Input on the King waterstones

Discussion in 'Hones/Honing' started by ctkelly, Dec 27, 2010.

  1. Well, first off I already own these stones from my knife sharpening days. But after last nights attempt at honing I believe these are grossly over rated in the grit dept.

    I have a King 8K stone, 1/6K combination specifically. They have been lapped/flattened as of last night. The blade was an ebay junker w&b blade...under my 7x eye loupe I could see pitting in the blade edge so it was pretty obvious that my 1K wasnt going to take care of it all...but towards the toe the metal was pretty clean so I decided to go ahead with the hone, just to see what everything looked like as I progressed along.

    First, I've read several comments about them being over-rated in the grit....Ie a 8K is actually closer to a 6K, a 6K more like a 4K etc. Anyone else experienced this? I realize that a 1K to 6K jump is rather large and probably should have a grit size in between but all in all it actually cleaned up pretty good, just spent a little extra time on the 6K.

    Now after the looked like the edge hadn't be very refined yet. Had nice even smooth scratch pattern, but nothing like my semi pro honed and pro honed (ambrose) blades in my collection. Bottom line is if I have to venture a guess its not an 8K finish by any means.

    At this point I had my doubts...the only finisher hone I have currently is a 12K chinese so I go ahead and proceed with that and complete many laps on this hone (100+) Now I know some feel the 12K hone isnt really 12K, but whatever it is, it is beyond the 8K king by a started to polish out but it was a super slow process and it still wasn't looking very pretty. I have a feeling I was trying to polish out 6K scratches with a 10K stone.

    Overall I am pretty disappointed with the king stones and will be looking for a new complete setup. I very rarely used these on my knives because I never did like the outcome of the blades, always ended up using my hard soft/surgical black arkansas set. Could be I was just more familiar with oil stones at the time.

    I'm thinking about a 1K, 3K, 5K chosera, 8K Snow white, and when it arrives, my j-nat oozuka nashiji stone to polish it all out. Or would you recommend a stone in between the Snow white and the J-nat?
  2. I've used King stones for my hand tools for many years with great success. The 1K-6K work just fine with razors for refreshing a bevel. Going from 1K to 6K in one step is a huge leap. You would be better off with a stone in-between or just get a 4K. The major difference is in the finer grit stones - and I'll leave out the discussion on the naturals. Naniwa 8K and 10K stones are much softer and cut very quickly. A mirror finish on the bevel from a 10K is very achievable on a high carbon steel - I don't know about stainless. Another wonderful addition is the DMT Coarse stone for keeping waterstones flat. It takes about a minute per stone. The Japanese water stones are very easy to use for someone just starting out sharpening.
  3. Actually I forgot I do have a 4K hone I can work in between there. I'll grab another ebay blade in the pile and give it another go today, see if it makes much difference.
  4. Wid


    I don't know about the King stones but I see no reason if you have a 1K/4K/6K/8K and the C12K stone why you couldn't get a shave ready edge from these stones. I know there are detractors of the Chinese stone but it does put a nice edge on a blade. If you have a pasted strop use that also. To me it just smooths out the edge just enough as to not have that fresh off the hone harshness to the blade.

    I still use a pasted strop with the Naniwa 12K.
  5. Hmm....went at again with a henkels blade this time. I worked a carborundum 118s in between the 1K and 6K then proceeded to the 8K king, then to a 104 carborundum and now onto the chinese 12K. Had better results, but I'm still not thrilled about the setup. I also noticed the king stones seem to be rather slow cutting stones and I should have probably done more laps when on the king stones. Also I find the feedback rather lacking, on the carborundum it was easy to tell when it was time to move on.
  6. King stones work better when you get a paste. I don't have the 8K King, but I imagine it would be the same. On a razor, it's difficult to raise a paste, so a slurry from a DMT or from another knife is necessary. The idea is to use the paste, not the stone. That yields a better edge. You'll need to do quite a few strokes, too.

    Since you have the 1,4, 6 and 8K, use only the stone for the 1, 4 and 6K without a slurry. Make sure by the end of each stone you have really established the scratches from them on the edge. Then make a slurry/paste on the 8K and begin working that.

    Again, I don't know it if the 8K King will yield a happy shaver, but you should be able to get a more refined edge this way.

    Good luck!
  7. Thats pretty much what I did do, the 8K comes with a slurry stone, the rest I just used with water (chinese has its own stone also). I just think I need to use more strokes than I was originally to get a better edge. Thanks for the tips, I'll keep trying but at some point I may just abandon these in favor of the chosera/snow stones.
  8. Never tried King stones, but I know that I used about 200 laps on my c12k to get an edge I liked going from an 8k stone. It's a very slow stone.
  9. I've used the 4k and 6k kings. They're rated in JIS, maybe they're a bit optimistically rated for JIS, but if someone says their grit is overrated on a Norton scale, that person is either ignorant or trying to convince you to buy a more expensive stone their store coincidentally sells. I can shave off the 6k King and it's a lot smoother than an 8k Norton finish. I'd call it at best a "satisfactory" shave. For me 10k JIS is a bare minimum for an edge I'd call shave ready.

    They are pretty slow for a synth of their grit. I suspect based on how they perform and their cost that they are relatively low on abrasive particles, and higher on binder than a more expensive stone might be. I recall a 5k JIS noname stone I had that was several times faster than my 4k King. They are also quite soft and easy to scratch, which can be a nuisance if you're relatively new to honing. And they are pretty thirsty. Not nearly as bad as Masahiro or Taidea hones (Those stones literally can not be saturated, they're like honeycomb, water just falls through them), but I'd definitely say that Kings are stones that really should be soaked well before use. I occasionally use my 6k without a soak, but I spend a LOT of time reaching for water.

    On the good end of things, they are a fantastic value (except the 8k), and they wear at a very appropriate rate, so they don't glaze nearly as bad as some other stones, nor do they wear down so fast that you have to worry about replacing them any time soon (at least not the 4k+ ones).

    I would not use the 6k after a 1k hone. As I say above, they're pretty slow. I wouldn't even use the 4k after a 1k. I did for awhile. It's not ideal. I will say that I have never really worked with a slurry on them. Maybe that speeds them up. I've never had reason to try because I have enough of a selection of hones that I don't really need to alter how my 6k King (I didn't keep the 4k) works. It does what I want it to do. It doesn't get that much use, but I tinker around with it now and then.

    edit: Just so you realize, 1k to 6k king is a worse jump than 220 to 8k Norton. Work relates to a change in grit size quite closely to an exponential difference. 1k to 6k norton is an increase by more than a power of four. That's a ridiculously huge jump. For comparison, the jump from 1200 to 8000 on DMT's (EF to EE), is only a power of two, and DMT's are about the fastest cutters for their grit you can get. Obviously particle size is not the only thing that matters, but within the same family of stones, it's going to play a major role, and a jump that large really jumps out at you. (As you get close to one this relationship starts to fail. Not much good below size ~1.5micron as it's a fairly rough approximation)
    Last edited: Dec 27, 2010
  10. Progress report...

    Taking some of your guys input, I decided to attack this a bit differently. After being honed on the 118s, I moved to the 6K king side. I utilized a muddy paste this time that was rather thick....and applied a little downward pressure for the first round of strokes...dont ask me how many, I didnt bother to count. Then I switched to the usual no pressure but whats needed to keep the blade on the stone....and progressively thinned the slurry to the point where there was none. From there I continued on using gobs of water...people complain about oil stones being messy bah! This was a huge mess. I spent roughly 40 minutes on the 6K hone, taking my time going slow.....and Im happy to report I have nice scratch free finish on the blade at this point...well, as much as my 7x eye loupe can show anyways. Its not mirror polished finish by any means, more of a cloudy finish but all scratches from the previous hones have been removed.

    So from this lesson I take a few things...

    Obviously I was not properly equipped and should have brought out my other hones in the beginning, huge oversight. They are very thirsty stones. These stones cut very slowly. They are very soft, but I have not scratched or gouged any of them YET. You can do marvelous things with varying degrees of mud/slurry/paste/water.

    Ultimately I am greatful for the lesson with regards to slurry, I think it will be valuable when the j-nat arrives or if I ever pick up a coticule. And although this was fun, this is not my ideal setup for honing blades. I much rather move to something that hones a little more aggressively.

    Well since this sinus cold is keeping me up all night anyways I'm going to continue onto the 8K, c12K and then to the strop and see what kind of edge I can pull off.
  11. Ian,
    I don't understand your edit when you say a 1K to 6K King jump is greater than a 220-8K Norton jump and your use of powers to show this. Is it that the grit sizes are not equivalent or am I missing something? Thanks jeff
  12. I have the 1/6K King & have used it for years for knifes & tools.
    It is soft, but wears evenly & therefore never glazes up.

    If I go synthetic I like the Naniwas better for straights.
    However, I have tried & succeeded with making a razor shave-ready by only using the above stone & a CrOx pasted balsa strop.

    I have a cheap synthetic "slurry" stone that I use for making a paste/slurry.
    Try this:
    First make a paste on the 1K side. Then go with water only until "maxed out"
    Switch sides to the 6K, make heavy paste. Use a little pressure.
    Dilute slurry 2 or three times.
    Use no pressure after last dilution phase.
    Rinse & use light laps & only water until "maxed out"
    Go to balsa strop & do about 50 laps.
    The following shave will be better then you expect from a less then €30 honing setup :thumbup1:
  13. Grit sizes are not linearly related to the amount of material they remove. Not even close. If they were it would take 1-2 passes on a Shapton 30k to remove all traces of the cuts left in an edge by a Shapton 16k (properly finished where it's single cut diversions from an ideal edge, also assuming that a pass cuts at every point on the edge, which given the particle size vs stone length we're dealing with is practically a given) In reality, it actually should take a small fraction of a single pass if this relationship were linear. It's much, much closer to an exponential difference. Going from an edge made by 18micron particles to one made by 2micron particles on typical waterstones will take thousands of low pressure passes. It may take a few dozen passes if you put a few pounds of pressure on the razor, but it still wont even come close to a linear relationship with grit, and how many people use that kind of pressure? It would be easy to visualize with a graph. Going from 25 micron (600 mesh) to 9 micron (1200 mesh). A 3:1 relationship will go MUCH faster than going 9 micron to 3 micron, another 3:1 relationship. That will again go much faster than 3micron to 1 micron. Another 3:1. The difference is so extreme that we don't even have to look at the myriad of other variables in play. Numerous and significant as those variables are, they can't even approach appearing on the scope when you're looking at differences this vast.

    Let's assume that a 5 micron stone takes about 50 passes to clean up after a 25 micron stone. Assuming linearity, then a 1 micron stone could clean up in 50 passes after that 5 micron stone. People with experience can tell you that 25 to 5 micron in 50 passes isn't unreasonable. That's a 600grit going down to an ~2000grit. 5 to 1 micron in 50 passes? That's laughable. That's somewhere in the area of going from a 2k Norton stone to a Shapton 16k.

    Again, there are so many more variables that micron is only the beginning of the story. But micron ratings can tell you a plenty finite picture to know that going from 1k to 6k on JIS rated stones with the methods we use is insane.

    If it's the powers that are confusing you, don't let them. It's a VERY rough estimate I use to determine how I use my stones, based on my experience with them. If anything I'd call it a pretty conservative estimate. I would guess that in actual testing the difference would be found to be even greater. But it's definitely a better tool to determine stone sequencing than assuming linear drops (for instance just halfing or quartering grit ratings and building a honing set that way, IE: getting a 160micron stone, a 40 micron stone, a 10 micron stone a 2.5 micron stone, etc.)
    Last edited: Dec 28, 2010
  14. From Neil Millers website:

    This is a very good quality artificial (man-made) waterstone that performs very well on straight razors as well as knives, and is a good alternative to the ubiquitous Norton combination stones. It is brand new in it's card box and shrink-wrapped in plastic film. The darker side is around 1000 grit, the lighter around 6000 grit. Dimensions are 205mm x 50mm x 25mm (8" x 2" x 1") - a great size for razors. The stone must be soaked in water for some minutes before use. During use, the odd spritz of water may be necessary. It may be used with or without a slurry - a slurry hastens the cutting action of the stone, using just water will give a keener edge than using a slurry. The stone does not come with a slurry stone, but I have excellent artificial and natural ones in the shop.

    The 1000 side is excellent for metal removal, such as in removing nicks and nibbles from bevels, and for bevel formation. It cuts faster than the equivalent Norton stone, in my opinion. The bevel it produces is relatively smooth, and by using a slurry, thinning the slurry with water until you have just water, then using a creamy slurry on the 6000 side there is not too much of a leap between the grit grades. Refining the bevel on the 6000 grit side leaves a nicely polished edge - it is really all that is required for knives, but a higher grit stone would be necessary for most users to produce a keen shaving edge (although some people have had good results using a chrome oxide coated strop or paddle after the 6000 side).

    The 1000 side wears quicker than the 6000 side and will require more frequent lapping, but this is easy to do and the frequency is not as often as required by some other man-made waterstones. I have used these stones extensively and have nothing but good things to say about them. They can be kept submerged for extended periods of time (mine are often submerged for months at a time with no signs of deterioration) and they are very dimensionally stable, unlike the Naniwa super stones and Shapton glass stones. I sharpen many razors every week and in over two years of use have not worn one of these stones out, so they last a long time.

    One of these stones followed by a thuringian, barbers hone or coticule is all you really need to keep a razor in good condition, reset the bevel and repair minor damage to the blade.

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