Naniwa SS 8k or Arashiyama 6k?

Joined Nov 21, 2010
Thank you guys for sharing your knowhow over here. I appreciate not just the expertise, but also the overall tone. And in particular BDL, for your suggestions on starting me out with waterstones.

I've purchased a Naniwa 1000/3000 combi stone (not SS, but some cheaper series), and a Naniwa SS 400. I've been practicing and can create and remove a burr on 1000. It took me some time to detect the same on 3000, but I'm becoming more sensitive to what's happening to the edge when I use the stone. I'm a bit wary of using the 400 until I gain more experience. The one time I tried to remove small chips on a VG10 utility knife was unsuccessful, and the stone felt harsh and significantly less pleasurable than the 1000/3000.

So now I've got the bug, and I'm looking to get a higher grit stone. That will be it for me, and I don't intend to go any higher. After reading some threads, I'm debating between a Naniwa SS 8k and Arishayama 6k. My knives are few and not particularly hard, apart from a VG10 utility knife (two Theirs Issard Nogents, Opinel paring knives of 12c27, Kuhn Rikon carbon steel paring and chef's, two Robert Herder knives of carbon steel). I should mention that I'm in Europe, and availability of stones is limited.

I'm inclined to go with the Arashiyama. My reasoning is:

-I probably won't be able to tell much of a difference between the 6K and the 8k. And in any case, my impression is that the practical limit of my knives (except maybe the VG10 utility which I rarely use) is closer to the 6K. 

-As a beginner, I figure it will be easier to reach up to the 6k with my current skills (1k-3k-6k)

-As I hopefully get better at this, I'll someday be able to jump straight from 1k to 6k so that's one less stone I'll have to progress through

So, I wanted to ask you experts out there:

-Are there significant differences between SS 8k and Arashiyama 6k?

-Does my reasoning make sense to you?

Thank you in advance for your thoughts.
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Joined Dec 3, 2010
Wow nearly two days and no response on a "which stone" question :)

I may not be the right or most experienced one to answer you on this, but hope the input is helpful.

I do not have any experience with the Naniwa, but do have the Arashiyama so I can not make a comparison, but the 6K has been a pleasurable stone to use, and produces a really nice (what appears to be mid level) polish. It has been easy to use, and does respond well to using less pressure as the strokes progress to achieve a finer or more polished finish.

What I have some experience in is trying to determine a proper progression of stones, and honestly it has been tough attempting to get a real feel for this through others experiences. All the various threads relating to this have been helpful though, and many of the comments I have received both here and at other sites has as well.

The thing is that until you get to use the stone, and see how it performs under your conditions and sharpening style etc it seems everything is kind of here say etc.

I mean without trying them it is hard to determine if 1 3 6 is any better than 800 3 6, or even 1 4 8 etc.

Also judging by your assortment of knives I would not be surprised to learn that other end up recommending some kind of oil stone too so be prepared :)

It seems that stone selection, and even sharpening technique is just another part of the experience, and it is one that both needed and as if not more important than knife choice.

And also keep in mind that many refer to that 6K as a stone that performs like a 8K so you may get similar results from the two (I believe that the 6K is even also sold under another name as an 8K).

I am wondering why you are not using the vg10 petty more as I find mine very useful etc.
Joined Nov 21, 2010
Thank you LennyD, your experience with the Arashiyama is indeed helpful. I like that it responds well to lighter strokes and you enjoy using it. Apart from effectiveness, I'm also looking something that I'll have fun using.

As to your question about my using the VG10 utility- I do like it, and it is probably is my hardest knife (maybe together with the herder carbon K2). The reason I find myself using it less is the recent arrival of a 6" Nogent (influenced by BDL's descriptions and an overwhelmingly positive experience with a 9" chef's). That charming, precise knife has completely seduced me. Also, I'm trying to limit my use of the VG10 until I learn how to remove a few chips. I'm afraid that doing so before then wouldn't be good for it.

One more question- how do you feel about the Arashiyama as a final stone?

Thanks again for sharing your input.
Joined Dec 3, 2010
My answer to how the Arashiyama would be as a finishing stone will be a combination of personal experience and what I have read and even what I have been told on various forums. Plus please keep in mind that though not new to sharpening I still do consider myself a newbie to J knives and whetstones.

That all said first let me say that currently it is my final stone, and that is part of why I know first hand it can produce a finer finish with a light hand, but also why I expect when funds allow that I will be expecting to add a higher rated stone (most likely a 10K or 12K, and also a rougher low end stone as well since my set starts at 2K currently)

From talking with more experienced members on the forums this going higher may be more of a personal need to experiment than anything else, and if you want to believe one poster the higher rated grit will produce a more polished finish than I would need, and I was also alerted to the idea that I may not even understand the full benefit, or lack there of from a more mirror polished finish.

I am still finding myself going over that last part at times, and figuring the benefits of a mirror polished edge besides actually having one lol

Since I have not used my whetstones for anything but stain resistant J knives I can not offer much on any comparison to how other types sharpen on them, and still use my old oil stone or wet paper for softer SS or even carbon etc. So my experience may not apply to your Nogent etc

Now I only have carbon blades on a couple of my hunting knives so do not let that sway your decision, and the one is more of a collector than a user so I only see sharpening as reducing its value (possibly?).

The results I am currently getting from VG10 and moly blades I have is a really nice very polished edge that you have to view magnified to see anything but reflection. Therefore I guess it could be a fine final stone.

Also interesting to hear that BDL lead you into buying carbon as he does make it sound enticing if not down right sexy, and his discussions on that blade material have gotten my mind thinking about adding one as well. Only thing pushing it a bit further onto the back burner versus others is that I am finding I am really liking VG10 and much as he makes the carbon sound so good I am cautious of the corrosion concerns of carbon.

Maybe there will be one in my future, buy only time will tell.
Joined Nov 21, 2010
Thank you, as you use harder knives and seem satisfied I guess I shouldn't have a problem ending at about the level of this stone. If anything, I suspect that it will be more of an internal struggle to keep myself in check before going too far after diminishing returns.

I hope you someday add a happy experience with carbon to the rest of your collection. Prior to the Nogents, my few knives were mostly carbon so the care and cosmetics weren't an issue. From my admittedly biased perspective I don't think it needs to be a big deal for a casual and selectively obsessive home cook such as myself. Come to think of it seems I get some kind of perverse satisfaction from its reactivity- the sense that I'm working with a living thing.

Thanks again LennyD.

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