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Question for Norton Stones

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 

I have a 4k/8k grit Norton combo stone. I recently got a 2k naniwa super stone. I've noticed that the 4k and even 8k side being "rougher" than the 2k naniwa. Is this common? Should I treat the 4k/8k as a lower than advertise grit? Am I going crazy?

Anyway, the norton stone does feel much smoother after some use, but not smoother than the naniwa stone.

post #2 of 10
nortons have different grit ratings compared to japanese stones. even between different japanese stones there will be variances in grit ratings.
post #3 of 10

Same as above, I have the Naniwa green brick 2k which is much finer than any Norton (Don't know the claimed grits on them) I've ever used. 

post #4 of 10
Thread Starter 

Should I treat the 4k like a 1.5K grit and the 8k like a 3k? I was wondering why I get a mirror polish on a 2k naniwa and not on the 4k side of the nortons. The 8k will put a mirror polish on the edge.

post #5 of 10

Don't take grit numbers too seriously.

 

The grit ratings on the Nortons 4K is pretty close; the 8K might be a bit optimistic. 

 

You need to flatten and dress Norton stones before using them.  You might want to try bringing up a slurry first with a nagura if you're not already using one.

 

The biggest difference you're getting in terms of feel to your finger tips and mirror-polish on your edges between the  Nortons and the Naniwa SS is the differences between substrates.  Nortons are natural, clay binder stones; Naniwa SS are resin. 

 

Naniwa SS along with Shapton Pro were among the first modern stones which really raised the bar as compared to older types like Norton, King, etc.  And -- as to the two brands at issue -- by and large, Naniwa SS are faster, have more reach and polish better than Nortons.  On the other hand, at the polishing grits of 8K and above, Naniwa SS stones are VERY soft and gouge VERY easily.  They're not for everyone. 

 

Nortons fell out of favor -- at least in the knife forums -- quite a while ago.  Some people still like them, but I wouldn't recommend them as good choices for anyone buying now; Naniwa SS, under some circumstances but not as a general rule.  There are better for the same money.

 

I've been sharpening for a long time and I'm not sure what you mean by the question,

Should I treat the 4k like a 1.5K grit and the 8k like a 3k?

The 4K is not a good choice for the first stone in routine sharpening, which is what most people would want to do with a 1.5K.  It's too slow to go to bat to raise the first burr.  It's also not fast enough to polish out scratches left by stones coarse enough for repair or profiling.  So, if that was what you meant, the answer is "no."

 

The comparison of 3K to 8K really leaves me in the dark.  What are you trying to do with your knives?  A well polished knife is not necessarily polished to a bright-mirror finish.  For instance the Kitayama, a fantastic 8K stone which creates an edge so fine it's often confused as a 12K, will leave a very hazy finish -- not as bright as a Norton 8K.  

 

As a general rule, adjust your stone choices so the results you get are the results you want. 

 

BDL

post #6 of 10
Thread Starter 

Sorry, I'll try clarify. I was confused and thought the grit ratings weren't as advertised or the same as a japanese water stone so I figured I could treat it as a lower grit stone to keep things on similar scales. For example, I thought that if the 4k side of the norton's was more like a 1k grit I would use that before the 2k naniwa. I think was was confusing the more mirror polish I get from a stone the sharper the edge, which doesn't seem to be the case from Kitayama stone example.

post #7 of 10

Are you perhaps comparing Norton's Oilstones with Nortons's or others Waterstones? That is where the grits are different.. between Oil and Waterstones regardless of the stone maker.

post #8 of 10
John wrote:
Are you perhaps comparing Norton's Oilstones with Nortons's or others Waterstones? That is where the grits are different.. between Oil and Waterstones regardless of the stone maker.

That doesn't seem the case here.  FWIW, grit numbers are always somewhat uncertain, even if they're given according to the same -- supposedly objective -- scale. 

 

All Japanese, synthetic water stones are graded according to the JIS scale, which is meant to directly correlate to screen size and should therefore be very consistent from maker to maker, but unfortunately it doesn't work out that way in practice.  Not only is one maker's 4K likely to be very different from another's; but there's often a great deal of variation between different series made by the same maker.  

 

A lot of factors come into play, including variation in the sizes of the abrasive particle in a given stone, errors in measurement, type of substrate, differences in manufacturing and so on.   

 

When it comes to synthetic stones and abrasives from non-Japanese manufacturers whether oil stones, diamond plates, abrasive tapes, etc., it's important to remember that they use a variety of different scales -- so you can't go by numbers unless you know what the numbers mean.  

 

Also, grading natural stones in terms of equivalent grit sizes is usually an exercise in futility.  Even Norton's estimates of the grit equivalents for their own Arkansas stones are notoriously wide of the mark. 

 

Harlock wrote:
I was confused and thought the grit ratings weren't as advertised or the same as a japanese water stone so I figured I could treat it as a lower grit stone to keep things on similar scales. For example, I thought that if the 4k side of the norton's was more like a 1k grit I would use that before the 2k naniwa. I think was was confusing the more mirror polish I get from a stone the sharper the edge, which doesn't seem to be the case from Kitayama stone example.

You're right that you were trying to read too much into shine. 

 

There are four most useful criteria for judging how to place a given stone in a series of other stones.  (1) How well and how fast it moves metal, for profiling and repair; (2) How well and how fast it allows you to draw a burr and/or establish a fine edge; (3)  How much "reach" it has, which are matters of how well it polishes out the scuff left by the previous stone and how fine a stone you can efficiently jump to for the next step; and (4) How slippery it leaves a final polish. 

 

The first criterion applies to coarse stones.  The second and third criteria apply to medium stones.  The fourth and last applies to fine and ultra fine stones.  There are other factors for judging stones, but don't relate as strongly in terms of putting together a kit.   

 

Getting back to your point, I frequently characterize stones as being more shine than sharp, and it appears we're on the same page.

 

The big takeaway:  Grit numbers are useful, but they only tell you so much.

 

BDL

post #9 of 10
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the advice BDL! Much appreciated. I'm still learning how to sharpen my knives on waterstones, but in between I got hung up on grit ratings. 

post #10 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by boar_d_laze View Post
The big takeaway:  Grit numbers are useful, but they only tell you so much.

It seems like knowing hones and how to hone is based as much on craft and art as science.    That is probably largely why it may take many hours of honing with many different stones over a period of years before one might be bestowed with the title Honemeister 

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