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Nubatama coarse stone questions.

Thu Jun 13, 2013 9:17 am

Can you explain the differences and benefits of 1 stone from another in same grit range [ 220 ]. The challenge is that after watching the videos - all the 220 seem to perform well and they all look about the same - the job gets done. Just looking for the differences. Interest is in sort of a head to head comparison to understand differences in characteristics, features, functions, composition, etc. For example, differences that might be helpful to decide between 220 Nubatama stones:

1 useful on a wider range of steels and knife types compared to the other 220 Nubatamas
2 better with certain steels or carbons compared to other 220 Nubatamas
3 provides smoother scratch pattern compared to other 220 Nubatamas
4 removes metal faster or slower compared to other 220 Nubatamas
5 more splash and go compared to other 220 Nubatamas
6 dishes more or less compared to other 220 Nubatamas
7 more porous or less porous compared to other 220 Nubatamas
8 more mudd or less mudd compared to other 220 Nubatamas
9 same sharpening it will last longer compared to other 220 Nubatamas
10 harder or softer compared to other 220 Nubatamas

Re: Nubatama coarse stone questions.

Thu Jun 13, 2013 9:18 am

Yes we have too many choices in this range and I'm going to pare them down soon based on which ones sell the best.

Re: Nubatama coarse stone questions.

Thu Jun 13, 2013 5:10 pm

The Nubatama line is still a relatively new line of stones in terms of it's introduction to customers. As such, it is probably not wise to prematurely end any one particular stone based solely on current sales. The three 1k Ume speckled stones is a case in point. The two harder variants are no longer up on CKTG. Because of this some customers who prefer a very hard stone - even harder than the Shapton stones will not get the opportunity to experience the extreme precision that the XX Hard variant can produce - especially when cut for the EP which will more fully take advantage of this extreme hardness. This is important for woodworkers and straight edge honing tasks. Will a new user notice this? - nope. Will a highly skilled user notice this? Yes, and this stone alone may induce the user to try even more stones to optimize for their use a set of stones to uniquely meet their requirements. As the importer of Nubatama stones, I still carry these two harder stones.

A parallel case exists for the Shapton GlassStones, long before CKTG was even around and shortly after their introduction, primarily aimed at woodworkers sharpening plane blades and chisels, not knife sharpeners.. Initially an overwhelming opinion was that they only worked on stainless steel knives. People would call them 'fadstones' and bash the hell out of them. They also went through a period of heavy criticism for being too hard, too thin, all the same color, etc etc. In fact even Shapton came out with 'carbon steel' versions of the 8k and several other grits. I was one of the few who went against this criticism against carbon steels, demonstrating time and time again that they will work well on carbon steel knives.

Now they are one of the most popular lines of stones on CKTG.

There is a maturing process between the customers and their understanding of how a stone is optimized for a particular task. It doesn't come at once. It doesn't even come entirely from the manufacturer, but from the collective experience of the user community. The number of permutations between different stones, knives, techniques and desired results is a hugh set of possibilities.

The Nubatama line of stones is unique in that it is purposely designed to both be useful for the most basic beginner, but also for the most sophisticated of sharpeners too. This will take time to understand. Time to develop a knowledge base.

Now to be perfectly straightforward some users won't be able to tell the difference between one 220 and another. In fact some won't be able to tell the difference between any of these 220s and any other brand. Or even a 150 and a 400 either.

Some things are going to be very individualistic - beyond this initial list. And these additional parameters will compound the answers to questions like the one in the original post. Is your style to press hard of light? Do you want to use it on a single bevel or double bevel? What stone are you preceding it with? On what steel are we comparing scratch patterns? The same grit will scratch differently depending on not just the steel but how the knifemaker tempered the steel. Do you prefer a muddier stone or a harder stone? Which stones do you have now and which of them do you like?

And how important is each of these parameters? Would you sacrifice muddiness for longer stone life? To what extent? Do you prefer a slower removal rate if it produces a finer finish?

And another issue is how well these stones blend in or even replace the use of natural stones. The level of contrast that some of these stones provide is incredible, unlike anything I've seen from other vendors stones.

In a recent video I used a 180 Nubatama as a precursor for a Natural Ohmura to remove diamond scratches as part of a natural stone sharpening sequence. I was thinking of a 150 Bamboo instead but went with this as a recommendation and glad I did. The subtle difference between the 150 and the 180 was one I immediately 'got' when I started using it. As much as the grit, it was a subtle difference in mud formation and slurry density and how it interacted with the soft cladding. The distinctions were subtle, but I was now at a level to appreciate it. The aesthetic effect of subsequent stones on the uniformity of the kasumi finish was one of the best I've achieved. I play at that skill level and among Mark's customers and finest sharpeners there are those who are a growing number of aficionados that can appreciate these nuances.

Vanilla and chocolate ice cream are the most popular flavors. That is hardly the reason to open an ice cream store and serve only two flavors. CKTG has an incredible diversity of products for sharpeners. This is it's great strength. Multiple sharpening supplies. Multiple knife types. Multiple steels. You wouldn't decide to pick just the steel that sells the best and use just that for all your knives?

For my most sophisticated users, the questions asked in this initial posting are but the beginning of a much longer discussion.

The videos are IMO an excellent introduction to these stones. I would suggest a CAREFUL watching and rewatching of the associated videos. There is a level of nuance in these videos not initially appreciated. Probably without exception you actually get to SEE wear rates, porosity, mud formation etc in the videos. Watch them with a level of intensity. In many instances knives of a widely different character are used.

If you want a more in depth discussion or comparison or help making a decision, PLEASE contact me anytime. My PM box is constantly overflowing as I endeavor to support these and other products on Ken's Corner, so feel free to email me at ksskss at earthlink dot net. Preferably leave a phone number and I'll be GLAD to give you a call to discuss helping you select stones to meet your needs. I'm not a supplier of K-Mart suits off the rack, but rather strive to give you more of a Armani couture level of care and support to optimize both your results and pleasure using these stones. It is my intent to FULLY support Nubatama stones at CKTG. So don't be shy about contacting me. Just be prepared for detailed answers. Depending on your needs, I may even NOT recommend a Nubatama stone. I value giving an honest opinion even more than a sale. If you need the level of answers for these or even natural stones' suitability for a particular task, it may even involve you sending me a knife to test out to your exact requirements. I deal with some of the pickiest customer out there, and I'm glad to do it.

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