sharpening stone makeup

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Joined Apr 13, 2015
I am looking at buying a bester 1200 and a rika 5000. I hear these are two good stones to start out with. My question is, how do i know what these stones are made out of? The websites that sell them dont seem to mention this ..

For example, natural or synthetic. Is the abrasion material novaculite, silicon carbide or aluminium oxide?  Which of these is better? None of the sites that sell these stones seem to mention these details.

I'm wondering if Novaculite is safe for consumer use in my home?

Does anyone know of any stones that are american made?
 
1,061
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Joined Aug 6, 2015
http://www.toolsfromjapan.com/store/index.php?main_page=index&cPath=335_404_468

Bester's got some sort of ceramic binder (and my guess would be AlOx abrasive).

http://www.toolsfromjapan.com/store...t_info&cPath=335_405_583_585&products_id=1961 The Rika's got some sort of softer smoother binder but I think also AlOx abrasive.

If you're seeing a quoted, exact grit listing, think synthetic. The Bester and Suehiro fit into those. They are made to some level of spec of mixed binder and abrasive and effectively baked into a stone.

If you start seeing price ranges like several hundred bucks per stone and things that look like real rocks, for the most part, think Jnats. 

Norton will be your American made ones.

Novaculite's some Arkansas stones thing. There are people on this forum with more knowledge on those who might hopefully chime in on that. 

I think quite a few of us would have died if these stones weren't safe for home use.
 
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Joined Aug 6, 2015
If you want to learn about synthetic stones in general, an interesting blog post. http://www.toolsfromjapan.com/wordpress/?p=539

Edit: Disclaimer, the writer is a woodworker and they have somewhat different priorities than knife guys with regards to sharpening and their stones of choice.
 
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Joined Apr 13, 2015
why do I care about the materials used to make the stone? Other than performance, just saftey wise I suppose. Making sure im not using something that would harm me or my family. I dont see anything online regrading novaculite and health concerns so I suppose its ok to use. And, its not that I desire to have a novaculite stone, I was more so stating that the places that sell these stones usually dont list what the stones are - what abrasion material is used, if its natural or synthetic, etc.

It looks like the bester I can permanently soak and the rika shouldnt be soak permanently.
 
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Joined Apr 25, 2014
You know you're supposed to clean your knife after sharpening right?  Even a slurry of the finest natural stones and steel is probably not something to eat.
 
1,061
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Joined Aug 6, 2015
As a new user it's important to keep in mind that there are people who already do this. Novaculite, like AlOx and SiC, is an abrasive, like diamonds, and one shouldn't try to ingest any of these. I get the concern but there's plenty of us here resolutely not dying, not to mention people who do knives and sharpening for a living. Nothing you're doing freehanding with water as a medium not powered equipments is going to generate aerosols that are unwittingly breathed in. The one thing to do has already been mentioned several times before - rinse and wipe off your knife completely.

The last I understood, the Suehiro Rika is a vitrified stone and should have no problems with living in a tub of water. As has probably been mentioned in one thread or another, change out the water periodically.

And there probably isn't much easy to find data on these stones similar to how the most a typical consumer will be able to find out about their knife without some digging and phone calls is "surgical stainless steel". People largely don't care because rubbing bladed equipment on rocks predates any of our existences.
 
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Bob, I'm afraid to say that you are inventing things to worry about. Everybody I know washes their knife between sharpening and eating with it.

Novaculite is natural stone. The sellers either say so or assume the buyer has the wherewithal to do a quick Google search.
 
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Joined Mar 15, 2017
HI there, Just looking for japanese knives for my home but haven't found where to find sharpening stones to keep knives sharp .Can you give any advice to where I could find ?Thanks!
 
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Joined Mar 15, 2017
My sharpening stone budget is open but I'm a rooky when it comes to really good kives. My schooling preped me for butcher sharpening with henkel types but after watching a video on sharpening Japanese knives with an assortment of stones I needed some help to protect my tools.
 
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Joined Aug 6, 2015
 
My sharpening stone budget is open but I'm a rooky when it comes to really good kives. My schooling preped me for butcher sharpening with henkel types but after watching a video on sharpening Japanese knives with an assortment of stones I needed some help to protect my tools.
You could check out King 1000/6000 combo stones for one of the more cost friendly options

There's also stuff like this http://www.toolsfromjapan.com/store...t_info&cPath=335_405_583_585&products_id=2055 both soaking stones, I'd recommend getting them as the separate stones option. Good feedback and fairly forgiving stones, they don't dish too quickly. Shipping will probably be a couple of weeks. Other stones I think are good from TFJ  and not too pricey- Naniwa Hayabusa 4000, Sigma Power 6000 (both splash and go fine stones), Sigma Power 1000 'Soft' (~10 minute soak, medium grit stone)

If you have a more generous budget and can get really nice stones that'll cut fast and last ages, check out https://www.japaneseknifeimports.com/pages/sharpening-supplies

I also tend to browse Amazon and eBay occasionally for staying on top of prices, but that's after knowing some brands (Naniwa, King, Suehiro, Sigma Power, Shapton, etc.) or specific stones I'm looking for 

There's also Norton waterstones, long time standbys, but no personal experience with these

Pair any option up with a way to keep them flat, whether it be diamond flattening plates, stone fixers of dimensions similar to that of the stones, or coarse sandpaper or drywall screen backed on tile.
 
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@smokin52, I already answered you in another post but I'll add a bit more since foody brought up some things.  The Sigma power 1000 (toolsfromjapan/TFJ) and Watanabe 1000 are excellent stones and reasonably priced, though the shipping form Watanabe may be a deal breaker. TFJ has an inexpensive starter set that is excellent.  For thinning you probably don't want to go below 400 for know as the courser stones can get a beginner in trouble, but if you just want to practice on your Germans then the Sigma 120 is great.  More manageable is the "Pink Brick" that lots of folks sell in either soft (Geshin), medium (most everyone else) and hard (Watanabe) densities.  Soft cuts faster, hard dishes slower.  Millions has waxed eloquent on the Sigma dual-density 300, soft on one side, and hard on the other to maintain a flat surface for evening things out, not a bad idea.
 
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Joined Mar 15, 2017
Thanks all for the info but is there any videos to show how to sharpen my japanese knives/In the past month I saw a video online of someone sharpening some japanese knives which was way different than the way Iwas used too. My past with sharpening with my Germanknives was using a tri stone and sharpening technique was much different ,which for me I always had a razor sharp edge.Now with these type of knives the sharpening is different and I don't want to mess it up.
 
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Joined Nov 15, 2012
Whatever worked for your German knives will work for any knives.  As has been said here before, sharpening is just rubbing steel on rocks, you don't have to overthink it.  The only difference in the end it between sharp and crazy-sharp, most folks never experiencing the latter, nor caring to, but it's what most here like.
 
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Joined Aug 6, 2015
Take a look at this playlist for knife sharpening. A main difference you might notice from what you're used to is the active use of the 'burr method' of sharpening to understand when the fatigued metal has been taken off, when to switch sides, and when/how to deburr and stop.
 
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Joined Jan 25, 2013
 
Thanks all for the info but is there any videos to show how to sharpen my japanese knives/In the past month I saw a video online of someone sharpening some japanese knives which was way different than the way Iwas used too. My past with sharpening with my Germanknives was using a tri stone and sharpening technique was much different ,which for me I always had a razor sharp edge.Now with these type of knives the sharpening is different and I don't want to mess it up.
as said, all you are doing is rubbing steel on stone.  main difference I can see is that your German knives were a single piece of hardened steel while a lot of the Japanese knives are a small piece of hardened steel surrounded(clad) by softer stainless steel or perhaps wrought iron.  here are two posters on You-Tube who show various ways to sharpen and explain the whats and whys.  https://www.youtube.com/user/CliffStamp/videos  a physics professor located in Newfoundland, he brings scientific method into sharpening and edge retention

 https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCqPiMuZ82IxI9nkWZcpWifg  good basic, easy to understand how-to's

neither guy sells knives or sharpening stones.
 

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