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Soaking wetstones

Tue Dec 10, 2013 2:05 pm

I just got my first stone to get into sharpenig. After soaking it for 30 minutes i realized that it still soakes up water when i lifted it out of the water, so i put it back for another 30 minutes. The result kept the same, even after an additional hour of soaking.
Is this normal? Does it just need even more soaking?
I have no idea what stone brand it is, i got it from asian kitchenware-shop for 10$ and the only words in english are "rongfa ze sheng"
Thanks in advance

Re: Soaking wetstones

Tue Dec 10, 2013 2:20 pm

BRAINLESS <> Low grit stones are typically quite porous, and some have very poor water retention... especially lower price point products. Often lower price point construction will degrade from a permasoak, as well... confusing the situation even more. On a cheap Chinese stone like you have, I'd soak 30 minutes, use it, and keep irrigating during your sharpening.

Re: Soaking wetstones

Tue Dec 10, 2013 2:21 pm

One more thing: i got some kiwi knives to practice, does anyone know how sharp they can get with good skills?

Re: Soaking wetstones

Tue Dec 10, 2013 5:05 pm

I recently learned something about soaking and it relates to the Nubatama Bamboo 150, a very coarse stone. When I first got the stone I was quite surprised and a little disappointed at how fast the water vanished from the surface of the stone, despite a very long soaking. I tried soaking it overnight with no change, I was constantly forced to refresh the the water supply to the surface.

So I stopped using it for a bit, I tried it again, so it had become completely dry and then I soaked it for about 10-15 minutes and everything changed from that moment on, with a short soaking, the water remained on the surface at least 3 times longer, the difference was quite noticeable and as a result that stone is back in heavy use. I cannot explain it except to say that perhaps when fully saturated it takes on filter like quality, there is nothing holding the water on the surface at all, maybe the internal grain structure is somehow impacted in such a way that the particles become looser but I'm just guessing. I only know two things, a shorter soak, no longer than 15 minutes, (bubbles stop), creates a surface where the water remains for a longer period. That is one thing, the second thing is that this is exactly what Ken told me to do when I purchased it, "let it soak 5-10 minutes...blah blah blah"

So try a shorter soak, 15 minutes and see how that works.


Oh as for the kiwi knives, I have not sharpened one but I have read a Blog somewhere from a sharpener who tested several stones on these knives, they are capapble of a terrific edge from what he claimed.

Re: Soaking wetstones

Thu Dec 12, 2013 7:26 am

Kiwi knives get very sharp. They just won't stay that way very long. :(

Re: Soaking wetstones

Thu Dec 12, 2013 9:03 am

Kiwi knives are made of VERY poor quality steel so don't expect much from them. In general Thai knives use poor steel. Japanese knives are significantly better steels and some American knives are also exceptional. Check out the knives under the Richmond knives for a wide variety available at reasonable prices.

Coarser stones are more porous - low or high quality. Not knowing what grit your stone is, it's hard to say much about it.

Good quality coarse stones like the 150 Nubatama are porus, but even though the water goes through it fairly quickly, just start sharpening. As you build up a bit of mud this will restrict how quickly the water goes away from the stone's surface and you will be fine. It works quickly so you'll usually be done with it in no time anyhow.

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