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Natural stones on a budget.

Fri Sep 13, 2013 10:03 am


People speak quite highly of your expertise on the blade forums so I thought I would ask your opinion on a new purchase or two. I sharpen different kinds of knives (kitchen, utility, hunting, ...) and also working on my razor honing technique. I have been trying to do this on a budget (bad word, I know) and a minimal amount of stones...which has been good so far (the wife hasn’t complained yet anyway). I have gotten pretty good with my Chinese 12k and another small piece of C12k as a nagura and a 250/1000 king combo. I also use a king/ice bear artificial nagura in the progression to help me get from 1000 to slurried C12K (I know, not recommended to be mixed).

So, I want to go completely natural while still staying on a budget and I was wondering if your Chu nagura is a decent transition (cut/grit/speed), like when using the Botan, Tenjyou, and Mejiro progression? The Chu would replace the artificial nagura. I want to replace my king 1k combo with a single large natural stone like your recently back in stock amakusa (red and cheaper) or the amakusa/binsui (white...little more expensive)? I have read that the red and white amakusa are relatively close in grit (the white being slightly finer) yet the red amakusa can leave chips. The chips seem like it could be a grading issue/inclusions? would yours be more select? less chance of inclusions/chipping? I don't mind working for my results and I would like the first stone to cut decently fast and the grit to break down so the more I work the slurry the closer it could get me to 3-4k? closer to where a thick chu nagura slurry on the 12k could take over?

I know there are several great reviews on the red amakusa, but I worry about the chipping and inclusions, especially with razors. The white amakusa/binsui does not have any reviews yet, however. I have read that the white can cut faster and finish finer than the red. I know at this point I’m getting into the realm of “all natural stones are different”, but that’s where I hoped your grading of stones and expertise could help.

I am grateful for any advice on the system I’m trying to work out and I look forward to doing business with you. Sorry this was such a long e-mail, I just like to make sure of my purchases before I commit and you seem to be quite the authority on these types of things.

Thank You very much,
Taylor Massey

P.S.: I really appreciate your videos on youtube and on your site. They have helped me understand waterstones and sharpening to at completely different level. I started off with what I think everyone around here (NE Oklahoma) started off with, which was a tri-stone Arkansas oil stone set. I never knew there were stones that used water (much less how to use them) until I found your videos. I have made (coarse) hair whittling edges and shaved off of a straight razor on my stone set...something I never thought possible. Thank You again.

Re: Natural stones on a budget.

Fri Sep 13, 2013 2:10 pm

Ok, if it were me I would get the Binsui and the chu nagura. The Binsui is a little finer and does not have the holes in the stone like the Amakusa so it would be better for a razor even though it will also take a little longer since it's finer. You can mix in the chu as needed.

Re: Natural stones on a budget.

Mon Sep 16, 2013 7:51 am


I found this discussion through a Google search. I wasn't the person who sent you that email, but I have a similar question. I currently have a Belgian BBW-Coticule combination stone that I use for honing my razor. I'm looking for something that would help me set a bevel on a straight razor faster than what my Coticule does, and I'm only interested in natural stones.

I know it's hard to rate natural stones as far as grit level, but some people are able to estimate it. Would you be able to approximate the equivalent grit level of an average White Amakusa and an average Binsui?

On your website, the Binsui is listed as Amakusa/Binsui under Item #. Are these two kinds of stones somehow related?

Do you know any straight-razor guys who are using a Binsui?


Re: Natural stones on a budget.

Mon Sep 16, 2013 8:42 am

You should pose that question in the Shaving forum, many straight razor guys hanging out there. shaving-f18.html
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