stone. For example I sometimes restore a pretty dull edge on my hard Binsui using a Nagura progression of Omura-Binsui-Aizu/Jokyoji-Suita not needing any other stone in the process.
If its going to be your "one and only" jnat, that Aoto will be worth it. I got mine from a forum member here, who got it from AFrames, and from what I see they got some nice ones still available.

Here is the one I got
https://www.kitchenknifeforums.com/threads/rare-hard-aoto.42015/
 
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