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Help me choose the stones mix n' matching...

Tue Nov 19, 2013 4:58 pm

The starter set for 189.99 looks really nice for the money...

With all the subjectivity involved in these stones I'm going a bit crazy. The Nubatama is a little more money but is it that much better? I'm a newbie but I'm not exactly a novice either...I mean I certainly know how to screw up some cheapo blades but now that I've learned the fundamentals of consistent patterns I'm confident that a purchase of quality stones will not be a waste of money or time.

Does the Nubatama work much better for an extra 75-80$? What makes Nubatama superior to other inexpensive stones? Is the Nubatama stone produced by a manufacture who also makes other no name stones? If a generic equivalent exists I'm probably not going to fork over dough just for a pretty box and fancy kanji writing.

Call me a curmudgeon but I simply don't trust this "My brand is different or better." Videos of Murry Carter cranking out screaming edges on King stones says a lot to me.

If I pay more I want a stone that will last longer. I don't care about cutting speed. If the end result is the same I really don't care how fast it works. I like tinkering around with the stones. That being said those Shaptons look pretty darn fast and impression for a few bucks more...

But being a newbie I could see myself getting carried away with such a fast cutter. It seems to be a toss up...if the Nubatama is a lot more stone for a little more money I'll save for it over the 189.99 starter set.

This will be used for kitchen knives. Later I'll get a straight razor. Do I really need to go past 5k grit?

Re: Help me choose the stones mix n' matching...

Tue Nov 19, 2013 5:14 pm

Everyone has their preferences, I personally wasn't impressed with the Nubatama I had and think they are overpriced. Others love them. I doubt they last any longer than other brands of stones. Of the stones I've owned I was impressed with the Arashiyama stones and both lines of Shaptons. But that is just my preferences.

Re: Help me choose the stones mix n' matching...

Tue Nov 19, 2013 9:21 pm

The Kings aren't bad stones. Just slower. I'm still very fond of the King 1200. The Nubatama 1k I have is a great stone IMHO. I'm not a big Shapton guy but I have yet to try the glass stones. The pro stones didn't really work out for me. LIke Jeff said its all personal preference. This a very nice set. http://www.chefknivestogo.com/mrfa3stcoset.html

Re: Help me choose the stones mix n' matching...

Tue Nov 19, 2013 10:44 pm

I like the coarse and medium stones from Nubatama. Stones like the 150 bamboo and a few of the 1k stones are just very impressive. They cut very hard and wear resistant steels very fast and have fair resistance to wear, not the slowest wearing stones but good for the grit range.

While I like the Nubatama coarse and medium stones, after 1k I have some other favorites.

The first that comes to mind is the Naniwa 2k green brick. Great cutting speed and is the key to great edges on softer stainless steels. Also works great as a finishing stone for about every cutting need.

Next would be the chosera 3k. Probably one of the best mid range polishing stones I have used. Hard slow wearing stone that removes steel like its got a mission. Also a good finishing stone.

Lastly would be my favorite, the 6k Arashiyama. Does well on almost every type of cutting tool and yields a very nice cutting edge.

If I had to make a set that would "last" I think the bamboo 150 http://www.chefknivestogo.com/nuba150grwa.html

The new bamboo 1k http://www.chefknivestogo.com/nuba10lasi.html

And the chosera 3k http://www.chefknivestogo.com/ch3grstba.html

Would make a awesome set that would handle nearly anything.

Re: Help me choose the stones mix n' matching...

Wed Nov 20, 2013 9:11 am

Jason, I like that you mentioned the Chosera 3k. Had a tester and got some absolutely great edges off of that stone, it's my personal favorite Chosera.

When you are mixing and matching stones you can get different results on different steels, so I think you should think about your end-goal first and then put a kit together.

If you are going to get a straight razor later then going above 5k on the stones is pretty much a must. For kitchen knives you can stay between 2k and 5k and be happy for now. I wouldn't go crazy worrying about getting crazy polish just yet, get your technique down and 5k will be very nice to you, almost no matter the brand.

Re: Help me choose the stones mix n' matching...

Wed Nov 20, 2013 4:55 pm

This is a very interesting question or subject to me. I'm no expert but not a newbie either. I have tried enough different stones to see a wide difference in them and also I'm tired of spending money on them. That's because my actual use of the knives doesn't improve with any different stone. I have no specialty cutting needs like a chef may appreciate. One thing I have hated about some water stones I've used is after going through 4 or 5 stones and getting a very nice shiny or almost mirror finish on the bevel I still have random very deep scratches. I had removed most of the scratches left by the coarsest stone but somewhere in the stone selection I was getting much deeper scratches than the grit should leave. I've heard this is one feature that is an obvious difference in how stones are judged. The better quality stones won't leave random scratches in an other wise mirror finish. The only expensive stones I've bought are the Shapton glass stones. I have the 500, 1k, 2k, 4k, 6k, 8k and 16k grits for the edge pro. With them I can start with the 500 and it leaves a very consistant hazy scratch pattern. It's as if the scratches are not very deep at all while at the same time removing steel very fast. Actually, if you aren't concerned about the condition of the bevel and want a toothy edge for a utility knife a 500 grit edge might be just the edge you want. Anyway, I've progressed through the grits and finish with the 16k and have a nice mirror finish without the random scratches. I have concidered the coarser stones not as important as the finer grits because the only thing the coarse stones do is remove a lot of steel when a lot of steel needs to be removed. I now see that using poorer quality coarse stones will leave negative results even when finishing with the higher quality and more expensive finer grit stones. I can see that since I'm not getting the result I wanted from the high price/quality finer grit stones after using cheap coarse stones the money for the finer grit stones is partially wasted. It all depends on what each of us wants as the final result. But after getting a beautiful mirror finish just to have deep, obvious to the naked eye, random scratches on the bevel bugs the heck out of me. Also, prior to using the Shapton glass stones I only got a mirror finish after using strops of soft leather. I would polish the bevel with the strop and my last step would be to put a micro bevel on the edge with whatever grit I wanted the edge to be and still have a mirror finish on the bevel. The Shapton glass stones leave a mirror finish starting with the 8k. I have no desire to go above 16k though.

About straight razors. I recently started shaving with them and learning to hone my own. In my understanding from different experienced razor honers you need at least an 8k stone and then one or two high grit strops to hone a razor. I have an 8k Shapton glass bench stone and leather strops down to .25 micron and am doing ok. I can get my razors shave ready enough for me. I'm judging that based on a shave ready razor I bought. However, even though one guy said I could do ok with an 8k stone he also uses a 12k himself. He says it helps him because he hones for a living but for someone just honing their own razors an 8k is satisfactory. I'm assuming that is if it is a good quality stone. I am still going to use my 16k 1"x6" (EP) Shapton glass stone. However I need to take more care to keep the razor edge off the corners of the stone. But, for the most part it seems a common progression is a 4k, 8k and than a conicle stone. That's about all I know at the moment except as important a very light touch on the stones is when sharpening knives it is even more essential when honing straight razors. Hopefully you will get better info from others.


Re: Help me choose the stones mix n' matching...

Wed Nov 20, 2013 11:33 pm

If you want to go really crazy and potentially very poor, start looking at Jnats... :ugeek:
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