Messing around - scratch pattern comparison of some stones.

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I got a couple stones in and wanted to test them out and see how they lined up. Despite their published grit ratings, I feel these are actually pretty close in effect and results. For knives there are certain desired effects or predictability, and for straight razors there are some others.

The stones I compared and in order of (IMHO) results, coarse to fine are: Norton India Fine, Suehiro Gokumyo 240, unknown vintage maybe “All” “アール”, and a Sigma Power ceramic 2K.
All stones received the same pattern: 30 clockwise circle strokes, 30 counter clockwise (to remove any previous scratch patterns), and ending with 40 half-strokes to set the scratch pattern.
Knife is a kiridashi from ibukiblades with a blue2 core.

Starting with the Norton India Fine:

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Trying to find time to read and post here….. so some thoughts on these stones.

Norton India Fine - Not a particularly fast stone. Not super slow but maybe a tad on the slower side. This is probably to its benefit as very coarse stones can produce VERY good knife edges by preventing you from going ham. Of course this stone is well known for producing excellent edges and its very low price point makes it a “yes, everyone should have one”.
There are a few rouge scratches and the slow speed shows in that the circular strokes were not completely removed by the half-strokes.
This stone is very hard and mostly non-friable. The surface has been smoothed by rubbing with other stones and being this hard, performance is surface-condition dependent. It would cut faster and closer to its grit rating if it was refreshed with some coarse SiC. Not really an issue because the opposite side of this combo is the India Coarse. This side is also smooth now so it would be good to refresh this side with SiC to speed its cutting. That will have to wait until next time. Anyways, this stone is an excellent value with wide versatility.
 
Trying to find time to read and post here….. so some thoughts on these stones.

Norton India Fine - Not a particularly fast stone. Not super slow but maybe a tad on the slower side. This is probably to its benefit as very coarse stones can produce VERY good knife edges by preventing you from going ham. Of course this stone is well known for producing excellent edges and its very low price point makes it a “yes, everyone should have one”.
There are a few rouge scratches and the slow speed shows in that the circular strokes were not completely removed by the half-strokes.
This stone is very hard and mostly non-friable. The surface has been smoothed by rubbing with other stones and being this hard, performance is surface-condition dependent. It would cut faster and closer to its grit rating if it was refreshed with some coarse SiC. Not really an issue because the opposite side of this combo is the India Coarse. This side is also smooth now so it would be good to refresh this side with SiC to speed its cutting. That will have to wait until next time. Anyways, this stone is an excellent value with wide versatility.
I recommend this to people asking me for stone advice, but don't want to spend very much money and want easily accessible (like from Amazon).
 
Suehiro Gokumyo 240 - This is a pretty new stone. The high grit Gokumyo’s 10K-15K-20K have a long earned reputation of being high quality. Like those high grit stones, the new 240 comes at a price. Not nearly as high as them but still at the upper end range of very coarse grit stones which normally occupy a much lower price range. I have the 20K so I figured Suehiro would make a great stone if they were to put the Gokumyo stamp on it. Is it THAT good? Mmmmmmm, maybe.
It is a hard stone. Not Norton India hard but still pretty hard compared to other coarse grit stones that normally trend towards soft. I do prefer hard, non-friable stones so this seemed like a winner. Being hard and mostly non-friable, it doesn’t release any grit unless you abrade it, and like the Norton India, you can rough one surface and smooth the opposite side to effectively give you two different working surfaces.
The stone is made in a way where very small bubbles are cast throughout the stone to increase abrasive ness. This makes the stone quite lightweight since much of it is air. Now does it actually work. Yes and no.
Realistically, it isn’t a 240 grit stone. It is slower and finishes finer. Better to think of it as a 500 grit and maybe higher. It did do rather well with my magnacut kitchen knife so that was a huge plus. Still, I would have been happier with a faster cut. Same concept in a 120 grit high quality Suehiro stone would be an improvement.
Edge quality is EXCELLENT for a 240 grit stone. More on par with a 1K or 2K stone. (Then why not buy a good 1K or 2K stone?) Yeah, that is the problem.
Again, speed being a little slow, the half-strokes could not fully erase the circular strokes. That’s the reason for buying a 240 grit stone, right? Speed.
Still I like the stone a lot. Versatile with two usable & different sides. Mostly splash and go. Hard and will last a very long time. Seems at home with new super steels. It would be an excellent stone to keep in the kitchen for high volume work. Is it the best option ¥ for ¥? Maybe but probably not. It is nice though and hopefully we see a 120 version some day.
 
Green unknown stone - I picked this up in a pack of 3 used stones on the auctions. The other two are quite old so I am assuming this one is old too. Most of the reason for this comparison stems from wanting to figure out where this stone lines up.
It feels like a very fine stone. Something like 6K to 8K to the touch. It does seem to be a splash & go stone but also it was previously used with oil. It still has some oil in it but not so much that it can’t be used with water.
My initial use of it indicated that it was quite a fast cutting stone and the scratch pattern seemed much coarser than the touch / feeling of the surface indicated.
In testing it again showed its speed in creating lots of black swarf quickly. The scratch pattern is quite close to the Sigma 2K so it is safe to place it around this level. The pattern is uniform and the half strokes completely removed the circular strokes. This is a good 2K stone for razors (bevel set) or knives. I did pay a little too much for some unknown stones and I may end up giving this away. It is a real nice stone for someone who needs one, I just have others already.
 
Sigma Power ceramic 2K - This is one of the earlier stones I bought when I first got into sharpening 4 or 5 years ago. Many are familiar with the “Select II” line from Sigma but this is not that line. It is advertised as sintered for vitrified and it is nearly all abrasive with very little binder. It is super heated to get the abrasive to bind to itself hence no need for binder (or at least that is how I understand it). This makes for an extremely porous stone and water will run straight through it. Due to that I sealed mine on the bottom and sides to help retain water better. It is also quite a hard strone and cleaning and flattening are very difficult compared to other stones.
What it does do…this pony’s one trick… it chews through steel blazingly fast and it doesn’t really care what kind of steel either. Sigma advertises that it is ideal for abrasion resistant steels and it lives up to that hype.
The scratch pattern is right in line with a standard 2K and of course it is fast enough to erase the circular scratch pattern. Interestingly, I used the Suehiro 240 right before this and it was able to easily erase the 240 (ok, it is more like a 500 or 1K) scratches. Still, this 2K is able to replace some lower grit stones enabling a jump straight from very coarse stones. As expected, knife edges are very good off this stone and retain a good amount of bite. If you can deal with the PITA of cleaning and flattening this stone, it is an outstanding one to have, especially for new wear-resistant steels.
 
I recommend this to people asking me for stone advice, but don't want to spend very much money and want easily accessible (like from Amazon).

I may have been one to follow your advice. I picked up the India combo on Amazon for, I think it was $22. I do think prices have gone up a little since then though.
I liked it so much that I went and bought the individual 8x3 stones. Still was a great value, I just wish that Norton would sell a combo stone in 8x3.
The fact that this stone basically doesn’t wear, essentially makes it a lifetime purchase. Hard to make it a better value than that!
 
I may have been one to follow your advice. I picked up the India combo on Amazon for, I think it was $22. I do think prices have gone up a little since then though.
I liked it so much that I went and bought the individual 8x3 stones. Still was a great value, I just wish that Norton would sell a combo stone in 8x3.
The fact that this stone basically doesn’t wear, essentially makes it a lifetime purchase. Hard to make it a better value than that!
They also have an 11"x3"x1/2"
 
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