Fun and affordable

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Review by siavosh posted 05-07-2014 05:58 AM 4542 views 0 times favorited 4 comments Add to Favorites Watch
Fun and affordable Fun and affordable Fun and affordable Click the pictures to enlarge them

I’ve recently acquired a full blown case of sharpening OCD, and having been inclined towards Japanese tools, I’ve started pining for natural water stones. I’m strictly a newbie, but apparently there are some advantages to using high quality “naturals” especially at the higher grits. The issue is that to get a descent one you need to fork over hundreds if not thousands of dollars because they are limited in supply. All this while synthetics are more consistent, cheaper, and frankly work great for probably 99.9% of folks. Yet I still pined to try a natural.

The Amakusa Red stone is a lower grit stone (~800) that was available at a local store (bay area) and also readily available online at a few knife/tool sites, and it was only $25! And it’s huge. I really didn’t need it, but I couldn’t resist. Did I mention it’s huge?! It’s 5lbs, it will last a lifetime.

Now this isn’t an exotic stone, I read that in parts of Japan it’s actually building material, so you might think you’re actually overpaying, but if you have the bug, it makes a great first natural stone. It has a soft feel, but doesn’t dish easily. No soaking is needed (it’s actually bad for it), just a splash, and you’re ready to go. It is by no means a fast stone, but it does work up a nice slurry, and makes you feel very zen, and before you know it you’ve been working it for half an hour.

I’ve used it to sharpen some chisels and kitchen knives as part of my progression up to an 8k synthetic. Other than not worrying about it wasting away anytime soon with heavy grinding, it’s something nice to have if you’re starting to become an irrational sharpener.

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674 posts in 2644 days

4 comments so far

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51 posts in 4535 days

#1 posted 05-07-2014 12:45 PM

When you say “Bay area”, which bay are you close to? I am down here in Mississippi,and we have The Gulf Coast,Then NOLA in Lousiana. I am interested in The Stones ,but where did you get them???

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674 posts in 2644 days

#2 posted 05-07-2014 02:33 PM

@Dautterguy – Sorry for the ambiguity, Bay Area as in San Francisco. I bought mine here, but they do a lot of mail order:

They also have a ~1k grit version.

Here’s another place:

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176 posts in 3993 days

#3 posted 05-10-2014 06:43 AM

I also purchased an 800 grit amakusa from Hida tools a couple of years ago. To be honest, I bought the stone because of the beautiful cloud like pattern on the stone. In performance, it is a very slow working, and very soft stone. It does not work as fast, or stay as flat as my King 800. Nowadays, I rarely use the stone. I have experimented using the stone as a substrate for loose 60 grit silicon carbide powder, in hopes of making an equivalent coarse stone. Results were mixed at best.

If you are using it to sharpen O1 or white steel, it will serve you well, just a little slow. It will leave a lovely cloudy finish, as most japanese natural stones will. If you are using A2 or blue steel, other stones will serve you better.

-- David W. Cupertino, CA

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674 posts in 2644 days

#4 posted 05-11-2014 02:34 AM

David, thanks for sharing your experience. I agree it’s a pretty slow stone and one of its biggest appeals to me was that it’s just a nice looking stone. Good point on its different effects on different steels. I tried it on my stainless steel knife and it didn’t do much. I’m looking forward to trying it on my white steel chisel.

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