"Ao" means blue and this stone has a blueish grey color and is considered the workhorse stone for Japanese natural stone sharpening. We sourced this stone from Mr. Imanishi in Kyoto and he acquired it through a trade with a peer dealer which is common among members of the stone guild. This stone is a medium grit stone in about the 2000 grit range and leaves a nice toothy edge with good slurry produced on it's own. Like all natural stones it's recommended to just dunk the stone in water and put it in a holder and start sharpening. Don't perma soak the stone. We were only offered 3 of these stones and we're not able to get anymore of these particular aotos. They've become increasingly rare as almost all of the mines were shut down about 40-50 years ago.
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