This is the most commonly used, discussed and recommended straight razor hone. It is a man made hone – which is manufactured by Norton Abrasives, and created by taking abrasive powder, and creating “stone” by combining the powder with a binding agent. In layman’s terms – think of it like putting sand in a puddle of glue, and waiting for it to dry – of course Norton has this down to a science, and my example was extremely primitive, but you get the point. These stones come in 2 sizes, and the one in this particular review is 8” X 3” by 1”. The white side of the 4/8K is 4000 grit, and made in Italy, the yellow side of the hone is 8000 grit and made in the USA. As a “water stone” it uses water as a lubricant, and as a means to keep swarth (or metal deposits) from rendering the hone ineffective.
1.) This hone has 2 ideal grits for straight razors.
2.) This hone cuts relatively quickly – which is optimal for establishing an edge in a reasonable amount of time.
3.) Due to the size/width of the hone, you can keep the entire spine/edge on the hone at once, so you do not have to hone in the “X” pattern.
4.) These hones offer a good value, as it is 2 grits in one hone.
1.) Hone needs to be soaked for 15 minutes prior to use.
2.) This hone will need to be lapped periodically.
3.) This hone is somewhat fragile… if you drop it – it’ll shatter.
4.) This is a relatively large/heavy hone, which can make it a little cumbersome for those who prefer to hold the hone in the palm of their hand (like myself) when honing.
I feel this is a superlative hone, and there is the greatest amount of information on it's use RE: Straight razors. Personally - I feel you will still need a finishing hone after using the 8K side, as it's 8K side isn't as fine a grit as say a Shapton 8K or a Kitayama 8K, it's really more like a 6K, so it can/will put a nice shave ready edge on a razor, but to get the most out of your razor, you'll need a finer stone.
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