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Polishing Stones


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Is there anywhere in the states that has a selection of Japanese polishing stones? I just ordered 2 stones from Namikawa Heibei Co. and the shipping was more then the stones. I'd like to get some more, but at two and a half time the list price, its a bit expensive. I'm not looking for the water stones for sharpening woodworking tools. I'm looking for polishing stones. Thanks a lot for your help.

 

Tony G

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Here is a link to some waterstones, I personally get mine from the bladegallery.com, which is US based as well, and seems to be down at the monet but here is US based also Waterstones in US

 

 

Enjoy

John W Smith
www.smith-forge.org

Fire and wind come from the sky, from the gods of the sky. But Crom is your god, Crom and he lives in the earth. Once, giants lived in the Earth, Conan. And in the darkness of chaos, they fooled Crom, and they took from him the enigma of steel. Crom was angered. And the Earth shook. Fire and wind struck down these giants, and they threw their bodies into the waters, but in their rage, the gods forgot the secret of steel and left it on the battlefield. We who found it are just men. Not gods. Not giants. Just men. The secret of steel has always carried with it a mystery. You must learn its riddle, Conan. You must learn its discipline. For no one - no one in this world can you trust. Not men, not women, not beasts.

[Points to sword]

This you can trust

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Depends also on what you are willing to use (natural/synth/sword/"woodwork"). As John mentioned, Japan Woodworker has both natural and synthetic stones, I've gotten both kinds from them and been pleased. Of course, these are not specifically sword stones, they're more for chisels and planes--but work nonetheless.

 

Along the same lines are the offerings from Woodcraft, WoodCraft

 

Getting more exotic is Building for Health, they carry both kinds of stones including some specialty ohmura, amakusa, and awase-to. I bought a suita stone from them, but they don't seem to carry anymore. BFH

 

I have never tried Hida Tool, but they have similar products to BFH, including the suita stone I mentioned. Look under woodworking, stone. Hida Tool

 

Of course, for full-on sword stones, Howard is right: Namikawa is THE man (probably more than one person, though...)

 

Thanks,

Brian K.

Brian K.

Rogue Amateur and Weekend Hobbyist

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Guarnera,

 

What are you polishing? Is it forge-folded modern steel? Tamahagane or self-smelted orishigane? Or monosteel? Are you just shaping, or trying to bring out the hamon, too? Modern or traditional polishing? All these factor in to which type of stone and if it really matters if you MUST have sword stones or not.

 

Namikawa IS the real-deal. And pretty much the only commercial one that sells on website and ships outside Japan.

 

If you are doing nihonto, tamahagane, or self-smelted orishigane, then you will need GOOD natural stones (read Namikawa--or a private dealer that doesn't advertise) from the uchigumori stage on up to "naturally" bring out the hada and hamon. This is pretty much the only route unless you customize a hybrid method that works for you, your techniques, and your steel (as is usually done by most smiths that make their own steel and polish their own blades).

 

However, if you are polishing monosteel, then the natural stones from uchigumori up won't make a bit of difference and are actually a waste of time.

 

Let me know which direction you are working. I work in monosteel and polish all my own blades. I have made many mistakes and own many stones. I can tell you what works and what NOT to waste your money on. But in the end, you will have to see what works for you if you are using a modern polishing method.

 

I can tell you that the big green silicon carbide arato/binsuido 220 grit stones are generally a waste. They wear away too quickly to keep the geometries sharp and crisp. For foundation, I recommend Shapton Professional stones--the Japanese imports. I use the blue one for foundation. It is 325 g (?)--about binsuido in scratch pattern but very consistent, unlike natural stones. They're not real thick, but they last a LOT longer. Relatively expensive, but not in the time saved flattening the green ones every 5 strokes.... I like to move to a 500 g ceramic stone from there. Then I can actually use Kings or better for 800g, 1000g Shapton Pro to re-align everything and make sure all scratches are removed. You can actually go back a stone or two at this point, because the harder Pro stone will show anything you might have missed so you don't get too far along and have to go back 4 or 5 stones! The higher the grit after 1000g, the softer the stone can be--you're not shaping and not wearing the stone as quickly. I usually use a softer 1000g after the Pro, then keep going. I stop at 3000g on stones and start with papers to finish. Mine is a hybrid technique similar to the one Walter Sorrells demonstrates on his video.

 

Hopefully this will help. Japanwoodworker offers all the above stones that I use.

 

Also--I got hung-up on diamond stones for a while for foundation. But the more I used them, the more I realized that they can really tear out the softer metal in the ji and leave it much scratchier, actually gouged, than a stone. So now I only use stones that "wear".

 

Hope this helps, let me know if you have any other questions.

 

Shannon

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Guarnera,

 

What are you polishing? Is it forge-folded modern steel? Tamahagane or self-smelted orishigane? Or monosteel? Are you just shaping, or trying to bring out the hamon, too? Modern or traditional polishing? All these factor in to which type of stone and if it really matters if you MUST have sword stones or not.

 

Namikawa IS the real-deal. And pretty much the only commercial one that sells on website and ships outside Japan.

 

If you are doing nihonto, tamahagane, or self-smelted orishigane, then you will need GOOD natural stones (read Namikawa--or a private dealer that doesn't advertise) from the uchigumori stage on up to "naturally" bring out the hada and hamon. This is pretty much the only route unless you customize a hybrid method that works for you, your techniques, and your steel (as is usually done by most smiths that make their own steel and polish their own blades).

 

However, if you are polishing monosteel, then the natural stones from uchigumori up won't make a bit of difference and are actually a waste of time.

 

Let me know which direction you are working. I work in monosteel and polish all my own blades. I have made many mistakes and own many stones. I can tell you what works and what NOT to waste your money on. But in the end, you will have to see what works for you if you are using a modern polishing method.

 

I can tell you that the big green silicon carbide arato/binsuido 220 grit stones are generally a waste. They wear away too quickly to keep the geometries sharp and crisp. For foundation, I recommend Shapton Professional stones--the Japanese imports. I use the blue one for foundation. It is 325 g (?)--about binsuido in scratch pattern but very consistent, unlike natural stones. They're not real thick, but they last a LOT longer. Relatively expensive, but not in the time saved flattening the green ones every 5 strokes.... I like to move to a 500 g ceramic stone from there. Then I can actually use Kings or better for 800g, 1000g Shapton Pro to re-align everything and make sure all scratches are removed. You can actually go back a stone or two at this point, because the harder Pro stone will show anything you might have missed so you don't get too far along and have to go back 4 or 5 stones! The higher the grit after 1000g, the softer the stone can be--you're not shaping and not wearing the stone as quickly. I usually use a softer 1000g after the Pro, then keep going. I stop at 3000g on stones and start with papers to finish. Mine is a hybrid technique similar to the one Walter Sorrells demonstrates on his video.

 

Hopefully this will help. Japanwoodworker offers all the above stones that I use.

 

Also--I got hung-up on diamond stones for a while for foundation. But the more I used them, the more I realized that they can really tear out the softer metal in the ji and leave it much scratchier, actually gouged, than a stone. So now I only use stones that "wear".

 

Hope this helps, let me know if you have any other questions.

 

Shannon

 

 

Thanks for the very complete reply. I really appreciate it. Right now I'm doing a Tonto blade of mono steel that was one of the last ones that Bob Egnath made before he passed away. I'm looking to do some foundation polishing. I need to take a little off of one side near the tip to even out the geometry. However, in the near future I plan on taking a bunch of W1 drill rod in 1/8th inch, and 1/16th inch and twist it all together and weld it like cable and the fold it at least 4 times and weld together, and make a couple of Tanto's or maybe a wakisashi. I'll let you know how that turns out. Thanks for all the info about the stones. I will get Walters video also.

 

Tony G

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Hello Tony

You can try here http://www.shadowofleaves.com/ I believe they are a US distributer the prices might be the same as ordering directly from Japan though. I've ordered stingray skin from them and was pleased with what I got.

 

Sorry about that I just looked at the site and can't find the stones anymore :wacko::wacko::wacko::angry:

 

 

Matt

Edited by matt venier
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they have them

 

 

here

 

 

 

you musta just missed them,,,

 

jm

Blade

The blade, elegant
Slicing through the sweet, warm breeze
with a precise hit.


Sam Wands (10 years old)





Gold for the merchant, silver for the maid;
Copper for the craftsman, cunning at their trade.
Good! Laughed the baron, sitting in his hall;
But steel---cold steel---shall be master of them all!

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Sorry about that I just looked at the site and can't find the stones anymore[/b] :wacko::wacko::wacko::angry:

 

 

Matt

 

Yeah, they used to have a good selection of full-sized sword stones, but apparently stopped carrying them. At least they still list the finger stones...

Brian K.

Rogue Amateur and Weekend Hobbyist

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They may all be synthetic, but you can get some decent stones from www.nihonzashi.com. I got a few and they all arrived in great condition. I wouldn't use them on nihonto, but they are fine on my stuff.

Steel is my canvas, a hammer my brush.

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They may all be synthetic, but you can get some decent stones from www.nihonzashi.com. I got a few and they all arrived in great condition. I wouldn't use them on nihonto, but they are fine on my stuff.

 

Tate,

 

The Blue 320 grit Shapton stone looks like the Pro. If so, then that is a very good stone for foundation. Fairly hard stone and stays flat longer. And decent price, too. The 220 Grit ceramic looks as if it might be a bit soft, but might be better for a beginner. I like the Bester products. Don't really know about the rest. All seem decently priced to try them out, though. Like I need more stones....

 

Later,

 

Shannon

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