Mikawa Koma Nagura


Mikawa Shiro Koma Nagura 

Traditionally used in sword polishing, Koma Nagura-Do is employed to remove the scratch pattern left by Chu Nagura-Do. For this purpose, it has a place in every Togishi's Tennen Toishi arsenal. However, wodworkers, barbers, and other trades-people have also found it useful for fine-tuning sharp edges.  

Like other Mikawa Nagura, each Koma can have its own unique personality. Some seem to create slurry that starts off coarser, yet winds up finer at the end of the session. There are white, striped, and mottled Koma, and along with the traditional orangey stripes/spots - some examples show grey/blue/black stripes and spots. Sometimes Koma slurry is grainy-feeling, other times it’ll have a pasty consistency. 

I've read that the 'best' Koma are all white. I've not experienced that to be 100% accurate. I've also read that Koma isn't necessary for honing razors - and I think that POV is somewhat limited in breadth and scope.

Many people claim that Koma is rare and difficult to locate - and that is definitely a fact. To take it a step further, the old Koma, stones that were long ago has proven to be quite scarce indeed. 

 All stones are very old - when I say 'older' Koma, I'm referring to stone that was mined before the middle of the 1900s. The Nagura mined long ago are different, but I won't say 'better'. Mostly - that's because 'better' is a subjective term that would need volumes of qualification to justify my saying so.  

Mikawa Nagura have been used for sharpening and polishing purposes for a long time; I've not been able to target exactly when these stones were first used, but it was way before Iwasaki petitioned for the Asano-stamp grading system. 

Generally speaking, Koma is fast and fine. In most Nagura progressions, I position Koma after Mejiro and before Tomo Nagura. Sometimes I'll initiate a touch-up with Koma, other times I'll start at Mejiro and progress through Koma and finish with Tomo Nagura slurry. 

The need, or shall I say ‘want’ of Koma, or - “Is Koma necessary?”.

While many have said that it is a non-essential step - I believe that the user can only answer that question after they work with it for a while.

Click here if you have any questons or comments. 

© Keith V Johnson 2014 - 2018