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My first JNAT buying and trying

I get very nice edges from my films and pasted balsa but I’ve always preferred my natural stones.
The only naturals I’ve got are a small coticule and some Welsh slates and I mostly shave off these.
I’d heard of course of JNATs but had zero knowledge on the subject so thought I’d look into it.
From what I could gather, the general idea was to use a hard base stone then make slurry with other coarser/finer rocks called nagura. During honing, the slurry would break down becoming finer and finer refining the edge as it went.
I found they were usually named from the mine, the colour of the stone and the layer. No one mine or layer could be said to be better or worse than another as even stones from the same layer could be very different, not to mention personal preferences in sharpness.
I had a look on Etsy and typed in jnat.
A seller called john Fitzgerald had some nagura for sale and so I contacted him to ask a few questions and to see if he had a suitable base stone and a nagura for sale to get me started.
After an email or two setting out my experience, budget, what I was looking for etc, John advised a 7 x 2 1/2 inch piece of base stones which he had. John told me that it was from the Shobudani mine, from the Tomae layer and was a yellow orange colour or ‘kitta’.
He said that many kitta stones were too soft for razors but this was a hard one. He was in the process of honing razors on it and experimenting with it and told me he was getting killer edges.
He also recommended an okudo kitta tomo nagura stone to go with it as a slurry stone.
It all sounded great so I thought I’d give it a try
The lot came to around £180 uk with postage from the US. Needless to say I never mentioned this purchase to my girlfriend.
What was I hoping for?
I suppose just a general increase in sharpness and comfort. Or maybe just to experiment. How to get the absolute best from a piece of metal and a piece of stone is a very fun and involved puzzle, with a ton of variables to play with.
13 days after ordering it, it arrived with a nice handwritten note and I opened it today.
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It’s a nice light colour when dry, then an orangey yellow colour when wet.
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I’ve never felt a stone like it, it’s hard and heavy but lighter by miles than my big slate, and has an almost high pitch ‘tink’ when I tap it with my knuckle. It has a soft silky texture to the touch it feels incredibly smooth. I liked it as soon as I saw it.
Big thanks to john who was always on hand to tell me about the stone and how he’d got his best results from it. He also explained the range of the stone and outlined several ways it could be used.
Ive just given it a go with an old razor I’ve got. Following John’s advice I honed it on 1u film then took it to the stone.
It goes a great colour when it’s wet and has a great swish sound under the blade. It’s sounds a bit like my coticule but has a louder, raspier, richer voice.
I never use slurry on my coticule and Welsh slate stones so the first slurry I made was a little thick. After a couple of laps it wasn’t running off the blade much, so I quickly added water but then probably got it a little thin, it’ll all take a bit of experience and working out.
I had 100 laps in my head so after 50-60 I diluted it more then for the last 20 I rinsed the stone and used plain water. I did a little more than 100 laps probably 120 until I saw the water undercutting well.
Under the loup the once shining film edge now has a lovely frosted finish to it. Im looking forward to trying the shave in the morning.
I’m sure it’ll take me quite a while to get good edges from the stone and lots of practice but I’m interested to see what my first jnat edge shaves like.
 
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Thanks for the advice, yes I ended up doing lots on plain water. If it’s poor tomorrow I now have something to try👍
 
Tried the first shave with it today.
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I wasn’t expecting anything spectacular as I’d made a few mistakes getting used to the slurry and water mix etc. But I did an HHT and it cut all along the edge.
I used a bit of Trumpers skin food an some Taylor’s Jermyn st soap.
The shave felt really good, very smooth. 4 passes in all directions and no problems atg on the top lip and chin.
Again I wasn’t expecting much, so I just happily finished my shave and had a rub of alum and a splash of Floid,
Then I felt my face and was surprised by the closeness and softness.
I didn’t try hard on this shave I wasn’t particularly careful or attentive, well no more than usual, but the shave was great.
This is encouraging that even on my first go with my very average attempt at honing on it, it still gave me a great edge. I’ll try it again tonight, same razor but try to improve my control of the slurry and finish on less clean water laps, see how that works.
John advised me to lap it every 1-3 uses so I ordered a diamond plate to make life easier, but I have to wait a couple of days for that to arrive before I can do too much.
 
Tried the first shave with it today.
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I wasn’t expecting anything spectacular as I’d made a few mistakes getting used to the slurry and water mix etc. But I did an HHT and it cut all along the edge.
I used a bit of Trumpers skin food an some Taylor’s Jermyn st soap.
The shave felt really good, very smooth. 4 passes in all directions and no problems atg on the top lip and chin.
Again I wasn’t expecting much, so I just happily finished my shave and had a rub of alum and a splash of Floid,
Then I felt my face and was surprised by the closeness and softness.
I didn’t try hard on this shave I wasn’t particularly careful or attentive, well no more than usual, but the shave was great.
This is encouraging that even on my first go with my very average attempt at honing on it, it still gave me a great edge. I’ll try it again tonight, same razor but try to improve my control of the slurry and finish on less clean water laps, see how that works.
John advised me to lap it every 1-3 uses so I ordered a diamond plate to make life easier, but I have to wait a couple of days for that to arrive before I can do too much.

get to know the stone.....and you should.be golden if this turns out to be for you.

camo
 
I tried the razor and stone again this evening.
I raised a better slurry this time I feel, not too thick or thin. It makes a lovely rich ochre mud.2EAFB65B-E912-43FF-AB8C-AA9DA945355B.jpeg1DF83696-F289-4C75-B60F-7C1EE70478BA.jpeg
I was able to work the slurry without it drying up and without losing it off the edge of the world.
I was paying attention to the feel of the metal on the stone trying to get an idea of when I should dilute. After about 50 laps I’d worked the slurry well and it began to feel silkier. At the same time it began undercutting really nicely. So I added some water to the mix for another 25 laps, then more again for a further 25.
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It had been my intention to finish on about 10 clean water laps, but I was waiting for the undercut to Improve so did 20 laps. It still wasn’t undercutting like earlier but I stopped anyway and stropped it on linen and leather.
I felt a lot more in control of it today and managed to keep the slurry on the stone from start to finish. I’ve yet to get a silent HHT with any razor but the test tonight was good. Let’s see what tomorrow brings.
 
HHT never works for me, i just test shave
I will sometimes strop about 25x , then go back to stone for more loving

Question your stone seems kitta which falls in medium category?

Another stone a finisher may be helpful ?

Very nice stone you have there

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Thx stand corrected, thats a very nice stone you have lots runway , congrats and keep us posted
I often use diamond plate slurry, to water, then tomo slurry to water, then few water strokes,,,
I purchased a few asano naguras,but often only use tomo and slurry from stone only
 
I shaved this morning with the razor I honed yesterday. It was an odd shave in its own way. At first the edge felt very very sharp, more like a pasted balsa edge. As the shave went on, I thought I noticed it feeling a little duller atg, though this could’ve also just been an increase in smoothness because once I’d finished I was pretty shocked at how good the shave was, although it did leave my face a little stingy.
I just took it back to the stone.
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I started with a thinner slurry than yesterday. After 50 or 60 laps I added some water then 20 later added a little more.
Its got a great raspy shhhhhhh to it.
Today I finished on this misty slurry rather than on plain water and I did the last few laps with the stone in hand. 495AA15C-36D5-4AA3-AAA9-D35E8670D7E9.jpeg
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I feel like I’m getting used to it a little more each time I use it. I shave each day then I hone the razor and note the results. This 5/8th razor will be 1/8th if I keep this up.
 
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An very close shave shave yesterday morning though the blade left my face feeling a little stingy. So I tried honing it again, this time using a much weaker slurry to begin with, then I experimented with very light pressure and diluting the slurry as I went. I finished on a misty slurry. I made a little video of it but could only upload photos to this site.
The shave was fine but I felt not the closest atg on my top lip and chin.
So today I’ve tried my coticule method which is simply to hone in hand under trickling water until the stone sticks.
No slurry.
This made a big difference to the sound of the stone which went silent and to the feel on the stone which was much smoother.
The razor stuck fast after about 15-20 laps and I was done. Let see what tomorrow brings.
Ive honed the same razor on the same stone for the last 5 honings and 4 shaves.
Ive learned to control the slurry better, the consistency and just keeping the stuff wet and flowing on the stone. I’m just making small changes each day, such as more/less laps here or there or thinning or thickening slurries at different stages of the hone and also paying as much attention as I can to the feedback of the razor both on the hone and on my face.
 
This mornings shave was honed yesterday under trickling water with no slurry. This method has always worked very well on my coticule and slates.
Well today the shave felt very smooth and sharp with no toothiness to the edge. On first impressions I’d say it’s the best edge I’ve gotten so far from the jnat though that was only my 5th tome honing on it. Atg on my top lip is where the sharpness usually shows itself and it was great there today as well as on my neck where it’s almost impossible to go truly atg for all of it.
The post shave feel is great so I’m going to shave with this edge for a few days and try a few different edges along the way for comparison, such as a coticule and or pasted balsa.
 
It’s been 9 days since I last used the stone, I’ve been shaving with coticule and pasted balsa edges during that time. My Friodur 17 1/2 has had a diamond pasted balsa edge for the last 6 months which probably makes it one of the sharpest objects in the universe but I’m not enjoying the shaves from it. It’s too sharp at the minute for my technique so I thought I’d try it on the jnat.
Last time out i honed under trickling water and the shave was very good but today I wanted to use the slurry stone.
I lapped the stone flat with a newly acquired diamond plate, rinsed, raised a light slurry and began.
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I haven’t tried circles or anything just heel leading x strokes.
I did around 50 laps watching the undercut improve and improve. I diluted the slurry with a few drops and went again. After about 25 more laps the undercut improved and the stone began to stick. I eased off all pressure, added more water and continued to hone lightly until again, the stone began to grip all along the edge. From here on I honed with the stone in hand.
Once more I added water, the slurry was now mostly clean water and I continued with super light strokes until the stone again became magnetic.
I felt this was the moment to stop so I cleaned the stone and razor, stropped 50 each on linen and leather and will see what tomorrow brings. I feel more each time I use the stone, I get more feedback from it. The thicker the slurry the louder it gets. The more I work the slurry the silkier it feels. When things stop changing, I start changing. I dilute, I lighten pressure, I don’t really know what I’m doing I’m just feeling in the dark at this point.
 
This mornings shave with the Friodur after yesterday’s honing.
It felt smooth and very sharp, almost too sharp I felt and I had to have the spine closer to my face to accommodate for it. I got a very close shave but I’m not there yet. I’ve yet to find the way to smoothness with it. My coticule shaves are so soft, I’m looking for similar from the jnat. Not sure what to try next to improve the edge.
 
This mornings shave with the Friodur after yesterday’s honing.
It felt smooth and very sharp, almost too sharp I felt and I had to have the spine closer to my face to accommodate for it. I got a very close shave but I’m not there yet. I’ve yet to find the way to smoothness with it. My coticule shaves are so soft, I’m looking for similar from the jnat. Not sure what to try next to improve the edge.

I've heard that Corti edges feel so gentle because they aren't particularly sharp, is it possible to get a sharper edge and keep that smooth, soft feel?
 
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