Reviewed: Norton Japanese-Style Combination Waterstone

In 1885, Norton Abrasives was founded in Worchester, Massachusetts. It made history by creating the first grinding wheels that were mass-produced. From those humble beginnings, it went on to become the largest global supplier of commercial, automotive refurnishing, and residential abrasives. In 1990, Norton Abrasives became a brand under Saint-Gobain Abrasives, a renowned abrasive company in France. Its stone sharpeners are made only of the highest quality materials. This product is a fine example of their dedication to providing effective sharpening tools to their customers worldwide.

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norton-sharpening-water-stone-24335-japanese-styleThis is a water stone, which is often regarded¬† as the best type of knife sharpening stone. It is a type of synthetic stone used to sharpen cutting tools and knives. It measures about 8.5″ x 3.2″ x 1.2.” It also weighs about 1.2 lbs. This particular stone has both 220-grit and 1000-grit sides that make for quality steel honing. Unlike other stones, this one does not require cleaning with oil lubrication. It cleans easily and stays lubricated with just water. This contributes to its sharpening requiring less pressure than a regular oil stone. It also comes with a plastic blue hinged box with slip-proof rubber feet. The box has notches that help hold the stone in place while sharpening.

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Water stones like this product are soft, synthetic stones used for sharpening a wide variety of blades including folding knives, non-serrated kitchen knives and more. Some examples of what it can sharpen include hand scrapers, razors, plane blades, knives, and chisels. The unique grit combination of this stone creates a type of abrasive slurry. This thin, water-based abrasive paste leaves blades with a keen, cutting edge. The 220-grit side is used first when sharpening. It works to repair steel cutting edges. Sharpening is then finished with the 1000-grit side to establish those edges.

The water stone originated in Japan, which is why it is referred to as “Japanese-style.” The original stones were natural, but this description now applies to both natural and synthetic stones. Synthetic water stone is made from a combination of bonding agents and graded abrasives with even particles that are molded and surface refined. This makes their grit finer and softer than oil stones. That is why water lubrication is enough. This stone also complies with the JIS, or Japanese Industrial Standard, which is the standard for water stones.

One of the handiest aspects of this product is the included plastic box. It is used for both protection and moisture retention of the stone. The lid can be easily removed, and the rubber feet make it possible to keep the stone in place during sharpening. This is especially useful when sharpening occurs in a space like a workbench. The stone is well-made, and it polishes blades to a mirror finish. It can also establish bevels. While it is made of high-quality materials, the 220-grit side is known to wear out quickly. This side’s abrasive layers are known to wear away after multiple uses or extreme repairs. The stone may be raised or convex instead of flat. That can affect sharpening results.

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The grit combination may get mixed reactions depending on sharpening preferences. This sharpening stone skips grits by having one side as 220-grit and the other as 1000-grit. While these sides work well together, the sharpening and polishing is not as gradual as a stone with grits that are closer in coarseness or fineness to each other. Some may feel that using a stone with grits in between the two works better for more gradual sharpening. Those that have a higher sharpness standard may feel that this combination is not enough. In this scenario, opting for a stone with a finer grit combination may be best.

This stone is geared toward outdoor hobbyists, farmers, gardeners, cooks, chefs, or anyone that uses steel tools and knives. Its small size, weight, and multipurpose case make it useful for sharpening on the go. It also works well when used in small spaces.

This Norton waterstone sharpens and hones blades to a cutting edge that gets the job done. Thanks to only needing water as a lubricant, it is easy to use with less pressure required. The included case also keeps it in good condition and works as a sharpening support. However, the stone’s abrasiveness may not last long on the one side, it may not be flat enough, and it may not be gradual enough for some sharpening standards. Regardless, it can create sharp edges and bevels that work on different steel tools for many cutting tasks.

If you’re looking for something a little easier to use, check out our electric knife sharpener reviews.

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