Japan is an island nation located on the infamous “ring of fire” tectonic plate boundries, and there is a lot of intersecting tectonic plates creating fascinating geological features. This stone should be used like a splash and go stone... add just enough water to lubricate the surface, but not too much. Aiiwatani Asagi Koppa Amukasa Binsui. This term refers to Japanese natural whetstones that are homogenous, without any layering. I do not find this stone to be nearly aggressive enough for such relatively heavy removal, and use it exclusively for toothier edges. The terranes sat ontop of the Pacific tectonic plate for millions and millions of years, building up more sediment, and undergoing metamorphism under pressure, heat, and other natural elements. Depending on the intended use of the blade, such as butchery or vegetables, some users may even stop sharpening on some of the 'higher' grit ara-toishi and be fully satisfied. They are equally muddy, about the same in terms of hardness (a little softer actually, but close), and about the same in terms of finish. I have found them to leave a slightly smoother looking finish, and a bit more contrast on kasumi finishes. It goes from that pasty chalk white, to a brilliant almost aquamarine hue. Its chalk white appearance mimics its texture, it’s firm, but not hard, airy but also dense at the same time. That being said, after all the exhaustingly slow dancing was over, the edge was decent; sharper than the stainless, but not as keen as the shirogami, as is usually the story, but lacked the bite that I expect at this grit range. The color change alone is almost worth getting this stone, as it blows me away every time. kan (ring pattern), karasu (crow pattern), namazu (catfish pattern), etc, have their own words, which further help classify them and suggest possible cutting characteristics. Natural stones from this region are rich in silica, which acts as a main abrasive. We’ve also had out supplier mount these on bases for added stability and protection over time. As I mentioned in the intro, my stones aren’t a perfect representative for all stones of the same type, but I simply can’t imagine setting bevels on this as some sharpeners have said they’ve done. You can expect about an 8k finish for the most part. As an added pleasure, this stone releases a strong and pleasant fragrance when used. It's a medium hardness, but a bit softer than the other monzento we have in stock. Like the new Hideriyama we have introduced, these are similar to our takashima awasedo. If you’ve got a number of stainless steel knives that you want to practice on, and don’t want to finish the edge quickly, then this is a great option. In general, it feels like a more refined version of the takashima awasedo (which is still enjoy a lot). This region's natural stones all have about the same fineness of grit to being with (around 6-8k) and the potential finish can go up from there, depending on the stone hardness, the pressure you use during sharpening, water, etc. While considering options to replace our dwindling stock of Takashima Awasedo, we decided to introduce these as well. The mountain, or mine, along with the strata, and the subtle differences exhibited by different veins within those strata, are typically where the stones get their names. Each grit range has its uses, and with enough exposure, you will consistently start to find certain stones from certain strata (Sō) falling within these grit classes, although there is certainly overlap. I’d suggest avoiding Igarashis if you pack a lot of aogami, as it’s both unnecessarily laborious and yields on so-so results. They are equally muddy, about the same in terms of hardness (a little softer actually, but close), and about the same in terms of finish. We touch on such below. All that said, if you’re interested in getting your hands dirty with natural stones, but don’t want to spend a ton, have stainless steel or shirogami knives, and like a 1-2k finish, then definitely consider an Igarashi. Japanese edge tools, chisels, planes, kiridashis etc. If a stone has any inclusions or toxic lines, it will be stated in that particular stones description, otherwise there are none. The results are similar to what I have come to expect from the natural stones I like for kitchen knives. Ara-toishi, or coarse grit stones, are usually top strata (ara-pin) stones, and typically some form of sedimentary sandstone, that are typically used as the first set of stones for dull blades. Add in the beauty of ara-toishi, and I often find myself reaching for them when I'm doing light repairs or bevel setting on high quality steel. It is only with getting your hands on different stones of differing grits can you start estimating grits on natural stones. I was able to achieve very nice contrast and beautiful and even looking kasumi finishes on a wide variety of knives and steel types. If it dries out, it becomes much less efficient, and often causes the blade to skate. Stone Session coming soon... Igarashi. The feedback is odd. It's earthy, wet, and mineral-rich in the smell. In testing, I actually found these stones to be more enjoyable than the takashima awasedo I have become so used to. Shirogami: The case of relative inefficiency from the SS session was less of an issue when using my Gesshin Kagekiyo shirogami 2 petty. Just ask. Users can stop at any grit range they want depending on what type of results they are trying to attain. Stone Session coming soon... Blue Aizu. While considering options to replace our dwindling stock of Takashima awasedo, we decided to introduce these as well. For knives, however, we stop at shiage-to. So if you are on the market for tennen toishi, it can pay off to know what you are looking for, and how to talk about it. This is a great place to start if you're looking to have a very strong kasumi when you get to your finishing stone. These Toishi can be used on any side; many Aoto are potato stones. They are a bit more porous than the takashima awasedo. Want us to take care of initial sharpening? Going the strata route to understand and discuss tennen toishi can be helpful once you have had a decent amount of experience with tennen toishi, but easily overwhelming for beginners, thus why we have organized our stones within grit classes instead. Although there are many ways to talk about and define tennen toishi, it is often easiest for beginners to get a sense of them by simply undertstanding their grit ranges (which they themselves are not always agreed upon where one grit ‘class’ ends and another begins). Natural stones from this region are rich in silica, which acts as a main abrasive. Appearance and texture: Like most Igarashi, this one is at first glance a pretty boring stone. This particular awasedo from the Oouchi was recommended to us by one of our natural stone dealers. I actually have owned one of these for quite a while. While considering options to replace our dwindling stock of takashima awasedo, we decided to introduce these as well. Thankfully the Igarashi is a very approachable stone, so the extra time I spent on the stone was easy enough, and I wasn’t worried about making any mistakes. The goal is to develop mud, so keeping the surface very wet is prohibitive to mud development. Like the new Hideriyama we have introduced, these are similar to our Takashima Awasedo. Other stones are softer and coarser and better suited to the early to mid-range work when honing razors. You cannot talk about Japanese knives without talking about Japanese natural stones (tennen toishi). The Gesshin™ 2000 Grit Sharpening Stone is an awesome naka toishi (medium grit stone). A downside is that could potentially contain toxic inclusions, typically very hard concentrations of quartz (or silicon dioxide), or even 'debris' like pebbles, which could damage a blade during sharpening, thus a reliable source is required to assure that the stones have been inspected and and pass muster that there are no potential toxic inclusions. This stone should be used like a splash and go stone... add just enough water to lubricate the surface, but not too much. Nowadays they are sourced from several different places still around Sanjo, but have lost a little luster in users’ eyes. hon suita; hardness, eg. This stone has a little goma (sesame seeds) sprinkled throughout. They are equally muddy, about the same in terms of hardness (a little softer actually, but close), and about the same in terms of finish. It finishes somewhere around 8k for the most part, which still provides a bit of bite despite the higher grit rating. Synthetic stones have largely replaced ara-toishi given their guaranteed lack of toxic exclusions and set grit levels with very hard abrasive particles, as well as relative affordability. We offer a variety of knife-related services... click below for more info. Unfortunately almost all of them are now closed, either from depletion, or lack of financial incentive to keep operating them. Stone Session coming soon... Monzento. Lvl 5+,;and sometimes fineness of the abrasive particles, eg, 9.5. Japanese Natural Whetstones, or Tennen Toishi, can be soft, hard, coarse or fine. The mines of the Higashi-Mono and beyond, as well as some razors, traditional Japanese chisels, Kana (planes) and other wood working tools, rare razors and kamisori, asano and tomo nagura and lapping plates. What makes Japan’s stones so unique and famous is its unique geography and tectonic history.

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