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Why do natural stones cost so much?

Fri Nov 15, 2013 8:23 pm

Earth has millions of stones. What makes a particular Japanese stone so rare? It seems every website devoted to selling sharpening stones claims some level of rarity.

Although rarity doesn't necessarily mean scarce. Why can't American rock quarries produce sharpening stones? Grits, finish, softness, hardness etc.

What in particular makes the geological properties of Japanese stones superior to other quarried stones? It seems absurd to me that only the Japanese are able to sell and market what are essentially rocks as essential tools.

I think there has to be suitable stones located around the world. Am I crazy for thinking so?

Re: Why do natural stones cost so much?

Sat Nov 16, 2013 4:40 am

You need to have a conversation with ken , he can tell you more about the subject than the rest of the forum combined.

Re: Why do natural stones cost so much?

Sat Nov 16, 2013 5:20 am

Umberto,

Some of the answers are here:
http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sharpening_stone

The US does produce stones. I learned to sharpen as a kid on a hard Arkansas and a Washita.

As far as maintaining a tight supply and charging high prices for what are essentially rocks... I'm guessing that you're single.

Cheers,

Rick

Re: Why do natural stones cost so much?

Sat Nov 16, 2013 5:24 am

Which reminds me... MadRookie, next time you're out and about could you stop by a diamond pipe and grab me a cup or so?

Re: Why do natural stones cost so much?

Sat Nov 16, 2013 11:09 pm

I once honed a chisel on a large chunk of flagstone. I then proceeded to paint some kanji on the said flagstone and I won't tell anyone the rest of the story.

cheers,
wm_crash, the friendly hooligan

Re: Why do natural stones cost so much?

Sun Nov 17, 2013 4:04 pm

Umburto,

I travel a little and as I do, I pick up stones that look like they have sharpening potential, take them home, flatten a spot and see how they sharpen. Most are duds, but I did find one in South Carolina earlier this year in the 3K grit category that is seriously as good as any of the JNats I have.

To me, I don't think natural sharpen stones are exclusive to Japan, but........ there is something exotic in the foreign...... A particular JNat I love is a Meara. When I hit it with the slurry stone, it emits these fantastic odors which makes my mind create all sorts of delightful fantasies about the mountains and rain forests in far away lands. Now compare that to the stone from South Carolina. When I hit it with the slurry stone, I have delusions of banjo music and running in terror :) Yup, I think that is why Japanese stones are more sort after.

Re: Why do natural stones cost so much?

Sun Nov 17, 2013 4:37 pm

The Belgian coticule stones are supposed to be very good as well. The Japanese stone's that are priced like a luxury car are rare....most likely not mined any more. It's like have a Ming Dynasty vase....a treasure far more than a tool.
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