Archive for the ‘Natural Stones’ Category

by:  Aaron Gibson

Manufacture, weight and dimensions:


Jyunsyouhonyama: Type: Natural medium finishing stone. Price: $49.95 for a 620g, which measures about 140mmx78mm 25mm, (measurements and weight will vary from stone to stone)


Ohira Tomae: Type: Natural medium finishing stone. Price: $179.95 for a 1100g and measures 8 x 3 x 1.5 inches, (measurements and weight will vary from stone to stone)


Impressions of Jyunsyouhonyama:


            The Jyunsyouhonyama small natural stone was my very first natural sharpening stone that I had ever purchased or used. Normally, good polishing stones cost anywhere from $50 all the way up to over one thousand easily. So, not wanting to spend a ton of money on something that I may or may not like, I decided to pick up the Jyunsyouhonyama small stone. And with that I went down into the rabbit hole that is Japanese naturals.

            The Jyunsyouhonyama is a splash and go type so no soaking was required and it is a little thirsty but only a few drops of water is needed. It should be noted that this stone is HARD. It takes a while to get mud going, but this is a good thing as harder stones will not dish as fast as those which are softer. But since it is so hard, a natural nagura should be used in conjunction with this stone as it will help produce mud faster but one isn’t necessary. As with naturals, once the mud is formed, the cutting power or grit range goes up by about double. For the Jyunsyouhonyama this stone starts out about 8 or so thousand but with used with the weight of the blade then around 16K.

            The knife used for sharpening was a 240mm Konosuke Gyuto White #2 steel, (the other knife was also a 240 mm Konosuke Sujihiki) The first stones were all naturals: a 800 grit Red Amakusa, 1000 White Amakusa, 2000 synthetic/natural. The cutting speed of the Jyunsyouhonyama isn’t the fastest, but sometimes speed isn’t always what you want. Naturals do kind of teach you slow things down and take your time. Hard stone such as this should be noted that you should take your time as you can damage your knife so proper angle control is needed.

            When I used it for the first dozen times, I didn’t have a natural nagura. Without one, it does take a while to work up a good amount of mud, but once I had one, mud creation went a lot faster. After I was finished with this stone, the blade was mirrored polished and exceedingly sharp. Off of this stone I’ve yet to achieve a sharper edge off a medium pre-polish stone. Even though this stone has never seen any stainless or stainless/carbon mix, this stone takes to white, blue and AS steel very, very well. Even though it is a pre-polish, (although not by a lot) it leaves more of a smooth edge.

            Overall, I would easily rate this stone an excellent pre-polish, or if you like, finishing for knives that you’re not looking to go onto another full polishing stone. This stone is hard that flattening isn’t going to be very often. I think that I’ve only flattened it some 3 times in the year and change I’ve used it.


Pros and Cons:



  • Not very expensive for a very nice stone
  • Very hard so flattening isn’t needed every time
  • Splash and go so no soaking
  • Very good finish or pre-polish for final polishing



  • Small size
  • Hard so care should be taken on knives
  • Not the fastest cutting



Impressions of Ohira Tomae:


            This stone is something of a mid level stone in my opinion, in that it is more of a 6 or 7 thousand stone so it will give a better finish than an aoto. The Ohira Tomae is a medium grit stone that is a splash and go type and isn’t very hard, so making mud on it isn’t that difficult and has a decent cutting speed, faster than the Jyunsyouhonyama. The edge that I got off of my Konosuke White #2 Sujihiki was a very toothy edge that, if you are looking for that type of edge would be more than enough for everyday use or even a quick touch up or as a pre-polish before taken to a final polishing stone.

            This is another splash and go type and doesn’t absorb water as much as the Jyunsyouhonyama and isn’t as hard. Even though I’ve used this on all three types of Japanese steels, (white, blue and AS) AS took to this the best followed by blue and white. Not that the edge off either wasn’t bad by any means. That is one of those things about naturals where it’s kind of a crap shoot. Certain stones do work better with certain steels, which is kind of the fun when it comes to using natural stones.


Pros and Cons:



  • Large size
  • Quick to give up mud, (faster than the Jyunsyouhonyama)
  • Splash and go type
  • Fast cutting speed



  • Not the best with all steel types
  • Close to what you might get off of some aotos
  • Works better when used with a true polishing stone after




            So, while both stones are medium polishing stones, the Jyunsyouhonyama is more in the higher end of this spectrum, while the Ohira is easily more to the lower end. Only the Jyunsyouhonyama is the only stone that is in need of a nagura as it is so hard, where the Ohira is softer and gives its mud easier.

            The price for both is a good price for both. Especially the Jyunsyouhonyama which at its price is very hard to beat. With that being said, the Jyunsyouhonyama makes a better finishing stone if you want, while the Ohira is a better bridge stone.

            The only con for both is that, if you see it as such that is. Is that once you tend to go down this road of Japanese natural, you might find yourself wanting to pick up more and more of these little treasures. But then again, that isn’t a bad thing.