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sharpening stone makeup

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 

I am looking at buying a bester 1200 and a rika 5000. I hear these are two good stones to start out with. My question is, how do i know what these stones are made out of? The websites that sell them dont seem to mention this ..


For example, natural or synthetic. Is the abrasion material novaculite, silicon carbide or aluminium oxide?  Which of these is better? None of the sites that sell these stones seem to mention these details.


I'm wondering if Novaculite is safe for consumer use in my home?


Does anyone know of any stones that are american made?

post #2 of 10

Bester's got some sort of ceramic binder (and my guess would be AlOx abrasive). The Rika's got some sort of softer smoother binder but I think also AlOx abrasive.


If you're seeing a quoted, exact grit listing, think synthetic. The Bester and Suehiro fit into those. They are made to some level of spec of mixed binder and abrasive and effectively baked into a stone.


If you start seeing price ranges like several hundred bucks per stone and things that look like real rocks, for the most part, think Jnats. 


Norton will be your American made ones.


Novaculite's some Arkansas stones thing. There are people on this forum with more knowledge on those who might hopefully chime in on that. 


I think quite a few of us would have died if these stones weren't safe for home use.

post #3 of 10

If you want to learn about synthetic stones in general, an interesting blog post.


Edit: Disclaimer, the writer is a woodworker and they have somewhat different priorities than knife guys with regards to sharpening and their stones of choice.

post #4 of 10
Check this out. In my experience they are a good company to deal with if you want natural Arkansas stones:
post #5 of 10

@bobtheman Why do you care?  What you really need to know is

1- What is the grit range

2- do you need to soak it and for how long


ex.  If you soak splash and go stones you could crack them.  If you don't soak soakers you will have problems sharpening, etc.


Maybe this will help

post #6 of 10
Thread Starter 

why do I care about the materials used to make the stone? Other than performance, just saftey wise I suppose. Making sure im not using something that would harm me or my family. I dont see anything online regrading novaculite and health concerns so I suppose its ok to use. And, its not that I desire to have a novaculite stone, I was more so stating that the places that sell these stones usually dont list what the stones are - what abrasion material is used, if its natural or synthetic, etc.


It looks like the bester I can permanently soak and the rika shouldnt be soak permanently.

post #7 of 10

You know you're supposed to clean your knife after sharpening right?  Even a slurry of the finest natural stones and steel is probably not something to eat.

post #8 of 10
As a new user it's important to keep in mind that there are people who already do this. Novaculite, like AlOx and SiC, is an abrasive, like diamonds, and one shouldn't try to ingest any of these. I get the concern but there's plenty of us here resolutely not dying, not to mention people who do knives and sharpening for a living. Nothing you're doing freehanding with water as a medium not powered equipments is going to generate aerosols that are unwittingly breathed in. The one thing to do has already been mentioned several times before - rinse and wipe off your knife completely.

The last I understood, the Suehiro Rika is a vitrified stone and should have no problems with living in a tub of water. As has probably been mentioned in one thread or another, change out the water periodically.

And there probably isn't much easy to find data on these stones similar to how the most a typical consumer will be able to find out about their knife without some digging and phone calls is "surgical stainless steel". People largely don't care because rubbing bladed equipment on rocks predates any of our existences.
post #9 of 10
It might help to watch sharpening videos to help ground your perspective of this.
post #10 of 10
Bob, I'm afraid to say that you are inventing things to worry about. Everybody I know washes their knife between sharpening and eating with it.

Novaculite is natural stone. The sellers either say so or assume the buyer has the wherewithal to do a quick Google search.
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