This is a stone I am quite fond of… and it always surprises me just how well it works, and for such a bargain bin price. In fact, I am ashamed to admit, I wrote the stone off by and large due to them being so inexpensive – I just assumed they were nothing superlative to speak of… boy was I wrong. In my opinion, if you want a natural finishing hone – look no further than the Chinese 12K. These natural water stones are EXCEPTIONALLY hard stones, almost ceramic like, and are quarried in the Guangxi province of China. While a “water stone” and while they recommend soaking the stone, I find it unnecessary – and personally I get superb results merely wetting the stone, and honing away. This stone cuts very, very, VERY slowly. I mean at least 50, usually 100 passes as a finishing. While it does take awhile to get that buttery smooth edge, once you’re there – at least in my opinion, it is one of the nicest finishing hones and for a big hone (these are 8” X 2-3/4” X 1-1/4”) and a solid hone (these aren’t mounted to anything – these are all natural, all 12K honing material, and all useful/usable) – these are an absolute steal for the paltry sum of $30 here! These stones do need to be flattened however, and they are incredibly hard – so make sure you have a diamond plate, and some patience, as it’ll take some time to lap this sucker!
1.) Amazing deal, as they are inexpensive, readily available, large and all natural. A Natural Japanese Waterstone of this efficacy would cost thousands of dollars.
2.) Slow cutting… very hard to over hone, and works great for razors that “microchip” with faster cutting hones.
3.) These hones work exceptionally well, and since they are so hard after an initial lapping, you might not need to lap it ever again.
4.) These hones do not need to be soaked prior to use.
1.) Very slow cutting – can be time consuming.
2.) Very hard – can take a long time to lap.
3.) These hones offer very little “feedback” and feel as if you are running your razor across smooth glass.
4.) Somewhat boring to use.
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