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Pie

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Had a go with this one today. Imanishi amakusa white, a budget, readily available stone. First jnat I ever tried. Somewhere in the 1k-2k, it leaves a mild scratchy finish with some contrast, with manageable scratch depths, making it prefinisher appropriate. A harder, stingy stone, needing diamond plate slurry to really get rolling, but when fresh it’s fast and coarse. Grey mud starts in 2 strokes, breaks down quite fast, but not consistently so, resulting in some crunchiness. Needs to be refreshed fairly often which is ok because it’s a brick and it forces me to stop and look at what I’m doing. It’s miles better than I had previously thought.
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Pardon the random scratch pattern, consistency is not my strong point. I don’t mind the results either, although it isn’t anything special. Stoked I could learn something and actually get a result out of it.
 
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tcmx3

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any of you ever just buy stones with descriptions that start and end with "suita"?

I have. I mean, what's the worst that could happen?
 

Pie

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any of you ever just buy stones with descriptions that start and end with "suita"?

I have. I mean, what's the worst that could happen?
I’m pretty sure @refcast has bought all sorts of things that just said suita. That weird giant su doorstop stone comes to mind.
 

tcmx3

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some recent acquisitions:

Maruoyama Ao Suita - this one is darker in color than my other one and noticeably harder. My understanding is this is a more typical example. With namazu and a little bit of red renge. Cool stone, but I seem to like anything Maruoyama 🤷‍♂️

Okudo Kuro Renge - I wanted this to compare to my Ohira Ao Renge because I saw one of our post on IG about them and how they compared to those. Just a super quick test on this one so far confirmed it is pretty fast and pretty hard. Ive been enjoying stones like this more recently but they are certainly not as easy to use as some softer stones

"Suita" - this is the mystery stone. This is a dead ringer for a Nakayama suita I have from color, hardness and even the skin. That's obviously not enough to say. This one isnt quite as fast and the renge, though kind of hard to see here, is more plentiful. The only descriptions I had for this one were the size/weight, a few bad pictures, a claim it was a suita (which does check out) and the comment that the color was "beige, like cardboard", which is pretty lol. anyway this stone was so cheap it was basically free so Im not gonna complain. this is just hard enough to be a razer stone, but just soft enough to polish knives.

IMG_1606 (1).jpg
 

Pie

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some recent acquisitions:

Maruoyama Ao Suita - this one is darker in color than my other one and noticeably harder. My understanding is this is a more typical example. With namazu and a little bit of red renge. Cool stone, but I seem to like anything Maruoyama 🤷‍♂️

Okudo Kuro Renge - I wanted this to compare to my Ohira Ao Renge because I saw one of our post on IG about them and how they compared to those. Just a super quick test on this one so far confirmed it is pretty fast and pretty hard. Ive been enjoying stones like this more recently but they are certainly not as easy to use as some softer stones

"Suita" - this is the mystery stone. This is a dead ringer for a Nakayama suita I have from color, hardness and even the skin. That's obviously not enough to say. This one isnt quite as fast and the renge, though kind of hard to see here, is more plentiful. The only descriptions I had for this one were the size/weight, a few bad pictures, a claim it was a suita (which does check out) and the comment that the color was "beige, like cardboard", which is pretty lol. anyway this stone was so cheap it was basically free so Im not gonna complain. this is just hard enough to be a razer stone, but just soft enough to polish knives.

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You really don’t mess around when buying stones 😉. The whole batch sounds on the hard side, are you primarily interested with edges these days? Or you can magic these onto polishing?
 

tcmx3

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You really don’t mess around when buying stones 😉. The whole batch sounds on the hard side, are you primarily interested with edges these days? Or you can magic these onto polishing?
hmm, I dont think the Maruo is hard, it's just that normally stones from that mine tend to be quite muddy/soft, and this one is more in line with my Ohira stones I'd say.

you can polish with any of these and tbh I only spend this kind of money on stones I intend to polish with. as Ive improved my technique I have begun to like harder stones more than softer ones if I'm honest. soft stones are easy to use but you know they often just make a similar finish; lots of contrast but not much detail. with harder stones it feels like the stones have a bit more individual character. and in the end, it's not that hard to use a lvl 4 stone, if the level 4 stone isnt grabby and you put in the time to learn how to deal with harder stones. some combination of watching Milan Gravier (I actually bought the okduo above from him) & Badgertooth's videos and just practicing has gotten me to a point where I feel ok polishing on pretty much any stone I own, though I will admit I find my perfect spot has been about the middle of the pack suita hardness. it's part of why I continue to acquire a lot of Ohira stones as Ive had good luck with them.

with respect to edges I have always preferred harder JNats for edges. probably my favorite edge stone is still the Aiiwatani Asagai I got a while back and I think that stone was only like, 250 dollars? the Okudo ochre suita is quickly taking over that spot though.
 
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tcmx3

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new acquisitions:

Okudo suita: smaller than my other one, and more eggshell. Also about a quarter or half a point softer; I love this stone already.

Some older renge suita: will probably need to plane the top to properly test this one. I dont know what mine, but it's hard-ish. also, I suspect the sticker/stamps are legit, just given the age. I need to remove the sticker to properly test but it seems like it will destroy the sticker, which seems a shame. Im torn about this stone, almost feels like sacrilege to remove the sticker/stamps =/

Narutaki (probably area not mine tho) renge suita: >2kg of the greatest stone I have ever used. this thing is UNREAL. it has a slightly chalky, pillowy feel almost like a good synthetic, and it absolutely SHREDS metal. Ive never seen a stone cut so fast, I mean legitimately this is the fastest finishing stone I have ever used by a considerable margin. is this habutae color btw? it's definitely reminiscent of rice in person. dark, maybe even black renge pops out when you wet it down. I paid a pretty big chunk of cash for this stone but let me tell you it wasnt even close to enough. Im absolutely in love with this stone. box has the old kanji and the sticker is also quite old.
 

tcmx3

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I generally have a negative bias for ohira suita, generally I think they're overrated but there are exceptions. Here's a pretty one lol
that's a good looking example.

also I agree when I look at the recent prices, I dont 100% get it. though I am guilty of paying those prices sometimes myself 🤷‍♂️
 

naader

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How does this one perform?
fast, on the finer side respective to the ~lvl3.5 hardness and it really darkens the sht out of iron, really contrasty finish and it doesn't glaze over so no worries about burnishing. Frustratingly good. I'm probably still not keeping though, I have a brown ugly tomae that does the same thing for like 25% the price lmfao
 

tcmx3

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frankly though right now I dont understand what is happening with stones.

seen some stones hit ridiculous prices with like, zero details, and then in our own BST seen some killers languish...
 

naader

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frankly though right now I dont understand what is happening with stones.

seen some stones hit ridiculous prices with like, zero details, and then in our own BST seen some killers languish...
i know what you mean. theres no rhyme or reason for some of this ****.
 
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frankly though right now I dont understand what is happening with stones.

seen some stones hit ridiculous prices with like, zero details, and then in our own BST seen some killers languish...
I visited Bernal the other day and viewed the JNat collection from their sharpening expert. He kept saying he has nothing crazy expensive, but the fact is many of his stones will cost well over $1k nowadays, for example full-sized narutaki suita and nakayama tomae.
 

tcmx3

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i know what you mean. theres no rhyme or reason for some of this ****.
frankly Im just feeling a little bit bitter because there was a stone I wanted to pick up and the auction had the words "looks like ohira" in it. the stone was listed as unknown it just "looks like ohira" and the thing went for twice what I thought it ought to have, and I saw a numbered Natsuya sit in BST at an insane price for like a month?

and I was the person who bought Eric's Ohira and yeah it was pricey but that stone was worth it and barely more than this thing on yahoo went for. with no details, no slurry pictures, nothing.

I hate it here.

actually Im curious though if not Ohira, what do you personally like? Im frustrated by Ohira suita prices but I like the stones. I've not felt like my Shoubu examples have been quite as much to my taste, Okudo is great for edges but mine are too hard for anything but final polish. Dunno the right Ohira checks all the boxes just costs more than I think it ought to. It's getting close to drug prices.
 

naader

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actually Im curious though if not Ohira, what do you personally like? Im frustrated by Ohira suita prices but I like the stones. I've not felt like my Shoubu examples have been quite as much to my taste, Okudo is great for edges but mine are too hard for anything but final polish. Dunno the right Ohira checks all the boxes just costs more than I think it ought to. It's getting close to drug prices.
Yeah it's crazy frustrating. Honestly if you're looking for early polishers for use right after nakato, shobu have consistently been my favorites because they still cut fast despite being kinda hard and coarse but the best stuff is usually some sort of tomae.

Everyone wants some glamorous suita with vivid colours and pretty layers but tomae stones generally offer a level of quality impossible to find with suita on account of their homogeneity and consistency. While i do have absolutely killer suita, peak performance stones relative to their hardness and grit, I also have a bunch of tomae in the same category that cost half to a quarter as much.
 

tcmx3

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Yeah it's crazy frustrating. Honestly if you're looking for early polishers for use right after nakato, shobu have consistently been my favorites because they still cut fast despite being kinda hard and coarse but the best stuff is usually some sort of tomae.

Everyone wants some glamorous suita with vivid colours and pretty layers but tomae stones generally offer a level of quality impossible to find with suita on account of their homogeneity and consistency. While i do have absolutely killer suita, peak performance stones relative to their hardness and grit, I also have a bunch of tomae in the same category that cost half to a quarter as much.

well, I understand.

for the most part, we are buying stones based at least partly on the look, unless we either get hands on time with them or we really know the person we're buying from.

especially online, Im often just looking at the stone and hoping it does ok. suitas really can be beautiful stones, especially the ochre and tamago ones, and many tomaes are kind of... ugly frankly.

I might need to acquire some more tomae stones. so far Ive had a few Shobus, which I liked well enough but never really loved the finished, and I have one really pricey Nakayama one.
 

naader

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and many tomaes are kind of... ugly frankly.
Yeah I'd say most of them look crap. The characteristics to look for with them are, as a consequence of their muted details, difficult to identify. Can't go wrong with Nakayama though, i've had less duds from that mine than any other by a longshot
 

Pie

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I really don’t know how people can buy just from the look, no description no nothing. Maybe it’s because I won’t sell anything that I buy, but I probably annoy sellers with too many questions and trying to dig up all the subjective details.

I’ve been lucky so far, the one stone I bought with zero info other than “soft” and “came from a blacksmith’s collection” turned out to be a beast. It’s also visually very boring, maybe not ugly but sure wouldn’t attract anyone with its looks.
 
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Two stones I picked up recently
Stenen dec 21-1.jpg


The top one is a full-size Takashima stone. It is soft, but not too muddy, relatively fast en still fine enough to finish. It is a useful stone and very, very enjoyable to sharpen on. The kind of stone I was hoping to find.
The bottom one is obviously a shiro suita. It looks like an Ohira stone... Just kidding guys! The mine is unknown but I have seen Okudo stones that look very similar. I admit I bought it for the looks, the black renge pattern looks stunning to me, but it turns out to be a good finisher as well. The stone was wobbly so I cast a polyurethane base around it.

Stenen dec 21-2.jpg
 

tcmx3

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The bottom one is obviously a shiro suita. It looks like an Ohira stone... Just kidding guys! The mine is unknown but I have seen Okudo stones that look very similar.
if you told me "this is an Okudo kuro renge" I would definitely believe you.
 

Rameka

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I recently won an auction for a stone that has kuro and aka renge on it. I'd never seen both colors of renge on the same stone before so I had to take a shot at it, and I kind of can't believe I won it. I'll post pics of it when it shows up in the mail.
 

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This just arrived today. I'll take better pictures at a later date with my DSLR because this cellphone pic definitely doesn't do the full spectrum of colors justice. The aka renge patch starts off dark purple on the one side and lightens up in a gradient to a warm pink towards the middle.
 

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tcmx3

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anyone wanna speculate on what this is? in real life the yellow/red are a fair bit more prominent; phone just couldnt capture it accurately.

it's an interesting stone, very much medium hardness. contrast is absolutely unreal. would love to know what I can before I lap these stamps off

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