A Craftsman’s perspective: The Kirameki whetstones range


Sakai Ichimonji Mitsuhide The Kirameki whetstones range


There a two types of medium grit whetstones that I recommend:
the popular “Kirameki #1000” and the “Kirameki #1000 Soft”.

Both of these stones have a good abrasive power and I often use them when sharpening.
However since they are both made the same way and have the same grit,
people often ask me what is the actual difference between the two.
 

In this article,
I’ll explain a little about how whetstones are made and why I use these two particular stones.


Modern synthetic Resinoid whetstones are made by moulding abrasive materials
such as silicon carbide or aluminium oxide into shape and then baking them,
roughly around 200 degrees Celcius so that the resin inside is not burnt out by the high temperature.

Our stones do not absorb much water, which means they don’t need soaking before use.
They have a medium abrasiveness and provide a good stickiness when sharpening.

In the past,
this method of making stones was used only for finishing stones
but has recently become widely used for all stone types.

Now let me explain the difference between these two types of Kirameki Whetstones.

Ultimately one stone is harder than the other.
That’s it. But this minor difference means a lot when sharpen multiple knives on a regular basis.
A hard stone is good for some knives but not for others and vice versa with a soft stone.


There is little sharpening water and it feels a little slippery,
but the edge of the blade is clear because the scratches on the blade metal (steel) are shallow and shine well.

Kirameki #1000 Medium Whetstone

It is classified as a slightly hard Resinoid type whetstone.

It does not absorb water, so when sharpening you will see water pooling on the surface.
Because of The benefit of this harder stone type is that you get a smoother,
finer surface on the blade, reminiscent of a finishing stone.

Merits: Less wear and tear on the stone, beautiful finish
Demerit: Not very abrasiveness. Not ideal for Stainless Steels


Kirameki #1000 Medium Whetstone Soft

The Kirameki #1000 Medium Whetstone Soft
has a high abrasive power and generates a lot of swarf (sharpening water)
This stone has a wide contact surface with the blade so its easy to use on Japanese and Western knives.
However it leaves prominent scratching on the blades which need to be then polished off.

Merit Soft and easy to sharpen on due to a high abrasive power.
Demerits: Material wears quickly and leaves scratches.


The feeling when sharpening may vary slightly depending on the steel of the knife,
but I tend to use the soft whetstone more often.

When I sharpen knives,
I will usually begin with a soft grindstone like the “Kirameki #1000 medium soft” and then the “Kirameki #1000 medium” after to clean it up.

I always continue on to few more stones in my sharpening process,
so the scratches left by the softer stone are of no concern to me.

What can be concerning is using the harder stone on Stainless steel
as the blade seems to slip more when trying to sharpen,
so I always suggest using the softer stone for Stainless Steel.

A lot of people don’t “finish” their blades properly after sharpening,
I recommend that you do to keep your blade optimal not just cosmetically but also functionally.