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Thread: Only so much Stone

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    Florence AL
    Posts
    345

    Only so much Stone

    I was looking at the different stones used for polishing at the Namikawa company, it looks like quite a few are sold out. Now its late on Sat. night and I am thinking out loud here..so bear with me;

    If these natural stones have been mined for many years it only stands to reason that there is only so much of it..I mean from what I have read you can polish a modern blade using manmade abrasives..but for Nihonto you need the real thing...right (Keith Ted , Jessie and you other guys jump in here) what happens when it is gone ??? is there a man made product that will suffice ??? or will we see an end to traditional polishing in a few generations (sadly)???

    Oh and yes , how about the polishing machine offered, does anyone use those ?? it looks like a mechanism to occilate the stones to save time..strange..sorta like a power checkering head for a custom gun maker.

    Thanks
    Dwight P

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2002
    Location
    North Jersey
    Posts
    915

    Stones

    While I generally use natural stones for polishing ,some Gendai or showa-to tend to be a little more abraisive resistant and i will use either King or Shapton stones up till the nagura stones.Anything finer than the 2000 grit will produce too shiney a finish and the natural stones will have a tough time starting.They will tend to just ride over the surface or take an awfull long time to get a grip.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2002
    Location
    Salem, Oregon
    Posts
    1,927

    Re: Stones

    Originally posted by Greg.D
    While I generally use natural stones for polishing ,some Gendai or showa-to tend to be a little more abraisive resistant and i will use either King or Shapton stones up till the nagura stones.Anything finer than the 2000 grit will produce too shiney a finish and the natural stones will have a tough time starting.They will tend to just ride over the surface or take an awfull long time to get a grip.
    Greg,
    I have been trying to contact you, you're email addy just bounces back and nothing else seems to work either. I wanted to get the dimensions from you for those fittings. Give me a call when you get some time.
    Patrick Hastings
    "A man without patience lives in hell"
    "He o hitte
    shiri Tsubome"

  4. #4

    Re: Only so much Stone

    Originally posted by Dwight Pilkilton
    I was looking at the different stones used for polishing at the Namikawa company, it looks like quite a few are sold out. Now its late on Sat. night and I am thinking out loud here..so bear with me;

    If these natural stones have been mined for many years it only stands to reason that there is only so much of it..I mean from what I have read you can polish a modern blade using manmade abrasives..but for Nihonto you need the real thing...right (Keith Ted , Jessie and you other guys jump in here) what happens when it is gone ??? is there a man made product that will suffice ??? or will we see an end to traditional polishing in a few generations (sadly)???

    Oh and yes , how about the polishing machine offered, does anyone use those ?? it looks like a mechanism to occilate the stones to save time..strange..sorta like a power checkering head for a custom gun maker.

    Thanks
    Dwight P
    Most of the best natural stones for nagura and up (chu, koma, uchigumori, etc.) have long been mined out. What's out there is it. There are synthetic stones that do a fine job for everything up through kaisei, but at nagura and up, there really is nothing that works like natural nagura and natural uchigumori. So the stone prices are getting *very* high very quickly. And the best, biggest stones are being "hoarded" by those who have them knowing full well there isn't a supply of them left.

    Which is, incidentally, one of the reasons I no longer work on Chen blades, at least with natural stones. They're fine for what they are, but given the scarcity of good stones, I'm not going to wear down good stones on a blade like that.

    The polishing machine is basically a waterproof stone vibrator. Some say it makes it easier for doing finishing work (which takes a very long time on the stones) and narume work (tip finishing). I don't know, I've never really had a couple thousand sitting around that needed to be spent on a machine to replace what my muscles do all by themselves...

    I've heard some say that it is used by some very old polishers as a means of saving their backs (polishing is very hard work). But quite frankly, there is a lot of feedback and "feel" from the stones when polishing traditionally that I would *think* is lost on an automated rig like that.

    Sure, I"d be curious, but given what I know, I wouldn't think the machine would make for an improved finish. Just easier on the polisher and possibly at the expense of the fine details of the finish.

    All just rambling thoughts, however. If I win the lotto, I'll let you know for sure...
    Keith Larman
    Summerchild Polishing and Modertosho Modern Japanese Swords
    "They say I have ADD, but ... Hey, look, a chicken!"

  5. #5
    Hey, Greg, how ya been?

    I was never happy with the shapton stones. Tried 'em, but I didn't like the finish. I really like the tokyu-hin synthetics, though, for up through kaisei. Not nearly as hard as the shapton. But most of what I work on makes your "abrasion resistant" gendai steel look like butter, so.... The softer stone just seems to "cut" better on the super hard steel. Hard on soft, soft on hard...
    Keith Larman
    Summerchild Polishing and Modertosho Modern Japanese Swords
    "They say I have ADD, but ... Hey, look, a chicken!"

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2002
    Location
    North Jersey
    Posts
    915
    Hi Keith,As i tried to tell Patrick yesterday im'e just coming out of hibernation up here and getting my shop back in order(email kinda screwed up)I go back and forth between the natural and synthetic depending on how it feels,actually the Shapton seem to save me some time when i do showa-to,i have an 800 that produces to much slush,but the 1000& 2000 seem to stay pretty firm and dont tear like the equivalent King.The 1000 large King that i have seems to be about the same as a coarse Kaisei that i have,i have it mounded over and use it "taka-no-fusa"to prevent the tearing.Then i have a chu-nagura that is a little on the rough side that takes out the sharpness or "fuzzy" surface that the sharper crystals that the syntho stones produce.I am working on a couple more mikagi-bo -we can work on a trade for the shaptons if you want.I also have a good assortment of Japanese
    woodworking tools for doing saya work so some my stones especially the Shaptons,double up for keeping everything in good cutting order.I remember a dicussion we had a while back about our experiences with Gendai"Nagamitsu"and I think we both agreed that his swords felt "gummy"and on the other hand i polished a Bob Egnath blade for someone a few yrs back and remember it being tough to shape and whiten the hamon.
    Greg

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