210x70x15mm Japanese Waterstone
The soft plastic lining in the box is there to protect the stone during transport to the buyer’s workshop, and should be removed and discarded. The 12,000-grit sharpening stone is cream coloured and should be placed in water about 5 to 10 minutes before use, so that it has enough time to soak up the water that lubricates the stone while sharpening. It should not be left too long in the water though, as this will tend to soften the surfaces of the stone too much. One should never store the stone in water! After use, it should be left to dry, and then stored in the plastic box provided.
Honing with the 12,000-grit stone goes quickly when the edge has been properly prepared using a series of progressively finer stones. Normally one starts with the 1,000-grit stone (orange), and then works up through the 2,000 (green), the 5,000 (burgundy) and then gives the blade a final honing with the 12,000-grit (cream) stone.
It is a good idea to sharpen as little as possible on each individual stone: this will reduce the degree to which a hollow is worn in the surface, and so increase the sharpness of the edge that it is possible to obtain. This is only possible when one has enough different stones to work with. If one uses too few, then one must work longer on each stone, and the stones are hollowed out more quickly.
To obtain the finest edge it is also important to clean the slurry of water and grit produced in sharpening off of the tool, one’s hands, and the work surface and even from under fingernails. This is to reduce the chance that larger grits from one stone get transferred to the surface of the finer-grit stones.
The sharpening stone must be absolutely flat to produce an optimal edge. To flatten a hollowed stone, soak for 5-10 minutes then rub against a truing stone (diamond sharpening stone or wet and dry abrasive paper applied to a sheet of glass or granite) in a slightly coarser grit. Always be careful to thoroughly wash the stones with water after flattening to remove loose grit.