Choosing the right grit size of Shapton Ha-no-kuromaku stones

This table outlines Shapton's recommendations for the choosing from the variety of stones in their line, the right grit sizes, and the gradations in which they should be used, to properly sharpen different kinds of knives and tools. The Japanese names for the various knives and tools are listed in parenthesis, which can be helpful for matching a blade with the right stones when one knows the Japanese name for the tool.

Stone Colors (Stones in the Ha-no-kuromaku Series) w
h
i
t
e
m
o
s
s
b
l
u
e
 
b
l
a
c
k
o
r
a
n
g
e
b
l
u
e
g
r
e
e
n
d
e
e
p
 
r
e
d
m
e
l
o
n
c
r
e
a
m
p
u
r
p
l
e
Purpose g
r
i
n
d
i
n
g
g
r
i
n
d
i
n
g
g
r
i
n
d
i
n
g
s
h
a
r
p
e
n
i
n
g
s
h
a
r
p
e
n
i
n
g
s
h
a
r
p
e
n
i
n
g
h
o
n
i
n
g
h
o
n
i
n
g
h
o
n
i
n
g
p
o
l
i
s
h
i
n
g
Stone Grit Size 1
2
0
2
2
0
3
2
0
1
0
0
0
1
5
0
0
2
0
0
0
5
0
0
0
8
0
0
0
1
2
0
0
0
3
0
0
0
0
Japanese Kitchen Knives (wa-bocho)
Chopping Knife (deba)              
Small Chopping Knife (ko-deba)              
Sashimi Knife (yanagi-ba)            
Knife for preparing Puffer (Fugu) Fish Sashimi (fugu-hiki)            
Tuna Fish Knife (maguro-kiri)              
Edo (Tokyo) Style Eel Knife (unagi-saki)              
Osaka Style Eel Knife (unagi-saki)              
Noodle and Sushi Knives (soba-kiri, udon-kiri, sushi-kiri)              
Vegetable Knife (na-kiri, warikomi-bocho)              
Hand-forged Japanese Kitchen Knives (honyaki wa-bocho)
Sashimi Knives (yanagi-ba, tako-hiki), Vegetable Knife (usu-ba)            
Chopping Knife (deba)              
European Knives in Stainless Steel
Chopping Knife (yo-deba), Knife for Cutting Frozen Foods (reito-kiri)              
Meat Knife (gyuto), Fillet Knife (suji-kiri),
Boning Knife (hone-suki)
             
Poultry Knife (gara-suki)              
All Purpose Knife (peti-naifu = petty knife)              
Bread and Pastry Knife (kasutera-kiri)              
Household Knives (usu-ba-, tsuguri-, bunka-, santoku-Form)              
Chinese Knives (chuka-bocho)
Knife for Chinese Cooking              
Chinese Cooking Knife in Stainless Steel              
Blades for Japanese Woodworking Tools
Planes (kanna), Traditional Plane with Spearpoint-shaped Blade (yarri-kanna)              
Chisels (nomi)              
Adzes              
Blades for Woodworking Tools in High Speed Steel
Planes (kanna), Chisels (nomi)              
Blades for Traditional Artizans' Tools
Wood Carving Knives (kogatana)            
Leather Knife              
Knife in Spring Steel              
Scissors, European Type              
Garden Tools
Hedge Trimmers, Grass Shears              
Rose Shears, Flower Arranging Shears (ikebana)              
Sickles (kama)                
Barbers'- and Stylists' Tools
Hair Scissors            
Razor Blades              
Tailors' Tools
Tailors' Shears              
Tatami Production
Tatami-Maker's Knife              
Tools for Outdoor Activities
Travel or Hunting Knife, Diver's Knife, Outdoor Knife, Pocket-knife              
Hatchets and Axes              
Other Tools and Special Steels - General Advice
Japanese Sword              
Swedish Steel              
High Speed Steel (HSS)              
Stainless Steel, Molybdenum Steel              
 
Stone Grit Size 1
2
0
2
2
0
3
2
0
1
0
0
0
1
5
0
0
2
0
0
0
5
0
0
0
8
0
0
0
1
2
0
0
0
3
0
0
0
0

Directions for Use

Immerse the stone in water five to six minutes before use. This markedly reduces the friction when sharpening.

Directions Do not leave the stone too long in the water.
After use, make sure the stone is allowed to dry. If it stays wet too long, or is for instance stored wrapped up in a wet rag, the stone will become too soft to sharpen properly.

Directions Do not leave the stone outside or in direct sunlight.
This prevents cracking and general decomposition of the stone.

Directions Keep the stone from drying out too quickly.
The stone should not be left in a draft, as from a ventilator, heater or air-conditioning unit. This prevents cracks from developing.

Directions Store the stones at room temperature.
If they are exposed to unusually high temperatures, as in a closed car in the sun, the stone can crack or break.

Directions Never allow the stone to come into contact with hot water.
The extreme difference in temperatures can cause the stone to crack.

Directions Never allow the stone to come into contact with detergents or other soaps.
This can damage the binder that holds the grit together and so reduce the stone's ability to sharpen.

After use, wipe the entire stone clean with an oil-free rag or sponge.
Dirt left on the stone can impair its ability to sharpen properly.

If dirt or debris has been allowed to dry on and stick to the stone, and cannot be removed, or if the stone has been deformed or damaged, the stone must be resurfaced before it can be used again. To resurface a stone, there are two general methods:

1. You can resurface and flatten a stone on a flattening block made for the purpose.
2. You can rub the damaged stone against another undamaged and flat stone. The second stone should be of similar composition to the damaged stone (and never an oil stone), and it works best if the second stone is a medium or coarse grit stone.

One should never use sandpaper to flatten a sharpening stone!
Grit from the sandpaper will stick to and clog up the surface of the sharpening stone. This prevents the stone's grit from cutting the steel, and the blades just lightly slide over the surface of the stone without being sharpened.

To prevent some of the problems listed above, like 2 (laying outside in direct sunlight), 3 (in draughty, or windy locations), and 4 (in high temperatures) it is best to store the stones in the plastic boxes provided for the purpose.

When working one's way up through stones with progressively finer grit sizes during sharpening, it is important to carefully wash one's hands, the tools, and any sharpening aids after every stone. If not, some of the grit from the coarser stones will be transferred to the finer stones, leaving scratches in the blade.

 
Dieter Schmid - Fine Tools
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