Fri Jan 10, 2014 4:16 pm
I've been using mostly nubatamas over the last year plus on a variety of my own steel and client's steel, so I thought I'd share a few quick observations related to the lower grits. Although some synthetics will fall apart with perma-soaking as we all know, the nubatamas have proven to be more than able to live underwater - I've found no negative drawbacks so far. I have been using the 150 and 400 Bamboos exclusively for my foundation sharpening, but it's not until recently that I've begun to maximize the performance of these stones for my uses.
From the beginning I perma-soaked these stones and when I would use them I would continue to apply water frequently. Within the last few months I continued to perma-soak them but ceased to add water during the session and I was surprised with the results. What I found is that both the 150 and 400 develop thick mud....and ALOT of it. I now occasionally spritz a little water throughout the session, but very little. This made 2 primary improvements for me, first I noticed the stones removed steel much quicker working with the mud. Secondly I found that I can remove the scratches from the previous stone/s much quicker and with greater consistency/uniformity when working with the mud. Not suggesting this is the only way, just might be worth your while to give it a shot if you haven't tried it already.
The only low grit nubatama that I've been dis-satisfied with so far is the 24 grit Ume. I've tried this dry and perma-soak and it doesn't seem to remove steel as quickly as what I thought it should. So for now I use this simply to flatten my 150 and use my diamond plate for the heavy work, stock removal, etc.
Cheers and happy sharpening.
Fri Jan 10, 2014 9:57 pm
Thanks for writing up your observations. While I don't permasoak, I have a number of customers who do. I agree with your observations in terms of utilizing mud the way you do. It also helps with water retention to have mud going on the stone.
I found the 24 grit stone works well with a good bit of pressure - more than what I normally use on most stones. It seems to need the pressure to 'dig in'. Give it a second try with more pressure.
Sat Jan 11, 2014 8:39 am
The 150 nubatama is a go to stone for us at the office. We use it for quick re-bevel work when we sharpen knives. I don't really see a need to go lower than this one. We don't pour water on it either since we're using it on a small work bench. Just a little to keep the mud moving.
Mon Jan 13, 2014 10:05 am
This is interesting because I am doing the opposite, just a 5 minute soak and applying water as required. I found that when I life the 150 in the water for a few hours that for some reason I needed to apply water at a greater rate. However, I like the perma soak idea and just a spritz of water. The Nubatama 150 is a key stone for me so if I can improve it's already excellent performance, all the better.
Mine is worn down by about a 1/3 so still plenty of life left in it.
Thanks for posting this Josh.
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