Water Stones - Brands and Edges

Moderator: Peter Nowlan

Post Reply
Peter Nowlan
Posts: 1146
Joined: Tue Jan 31, 2017 12:05 pm

Water Stones - Brands and Edges

Post by Peter Nowlan » Sat May 27, 2017 9:30 am

Image


I remember a time when I thought that if I didn't have every single Naniwa Chosera stone that my knives would never reach their full potential, I craved the stones "that made the news"

I smartened up and realized that the potential of the knives will always be limited to my skill level level and that a good grasp on fundamentals and establishing a technique and working on that is far more important than the brand of stones. In the picture above I sharpened all three knives with a different set of stones, stones we are all familiar with and I did them all at my 12 deg per side.

At the end, the difference in the level of sharpness was so subtle that I couldn't really feel a difference and even if there was a difference, after an hour of use or less the "sharpest" knife, if there was one would be less sharp anyway. So, for me, the importance of the stones I use lie in the way they make me feel as I use them, what added levels of joy do they bring. I know that they and probably any stones will make my knives sharp. I stopped getting hung up on stone brands a long time ago realizing it isn't the stones that make the difference, it is my ability to use them and get the most out of every one of them.

Image

User avatar
Kit Craft
Posts: 4712
Joined: Thu Jan 26, 2017 8:57 pm
Location: Pennsylvania

Re: Water Stones - Brands and Edges

Post by Kit Craft » Sat May 27, 2017 10:27 am

Cool post and I totally agree. For me it is not so much about brand X or Y or the stones said capabilities so much as it is about how I feel about using the stones. I can get comparable edges from a Shapton and a Suehiro but I enjoy using the suehiro more. As such I take my time and enjoy the session, get into it, so to speak. This results in better performance, not from the stone but from me. That isn't because they are made by Suehiro either, there are plenty of stone brands out there that make those creamy feeling stones that are enjoyable, to me, to use.

Yes, that is a mental thing and it is about comfort. It may even be my imagination but for me it works.

You know, that is something that I find interesting as well. Sometimes, even if for just a second, we forget that others have different preferences. There are a few here that seem to prefer those hard, precise stones. I can use them but I just can't get into the sharpening session. That makes me rush and when I rush I get sloppy :P

Peter Nowlan
Posts: 1146
Joined: Tue Jan 31, 2017 12:05 pm

Re: Water Stones - Brands and Edges

Post by Peter Nowlan » Sat May 27, 2017 11:13 am

I do believe however that choosing good stones right from the start is important in building confidence which in turn builds skill levels. Buying 15 dollar stones from the hardware store will set novices up for failure, perhaps. So get a good set of stones and use them to develop. After that, people will have a better appreciation of what other brands offer.

User avatar
craig_uw
Posts: 290
Joined: Thu Jan 26, 2017 9:53 pm

Re: Water Stones - Brands and Edges

Post by craig_uw » Sat May 27, 2017 11:30 am

Reminds me of what Murray Carter states in his sharpening classes: it is 90% about your ability and 10% about the hardware.

User avatar
Kit Craft
Posts: 4712
Joined: Thu Jan 26, 2017 8:57 pm
Location: Pennsylvania

Re: Water Stones - Brands and Edges

Post by Kit Craft » Sat May 27, 2017 3:35 pm

Peter Nowlan wrote:
Sat May 27, 2017 11:13 am
I do believe however that choosing good stones right from the start is important in building confidence which in turn builds skill levels. Buying 15 dollar stones from the hardware store will set novices up for failure, perhaps. So get a good set of stones and use them to develop. After that, people will have a better appreciation of what other brands offer.
I get you, a good stone is important but it seems we tend to nitpick between many a good stone. :lol: Which just goes to further your first point.

User avatar
Jeff B
Posts: 10319
Joined: Fri Jan 27, 2017 5:59 pm
Location: Kentucky

Re: Water Stones - Brands and Edges

Post by Jeff B » Sat May 27, 2017 7:51 pm

More words of wisdom from Sensei Peter!
I remember myself the days of wondering if the more popular or higher priced stones would help improve my edges. After buying and selling several stones I too came to the realization that it was more about my skill level than the stones. I kept the stones I enjoyed, ditched the rest and continued concentrating on perfecting my technique. There may be other stones out there that may pique my curiosity at sometime but for now it's more about the skill.
If God wanted me to be a vegetarian he wouldn't have made animals taste so good.

User avatar
Kit Craft
Posts: 4712
Joined: Thu Jan 26, 2017 8:57 pm
Location: Pennsylvania

Re: Water Stones - Brands and Edges

Post by Kit Craft » Sat May 27, 2017 9:06 pm

Jeff B wrote:
Sat May 27, 2017 7:51 pm
More words of wisdom from Sensei Peter!
I remember myself the days of wondering if the more popular or higher priced stones would help improve my edges. After buying and selling several stones I too came to the realization that it was more about my skill level than the stones. I kept the stones I enjoyed, ditched the rest and continued concentrating on perfecting my technique. There may be other stones out there that may pique my curiosity at sometime but for now it's more about the skill.
Jeff, as always, that post is right on point!

User avatar
pjwoolw
Posts: 821
Joined: Thu Jan 26, 2017 8:53 pm
Location: San Ramon Ca.

Re: Water Stones - Brands and Edges

Post by pjwoolw » Sun May 28, 2017 9:38 pm

Good thread! I often tell my customers its more about who is doing the work than the media used. The media used is whatever works for the individual to achieve ones objective.
Pete in San Ramon.
925-548-6967
[email protected]

Peter Nowlan
Posts: 1146
Joined: Tue Jan 31, 2017 12:05 pm

Re: Water Stones - Brands and Edges

Post by Peter Nowlan » Mon May 29, 2017 3:51 pm

Right on Pete

orezeno
Posts: 574
Joined: Wed Feb 01, 2017 8:34 am
Location: Annapolis, MD

Re: Water Stones - Brands and Edges

Post by orezeno » Tue May 30, 2017 11:53 am

I stopped getting hung up on stone brands a long time ago realizing it isn't the stones that make the difference, it is my ability to use them and get the most out of every one of them.
When it comes to sharpness, I agree with this statement. However, I consider my stone collection a bit like a toolbox. Given my own technique and approach, some stones are better at dealing with certain conditions than others. Through time, and thousands of sharpenings, we learn to appreciate the features that different stones provide and to apply these features as we deem necessary. And, I suspect most of us who have the sharpening disease are enthusiastic to try new stones. I find that sometimes adapting to a new stone expands my technique, and sometimes a new stone will expand the choices I have for dealing with specific aspects of sharpening.
The media used is whatever works for the individual to achieve ones objective.
This sums it up very well, IMO.
Greg

Peter Nowlan
Posts: 1146
Joined: Tue Jan 31, 2017 12:05 pm

Re: Water Stones - Brands and Edges

Post by Peter Nowlan » Wed May 31, 2017 6:16 am

I agree completely Greg, well said. I'm referring to folks starting out and like me, overwhelmed by the choices. I found that it took me a few years to understand how to make better choices and grab the right stones from the toolbox. At first, all the tools felt the same to me :)

Michaelrax
Posts: 11
Joined: Thu Jun 14, 2018 11:09 am
Location: Virgin Islands
Contact:

Water Stones Brands and Edges

Post by Michaelrax » Wed Jul 04, 2018 10:29 am

I really like the Water Ogrin. Has very good depth to it and I like how the mane was done.

salemj
Posts: 2594
Joined: Thu Jan 26, 2017 9:27 pm
Location: Victoria, BC

Re: Water Stones - Brands and Edges

Post by salemj » Wed Jul 04, 2018 10:55 am

The title caught me off guard: I thought it was going to be a discussion of different brands and edges, and in fact it was exactly the opposite!

One thing the title does get right is that you are talking about edges. I definitely sit on "this side" of the fence when it comes to edges. But there is another world out there...one that is much more Japanese. I don't think you are trying to speak to this world, but when it comes to polishing and refinishing a blade, and not an edge, I think the opposite may be true: it may be very, very much about the particular stone or abrasive, and very, very little about the quality of the "edge."

Anyone who has received, say, a Fujiyama blade prior to 2013 knows this, and most people who have watched a video on samurai swords also knows this: most "traditional" stone work or refinishing work has very little to do with the edge, and very much to do with the finish of the blade. And in those cases, the type of abrasive (stone or otherwise) is really, really important. I mention the Fujiyama blades not because they have a good stone finish (they probably don't—it is almost certainly belts), but because they DON'T COME WITH AN EDGE. I've received and used other such knives, and my friend just brought one back from Japan that also had no edge despite it being just finished for her on her last day. It had a beautiful polish, great contrast of the core steel and damascus, and the damascus had great "pop," but it had no edge at all.

I think everyone above knows this, but I also think it cannot be assumed that comments like the OP have very little to do with this practice. Like I said, I'm very much on "this side of the fence" when it comes to edges and how to get good ones. And, in fact, when I try to refinish blades, I rarely go for stones (and from what I understand, very few "professionals" in Japan use stones for such things anymore, either—mechanized finishing is much more common, even among experts, just like Shibata-san asked Mark to bring his "donut wheel" for any sharpening demonstrations). But this doesn't change the fact that, when it comes to producing a certain kind of cosmetic finish/polish on a blade, especially using traditional methods, the type of stone is really important; this also relates, of course, to the fact that for older Japanese blades, you would usually use the same stone for the edge as you'd use to polish off rust, patina, etc., as you cared for your blade. And none of this relates to razors, which is a different category all together. But in general, my sense has always been that the variety of stones is more more of a "thing" when it comes to how to polish/finish a blade, and not when it comes to getting a great edge for a kitchen knife—even among the Japanese, Shibata and Takeda methods being obvious examples of how basic, simple, and quick the progression behind some peoples' favorite edges can be...
~Joe

Comments: I'm short, a home cook, prefer lighter, thinner blades, and own mostly Konosukes but have used over a dozen brands.

Peter Nowlan
Posts: 1146
Joined: Tue Jan 31, 2017 12:05 pm

Re: Water Stones - Brands and Edges

Post by Peter Nowlan » Sat Jul 07, 2018 6:02 am

Joe you are absolutely spot on. I was not thinking about cosmetics at all when I made this post over a year ago. I was thinking about bed my a better sharpener and brand names. Cosmetics is a weak area for me and I can’t wait to learn more about it but I’ll probably be disillusioned when I see an expert at work. Your point is well made though, as always. Thank you.

User avatar
lsboogy
Posts: 315
Joined: Tue Jun 05, 2018 1:23 pm
Location: Minneapolis

Re: Water Stones - Brands and Edges

Post by lsboogy » Thu Aug 30, 2018 11:03 am

Thank you Peter - I could not agree more. 'Be been sharpening long enough to know that I can always get better (learned from mom and dad 50 years ago) and what I find is that feel of a stone is the most important thing for me. I like softer feeling stones, and I can usually tell within 10 minutes or so how the stone feels to me. Have 30 or so stones, but I use only a small set of them. I have my dads Arkansas stones, a couple of Belgians, and lots of Japanese man made and some naturals. The stone I loved (old Kikuichi 1K) was down in by the cats, and I now have two similar ~1K stones that were meant to get one close - I like them both so much I'm keeping both of them. I cN get a decent edge on any type of steel with my stones, and the ones I gravitate towards are all based on how it feels to me. Find the stones that you are confident with and use them. I use the same stones on everything from old Sabatier knives to HAP40 stuff. Stainless, carbon, powder - they all work and I can feel how things are doing

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest