Nubatama Bamboo 1200 Grit. 205mm x 70mm x 50mm. My initial evaluation of a new line of Japanese Waterstones. This is a 1200 grit synthetic Waterstone. In this first of two videos on this stone I sharpen a single beveled Mukimono. In the second video I sharpen a Garasuki, a design used for cutting up poultry, with a flat (not concave) back and a small bevel in the front. The edge is moderately toothy, giving excellent feedback and easily cuts through paper towels. An edge suitable for meat but that will also meet the needs of many sushi chefs not requiring an extremely refined edge.
First impressions. The stone feels very smooth out of the box. It absorbs water relatively slowly, and produces a fine clay like mud, reminiscent of a Natural Monzen Aoto. Good cutting action, immediately demonstrating black metal swarf. It produces a uniform finish on a single bevel knife with some contrast (kasumi style finish). This soft stone conforms to the single bevel surface quite nicely, whether it is flat or a hamaguri grind. This stone is extremely popular in both the Tsukiji (Tokyo) fish market and the Kyoto fish market - and for good reason, producing a very nice working edge with relative ease. A very pleasant stone to work with. Highly recommended for those who prefer a muddy relatively soft stone with very smooth mud.
I’ve been working with the Nubatama Bamboo 1,200 grit stone for a few weeks now,and love it. For the most part,I prefer fast cutting hard stones like the Shapton glass series because they don’t require soaking and you can sharpen a knife quickly. Sometimes,however,I just want to enjoy myself and not rush things,and that is when I pull out the mid grit Nubatama Bamboo stones. The 1,200 grit stone requires very little soaking.
Knife sharpening wizard Ken Shwartz calls the Nubatama Bamboo 2,000 grit stone a "magical" stone,and I agree. To me,the 1,200 grit fits into the "magical" category as well. Both the 1,200 and 2,000 grit stones behave like Japanese natural stones in that they form mud that changes the nature and finish of the edge as you sharpen. This characteristic makes the 1,200 extremely versatile because you can simply splash the mud off if you don’t want the type of edge that mud helps create,or create as much mud as you like,and wallow in it to your heart’s delight. I especially like this stone for working with white steel knives.Highly recommended.