Tue Jun 18, 2013 7:17 am
Yes, the medium.
Tue Jun 18, 2013 8:18 am
Rook, as you know I have the Nubatama 150, 5k and Ume Medium 1k.
My evaluation of these products does not hold the weight that your evaluation would, your ability to take the stones apart so to speak and provide us with a scientific like write up is beyond my grasp.
I need to deliver sharp knives that belong to some very particular, high profile chefs in the area, these are the top tier fellas that have given me their knives to take care so I am tested very frequently. I don't take the products I use for granted and there are certain water stones that I own that just don't get used anymore, they have not delivered what I need.
All I can tell you is that they have passed the test, I have used them on about 75 knives now and the result has been the same, an extremely sharp knife with the right amount of bite. I've been able to return knives to these gentleman knowing that I will get their knives back. The 1K Ume is an exceptional water stone in my opinion, but I like the three I have and do not regret the purchase.
Here is the kicker though, if I took those same chefs knives and used my Choseras and Shapton Glass stones would these Chefs be just as pleased? Absolutely.
All that I can offer is my opinion based on my own personal results after using them on Henkels, Shun, Global and MAC.
I purchased them for two reasons:
1. I trust the people who told me they were good.
2. I am obsessed with knife sharpening and collecting water stones, so one way or the other I was going to get them. (Fortunately I am happy with them)
I'm not concerned at this point on other peoples opinion of these stones, I've used them, they've been put to the test and passed with flying colours. As did my Chosera, Imanishi and Shaptons.
The bottom line for me is that I love to sharpen knives, and now I love to sharpen knives on Nubatama Stones. I would not say that if it were not true.
Tue Jun 18, 2013 8:33 am
Thanks for taking the time to share this info Pete - appreciated - coming from you it means a lot.
The problem I'm facing is the enormous amount of grits out there....jeez.....
Tue Jun 18, 2013 8:54 am
I had that same issue Rook. I just made a choice based on my desire to find a good 3 stone solution the old ara-to, naka-to and shiage-to set up. I took a bit of a leap of faith and survived.
Tue Jun 18, 2013 9:48 am
I'll chime in quickly to say that I have the Ume XXC, bamboo 150, 400, 1K gold, 1200, 3K and 5K. I've been working with them for many months now and personally really appreciate the characteristics of these stones compared to my experience with king and chosera. They cut quickly but leave pleasing finishes (IMO), even on the lower grits. I use them for anything up to 5K, then I transition to Jnats for finishing. I'm a big fan, but I also dislike "Hype" in general and believe there's many effective ways to get from point A to point B when it comes to sharpening and I'm guessing there's stones out there that can offer similar performance. It is fun to have preferences, however, because I think it makes the journey that much more enjoyable verses robotic. As of yet, I haven't regretted the investment.
Tue Jun 18, 2013 2:08 pm
Is the hype, per say, any different from any of the other lines of stones? There is the Shapton hype. I bit on that one and was disappointed personally. There is the Chosera hype. Don't know about those from personal use but I'm shying away from them. I've had good luck with the less mentioned stones. So where does that leave me on what line of stones to give a shot next time around. I've pretty much decided to go with the Nubatama. Like Sailor said its a leap of faith. So many stones. So little time.
Tue Jun 18, 2013 3:25 pm
When several seasoned and expert sharpeners are giving good reviews for something like stones I don't consider that hype, it's their informed opinions. Norton, King to Bester, Imanishi to Shapton GS & Pro then to Chosera and now Nubatama, I'd call it evolution too. At some point Nubatama will take the backseat to something newer. All are quality stones, with different characteristics, that will get the job done. Our job is to figure out which of the bunch tickles our fancy, that's were the fun is in this obsession.
So let's go have some fun!
Tue Jun 18, 2013 4:25 pm
I still think it is a fair question -- I've seen what have been, in retrospect, "fads" in all kinds of areas where there is some level of subjectivity in the evaluation of a product or the way that it works. If you've just spent a non-trivial amount of money on something that you believe is supposed to be better, than something else, then you'll more likely find that it is better.
I'm not discounting the opinions of the more experienced sharpeners here. If they like the Nubatama stones and they are using them in settings that their livelihood depends on, then I trust that they are top-tier stones.
Are they truly "better" than what is out there today? Good question. No amount of debate will settle that right now. Look at what professional sharpeners settle on a couple years from now. Want to try one of the top-tier stones that you can certainly put a great edge on a knife with today? Buy a Nubatama.
Tue Jun 18, 2013 11:02 pm
Well... I really hate to be negative about Nubatama stones but they just failed me so bad I wanted to smash my 2k bamboo into the ground.
As some of you know I sharpen professionally and do a large volume of sharpening every day. I simply love my Nubatama stones for everyday sharpening needs because they cut so incredibly fast and produce some stunning edges.
I use (from the bamboo series) a 180, 1k gold, and 5k as my standard 3 stone set-up to sharpen 50/50 and 80/20 grind knives and wouldn't have it any other way.
When it comes to traditional single bevel blades (yanagi, deba, usuba, ect) I am having some issues though. I have, in addition, a 220 pink brick, 400, 1200, and 2000 bamboo stone to aid in sharpening of these style of blades.
I was tasked with the sharpening of a yanagi and deba at the end of the work day and just like all the other single bevels I ran into the same issues. Starting with the 220 pink brick, I have no complaints about the coarse Nubatama's except some wear a lot faster that led to believe. The 220 has a similar working style to the 120 but a much slower wear rate. I quickly set the profile on the front of the blade but noticed it cut deeply into the steel even more so than my 180 grit. I moved on to the 400 bamboo stone to refine the scratch pattern which it did quickly while producing a nice scratch-less contrast in the soft clad metal. This is deceiving because later on in the progression I found it did not remove the 220 grit marks.
Moving on to the 1k gold, I continued on removing the scratch pattern and the 1k produced a even finer dark gray contrast to the soft clad metal but had un-wanted deep scratching as if large pieces of abrasive were breaking free. I could somewhat help this by using a feather light touch but I need to get work done, no time to baby it.
Now here's where I became really upset with my premium stones. I moved on to the $200+ 2k bamboo stone hoping to clean-up the hard and soft metals and while it did cut really fast and produce a sexy contrast it also produced the bright and shiny scratches like the 1k which totally killed the look of the bevel. I was able to work with a VERY VERY light touch to get a nice dark kasumi type finish on the soft metal but it only covered the marks which became fully expose by the 5k.
Now here's where I almost lost my mind, I still had a deba to sharpen and after a hour with the yanagi I was a bit upset at the time it took. So I too a different approach which I have seen in many videos of Japanese sharpeners. I again started with the 220 pink brick but skipped all my Nubatama stones and pulled out the King 800/6000 combo stone, and guess what.....
In about 15 minutes I had completed the sharpening of the deba with 3 stones, two of which are the most basic available. I had perfect contrast and a edge that would treetop hairs from my arm.
Overall I am very dis-satisfied with the results on traditional blades when using Nubatama stones, BUT! Overly impressed by what they can do with all other styles of knives.
So in conclusion I find myself happy with their abilities on standard bevels but will be stopping by the local woodcraft tomorrow to grab a few king stones for the sharpening of traditional blades.
Tue Jun 18, 2013 11:16 pm
Thank you Jason B.
.....and here I had ticked that 2k expensive Bamboo as a must have in the line up......eish........
Your honest write up is appreciated.
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