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Comparing Naniwa Stones


Naniwa Has a Wide Range of Stones to Fit Every Need

Naniwa has been manufacturing quality waterstones for over 60 years in Osaka, Japan. They have developed several different lines of stones in that time, each with its own unique characteristics. Each stone line has different qualities of hardness, wear rate, cutting speed, and other factors. Having several options allows sharpeners to find stones with characteristics that match their particular needs.

Of course, having many choices also means that deciding which is best for you can be a little daunting if you're not familiar with their stones. In this article, we will present the various Naniwa stones in a way that will hopefully make the decision easier. We will give a brief description of each stone type and note how they compare to the others in several categories. We hope that this will be useful as you pick out the best stones for your sharpening tool kit.


Professional Stones

The Naniwa Professional Stones balance fast cutting speed with a slow wear rate and give excellent feedback.

The Naniwa Professional Stones are well balanced and enjoyable to use. They are considered by many to be among the best water stones available.

Characteristics:

  • Hardness/Wear Rate - Hard and slow wearing. Harder and slower wearing than the Lobster, Multi, and Traditional stones. Slightly softer and faster wearing than the Super Stone line.
  • Cutting Speed - Fast cutting. Possibly the fastest cutting of the Naniwa stones, they are noticeably faster than the Super Stones.
  • Preparation - Almost splash and go, relatively fast to prepare. They are faster to prepare than the Lobster, Multi and Traditional stones and do not require soaking. They are a little slower than the Super Stones. They have to be splashed a few times over the course of a minute or so to be ready for use.
  • Feedback - Excellent. Arguably the best feedback of any of the Naniwa water stones.
  • Grit Options - Eight: 400, 600, 800, 1000, 2000, 3000, 5000, and 10000. They have more options than the Lobster, Multi and Traditional lines, but fewer than the Super Stones.
  • Price - Premium. These are the highest price of any of the Naniwa water stones.
  • Dimensions - 8 1/4" x 2 3/4" x 3/4" (210 x 70 x 20mm).


Pocket Pro Stones

The Naniwa Pocket Pro Stones are the Professional stones in a smaller size.

The Naniwa Pocket Pro Stones are exactly the same as the Professional stones, but in a smaller size. The smaller size means they cost less than the full size version.

Characteristics:
Same as Professional Stones except:

  • Grit Options - Seven: 400, 600, 800, 1000, 2000, 3000 and 5000
  • Price - Middle. They are priced less than the Professional and Super Stone lines, but more than the Multi, Lobster and Traditional stones.
  • Dimensions - 5 1/4" x 1 3/4" x 1/2" (135 x 45 x 15mm)

S2 Super Stones

The Naniwa S2 Super Stones are fine polishing, splash and go stones.

The Naniwa S2 Super Stones are the hardest wearing of any of the Naniwa stones, and known for having a 12,000 grit not found in the other Naniwa lines.

Characteristics:

  • Hardness/Wear Rate - Hard and slow wearing. Harder and slower wearing than any of the Naniwa water stones.
  • Cutting Speed - Not the fastest. They do not cut as fast as any of the other Naniwa water stones.
  • Preparation - Fast - Splash and Go. They are the fastest to prepare of any of the Nanwia water stones. Get them wet and they are ready.
  • Feedback - Good. They feel smoother in use than the other Naniwa water stones, but are highly regarded in the very fine grits.
  • Grit Options - Ten: 220, 400, 800, 1000, 2000, 3000, 5000, 8000, 10000 and 12000. They have more options than any of the other Naniwa water stones, and are the only line with a 12,000 grit.
  • Price - Upper Middle. They are priced higher than the Multi, Lobster or Traditional stones, but less than the Professional stones.
  • Dimensions - 8-1/4" x 2-3/4" x 3/4" (210mm x 70mm x 30mm).


S1 Super Stones

The Naniwa S1 Super Stones are the same as the S2 Super Stones, but half as thick.

The Naniwa S1 Super Stones are half the thickness of the S2's, but otherwise the same. They are a good value for lighter use.

Characteristics:
Same as S2 Super Stones except:

  • Price - Lower. They are priced about the same as the Lobster or Traditional stones, but less than the S2 Super Stones and Professional stones.
  • Dimensions - 8-1/4" x 2-3/4" x 3/8" (210mm x 70mm x 10mm).

Traditional Stones

The Naniwa Traditional Stones are good value traditional water stones.

The Naniwa Traditional Stones are practical soaking stones with a good balance of cutting speed and wear rate. They are good work horse stones.

Characteristics:

  • Hardness/Wear Rate - Relatively hard and slow wearing. They are harder and slower wearing than the Multi or Lobster stones. They are perhaps slightly softer than the Professional stones. They are softer than the Super Stones.
  • Preparation - Average - soaking stones. They must be soaked for several minutes before use.
  • Feedback - Very good. They give good feedback in use, perhaps not quite as great as the Professional stones, but they compare well to the other lines.
  • Grit Options - Seven: 220, 1000, 1500, 2000, 4000, 6000, 8000. They have more options than the Multi or Lobster stones, and fewer than the Professional or Super stones.
  • Price - Average. They are priced similarly to the Lobster, but less than the Professional or Super Stone lines.
  • Dimensions - 8-1/4" x 2-3/4" x 3/4" (210mm x 70mm x 30mm).


Snow White Jyunpaku Stone

The Naniwa Jyunpaku Snow White is known for being hard and giving a superior polish.

The Naniwa Jyunpaku Snow White stone is a special option in the Traditional Stones. It is very similar to them in every respect except that it has a reputation for being harder and for leaving a superior finish. It is popular with fans of the Traditional Stones who want the best finish possible from the 8000 grit.

Characteristics:
Same as the Traditional stones except:

  • Hardness/Wear Rate - Harder. The Snow White is highly regarded for being harder than the other Traditional stones.
  • Price - Premium. It is the priciest of any of the 8000 grit Naniwa Water Stone options.


220 Grit Pink Alumina Traditional Stone

The 220 Grit Pink Alumina Traditional Stone is a harder wearing coarse stone in the Traditional Stone line.

The 220 Grit Pink Alumina Traditional Stone is a special option in the Traditional Stone Line. It is very similar to the other Traditional Stones in all respects, but it is formulated using pink alumina instead of silicon carbide. The result is a stone that won't grind as fast, but which will wear more slowly, thus retaining its flatness longer.

Characteristics:
Same as the Traditional stones except:

  • Cutting Speed - Average. They are not as fast cutting as the 220 grit Tradtional stone.
  • Hardness/Wear Rate - Harder. The 220Grit Pink Alumina is designed to be harder and slower wearing.


1000 Grit Traditional Stone For Hard Steels

The 1000 Grit Traditional Stone For Hard Steels is formulated for very hard steels.

The 1000 Grit Traditional Stone For Hard Steels is a special option in the Naniwa Traditional line of stones. It is very similar to the other Traditional Stones in every respect, but it has been formulated to have more grinding power than the standard 1000 grit stone in this line. This increased grinding capability makes it well suited for very hard steels.

Characteristics:
Same as the Traditional stones except:

  • Cutting Speed - More Grinding Power. The1000 Grit Traditional Stone For Hard Steels is designed for a specific purpose, to grind more aggressively on western knives made of very hard steels.


Aotoishi Stone

The Naniwa Aotoishi, or the Green Brick of Joy.

The Naniwa Aotoishi is a single edition stone that has developed a following of admirers who refer to it as the Green Brick of Joy. Its fans regard the Aotoishi highly for its feedback in use and see it as a jack-of-all-trades stone, suitable for sharpeners who prefer to work with a minimum number of stones. A notable feature of the Aotoishi is its extreme thickness, being over 2 1/2 times thicker than any other Naniwa water stone.

Characteristics:

  • Hardness/Wear Rate - Average. However at 2 /18" thick, it will give a long life.
  • Cutting Speed - Good. It is similar to the Traditional stones.
  • Preparation - Average - soaking stone. It must be soaked for several minutes before use.
  • Feedback - Very good. It is highly regarded by its fans for its feel in use.
  • Grit Options - One: 2000.
  • Price - Upper Middle. They are priced higher than the similar Traditional stones, but you do get more stone for your money.
  • Dimensions - 8-1/4" x 2-3/4" x 2 1/8"" (210mm x 70mm x 75mm).


Lobster Stones

The Naniwa Lobster Water Stones are economical for hard working environments.

The economical Naniwa Lobster Water Stones are popular with fast paced kitchens that need a simple set of stones to efficiently get a good edge on their knives.

Characteristics:

  • Hardness/Wear Rate - Soft. They are softer and faster wearing than the other Naniwa water stones.
  • Cutting Speed - Good. They are similar to the Traditional stones.
  • Preparation - Average - soaking stone. They must be soaked for several minutes before use.
  • Feedback - Good. They have a gritty feel in use
  • Grit Options - Six: 220, 800, 1000, 1200, 1500 and 3000.
  • Price - Low. They are intended as an inexpensive option.
  • Dimensions - 3000 grit is 8-1/4" x 2-3/4" x 3/4" (210mm x 65mm x 20mm). All others 8-1/4" x 2-3/4" x 1" (210mm x 65mm x 25mm)


Multi Stones

The Naniwa Multi Stones combine two grits on one stone

The Naniwa Multi Stones are a good way to get as much value as possible in a stone. You get two grits on each stone for efficiency, and a slightly smaller size.

Characteristics:

  • Hardness/Wear Rate - Soft. They are softer and faster wearing than the other Naniwa water stones..
  • Cutting Speed - Good. They are similar to the Traditional stones.
  • Preparation - Average - soaking stone. It must be soaked for several minutes before use.
  • Feedback - Good. They have a gritty feel in use
  • Grit Options - Two options: 220/1000 and 1000/3000
  • Price - Low. They are intended as an inexpensive option.
  • Dimensions - 7 1/4 x 21/2" x 1" (185mm x 65mm x 30mm)


Diamond Stones

The Naniwa Diamond Stones offer diamond abrasive with water stone style.

The Naniwa Diamond Stones are a unique offering in the Naniwa brand. They employ diamond abrasive bound in thin layer of very hard resin mounted to a sturdy metal base. They have the cutting ability of diamonds, but their feel when sharpening is similar to that of the hardest wearing water stones. They are popular with sharpeners who work with very hard steels or ceramics or who want slow wearing stones.

Characteristics:

  • Hardness/Wear Rate - Very Hard and slow wearing. They do wear, but much more slowly than the Naniwa water stones.
  • Cutting Speed - Fast - They are fast on very hard steels that other stones have difficulty with.
  • Preparation - Fast - Splash and go. Get them wet and they are ready to go.
  • Feedback - Very Good. A different feel than any of the other Naniwa water stones because of their hardness, but responsive.
  • Grit Options - Six: 400, 600, 800, 1000, 3000, and 6000.
  • Price - Premium. They are higher priced than the any of the Nanwia water stones.
  • Dimensions - 8-1/4" x 2-7/8" x 5/8" (210mm x 75mm x 16mm).


135 Diamond Stones

The Naniwa 135 Diamond Stones offer another size option for diamonds in resin stones

The Naniwa135 Diamond Stones are the same as the Diamond stones in every way, but in a smaller size. They are an economical option for those who don't need quite large of a stone.

Characteristics:
Same as the Diamond stones except:

  • Price - Premium. They are less than the Diamond stones, but still a premium price when compared to the Naniwa water stones.
  • Dimensions - 5 5/16" x 2 7/8" x 1/4" (135mm x 75mm x 6mm).


Naniwa offers a wide variety of stones that provide options at every performance level and price. I hope that with an understanding of the characteristics of each line and individual stone, you will feel more confident choosing the right stones for your sharpening needs.

To learn more about the entire Naniwa line of Water Stones, please visit our Naniwa page.