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I need an advice

A few years ago I've bought a Jnat on Ebay from a guy called barbersan (or something like that) who claims that is from Japan, but it's not Japanese and according to him the Jnat in question was 5++ finish. Truth be told I don't know much about stones and I can't say for sure whatever that stone is legit or not, but a while ago I've sended a few of my newly accuired razors along with that Jnat to a local expert to hone them and check out the stone and tell me a bit more.

According to him, the stone is 3-3.5 at best and not very hard and not even close to a finishing stone, but at the same time he hinted that he's looking for such stone to complete his Jnat set and in he's offering me an old cuticule, which he claims to be a decent finisher and for someone like me it would be more than enough to keep my already honed razors nice and sharp.

Hes honing razors for many years now and a lot of newbies are sending their recently purchased razors for evaluation, repair and honing. It's not that I don't trust him, but I don't know anyone else who knows anything about Jnat's and stones in general for a second opinion and I'm not really sure what to do. I do know a few people from other countries, but no one close enough to see it in person.

I still have a few pictures of the stone from when I've bought it and I'm not sure how helpful that would be, but if needed I can upload them.

What would you guys advice me? Should I seek a second opinion on the stone?
 
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A few years ago I've bought a Jnat on Ebay from a guy called barbersan (or something like that) who claims that is from Japan, but it's not Japanese and according to him the Jnat in question was 5++ finish. Truth be told I don't know much about stones and I can't say for sure whatever that stone is legit or not, but a while ago I've sended a few of my newly accuired razors along with that Jnat to a local expert to hone them and check out the stone and tell me a bit more.

According to him, the stone is 3-3.5 at best and not very hard and not even close to a finishing stone, but at the same time he hinted that he's looking for such stone to complete his Jnat set and in he's offering me an old cuticule, which he claims to be a decent finisher and for someone like me it would be more than enough to keep my already honed razors nice and sharp.

Hes honing razors for many years now and a lot of newbies are sending their recently purchased razors for evaluation, repair and honing. It's not that I don't trust him, but I don't know anyone else who knows anything about Jnat's and stones in general for a second opinion and I'm not really sure what to do. I do know a few people from other countries, but no one close enough to see it in person.

I still have a few pictures of the stone from when I've bought it and I'm not sure how helpful that would be, but if needed I can upload them.

What would you guys advice me? Should I seek a second opinion on the stone?

If I remember correctly barbersan was used by Florin, who indeed lives in Japan but he is not Japanese. He goes by zenrazorjapan now.
 
Pictures would help.


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I would try that water drop test…


That would give you an idea if the guy trying to trade you a Coticule is correct in his assessment of 3-3.5.

At least it would be a start. If the drop test tells you it’s a “5,” then perhaps you might want to take the local expert’s assessment and desire to trade with a grain of salt.

If you tap the stone with the back of a razor does it have a nice attractive ring?

Vr

Matt
 
To honest it does sound a little fishy.

That looks like a barber size stone. The softest one I have ever tested was like Lv 4.5 IIRC(razor size stone).

It looks hand cut and those old timers knew what they were doing. I just don't think they would cut a Lv 3-3.5 stone into a razor size.

I would get a second opinion for sure. I would not trade, just does not sound right.

Where are you located?
 
Identifying a JNat from a picture can be fraught. Nonetheless, I will give my gut impression: that looks like an uchigumori to me, a stone used for polishing. 3-3.5 hardness would be about right. These stones are slow and soft, and treasured because of the beautiful cloudy contrast they give on blades with hard edge steel and soft cladding.

No guarantees, just an impression.
 

luvmysuper

My Elbows Leak
Regardless of what it turns out to be, it's just bad form for someone doing an assessment or appraisal to offer to buy the object.
It puts the entire assessment or appraisal in doubt.
He should have given his impression, told you to get a second opinion, and if it turns out he was correct, he would be willing to buy it or trade for it.
 
Identifying a JNat from a picture can be fraught. Nonetheless, I will give my gut impression: that looks like an uchigumori to me, a stone used for polishing. 3-3.5 hardness would be about right. These stones are slow and soft, and treasured because of the beautiful cloudy contrast they give on blades with hard edge steel and soft cladding.

No guarantees, just an impression.
If this is true, knife polishing stones are often a lot more expensive than hard razor finishing stones. Which means this stone might not be ideal for your purposes, but would definitely explain why the guy would want to take it off your hands.
 
To honest it does sound a little fishy.

That looks like a barber size stone. The softest one I have ever tested was like Lv 4.5 IIRC(razor size stone).

It looks hand cut and those old timers knew what they were doing. I just don't think they would cut a Lv 3-3.5 stone into a razor size.

I would get a second opinion for sure. I would not trade, just does not sound right.

Where are you located?
Agree. The picture where it almost looks pink would make me think mizu asagi. They tend to do that when photographed.
I doubt this is a 3 to 3.5 hardness stone.
Flo hones razors and sells stones. I think he knows what he is doing.
 
It looks hand cut and those old timers knew what they were doing. I just don't think they would cut a Lv 3-3.5 stone into a razor size.

Nonetheless, I will give my gut impression: that looks like an uchigumori to me, a stone used for polishing. 3-3.5 hardness would be about right. These stones are slow and soft, and treasured because of the beautiful cloudy contrast they give on blades with hard edge steel and soft cladding.

These two comments are very salient I think. To the eye the stone could well be either Mizu Asagi (harder) or Uchimugori (softer), and both would very likely be worth more than the coticule. Particularly the latter.

I don't read Kanji but it appears to have at least two that are on this stone in the top right:


Screenshot 2022-07-03 160125.png



You can also test the hardness of many Japanese stones using specific gravity. This scale is not mine but it has seemed to hold well enough for the handful of stones I've measured:

5+: >2.80
5: 2.65 - 2.80
4.5: 2.50 - 2.65
4: 2.35 - 2.50
3.5: 2.20 - 2.35
3.0: <2.35



Regardless of what it turns out to be, it's just bad form for someone doing an assessment or appraisal to offer to buy the object.
It puts the entire assessment or appraisal in doubt.

This point too is completely valid. Even if we assume that the assessment is honest and accurate (which I'm sure it is), it's still a little off to try to swap for it with someone like that I think.

On the couple of occasions I've said to someone I'd be interested in something if they ever wanted to let it go - I've told them exactly what it was, so they could research about it, find out what it was worth &c.
 
Can you tell me a bit more about this type of stone, since I really don't know much about Jnats and I'm curious if it's good or not.

If the edges are good, the stone is good. Perhaps I missed it. Have you used the stone? Can you describe the edges you get from the stone?

If the stone produced sharp, smooth, comfortable edges, it is unlikely 3.5/5.0.

If this is about provenance, my guess is there are experts who can make educated guesses. Have you thought about posing your question to the person who sold you the stone. If it was Flo from Zen Razor Japan, he is easy to contact.

Because this stuff is hard to remember, I now save photographs and take screenshots of all of the shaving gear I buy.
 
Going by the photos, It's not Mizu...but that doesn't matter. It's just a garden variety 'color', sort of Asagi-ish with a blush.
Plenty of stones have been sold under the LV5+ moniker that weren't that, many of them sold by 'trusted sellers'.
Jnat hardness really can't be evaluated accurately by SG, or waterdrops, or cut size, or saw marks, or stamps, or whatever. Remember, the LV system is a system, not just a hardness scale and fwiw, it's all very subjective and arbitrary. I refuse to use it because it so horribly misunderstood. One person's LV 3.5 is another person's LV 4.5, In an honest situation, it all depends on one's reference points. In an auction site situation it might depend more on what's in stock and what the majority of bidders are going to spend the most on. Stamps mean nothing, many hardware stones and several online vendors have their own set of quarry stamps.

Hardness isn't a result of just one single quality, some stone are dry and soft and others are dry and hard, some have a higher moisture content making them 'harder', some have what I might call a type of wear-resistance, some are hard because the abrasive content is high and packed tightly, other times it's because the stone formed for a longer time under pressure and heat. Jnats are shale, not, impurities abound and various minerals have different densities. Some extremely soft stones are also very dense. And there's the point that there are extremely hard Jnats that are all but useless for sharpening. I have had true super hard stones absorb water fast, and others that let water sit forever. Those results can change after regular use, repeated wetting will slow down the stone's need to absorb moisture. Some stones get harder as you lap them because the mm or two is so dried out.

Tons of so-called 'barber size' stones have been cut from very soft stone. Many tons...boatloads of them. I have had many that were a little harder than chalk and useless for sharpening razors.

To know that stone for sure, yourself, you have to use it.
If you don't have the experience, then I'd say find someone trustworthy that has no horse in the race to evaluate.
First, lap it, how does the stone behave? does it lap easy or hard. Slurry coming off the stone easy and fast means soft, stones that won't flatten without making you break a sweat are 'in the ballpark'. After that, running a knife blade over it for a bit with some pressure can tell you some things, checking striations, etc.

Generally, I don't give advice. In this case though, I will.
Use the stone. Hone on it. I do not see any reference to you having used the stone. Unless you use it, you will never know for sure what you can or cannot do with it. Ultimately, you have to use it, so just use it. If you're not going to use it, then it doesn't matter what it is or is not. Gotta use it to know...

Forget trying to get it evaluated 'virtually' online by people that haven't held it. I've handled more than a few Jnats, way more than a few to be honest, and I would never try to pass judgement on your stone without trying it first. I might suspect things but I would not pass judgement without trying it. I have seen stones that 'look' soft and useless that were stellar and others that looked like super hard but were several points down the ladder. Some very hard stones work great, others not so much.

FWIW, It's very possible that the guy you showed it to knows what he's talking about and is being honest and fair; not everyone is trying to rip everyone off. Ask him to show you a finisher-grade stone and to show you the differences between your stone and his. He should be able to show you a few things indicating hardness differences, etc.
Maybe yours is actually a nice mid-range stone. Maybe he can use something like that in his lineup. Maybe he'll let you try the coticule out. Let him hone a blade on it for you, see if you like it.
For sure, I would not roll with the deal without getting the entire picture, but I have been involved in similar exchanges that were 100% on the up and up. You're looking for a finisher and he is suggesting a stone that will work for you as a trade for the one you have. I mean, really - in that sort of dynamic, that's a normal exchange of ideas.

Nakaoka-san - "I cannot know the stone until I use the stone"
 
Can you tell me a bit more about this type of stone, since I really don't know much about Jnats and I'm curious if it's good or not.
I can't. As mentioned above, you have to have the stone in hand to be able to say anything about it.

Now do people guess? Well of course they do, that's what the whole bidding on stones at the Japanese auctions is based on. You learn to identify looks and patterns and bid and if you are successful the stones performs as you would expect. That approach is risky but fun if you are ok with the risk.

So you have 2 options. One you evaluate the stone yourself, two you send it out to somebody to do it for you.

Can you post your own pics of this stone? Dry and wet. Just curious.
 
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