Shapton Kuromaku (Pro in USA) instruction translation Needed


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Good Day all. After seeing Marc's sharpening video, I've recently purchased  #5000 (US$54.80) and #8000 (US$69.80) Shapton Ceramic whetstones. I found the stones at the Japanese eBay seller Sakurasaka-JPN for an excellent price with affordable, fast shipping (US$30, 6 days from Japan to Bermuda). The problem is the instructions are in Japanese. 

I would be very grateful is someone could send me a scan/image of the labels and instructions in English. In Japan, the Pro stones are called the Kuromaku series.

 

I've included the Japanese instructions for the #8000 whetstone.

 

Thanks

post-14625-0-89452300-1392177383_thumb.j

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post-14625-0-87017000-1392177385_thumb.j

post-14625-0-28278000-1392177419_thumb.j

post-14625-0-45718400-1392177421_thumb.j

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I hate to tell you this, but those are not the stones that Marc has.  The Shaptons with the Japanese lettering are considered "grey market," and of poorer quality...probably why you found them for so cheap.  Not that they won't sharpen a blade...but they're not the same as the Shapton Professionals.

 

I'll see if I still have the literature for my stones and post it later if I can find it.

 

Edit: Sorry, I can't find that paperwork anywhere.  Maybe they didn't come with any because that's not the kind of thing I'd likely throw away.  What exactly did you need to know?

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I'll respectfully disagree with Eric...well half disagree.

 

Yes, those are "grey market stones".  No they are not poorer quality. They are made, packaged, and marketed for sale only within Japan.  They may or may not actually be different.  Once they are shipped outside of Japan the warranty is void so IF  you have any issue you are on your own.  Shapton USA  (HMS enterprises)  tells consumers that the humidity difference between North America and Japan will make them not work as well. I personally believe this is garbage, but having not used a USA packaged and a Japanese one side by side I can't tell you for sure if there is a noticeable difference. I can tell you the my buddies "grey market" stone I used was fine and that by every account I've heard the grey market stones are great.

 

The prices you are seeing are the standard price you will see for them.  Shapton does make some lower quality stones as well (m-series, I believe), but the "grey market" Shapton Pros are not 2nd line stone...they are their pro line stone sold within Japan. When I used one of my buddy's I thought it was great, and I'm sure your stones will be/are great too.

 

Anyway, what do you need to know about them?

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What Chris said. I also have a hard time believing that humidity differences are going to affect a waterstone that is going to have, well, water splashed on it during use.

 

As far as using them goes, I pour some water over the surface of my Shapton Pros, and go about sharpening. You may find that surface tension makes your tool feel like it’s sticking to the surface of the waterstone (referred to as “stiction”). If that happens, try using either more or less water. Some folks like to add a drop of dishwashing soap to their water supply to reduce the stiction. If you use a honing jig, the stiction really won’t be too much of an issue.

 

You should flatten them every so often. I have a video on how to do that here: http://giantcypress.net/post/668546073/japanese-tools-are-traditionally-sharpened-with

 

Stu does like Sigma Power waterstones more than the Shaptons. I like the Shaptons more, but either one will be an excellent way to sharpen your tools.

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Stu does like Sigma Power waterstones more than the Shaptons. I like the Shaptons more, but either one will be an excellent way to sharpen your tools.

 

...hehe...this seems out of context now...I edited out my link to Stu's site after I reread the OP and realized he had already purchased them. 

 

It basically just said  "if you purchase them get them from here becasue of his great customer service and that if you have any questions about them ask Stu (the owner of the store)". You got the same thing though so your all good!

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The most important items covered in the instructions would be:
 
Flattening – which WP got to…
 
Soak time – Shaptons can go with just a light splash of water, but most report a performance increase with 10 minutes of soak time… But avoid prolonged soaking...
 
Drying Prior to Storage – At one end, some ceramics can just be toweled-off and put in a case and, at the other, some require a minimum of 24hrs of air drying before storage. All recommend avoiding drying in direct sunlight and/or heat-assisted drying. I seem to remember Shaptons recommend dry storage, but I don’t recall a minimum 24hrs dry time prior to storage (ex Chosera). FYI: depends on binder...
 
Storage – Some ceramics can be stored submerged, some should not, and some cannot. If I remember, the Shaptons are in the ‘should not’ category. All stones should avoid freezing temps and rapid temp swings (very cold garage directly to room-temp shop).
 
Good luck with your new stones…
 
PS. The 'Humidity' thing is just Sales/Marketing BS.
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I'll respectfully disagree with Eric...well half disagree.

 

Yes, those are "grey market stones".  No they are not poorer quality. They are made, packaged, and marketed for sale only within Japan.  They may or may not actually be different.  Once they are shipped outside of Japan the warranty is void so IF  you have any issue you are on your own.  Shapton USA  (HMS enterprises)  tells consumers that the humidity difference between North America and Japan will make them not work as well.

 

This is what I heard and what I based my comment on.  I took it at face value which may or may not be foolish since there IS marketing involved...and I trust marketers as far as I can throw them.  So your point is taken and 99% approved unless I see evidence to the contrary.

 

On the flip side, I didn't like the thought of no warranty or dealing with overseas companies/shipping...so I was inclined to buy the USA versions for a bit more.

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This is what I heard and what I based my comment on.  I took it at face value which may or may not be foolish since there IS marketing involved...and I trust marketers as far as I can throw them.  So your point is taken and 99% approved unless I see evidence to the contrary.

 

On the flip side, I didn't like the thought of no warranty or dealing with overseas companies/shipping...so I was inclined to buy the USA versions for a bit more.

 

Yeah, I heard that too and took it a face value at first also...I certainly was not intending to come across as critical of you.  I just happened to have gone through a time where I spent a lot of time reading about and talking about sharpening (time that would have been better spent woodworking), and found out otherwise.

 

The warranty is certainly good reason to buy the USA ones. (and I think that really is the key difference)..that and I would never have any issue patronizing Craftmanstudio or ChefKnifeToGo both who sell Shapton USA...I certainly would never discourage anyone from buying the USA ones.

 

There is also a lot of debate out there about whether or not the 12k Japanese Cream is any different in grit than the 15k USA cream. IIRC Stu thought he had it on good authority that the 12k is 1.2 micron and the 15k is .98 micron so those two at least may be very slightly different.  Not that the difference would be  noticeable by most people on terms of edge.  

 

Sure is tough to get past marketing and get the truth on stuff.

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==>Sure is tough to get past marketing and get the truth on stuff.

Part of it is just Sales/Marketing, but there is a more nefarious aspect...

 

If you spend some quality time on the sharpening-focused forums/blogs/etc, you'll see references not just to 'gray market' stones, but to out-right counterfeits -- no joke -- fake stones. For quite some time there was an Asian distributor (which shall go nameless) selling counterfeit stones (relabeled mid-quality stones) into the European and North American markets -- kind of like a New York street vendor selling a $50 Rolex. The gray market is easy to deal with -- you get no warranty... The counterfeit -- well, the distributor was banking on customers in the EU and North America being unfamiliar with Japanese waterstones -- and successfully got away with it for years...

 

Another consideration -- damage during shipping... Waterstones are reasonably robust, but some of the ceramics are quite brittle. If the stone breaks during transport, will the seller refund your $$ or make you chase-down the postman? For a $50 stone, not much of an issue... But some ceramics sell for upwards of $300/stone -- so not quite so trivial a question... As a side note, never buy a Natural Japanese stone from other than a reputable dealer -- you are just asking for problems...

 

All things considered, it's probably better to spend a few $$ more and purchase from a known source...

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All things considered, it's probably better to spend a few $$ more and purchase from a known source...

 

I hadn't heard of the counterfeits but everything you said is exactly why I recommend buying them from Stu.  He would issue a refund if the stones did not arrive safely.

 

I don't use naturals, but that's what I've always heard...and actually, I've even heard that you need to be carefuleven when buying from a reputable dealer, and make sure that you are very clear what your are getting in terms of the stones individual qualities as there is so much variation among natural stones.

 

As far as the "gray  market" Shaptons go other than Stu their are a couple other ebayers who are reputable. There is an individual who goes by the handle 330mate who sells Shaptons and Chosera's and who is quite reputable..there's another guy named metal master who a friend of mine has bought from who seem quite reputable too. .although I have no idea if either would cover you if a stone broke in transit.

 

Anyway, I personally wouldn't hesitate to get the Japanese shaptons from Stu, but I totally get why it would be and is  worth it too many folks to get the USA ones.

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If anyone is looking for a US based supplier of Shapton waterstones, I don’t think you can do any better than Craftsman Studio, even though they repeat the issue of the difference between Japanese and US Shaptons. Here’s their lineup of Shapton Pros: http://www.craftsmanstudio.com/html_p/Q!0P0000.htm

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==>I don't use naturals, but that's what I've always heard...and actually, I've even heard that you need to be careful even when buying from a reputable dealer, and make sure that you are very clear what your are getting in terms of the stones individual qualities as there is so much variation among natural stones.

 

Yup, J-Nats are a totally different buying process. Either you need to learn quite a bit of arcane sharpening jargon and attend tool shows demoing different stones ---- or totally trust the dealer (and there's only a few dealers that are universally trusted).

 

==>you are very clear what your are getting in terms of the stones individual qualities as there is so much variation among natural stones.

+1 -- The best way to purchase a natural stone is to attend some shows and try the different stones with your tools -- pick the one that works best for you...

 

==>Every experience I have with CS is a good one and I keep going back

+1. I've made several purchases there -- always been happy.

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Thank you all for the feedback. I used the stones today to do the initial hone and sharpening on my new Lie-Nielsen 60 1/2. Also used it on my WoodRiver #4 V3. The stones worked very well. I followed TripleH's instructions and the Shaptons certainly sharpen quickly. I've been using Eze-Lap Diamond Plates (course, fine and super fine) but these Shaptons far exceed them and are perfect for refining the edge once any courser work is done by the Eze-Lap's. I may one day buy a courser Shapton (1000) as well and try sell the Eze-Laps. However my next purchase will have to be the Shapton lapping plate. That thing is very expensive US$379. 

 

In regards to humidity, I would think parts of Japan can be very humid since it is an island. Humidity is also normally high here in Bermuda. I don't mind purchasing grey market items. In the photography arena, grey market Japanese lenses tend to be less expensive but built to the same quality as the US or UK versions. 

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You don't need to spend that kind of money to get a good lapping plate.  There is no functional reason too.

 

Get an Atoma 400.  Far far less expensive, and one of the best lapping plates out there, if not the best diamond plate out there for lapping 800 grit and above waterstones.  

 

I think Chefknivestogo.com sells them, but I got mine from here: http://www.toolsfromjapan.com/store/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=335_462_464&products_id=1194

 

Either place would be good retailer to get one from.

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You don't need to spend that kind of money to get a good lapping plate.  There is no functional reason too.

 

Get an Atoma 400.  Far far less expensive, and one of the best lapping plates out there, if not the best diamond plate out there for lapping 800 grit and above waterstones.  

 

I think Chefknivestogo.com sells them, but I got mine from here: http://www.toolsfromjapan.com/store/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=335_462_464&products_id=1194

 

Either place would be good retailer to get one from.

Thank you for the advice ChrisG. I haven't heard/read of this product but I will check it out. 

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