King brand synthetic Japanese waterstones are made up of abrasive particles bound into a friable clay matrix. The clay slowly wears down, forming a thin liquid slip on the surface that is full of free abrasive particles and continuously revealing new sharp grit beneath. You should aim to maintain a thin layer of slip at about the same consistency as single cream. The Japanese water stones propensity for wear can be exploited to produce a microscopic concavity in the back of a blade, thus ensuring that when you move on to a freshly flattened polishing stone, the critical area adjacent to the cutting edge makes contact with the polishing stone.
Japanese waterstones should be soaked for a couple of minutes before use to fill the stone with water, you can get away with just spritzing the surface of the finer polishing stones as they are less absorbent than the coarser grades. Polishing stones 6000 grit and upwards should be prepared by rubbing them with a nagura stone to raise an abrasive slurry on the surface. If the surface becomes blackened and stops cutting, a few strokes with the nagura will very quickly clean and rejuvenate the surface. The stones should be dressed periodically by rubbing them in a circular motion on a flat abrasive surface.
All of the stones in this section are wide enough to take a 2-3/8" plane iron, all except the 10,000 grit have two working faces for maximum versatility.
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