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Thread: I declare this: Ozuku madness!

  1. #1
    Senior Member Lesslemming's Avatar
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    Default I declare this: Ozuku madness!

    After enjoying the Shoubi-Doobi thread which in the end lead to me buying a Shoubudani Asagi from Maksim,
    I wanted to start a similar discussion about the Ozuku.

    Now we all know there has been a time where a stone from the Nakayama quarry has been considered the japanese Natural for finishing a straight razor. Nakayama produced great stones and the very best of them (most if not all with either Maruka or Maruichi, or both and sometimes with the Nihon Kamisori stamp) have been hard to beat and on par with anything else the world had to offer.

    At that time I bought me a Nakayama Kiita with Nashiji, Nihon Kamisori and Maruka and Maruichi stamp.
    It has been my favourite natural stone until I got the Shoubudani.

    Let me share with you my experience with three of the five most sought after quarries.


    • Nakayama,
    • Shoubudani and
    • Ozuku


    Of course this will only apply to my stones with their individual charakter, but maybe we can find common denominators if you share your experience as well!

    I had been happy a long time with my Nakayama Kiita. It gives outstanding edges but needs a very good prepolish. It works a tad slow, but usually in 50 strokes I am where I want to be.
    The shaves are outstanding!

    After reading the Shoobie-Doobie thread I was interested in one of these Shoubudani from Maksim.
    I thought these would make a good addition to my collection as a pre-polisher for my Nakayama.
    As soon as I got the stone I knew this thing was harder than my Nakayama Kiita!
    And boy, does this thing work.

    I was so excited about the Shoubudani and the different charakter compared to my Nakayama,
    which for me felt like an improvement, I wanted to see what I could get from one of Maksims super hard Ozukus. And I was not disappointed



    I want to encourage to compare the Ozukus you gathered information with.
    If you can, compare it to the J-Nats you have in your progressions.
    Otherwise leave your comments about your Ozuku. What makes it special?

    My ultra j-nat collection


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    My Shoubudani dark asagi (3) has the following properties:

    Colour: dark Asagi, very uniform. Takes on a nice mirrored surface.
    Smell: earthy with a hint of cigar smoke
    Bought from: JNS, Maksim


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    Water only

    • works well after an 8k or 10k finish and usually takes less than 40 strokes
    • does not diminish a perfect polish under 160x
    • has the ability to enhance a polish if the mirror is decent enough (very rare property)
    • smoothes out the edge instead of cutting new teeth
    • very smooth and oily feedback, very nice
    • hairtest back and forth (I am skilled with that test) all day long
    • is not very pressure sensitve i.e. you hardly can mess up an edge on it
    • shaves right from the stone are outstanding. Easy to use!

    With slurry (Tomonagura)


    • slurry is hard to raise with a hard tomonagura
    • slurry does not get dark quickly
    • the slurry feels heavenly smooth and creamy
    • the finish is hazy with a touch of mirror. Not bad at all


    My old trustworthy Nakayama Kiita with Nashiji (1) has the following properties

    Colour: Egshell with a hint of blue (asagi?) and dark spots (nashiji).
    Has a line going down the surface that can be typical for Kiita. It does not influence the performance.
    The surface is mirrored but not as dense as the Shoubudani or Ozuku.
    Has little su (holes) on the surface.
    Smell: pure tobacco, moldy and woody. Totally different.
    Bought from: hard to tell, I have to check again


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    Note: the colour was impossible to catch. Look at the lineup in th efirst picture for colour comparison

    Water only

    • needs a good prepolish, usually I go there after the Shapton 16k or 12k
    • can leave a single scratch every now and then. If used carefully with only a couple of strokes it can be made to leave the finish as is
    • Feels very creamy. Different than the Shoubudani and Ozuku for sure
    • hairtest back and forth (I am skilled with that test) all day long
    • takes a little more skill. Takes a bit longer and the strokes
      need to be consistent.
    • shaves right from the stone are outstanding. This is truly a final finishing stone!

    With slurry (Tomonagura)


    • slurry is quite easy to raise with a hard tomonagura
    • slurry gets not dark quickly
    • the finish is hazy and slightly scratchy. Still very acceptable



    My new Ozuku light Asagi (2) has the following properties

    Colour: light Asagi, very greenish, very uniform and beautifully cloudy.
    Exciting looks, definitely the most beautiful J-Nat I have.
    Takes on a superb mirrored surface.
    Smell: earthy with a hint of cigar smoke and tobacco
    Bought from: JNS, Maksim


    Pictures:
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    Above the stamp, a wet spot. You can see when wet it turns slightly olive

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    Water only

    • needs a good prepolish, Naniwa 10k usually does the trick
      1 micron lapping film works very good
    • hardly diminishes a perfect polish under 160x,
      to the naked eye and loupe no scratches are produced
    • smoothes out the edge instead of cutting new teeth
    • Feels very hard, yet kind of creamy. Different than the Shoubudani for sure
    • hairtest back and forth (I am skilled with that test) all day long
    • takes a little more skill to get perfect results. Takes a bit longer and the strokes
      need to be more consistent. But you get rewarded with a perfect (!) edge.
    • shaves right from the stone are outstanding. This is truly a final finishing stone!

    With slurry (Tomonagura)


    • slurry is hard to raise with a hard tomonagura
    • slurry gets surprisingly dark quickly
    • the slurry feels creamy after a while
    • the finish is only slightly hazy with a good mirror. In fact to the naked eye
      the mirror is perfect! Only under magnification is there a scratch pattern visible.
      This is by far the best result I got with slurry, ever. Even the edge coming from the slurry
      is outstanding. I will need to shave of that, very soon

    I am extremely excited about my Ozuku. It is probably the hardest stone in my collection,
    the second most dense one (after the Shoubudani) and suitable for the final ultra finish.
    I believe the Ozuku (at least the ultra hard ones) are for the more experienced sharpener,
    whereas the Shoubudani is slightly easier to use, but still gives the best results possible.
    Both mines, so it seems, are very underrated!

    Heres a little microscope observation. The magnification is about 60x.
    Light source is sunlight and remember I did not try to focus on the edge itself,
    but on the bevel. Thus the edge can look misleadingly jagged! Trust me, it is not.
    I took the pictures through the lense of my microscope.
    The pitting spot is always the same throughout the pictures.

    First picture: Bevel is set and a good polish is achieved on the Shapton 5k spritzed with 1 Ám diamond (my secret for a good polish):

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    After that the 1 micron lapping film (Al2O3, green) followed:

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    The edge looked very good, only veeery little teeth present and the HT was positive.
    A good shave would be possible.

    Here is what the bevel looks like after 100 strokes on the Ozuku
    (unnecessary amount, I wanted to see if random particles would be released to mess up the polish)

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    As you can see the overall polish did not get degraded by an extensive amount of strokes on my Ozuku.
    Only very, very shallow single scratches can be made out. But if you look closely, these might have been very well present before the Ozuku.
    The sun had slightly shifted by then and this might result in different light angles.

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    Heres a picture of the finished razor and heavy sunlight


    The shave was extremely smooth and close. As good as it gets. No stropping needed
    Last edited by Lesslemming; 08-10-2011 at 04:57 PM. Reason: Added further pictures

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  3. #2
    JNS maxim207's Avatar
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    Thank you for your review !!

    I need to say that not all Ozukus or Shoubu that is so hard I have seen Asagi Shoubu and Ozukus that was Lv 2 hehe... Super stones for knifes and tools, but not really useful for razors

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    ^^ Yes - there are probably a lot of Oozuku owners here through Maxim. I have two: 1) an olive color pre-polisher. Relatively fast and extremely tactile feeling and smooth with either (same) slurry, water, or with nagura; 2) is an Oozuku sunashi suita - my final finisher. Mottled gray, olive, and reddish-yellow and this sucker is extremely hard. Barely raises a slurry with 500+ licks using a suita tomonagura. Very sensitive to stroke technique on water. Really pushes the edge over the top and yes - best edge I can get. Both hones are my keepers for sure.

    As received - before lapping:
    Last edited by Woodash; 08-11-2011 at 04:25 AM.
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    Senior Member Joe Edson's Avatar
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    I picked up an Oozuku recently from Maxim, though not sure if it is an asagi or what. It is blue on one half and olive in color on the other. It takes me forever to raise a slurry with a tomanagura. I use it by raising a light to medium slurry after the coticule and hone for awhile and then go straight to water. It produces some of the finest edges I've used. Definitely a very hard and fine stone. Can easily shave off water. I'll get some pics up here at some point.

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  8. #5
    I used Nakayamas for my house mainaman's Avatar
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    Here are my most used Jnats, they all come from Maksim at JNS
    First stone is Shobudani Asagi, a very uniform stone little figuring.
    This is a very fine stone which most will find suitable for finisher, but I use as my base stone for nagura progression and prepolisher.
    Feels very smooth yet has a nice feedback, it is really a very pleasant stone to use.

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    Next up is my first Oozuko that I got. It is a koppa size, mizuasagi, a very light asagi, it is truly a really special color. The stone is very fine , finer than the Shobudani above, it is also one of the hardest I have tried. Feels glass like when honing, produces very sharp and smooth edge. For a long time it was my favorite Jnat finisher. Fast on slurry, also fast on water, perfect stone.

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    Finally, my current finisher, a green Oozuko. This one was a special order, I wanted the best of the best of the best he has seen. It took a bit of time to find one, but it is well worth it. The strata is unknown, by color one would put it in the Tomae strata, but by hardness it is a lot harder. I like full size stones best, that is why this is my stone of choice over the small Oozuko above.
    This is the best Jnat I have seen so far out of ~50. This stone has the best feeling while honing, it is velvety feed back like nothing I have tried so far. Speed is average with slurry, but fast on water. Edges are perfect and can shave with no stropping off the stone.

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    Last edited by mainaman; 08-19-2011 at 01:08 AM.
    pcg and wai like this.
    Stefan

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  10. #6
    Norton convert Blix's Avatar
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    Awesome thread. I have this 5+ Ozuku Asagi on it's way from Maksim:



    How hard are these to lap?

  11. #7
    I used Nakayamas for my house mainaman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Blix View Post
    Awesome thread. I have this 5+ Ozuku Asagi on it's way from Maksim:



    How hard are these to lap?
    my koppa one is still not completely flat at the corners, it was real work out to lap it.
    Stefan

  12. #8
    Senior Member jeness's Avatar
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    Got mine today, I will join the madness as soon as I can

  13. #9
    Norton convert Blix's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mainaman View Post
    my koppa one is still not completely flat at the corners, it was real work out to lap it.
    Thanks. Oh well, another fun lapping session to look forward to then. A good movie and a couple beers makes it easier

  14. #10
    Customized Birnando's Avatar
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    Great post, OP.
    Thanks for posting it!

    I have gotten in to the Japanese naturals lately, and the Shoubudani and the Oozuku I got from Maksim are great finishers.
    Up untill now, I have had varying results, but the more I hone with them, the more consistent they seem to get
    Last edited by Birnando; 08-19-2011 at 11:31 AM.
    Bjoernar
    Um, all of them, any of them that have been in front of me over all these years....


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