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 Post subject: Re: Should Japanese Natural Stones be Flattened First?
PostPosted: Sun Jun 03, 2012 6:49 am 
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Hey Mark and Co,

I have just unpacked my first Japanese waterstone - Ohiro Tomae High quality red - and am really excited (bit of a worry when you get excited about a chunk of rock!!). I assume that unlike the synthetic stones I have that recommend using the opposite side to the stamped side, that with this stone you use the stamped side. Dumb question as it is the smoothest however I was unsure if you should flatten the opposite side also?

Thanks

Chris


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 Post subject: Re: Should Japanese Natural Stones be Flattened First?
PostPosted: Sun Jun 03, 2012 9:12 pm 
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Chris,

Nope, leave the opposite side alone and use the flattened side. In many instances the back side will contain 'scale' or 'skin' often rust colored, which is unsuitable for sharpening. and helpful to identify the stone mine's origin. You will see this especially useful because in some instances the flat side is not necessarily the widest side. For Aoto, because of the grain structure of an aoto, it is the side that has been selected for flattening to use by the person who has cut the stone out of the mountain or formed the stone from a larger piece.

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Ken



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 Post subject: Re: Should Japanese Natural Stones be Flattened First?
PostPosted: Tue Jun 05, 2012 11:04 am 
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Thanks Ken - brilliant
Chris


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 Post subject: Re: Should Japanese Natural Stones be Flattened First?
PostPosted: Tue Jun 05, 2012 6:34 pm 
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You are quite welcome. As a supplier of Japanese natural stones from Tanaka Toishi of Kyoto, if I don't have an answer I can get an authoritative answer for you just a phone call away direct from my source, so please feel free to post natural stone questions here and I'll try to handle them for you.

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 Post subject: Re: Should Japanese Natural Stones be Flattened First?
PostPosted: Wed Jun 06, 2012 8:50 am 
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Thanks Ken - that is fantastic.

I, for one, would like to learn and explore as much as possible about Japanese natural stones. The thought of sharpening my beautiful hand made Japanese knives with hand selected Japanese natural stone is incredibly appealing to me. I am sure there are many others like me. Is it possible (I am sure it must be as synthetics were not around hundreds of years ago!!) to sharpen my knives from wo to go using naturals and no synthetics (or is there a benefit in actually doing so?). Also, what are the grades or grit range of naturals available to buy? I realise grading natural stones is approximate.

Also, how can we tell a great natural stone from an average one (other than by price) and what does make a great natural stone?

Many thanks

Chris


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 Post subject: Re: Should Japanese Natural Stones be Flattened First?
PostPosted: Thu Jun 07, 2012 12:28 pm 
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So many questions! - A GOOD thing!

A purely natural sequence is certainly 'doable'. You broadly group naturals into coarse medium and fine stones - arato, nakado, and awasedo.

So for coarser stones consider Hirashima - very coarse, Kyushu Ohmura (NOT synthetic), Amakusa less coarse are options MArk or I have

For Nakado consider Binsui and Igarashi. Also Tajima and Kouzuke. Although very formally speaking aoto are not in this hieracrchy, consider them as a middle grit stone too. There are various Aoto and in this next incoming group of stone, expect this category to increase a good bit. I consider aoto as a must have category.

Polishing stones - the Hakka Tomae, Ozuku Asagi, Yaginoshima Asagi

Not an exclusive list above by any stretch, but a good start. And this is a really quick overview.

Great ones? Well price doesn't tell the whole story at all. There are bargains to be had, yet still meeting your requirements. And some very unique stones too. One of the best ways is to have a conversation with your stone dealer (eg me :) ) and try to figure out what you are sharpening, your style of sharpening, etc The stones up on Marks site are a sampling of stones I have or have tried, and I hope to increase this selection more an more, yet some will become available and then disappear as there are just so many of them around.

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 Post subject: Re: Should Japanese Natural Stones be Flattened First?
PostPosted: Thu Jun 07, 2012 7:56 pm 
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Awesome Ken

Sorry for so many questions! :( Tho I do hope people are reading this because it is extremely informative.

I want to get a range of naturals (guess I put all my synthetics away ha ha) so I had better give you a call. What number and timezone please mate

Ta

Chris


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 Post subject: Re: Should Japanese Natural Stones be Flattened First?
PostPosted: Fri Jun 08, 2012 4:49 am 
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PM sent ... (in a minute)

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 Post subject: Re: Should Japanese Natural Stones be Flattened First?
PostPosted: Fri Jun 08, 2012 5:27 am 
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Thanks Ken

At present I have a couple of dozen (or more !) Japanese knives. They range from a Nubatama Wa-Gyuto through Doi special limited edition Kiritsuke, Sakai Takayuki Shiden yanage Sashimi, a range of Tanaka Ironwoods, Takeda, Takayuki, Tamahagane, Konosuke, Kikuichi, etc to a Carter Deba and Kramer (I am going to buy a real one some day! :) ) paring knife.

My synthetic stones range from 320 grit to 10,000, however I have only just bought my first natural - a Ohira high quality red. I have a range of your pastes and sprays, a couple of bridges, felts, balsa, and a range of leather strops.

I would like a full range of naturals from you plus a flattening stone. Can you organise with Mark please.

I shall call you next week though

Many thanks

Chris


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