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 Post subject: Nubatama Ume 320 or Latte 400
PostPosted: Wed Jun 18, 2014 9:55 pm 

Joined: Thu Mar 20, 2014 3:29 pm
Posts: 111
Recently I have bought a little progression of stones and I am watching videos like mad as I get up my nerve to enter the world of freehand.

I have one question. There is no immediate or pressing need, but I have a few ancient knives with a bit of equally ancient damage (small chips) and at some point in time I will look for a low grit stone.

Perhaps for a low grit I should hunt for something cheaper, but the first stone that was recommended to me was the Latte, which has been out of stock for several months. It seems to be well loved here.

I was back today on the site looking through the low grit stones and the Nubatama Ume 320 caught my eye. Definitely pricier, which may not be necessary, but it looked very interesting.

For those of you who have used either of these stones, what are your thoughts? I can always wait for the Latte, or even listen to other suggestions. The knives are an old Shun and an old Global boning knife.

Thank you!


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 Post subject: Re: Nubatama Ume 320 or Latte 400
PostPosted: Wed Jun 18, 2014 10:25 pm 
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I am hoping Ken will come chime in here, as well as some other Nubatama owners. From what I gather Nubatama coarse stones are among the best. The Latte is a solid choice as well, but if it's out of stock then you already got one more reason to get the 320. ;)

Personally, your coarse stone is where you don't want to cheap out. Doing coarse work is the most important by far IMO. Setting a clean bevel faster means less chance of user error and cleaner bevels, as well as a better learning experience because you get to see what you are doing wrong or right much faster. Stones that don't cut good make lots of new free-handers give up because they don't allow you to see your results fast enough, as well as increasing the chance of user error and destroying your results.

There are many other good stones out there, but these are 2 solid choices and if they catch your fancy there's no need to look elsewhere at the moment. After you've owned one of these for a while you can make of list of attributes you do or don't like about it, and then try to use that to determine your next stone from there. You may want something a little softer next time, or something that doesn't need a soak, etc. But to help determine that you need to start somewhere to set the bar for your own personal preferences. You may find that the Nubatama 320 is good and that you don't want a different stone in the future; it's all about what gets the job done and done the way you like it.

That said: Where are you Nubatama owners?! How do you like this stone? :)



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 Post subject: Re: Nubatama Ume 320 or Latte 400
PostPosted: Wed Jun 18, 2014 11:36 pm 

Joined: Thu May 24, 2012 6:20 am
Posts: 1830
I am not a great resource on this one...

I just got the Nubatama Bamboo 220 about three weeks ago. This is my first stone coarser than ~1k. I have only used it once for thinning my Tojiro DP. Since my experience with this stone is limited and this is the only stone I have used in this grit range, take my input with a grain of salt.

I purchased the Bamboo 220 because it was on the cheaper end of the price range for this grit range and as a brick sized stone I figured I would get a lot of mileage out of it.

Cursory impressions: dishes slowly. This was a big takeaway from this stone. I have read all over that coarse stones wear quickly, I did not have any problem here. Now in this case I was thinning my Tojiro so most of the work was done on the softer cladding steel, not the core steel, so YMMV. The stone felt very coarse and cut quickly. It did produce a fine mud and there was some measure of loading but that may have been because of the "gooey" cladding steel gumming things up. Flushing with water seemed to help. What most impressed me about the stone was while the scratch patter was coarse, my 1k Nubatama Ume Speckled cleaned it up beautifully. At first I kinda panicked about how scratched everything was, but the 220 transitioned very well to my 1k.

For me the jury is still out on this stone, but I am not disappointed after my first use of it.


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 Post subject: Re: Nubatama Ume 320 or Latte 400
PostPosted: Wed Jun 18, 2014 11:47 pm 

Joined: Thu Mar 20, 2014 3:29 pm
Posts: 111
Thank you KF. I have a little time to make a decision and I would love to take a little of that time to hear what others think. Your comments are absolutely useful, and I thank you!

Cedar--as I was writing this your post appeared. Your experience with scratch patterns and their "fix" was a help, as was the tip about intermittent flushing. My thanks.


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 Post subject: Re: Nubatama Ume 320 or Latte 400
PostPosted: Thu Jun 19, 2014 1:42 am 
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Joined: Mon May 19, 2014 1:52 am
Posts: 355
Location: Philly
It depends on how banged up those knives are. To save yourself time if they are bad you might want to go lower like in the 120-180 range.



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 Post subject: Re: Nubatama Ume 320 or Latte 400
PostPosted: Thu Jun 19, 2014 1:50 am 

Joined: Thu Mar 20, 2014 3:29 pm
Posts: 111
whosthebestcop wrote:It depends on how banged up those knives are. To save yourself time if they are bad you might want to go lower like in the 120-180 range.


Thanks for the thought. I have an atoma 140 that might well serve that purpose--but what a good suggestion! I have the atoma, and a 1k stone, and was grappling with the question of whether I needed something in between. Maybe I need nothing!


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 Post subject: Re: Nubatama Ume 320 or Latte 400
PostPosted: Thu Jun 19, 2014 2:30 am 
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Location: Philly
Oh you got the atoma 140 boom there you go no need for another low grit stone now. What 1k do you have? Just want to make sure the 1k you have takes out the atoma 140 scratch pattern without having to be on that stone forever. So depending on the 1k stone you got you might not need anything in between.



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 Post subject: Re: Nubatama Ume 320 or Latte 400
PostPosted: Thu Jun 19, 2014 2:45 am 
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I would suggest a stone from 300-500 between the Atoma and a 1k. Any 1k will struggle to clean up 140 grit diamond scratches.



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 Post subject: Re: Nubatama Ume 320 or Latte 400
PostPosted: Thu Jun 19, 2014 3:10 am 
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While I have not personally used the latte 400, I have heard that it dishes somewhat quickly. I could be wrong, as my knowledge is just heresay, so don't lean on this statement too heavily. Now comparing the Nubatama 320 ume, it exceeds the Beston 500 in every way - faster, dishes slower, etc. And since it is a brick sized stone and dishes slower, it will obviously last longer than either the Beston or Latte.

There is a black AND a pink Nubatama Bamboo 220. I think the above comments apply to either stone. I have customers who like the pink one and some who like the black one :)

The 1k speckled Ume medium hardness will clear up the scratch patterns from some pretty coarse stones - a pleasant surprise.

I really like to follow the Atoma 140 with the Bamboo 150 - It converts the diamond scratch pattern to a stone scratch pattern VERY quickly. For softer steels you can jump to the 1k Ume medium stone from the 150 Bamboo. For harder steels a stone like the 320 Ume or 400 is an excellent midpoint.

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Ken



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 Post subject: Re: Nubatama Ume 320 or Latte 400
PostPosted: Thu Jun 19, 2014 4:29 am 

Joined: Sat Mar 01, 2014 7:15 am
Posts: 1186
Location: Raleigh, NC
I agree with Jeff. The diamond plates we use for lapping are suitable for only the very coarsest repair work. A stone in the 300-500 grit range is a better choice for light to moderate repair and integral in bridging the lapping plate to 1000 grit gap. I'm not sure I would be able to justify the 150 stone after a 140 diamond plate strictly from a cost perspective unless I was professionally sharpening, but it is the optimal method of transition. When I moved from diamond plates to stones I would follow the plate with a comparable grit stone to good effect.

I have Jason B's old Nubatama Bamboo 400 on the way myself, so I would be happy to report when it arrives. As far as I've read, the Nubatamas set themselves apart very well in lower grits.


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