Imanishi 4k vs Shapton GlassStone 4k

Posted: January 1, 2012 in Synthetic Stones

by:  Aaron Gibson


Imanishi 4K stone vs. Shapton 4K Glass Stone


Manufacturer, Price and Dimension:


Imanishi 4K —Manufacturer: Imanishi. Price: $49.95  Dimensions:26mm x 77mm x 205mm (1 x 3 x 8 inch)


Shapton 4K Glass Stone—Manufacturer: Shapton. Price: $72.00 Dimensions: 210mm x 70mm x 10mm (8 ¼ x 2 ¾ x .40 inch)


Impressions/Performance for Imanishi:


            Yet another great, inexpensive stone from the Imanishi stone manufacturer. The stone does feel like a 4 thousand grit stone, the surface is a little smooth, but once you run your hand over it, you can easily feel the how course it is. The Imanishi stone is a relatively short soaker, needing only about 15 minutes of soaking time before it is ready to use. For the test of this stone I was sharpening an 8in stainless steel Global chef’s knife. Before I took it to the 4K Imanishi, I started off with a coarse 400 grit stone for resetting the bevels and raising a burr. That was then followed by the King 1.2 K stone, then by the Naniwa Aotoshi 2k “Green Brick” then the Imanishi 4K and finally finished by the Sanyo 6K stone. Final step was done with a balsa strop loaded with 1 micron Boron Carbide paste. The final edge easily pushing cutting receipt paper and shave.

            Out of the two, the Imanishi gave a slightly better over all finish and better feed back than the Shapton when I inspected the edge after I finished with the stone and while sharpening. It left a semi-mirror finish with a good amount of “bite” to the edge, (You could if you like stop there and use the edge and achieve good results) When I first started out using the stone, it was a slow cutter, meaning that the rate it removed metal wasn’t as fast as the Shapton. But, once I worked up mud with it, the speed increased a good deal. Water consumption is on the low side, only needing to wet the stone before I took my Global to it. Another good thing is that it doesn’t clog up as you use it as some other stones will. During the whole sharpening process I didn’t have to rinse off the stone to lap it. It takes a few strokes to get mud going, but once you do, as I stated cutting speed increases. Since I use this as a bridging stone dishing has come up yet since I’m not spending an eternity on it, but of the times I’ve used it there has been no need to flatten.


Pros/Cons for Imanishi:     




  • Inexpensive stone that will last many years
  • Good feeling and feedback
  • Great for a stone to bridge the gap between lower and higher grits
  • Low water consumption
  • Doesn’t clog up much
  • Provides a good finish or prefinish for further polishing
  • If used lightly dishing will be less frequent, but if used more, more flattening will be needed




  • Doesn’t cut as fast as the Shapton
  • Does require soaking




Impressions/Performance Shapton 4K:


            The Shapton four thousand grit stone is something of an odd ball to me personally when I got it. It is about the same size length and width ways, but the funny thing is, is the overall height of the stone. Which is about ½ inch, so if you’re used to standard stones, this might be a little strange given its low height.

            On the inspection of the glass stone, when I ran my hand over it, it felt like well… glass. Which personally I found a little strange again, because I figured that it would have some texture to it, but it really didn’t. This stone is a splash and go style, so no need to soak which is good if you don’t like waiting. For testing out this stone, I used once again a Global; this one was a small Nakiri. As with the previous stone test, I started off with the coarse 400, King 1.2, Green Brick then the Shapton and finally the Sanyo. The finish concluded with a 1 micron Boron Carbide balsa strop. The resulting edge was polished to a nice almost mirror finish and was able to push cut receipts and shave with ease.    

 While I was using this stone, I noticed that feed back wasn’t the greatest; it might be because of how hard it is or how smooth the stone is. But another thing that I kind of didn’t like was the height of the stone. It’s very short only about half and inch, so if you’re used to the standard size stones, this might be a little awkward. What was a nice feature was the cutting speed, which is very fast. You really don’t need to spend a long time on the stone (I think that almost all of the series is like that) Only a two passes and you can see how fast it removes metal. Now, if you’re just starting out this may not be a good thing because you don’t have your technique down or experience, so making a mistake is easily done, but if you’re experienced, then these are great stones as you don’t have to spend loads of time with them. Since the speed is high, I did find that it does clog more than the Imanishi, but not enough to where you would need to flatten after every use.

 Although I personally don’t like the height of them, it does make a good point however if you’re going to be carrying them around, as the size does save space. One more good part of the Shapton glass stones is that because they are rather hard, flattening isn’t needed as often so you get to use it more before you need to flatten it.

While you can mix then up with other stones, I personally think that if you do decide to go with Shapton, to get a set of them. I say this because when I was testing out the edge on a red skin potato, I could feel some drag on the edge, where there really wasn’t one with the other Global that I had sharpened. Both had been sharpened as humanly possible as I could from 400-6000 plus strops so there could be a little human error but I think that it’s because of the different stones.



 Pros/Cons for Shapton:




  • Splash and go style so no need to soak
  • Smaller height so they will fit and travel easier than normal stones
  • Fairly low water consumption
  • Very fast cutting ability and clogging isn’t much an issue
  • Hard stone so flatting isn’t constantly needed





  • More expensive of the two
  • Feed back is on the low side
  • Smaller height is awkward compared to standard stones
  • Since the cutting speed is so fast beginners may want to pay more attention if not mistakes are easily made
  • While you can mix and match, a set would be more beneficial for a more constant finish




            Both the Imanishi four thousand and Shapton glass stone in four thousand perform well for an intermediate stone, giving a semi mirror finish that will provide a good toothy edge if you’re not looking for a finer edge, or if you are looking for that finer edge, both are good as a medium polish sharpening stone.

            While, yes both are good at what they do, I have to give the edge to the Imanishi. Due to the fact that its feed back and feel are better than the Shapton. While the Shapton does work faster, I feel that when you sharpen, it’s better to get a feeling for the stone. This is where the Shapton falls a little short, in more ways than one. The other being its lack of height which is under half of a standard stone. Also since the Imanishi is a normal sharpening stone, it will work well with other stones, where as the Shapton would benefit more with using the same glass stones.


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