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Thread: Shapton Stones, Shapton Pro vs Kuromako stones

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    Senior Member CamMorris's Avatar
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    Default Shapton Stones, Shapton Pro vs Kuromako stones

    Just getting acquainted with Shapton stones, are the Shapton Professional stones basically the same as the Japanese branded Kuromako stones? I read somewhere the shapton Pro's were formulated for a drier climate for the USA (stones cracking being too dry) I live in the south we got plenty of humidity! Anyway has anyone used the stones side by side? are they comparable? The Shapton Pro is close to twice the price
    as the Kuromakos.
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    I believe they are the same, the difference being the US warranty. The older US version of the 2k and 5k Pro I have both have the ho na kuromaku stamp on them. The newer US versions do not.

    I recommended the Pros to a friend who ended up getting the kuromaku versions of the 2k, 5k, and 8k, and he is very happy with them.

    Stefan is very familiar with these stones also, so maybe he will post.

    Cheers, Steve
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    Senior Member blabbermouth
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    I can't really verify it, but I heard the pro stones are reformulated a little bit to the US climate because the kuromaku stones had a bit of a crazing issue. But for all intents and purposes, same hone. I've got the kuromaku 1/2/5/12K set, they're pretty nice.
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    The same here: kuromaku 1/2/5/12K. But I do live in a humid climate, so even if the rumors are right - it makes no difference to me whatsoever.
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    Senior Member blabbermouth
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    I never noticed any significant difference between the two types, except that a 12k kuromaku is $56 in japan, and the 15k pro is more than double that here.

    the kuromaku 1k is about 30 bucks in japan, the pro 1k about double that.

    There is a distribution channel that the US stones come through, and there may be an agent before that who sells them to that distribution channel. Too many layers wanting a slice in the US.

    The pros are my favorite overall synthetic stones (but that's for more than just razors), but I will buy any more that I get from japan.

    Naniwa and Shapton both have some doosies that they tell us here in the US about why they do what they do (the comment that they were going to have to stop making the chosera because of the cost, so they thinned out the stones we get without much or any change in price. BUT, the choseras are still sold new in japan, for less than what we pay for the thinner stones).

    All of the makers of stones pretty much package some kind of alumina in a binder, and then oversell what they have (nubatama? ohishi? shapton glasstones?). People in the woodworking world don't realize that those types of stones have existed for at least 125 years, but we get to see them here (by way of vintage red razor hones).

    Anyway, the only stone I ever had a crazing problem with that was significant was a 10k chosera. Still seemed only a cosmetic problem.

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    Senior Moderator JimmyHAD's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DaveW View Post
    Anyway, the only stone I ever had a crazing problem with that was significant was a 10k chosera. Still seemed only a cosmetic problem.
    I've got the crazing with a 5k, and a 10k Chosera. A friend had it with a 12k Shapton pro that was for the Japanese market, and is identical to the 15k pro for all intents and purposes. At least under a 45x microscope it was. I heard that the formula (binder) was suited to the climate in Japan, not in the USA, and that is why the 12k pro crazed. I don't know that there is anything to that. This was gotten 10 years ago at Japan Woodworker. Anyway, my 5k and 10k seem to work fine despite the crazing. Time will tell.
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    Senior Member blabbermouth ejmolitor37's Avatar
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    I bought kuromaku hones off Amazon. Thus far after about 4 months of use I really enjoy them and have had no issues. 1k, 2k, 5k, 8k is what I have. I really like the polish from the 5k have not confirmed this but it seems dang close to what my Norton 8k would do. IMO great stones for the money.
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    My 12k kuromaku crazed a little when I left it to dry on a sunny bench. Wasn't long before maintenance lapping removed it.
    You'd be fine if your humidity is high .
    It also became my habit to simply wipe & rebox after use never suffered from mould or any other issues in 6 years of use.
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    Senior Member blabbermouth
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    Quote Originally Posted by ejmolitor37 View Post
    I bought kuromaku hones off Amazon. Thus far after about 4 months of use I really enjoy them and have had no issues. 1k, 2k, 5k, 8k is what I have. I really like the polish from the 5k have not confirmed this but it seems dang close to what my Norton 8k would do. IMO great stones for the money.
    Same particle size in those two stones, 3 microns (5k shapton and 8k norton).
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    Senior Member blabbermouth
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    Quote Originally Posted by onimaru55 View Post
    My 12k kuromaku crazed a little when I left it to dry on a sunny bench. Wasn't long before maintenance lapping removed it.
    You'd be fine if your humidity is high .
    It also became my habit to simply wipe & rebox after use never suffered from mould or any other issues in 6 years of use.
    Direct sunlight is trouble for any of the resin stones (or at least potentially). Stu tierney told me that the instructions for chosera stones in japanese mentioned that they weren't to sit somewhere that they were exposed to sunlight. I thought it was kind of funny until mine crazed, though it never really caused any issues (I was using it for tools). It seemed like the craze was always a couple of layers ahead of me lapping it out.

    The other thing about the cho is that if you don't soak it for a few minutes, it's a hard stone and "yeah, OK, a stone" kind of feeling. You soak it and then it's like it's been greased.

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