An Introduction to Japanese Hones, pt. 1


Me with a Large Nakayama Stone

I’d like to take a couple of articles to talk about one of my favorite topics, Japanese natural whestones, or Tennen Toishi. The subject is very deep, so I’ll have to skip a lot, but I’d like to talk about the history of these stones, their different qualities and attractions, and hopefully dispel some of the mystery surrounding them. For more information, you can always check out my blog, Eastern Smooth.

Why whetstones on a Shaving Site?
One of the most important things to know for those thinking about taking up straight shaving is, those blades don’t sharpen themselves. Average use (or misuse) leads to the deterioration of your edge over time, to the point that stropping on leather no longer leads to a comfortable shave. The most common way of fixing that is a whetstone. For some, this is a bit of a turnoff as it does require a certain level of skill and practice to produce a good shaving edge, but for others (myself included) that’s part of the allure of straight shaving: the feeling you get when you successfully put a smooth, sharp edge on a razor is amazing. [Read more…]