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Jnat buying 101

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, 09-23-2012 at 05:37 PM (5819 Views)
I read more and more posts about members having trouble with their Japanese Natural stones. These stones can be the best and the worst stone you ever bought as far as naturals go, only behind Coticules. That's another blog...
What do I mean by that? Japanese naturals or "Jnats" are legendary in the world of sharpening, by straight razors users, knife enthusiasts, and woodworkers alike. With the correct stone, and skill, the edge is really hard to beat, unless you know how....Now, we do have Diamond pastes and sprays, CBN, lapping film, etc...These will get you there too, but there are differences. It's like wine. An experienced user can tell, much like a wine taster can tell you what the weather was when grapes for a particular wine were harvested.

Along the lines of my recent blog, "Too much of a good thing" I got to thinking of Japanese Natural stones. My Nemesis, My Achilles heel if you will.
In other words, I've been honing blades for years, used all types of stones, and have never had my hair blown back by a Jnat. Maybe I'm a minimalist at heart? I think have 8 or 9 of them, I think. 4 I got during a fire sale. (Guys leaving the forum, dumping their gear) One I found on Ebay, No one even knew it was an Asagi (sometimes you get lucky). The other four were from reputable sellers.

Sellers...There's where you need to be careful. One of the first questions you should be asking the seller is, "What is your return policy". These stones are the most counterfeited out there. How do you know for sure what your buying, unless you have a degree in Geology, or Jnatology as it were, and know a bit about Eastern culture, or even read Kanji? Some of us have jokingly said, There needs to be a college course on these stones. I would not call all of them user friendly. I've seen fake stamps. fake stones, dud stones, etc...Heard stories about reputable sellers that would make you sick. You need to be careful, really. I don't recommend these stones to new guys at all. Start with you Synthetics. Don't get sucked into the HAD Hype. You don't need much to shave comfortably each day. After you've been doing this a while, and have a handle on things, then look into your naturals.

Another thing you need to ask the seller is about laping. Will he take it back if you lap it? Did you know most won't if you lap the Kanji (stamps) off? Each seller has his own set of rules. You need to be aware of them, especially with the money you'll be spending. ALWAYS USE PAYPAL...... And if he doesn't take Paypal...Run....Another question you need to ask yourself is, "Why do I want a Jnat" Are you buying based on other members results and recommendations. Is it something you just want to try. Do you have a lot of disposable income. Many of these stones sell for thousands of dollars, so if your buying one for $150.00, What are you getting? Is it some guy dumping it on the classifieds. Did you ask him why he's selling it. Is he getting out of the hobby, or does he just need money. If it were me, and I needed money. I'd sell my crappy stones first, right? Of course I'd keep my good ones.

Please don't hesitate to contact a mentor or moderator before you spend a ton of money on a stone. Most can guide you, and help you wade through all the BS out there. If your a collector, that's one thing, but spending $1500.00-$2000.00 for a stone that will give you an edge you could have got for $20.00 is crazy. I do realize many of these stones are very rare and valuable. That's cool. I'm not Japanese, I don't plan on being Japanese, so I'll leave them for the Japanese. These are my opinions and not necessarily the opinions of SRP and it's staff.

Happy Honing....
gssixgun, Ryan82, Birnando and 9 others like this.
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  1. Ryan82's Avatar
    Great blog zib, this should be a sticky in the Hones section.....
  2. zib's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Ryan82
    Great blog zib, this should be a sticky in the Hones section.....
    Thanks Brother!
  3. Scookum's Avatar
    1500 bucks for a rock? I'll stick to my naniwas! lol

    Nice blog!
  4. JNatAddict's Avatar
    Gents, would anybody know if of Garrett is still in operation? I placed an order for a few whetstones 3 days ago but am not getting replies for my emails. There are also no signs of my order being fulfilled when I log into my account. Any info will greatly be appreciated. Thanks.