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 Post subject: Re: Beyond the Aligner: A Versatile First Stone?
PostPosted: Thu Mar 27, 2014 5:04 am 

Joined: Thu May 24, 2012 6:20 am
Posts: 1717
"The biggest thing you will probably notice when moving up to high quality stones, regardless of brand, is they work much faster and make your job easier."

+1


In general mixing a matching stones is not a huge problem. There are several challenges to doing this. First, different manufacturers use different grit systems, so a 1k from one brand may not mesh well with a 3k from another. The Suehiro Rika, for example is listed as a 5k, but is generally regarded closer to a 3k. Second, stones need different prep and usage protocols. For example, a King stone or a Bester will need to be soaked, possibly for a fairly long time, while a Naniwa Chosera are specifically no-soak stones. Learning to intermix these usage protocols can be a headache but this is more a user convenience issue. As far as what the Nubatama stones play nice with, I do not know, you might contact Ken Schwartz with any specific questions.

I would lean toward the Chosera or the Nubatama over the Green Brick, the Arashiyama may be fine, but I don't know enough about those stones. Moving from Kings to the Nubatama has been a noticeable upgrade for me. Because you are working with high abrasion resistant steels, I would err on the side of faster cutting stones.

I am not sure why you feel the Green Brick offers you more flexibility. For most applications, a 1k, 3-6k progression is common. If you are repairing damaged edges a coarser stone is nice. And I prefer to stick to a 2x-3x progression, meaning 1k, 2k, 4k or 1k, 3k, 6k. Regardless, you are going to appreciate having two stones at least and more for bigger projects or to streamline your progression, a 2k stone with some range is not necessarily more desirable unless there is a specific grit progression you are aiming for.


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 Post subject: Re: Beyond the Aligner: A Versatile First Stone?
PostPosted: Thu Mar 27, 2014 2:03 pm 

Joined: Sat Mar 22, 2014 10:55 am
Posts: 9
You're the man, Cedar, I always dig your posts.

I would lean toward the Chosera or the Nubatama over the Green Brick, the Arashiyama may be fine, but I don't know enough about those stones. Moving from Kings to the Nubatama has been a noticeable upgrade for me. Because you are working with high abrasion resistant steels, I would err on the side of faster cutting stones.


I think, from this, I will be going with the Chosera. It is a noticeable price jump, but they are universally praised as top-notch, especially for the high-wear steels.

So! With the Chosera 1k as a given for my first stone, I will also need a coarse (400-500 I'm guessing, from the recommendations?), a fine (3-5k here), and a finisher (8k or so) to get a full progression I would feel happy with (for now) as complete.

That being said, is the Chosera line, or faster cutting stones in general, be more beneficial for coarse work or as a finisher? I would assume it's the former, but I don't want to assume too much.

I'm thinking something like:
Bester 500
Chosera 1k
Suehiro Rika 5k
Kitayama 8k

Would this work well? Should I close the gap between 1k and 5k? Would Chosera be better (faster and leaving that nice, hazy finish) across the board?


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 Post subject: Re: Beyond the Aligner: A Versatile First Stone?
PostPosted: Thu Mar 27, 2014 7:08 pm 

Joined: Thu May 24, 2012 6:20 am
Posts: 1717
"You're the man, Cedar, I always dig your posts." Thanks :D

I do not have any experience with those stone specifically, though the progression seems good. You might consider, since budget is a concern for you, stopping on the Rika. Generally for most applications a 4k-6k edge is a nice finishing range. For my kitchen knives I either do 1k, 2k, 6k or a 1k, 4k. So your 500, 1k, 5k(~3kish) is not a bad lineup. So you might consider holding off on an 8k stone. You can play with the Rika as a finsher and then see if you want another level of refinement. Similarly, you only really need the 500 for chipped edges and repair work, so you could hold on for that purchase till later as well.

If you were to hold off on the coarse and fine stones, you would have a 1k, ~3k progression which would be fine for general sharpening and leave a factory level edge on the blade if you do your part. Then when/if you want to expand your collection later, you will be more conversant in stone characteristics and be better able to assess what you want out of future purchases.

A further advantage of having fewer stones rather than more, when starting out, is you can concentrate on what you are doing. I know when I started out I moved between stones too quickly. Concentrating on getting a great 1k edge, then refining to a great ~3k edge will build your skills a lot better than rushing to work through an entire progression. Adam Marr shows in this video (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tKYIAqG9DPA) that you can get a shaving edge off a 1k stone. If you can do that, then what stones you are using will just make your job easier.


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 Post subject: Re: Beyond the Aligner: A Versatile First Stone?
PostPosted: Fri Mar 28, 2014 2:48 am 

Joined: Sat Mar 22, 2014 10:55 am
Posts: 9
Well, due to financial considerations, any progression I build will definitely be piecemeal and I was looking to just start on the 1k and a pre-finisher. I currently finish on a DMT EF, which is rated around a 2k (as per the Grand Unified Grit Chart, which I have to say is a superb resource), but with the nature of diamond stones, likely leaves scratches that would be considered much coarser. A true 5k or even a 3k edge would be a big step up!

I know I was pretty quick to jump to the Chosera, but after some more consideration (and another look at prices), I am now leaning toward the Speckled Ume 1k from Nubatama. It seems to be a similar stone to the Chosera, for what is now a lower price. From all I have read, it is in no way a "cheap stone" and I think it will be a long time before my skills develop to get the most out of it.

But, my only problem here is that there are so many different options in the Nubatama range. the more I look, the more I like, but I really don't know how each stone compares. Is the speckled the best choice in the 1k range?

>Cedar: Also, as I was read in another thread:
[Quote]The 1k becomes a rockstar when the 2k speckled is added to the lineup. It feels softer, refines well, and cuts quickly. I have been using the 1k, 2k then transitioning to the Arashiyama 6k and I have liked the results so far.
[Quote\]

Is this the route you would recommend with the Nubatama? I know you were referring to another 1k stone, but if these take another "companion stone" to really shine, that could put these out of the running.

Also, would the Ume or Bamboo 4k be a good choice to go to from the Speckled 1k? Would these be a big step up from the Suehiro Rika in terms of cutting speed and learning curve for a complete neophyte? I don't see many reviews on the higher-grit Nubatama other than quick impressions.


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 Post subject: Re: Beyond the Aligner: A Versatile First Stone?
PostPosted: Fri Mar 28, 2014 3:31 am 

Joined: Fri Mar 29, 2013 10:29 pm
Posts: 500
If it were me, I'd skip the 8k for now and add one at the other end first. I'd get the bamboo 150 to start then move up to the bester 500 etc... Especially since you were mentioning thinning. I know it's fun to go to 8k. However , it's more important to have all the preliminary work before, done properly. I wore out a latte 400 as well as my arms before I got smart and bought the 150. It will save the life of your other stones and save you the sweat and frustration. It cuts fast it's a very good stone. Before I had this, sometimes I'd be so tired of grinding away I'd move on before the edge was ready. Only to start over once I realized it wasn't going to be right.
I'm not sure on the other stones for you in regards to high resistant steel. I do use the green brick on zdp-189 it works for that. I don't have experience on the others. I just made a new post today showing a micrograph of the bamboo 150, latte 400, green brick progression if you want to see what that edge looks like at 400x.
All in all my advice is to skip the 8 k for now if you have to. Make sure your getting it right at the lower grits first.


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 Post subject: Re: Beyond the Aligner: A Versatile First Stone?
PostPosted: Fri Mar 28, 2014 5:05 am 

Joined: Thu May 24, 2012 6:20 am
Posts: 1717
"Is this the route you would recommend with the Nubatama? I know you were referring to another 1k stone, but if these take another "companion stone" to really shine, that could put these out of the running."

I am using the Nubatama Ume speckled 1k XX-hard, which is not sold on CKTG, I ordered it from Ken Schwartz. This particular stone feels coarser than 1k, say ~800 to me. I remember reading Jason B saying this was less true of the the medium hardness stone sold here on Mark's site, this one: http://www.chefknivestogo.com/nubatamaume1k1.html.

As I said in an earlier post, I aim for a 2x-3x progression. So before I was using a 1k Ume speckled, 6k Arashiyama progression, a 6x jump. Adding the Nubatama 2k speckled gave me a 1k, 2k, 6k progression so that the first increment was 2x jump and the second increment was 3x. Adding one stone bridged a lot of real estate for me.

I also recommended above that you consider something like a 1k, Suehiro Rika combo and hold off on the coarse and finer stones for now. I think, though I do not personal experience with the Rika, that the Rika could segue with the 1k Ume speckled since it is generally considered closer to a ~3k stone.

My recommendation is to e-mail or phone Ken, he is the importer for the Nubatama line and has vastly more experience with all these stones than I do. Here is his contact info: contacting-me-t3134.html. He is extremely helpful and would be able to tell you if, in his opinion, the Suehiro Rika and Nubatama 1k Ume speckled would play nicely together.


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