Speed: 6 out of 10 / Feedback: 7 out of 10 / Wear: 8 out of 10
Overall Performance: 7 out of 10
Quick Summary: Gives a nice mirror finish — an incredible value for a polishing whetstone. A solid performer, even when compared to more expensive whetstones. A very reliable polishing whetstone.
Speed: 6 out of 10 – Speed is not a factor for polishing whetstones. I have to give it a score relative to other polishing whetstones I have used; it is not a criterion I judge on polishing whetstones.
Feedback: 7 out of 10 – The Kitayama 8K has good feedback. As you go up the grit rating, whetstones can start to feel mushy – this is not the case with the Kitayama.
Wear: 8 out of 10 – Polishing whetstones will generally outlast sharpening whetstones. They wear slower because you do not have to apply as much pressure when using them. I have been using the same one for nearly five years, and when compared to a brand new sample, they look identical in size.
Overall Performance: 7 out of 10 – I want to score this whetstone higher.
Conclusion: The Shapton Glass 8k was my go-to whetstone before I had a chance to test the Kitayama 8K. The two offer the same level of finish, with the Shapton beating out the Kitayama in one area – feedback. The Shapton Glass whetstones are dense, and experienced sharpeners favor that aspect. But when factoring in price, thickness, and overall performance, the Kitayama 8K is the better buy.