Naniwa Gouken Test

Gouken Stone Set 1

Gouken 4k Hayabusa and 8k Fuji 

Honing & Shave Test Review 

I do not use a microscope to compare stones or edges; I rely on what I know from my experience honing – and shaving with the results of my efforts. Personally – I could care less how the bevel looks under high magnification. Ugly bevels can shave wonderfully; perfectly mirrored bevels can shave like crap.

I do not use the HHT to test edges. What matters most is how the edge shaves and the shave test is the only one I rely on. 

I honed up a ½ hollow Sheffield with the following progression:

Chosera 1k, Chosera 3k, Gouken Hayabusa 4k. 

The resulting shave from this process was acceptable; it was not great or fantastic but it was relatively comfortable and the shave was presentable. However – it was not very close or long lasting and there was tugging during the ATG pass. I experienced a slight bit of AS burn afterwards; not a lot, but enough to notice it. 

The finished edge off the 4k Hayabusa was comparable to what I’ve experienced from most ‘8k’ edges in the past.   

Following the 4k test - I completed an edge on a full hollow Solingen using the following progression: Chosera 1k, Chosera 3k, Hayabusa 4k and Fuji 8k. 

The finished edge was simply outstanding; it really doesn’t require further refinement. Taking the edge up a notch or two is possible, but it would not be necessary to do so. The shave was brilliantly smooth and the edge was very keen. The ATG pass was hesitation free and very smooth. The shave felt as smooth as one done on a natural stone. 

In whisker-related terms; after 15 hr, the shave from this test was still what I consider to be DFS and stubble was starting to be felt. 

I’ve honed 7-8 razors with the new Gouken stones at the end of the progression. While I have shaved with just two edges from these stones, the results from all of my testing and comparing tells me that this result will not be a unique circumstance. Basically – every time I honed on these two stones - the feedback indicators that I rely on to judge edge refinement were consistent and identical.  

Conclusion – compared to other synthetic stones, these new Naniwa hones are in another league. In the past - I have never been able to shave well with any ‘8k’ edge. Until now, the Snow White 8k came closest to being a real final-finisher. However - the Gouken Fuji 8k really delivers what I consider to be a well-finished edge that compares favorably with any effort on any stone. 

My opinion – The new Naniwa 4k Hayabusa and 8k Fuji are excellent water stones with ‘grit’ ratings that do not convey their true potential. They are the best hones in this ‘class’ that I’ve used. That list includes the full line of Naniwa Chosera and Super Stones, the Norton 4/8k Combo and the Nubatama 4k, 6k Ume and 10k Bamboo stones.


© Keith V Johnson 2014 - 2015