Switch to full style
Post a reply

Stone Advice

Fri Aug 03, 2012 11:46 am

Hello All,

My name is Jon, and I'm an addict. I recently rekindled my love for all things sharp, a love that goes back many years to when I was a boy, demanding hunting knives and folders for Birthdays and Christmas as my parents knitted their worried brows. The internet has had a large part in this I think, fueling the fire so to speak. Between retail sites, forums, blogs, and vids, I've spent an ungodly amount of time going edge crazy. I even had a sharpening dream last night, don't know if that's good or bad... In the past few weeks I've purchased 3 new knives (including a Takeda :D) and 2 stones. Queue song: Something tells me I'm into something good...

Anyway, I'm seeking a middle grit stone to round out my new and growing collection, and am open to suggestions.

Now I know what comes next (I'm telling you, despite this being my first post, I've been trolling these forums, soaking up information), who am I and what do I sharpen?

About me:

I used to cook professionally but it's just a hobby now. But finding this community online has reminded how much I love knives and edges, and your high standards have led me to reassess my definition of of the word 'sharp'. In the last month I've sharpened everything in my kit and most of my friend's knives too. I'm running out of steel! I find something remarkably soothing and romantic about hand-sharpening on stones. I like that I'm developing a skill with practice and that I'm doing something that's been done for hundreds for years. I'll probably splurge on naturals in time, but am not quite there yet. I'm one of you that sharpens not just for the result but for the journey, you know who you are ;-)

What I sharpen:

Mostly European knives for now and a few Globals (the majority of my old working kit), but two of the 3 I just bought were Japanese carbon steels, and it sure looks like my collection will head that way from now on. But I also want to start sharpening as a little side business venture, make just enough cash to fund my addiction, so I need a kit that can handle whatever's thrown at me.

What I already have:

Norton 1000/4000 (my first and for a long time only stone, from years ago)

On the way:

Naniwa Chosera 400
Suehiro Rika 5K

I want a medium grit something because I find the Norton 1K a little scratchy. Would like something smoother, muddier, but that still cuts fast. Ideally, something that I could go straight to from the 400 Chosera.

Two I've been considering are the Bester 1.2K & the Naniwa 2K 'Green Brick of Joy.'

Would love to hear feedback on these two comparatively and am open to any other suggestions you may have. Anything under $100 is in play, but if you have a cogent argument for something pricier, I'm willing to hear you out :). I'm still figuring out what I like, there's just so many options. Naniwas and Gesshins and Shaptons, oh my! Ken brought up the Nubatama 2k Ume on knifeforums where I also posted, and that looks pretty hot, but I've found no reviews on it thus far. Can we justify the $130 over $50 for the Green Brick?

Also, as a kind of P.S., looking at diamond plates. Are Atomas worth the extra money over a DMT? I would be using it only for tip/severely-damaged edge repair and for lapping stones.

Thanks so much for your consideration.

Happy sharpening.

Re: Stone Advice

Fri Aug 03, 2012 12:30 pm

Thanks for the post and welcome to our forum! Considering what you have I would suggest the bester 1.2 K to replace your norton. They're both good stones so you won't go wrong.
For what it's worth I would get a strop before I would replace the norton 1K.

I don't think the atomas are worth the extra money for lapping stones but if you're going to use them for rebevel, repair work I like them better than the DMT. Again it's a close call.

Re: Stone Advice

Fri Aug 03, 2012 1:19 pm

The Suehiro will remove all the scratches from the norton. It's very good at it's job.

Once you get the new ones, if you really like the Rika, and still want to replace the Norton, the Bester is a good, similar performing match. If you don't, we can suggest other stones.

That said, the Rika is all you will need to keep up with your Takeda, and considering you already have some low grit stones, you even have repairs covered. I'd say you are set, but a Strop would be the best thing to get next.

Re: Stone Advice

Fri Aug 03, 2012 2:23 pm

Cool, liking the input so far.

Mark, just out of curiosity, any particular reason for the Bester over Naniwa Aotoshi?

Eamon, 'Scratchy' on the Norton refers more to feel on the stone rather than finish. I don't have a problem with the edge it produces (though I still have much to experience as far as stones go) and I'll still use it when applicable, but I just wanted something a little sexier in the mid-grit range for my own enjoyment. Maybe you're right though, should test drive the Rika before I spend more dough...

Also, I do have a strop and a few compounds, forgot to mention it in the equipment section. It's made a world of difference already. As I said before, I seem to be reevaluating my notion of 'sharp' on a daily basis. So far, it's a steep learning curve and a world of fun.

Thanks guys.

Re: Stone Advice

Fri Aug 03, 2012 2:43 pm

For me I often start with a middle grit stone and the bester 1.2 K will cut faster than the green brick. I also think it handles a wider variety of steels a little better than the green brick.

Re: Stone Advice

Sun Aug 05, 2012 5:47 pm

Well I just recently posted the 2k UME review, the 'Olive brick of Joy' :)


So far I do like it a bit more than the Aototoishi, but Mark does get very good pricing on this stone.

Nortons IMO tend to be coarser than their grit ratings in general. Not sure if it is a difference in grit rating systems or what but that's my impression in general. So I think your impressions of the stones are accurate.

The 400 Chocera is a very nice stone and jumping to a 1k stone from there is very reasonable. It gives a finer finish than the 500 Beston and IMO cuts better too. It holds up far better than the comparable superstones. Good Choice. Depending on the steel you could jump to the Olive 2k Ume from the 400 Chocera.

The Rika is one of the few stones I haven't yet played with so no opinions there yet. I should probably test one out. I have recently reviewed the 5k Nubatama Bamboo, a real sleeper of a stone especially on carbons but it is also an all around good stone too. Comparing these stones would be interesting. For Carbons, the Bamboo 5k should be an easy win.

The Bester 1.2k should be more aggressive than a 2k stone - but with a coarser finish. It will certainly sound more aggressive as the Besters and Bestons in general are noisy stones. I find Besters give a coarser scratch pattern than their grit numbers, somewhat like Nortons. So say a 1500 Shapton Pro gives a far more refined scratch pattern than even a 2k Bester.

Atomas especially the 140 are 'the best' although pricey. For tip repair work I tend to use stones instead of either the Atoma or DMTs - 120 grit and below. For Chips, diamond plates are fine. For major work like a missing 1/2" of tip or giant chips or completely reshaping a knife, I use a belt grinder. Coarse stones and diamond plates are best when heat buildup is a critical factor. Aside from longer life the Atomas have far less stiction when flattening stones. IMO they are worth it as a longer term investment.

Strops are a whole separate topic that I just posted on elsewhere ...


Re: Stone Advice

Mon Aug 06, 2012 10:42 am

Yes, do test the Rika. If you like it a lot, get the Bester 1200. The Bester 1200 is the 1k stone equivalent to sleeping in a bed with silk sheets and Egyptian cotton pillows.

Re: Stone Advice

Tue Aug 07, 2012 12:04 am

burkecutlery wrote:Yes, do test the Rika. If you like it a lot, get the Bester 1200. The Bester 1200 is the 1k stone equivalent to sleeping in a bed with silk sheets and Egyptian cotton pillows.

I'll test the Rika as soon as the baseless variety is available.

For me, the 1k equivalent of that is the 1k Chosera or as I like to call it: The Hulk.

Re: Stone Advice

Tue Aug 07, 2012 2:00 am

I'm with Michiel on this one. The 1k Chocera is a really pleasant stone to sharpen on. I've tried the Bester 1.2 (all the Besters actually) and just don't care for it. I'll still keep an open mind on the Rika. These days I'm in 1k heaven with the choices available in the Nubatama lines. I'm also a big fan of the 1k GlassStone. It's also the first stone I ever cut for the EP.


Re: Stone Advice

Tue Aug 07, 2012 2:19 am

Michiel Vanhoudt wrote:I'll test the Rika as soon as the baseless variety is available.

It's one of my very favorites, and I can't wait for the baseless version!

Don't you have a microscope camera? I would really really like to see a fully fleshed out finish from the Rika if you can work the mud on it for a bit. I am starting to get curious if it doesn't have oddball particles in it to provide extra "bite".

It also provides some of the nicest contrast I've ever seen from a 4k+ synthetic. Very easy to go to JNats after it.
Post a reply