Naniwa Super Stone 8k vs. Kitayama 8-12k Stone

Posted: October 24, 2011 in Synthetic Stones

Manufacture, Price and Dimension:

 

Naniwa Super Stone- Manufacture: Naniwa. $82.95 is the price for 210mm x 70mm x 20mm (8 ¼ x 2 ¾ x .78 inches) or for the same grit at half the height size is $59.99.

 

Kitayama- Manufacture: Imanishi: $74.95 is the price for 205mm x 75mm x 25mm (8 x 3 x 1 inch)

Impressions/Performance for Naniwa SS:

            When I got my SS 8K, it was in an effort to further increase my refinement and polish to my over all edges, and to also help improve my over all technique. While stones at this level are not completely necessary for more German and other softer steel knives, Japanese knives will benefit from the added extra polish they provide.  

This stone comes in either a baseless full size model or a half stone which has a base already on it. A nagura (or stone cleaner) isn’t included. The Naniwa Super Stone is a splash and go polishing stone, which means there is no soaking time, just run or splash with water and go to work.  Problem that I saw when I first got the stone was that it came with a rather annoying sticker right in the middle of the stone. After I peeled it off, there was a good amount of residue still left so I had to take my nagura to it to get rid of the left over. After that, it was ready to go.

The knives I going to be taking to it were a Tojiro Damascus 180mm gyuto, and a Global slicing knife. Both of which were sharpened to about 10 degrees on my normal pre-polish set of the King 1.2, 2k Green Brick and Sanyo 6k finished finally with a loaded leather strop with Chromium Oxide and finally on balsa loaded with .25 micron diamond spray. The result is a highly polished and blazingly sharp edge, will easily push cut paper with a little effort.

 As mentioned before, this stone is a splash and go type, so no need to soak. With each knife it only took no more than 3-4 passes per side to achieve a very nice mirror finish. The 8K is still a rather fast cutting stone but it is on the soft side, so when you are using more force or going tip first into the stone, you run the risk of gouging the stone so you need to pay a little more attention. But this is also a good thing because it will teach you proper control and not to rush.

Since this is a splash and go style, water consumption is very low. I was able to polish up both knives with just running it under water once then adding a small splash on the second knife to finish it up. (which is convenient since you don’t really want to be stopping every two minutes or so to add more water) The only real problem with the stone is that it clogs up really fast. I had to use my nagura on it before I went on to my final knife.

Overall, I would rate the Naniwa 8K Super Stone as an excellent polishing stone. (it should be noted that any stone in this level or higher will not sharpen, only polish the edge and make it smoother, so be sure to do proper bevel setting and maintaining a constant angle) Very quick at giving and exceedingly sharp edge, with minimal water consumption and good cutting speed, with the only problems are the sticker and the faster clogging (both of which can be fixed using a nagura).  So, if you are looking for either a full size stone or just want to experiment with the half size, the Naniwa SS 8K is a great stone which will easily produce a mirror edge and since you really don’t need to do that many passes, flattening shouldn’t be a every time occurrence.

 

 

Pros/Cons for Naniwa SS 8K:

 

Pros:

 

  • Comes in two sizes, so you are able to see if it is to your liking or if you aren’t looking to spend a lot of money.
  • Fast cutting stone, only need to use 3 or 4 passes to achieve mirror polish
  • Splash and go style, so very low water consumption
  • Makes you take your time and learn proper angle and control
  • Provides a very nice mirror finish without a lot of work.

 

Cons:

 

  • A nagura isn’t included.
  • Sticker that comes from the factory leaves a lot of residue which needs to be removed before you start.
  • Very soft stone, so you need to be careful when using a lot of pressure or when working on the tip as you can gouge it easily.
  • Clogs up very fast so you will need to clean off the stone after each knife

 

 

Impressions/Performance for Kitayama 8-12K:

            This was another stone I’ve been wanting to try out for some time but I wanted to wait until I had a proper grasp on my technique and had the extra stones (see below) and all I can say is that it was more than worth the wait;  that, and the price is very hard to beat.

            Overall the Kitayama is a large polishing stone (once again it should be noted that polishing and sharpening are two different things) it comes on a wooden base and a nagura is included with the stone. It is either a quick soaker, (no more than 15 minutes, being that the stone has magnesium salts and prolong soaking will cause the stone to fail because it will dissolve) or as a splash and go which, is how I use it. The Kitayama is also a hard stone so constant flattening shouldn’t be an issue. This stone will clog up a little but a quick going over with a nagura will fix it.

 There is a debate on just what the grit size is for the Kitayama. Half will say 8K and the other 12K. And while it is an 8K stone and will work as such, it is more suited for after 8K + stones (see below)

8K usage:  I wanted to see just how well the stone would perform as a standalone 8K stone, so I picked out a small Global Nakiri and set about giving it a fast touch up on the Green brick and Sanyo and finally with my two strops. I simply ran it under water for a moment then set about polishing. This stone cuts very fast, with only a very few passes with water consumption a little more than the SS, but the overall polish is less than the Naniwa 8K SS. Where the SS was much more mirror, the Kitayama’s was a little more hazy and edge performance was about on par. But I was expecting this out come. So you can use the Kitayama as a final polishing 8K stone but you would really be missing out.

 

12K usage: After using the Kitayama as an 8K stone, I went about trying it out as a final polishing stone for a blue steel Dojo Nakiri. Since this would be a full sharpening job I started off with my King 1.2, then my natural blue aoto 2-3K, (which since it’s a natural, the more you use it the grit will increase to 5-6K) then moved on to my Jyunsyouhonyama natural which is in the 8-10K range, then I used the Kitayama (which only took a few passes), which was then followed up once again by a loaded Chromium Oxide and .25 micron diamond strop. The final finished product was what I was hoping for. The edge was a mirror finish, this time much better than the Naniwa 8K and the edge was crazy sharp and very refined. (Once again I must note that this is a polishing stone and if you are still wanting to remove material you are using the wrong stone) This range is where this stone is really meant to be used at.

 

 

Pros/Cons for Kitayama 8-12K:


Pros:

 

  • Very large stone for the price a real steal at under 80$.
  • This stone comes alive when used after 8K or 10K stones, mirror finish and scary sharp edges not a problem.
  • Minimal water consumption as a splash and go or maybe used as a quick soaker.
  • Fast cutter, will only will take a few minutes to achieve a bright mirror polish and great edge.

 

Cons:

 

  • Can be used as a standalone 8K but is much better suited for after 8-10K stones so another stone or two would be needed so increased money spent.
  • If you do soak it for a long time you really risk severely damaging the stone as it contains magnesium salts so it can dissolve.

 

Conclusions:

            Both the Naniwa 8K and Kitayama 8K are both excellent polishing/finishing stones for the price. While the Naniwa performs the role of an 8K stone more admirably than the Kitayama, the Kitayama shines as a final polishing stone after the Naniwa or other 8-10K stones. The fact that with the Naniwa stone a nagura is almost a must have (so you aren’t constantly using your flattening stone on it causing unnecessary ware) for getting ride of the left over residue and also getting it clean seeing how it clogs up quickly. While the Kitayama excels as a finial polishing stone, you either have to have own or purchase other stones to bring this stone to life, so there is added expense if you want to get the full potential out of the Kitayama.

            For the price, (both of which are under $90-60) each stone will easily provide outstanding polish and produce a razor sharp final edge. That being said, if you are looking for an excellent 8K stone, then the Naniwa will fulfill that task. But if you are looking for an over the top mirror shine and sharp edge and already own an 8K or higher stone then look no further than the Kitayama. Each has minimal water consumption and the ability to easily produce mirror finishes. The main difference being that with the Naniwa softness and clogging are an issue while the Kitayama works much better as a 12K stone so more stone would be required. Never the less you really can’t go wrong with either stone.   

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