After looking at various dealers, suppliers and listening to the "wet shaver's round table" earlier tonight, I decided to rule out "jnats" which is short for Japanese natural water stones. The first problem you will encounter with a jnat up front is costs. So far the most expensive stone that I've seen was $300 U.S. Dollars and tonight's guest said that they've been known to go much higher than that which blows my mind and automatically rules me out immediately on 70% of what's out there. Another huge problem that I've encountered is shipping issues. If the stones are here in the Continental United States, there's really not any problems getting it. But if these stones have to be ordered and shipped directly from Japan, then I have to deal with international shipping and U.S. Customs which has NEVER been easy on a good day which I experienced first hand in my trucking career. The costs with the Chinese water stones or Cnats hasn't been bad but the shipping card gets pulled once again. So since I'm getting great results with the Norton 4/8K combo stone, I figured why not stick to synthetic stones and deal with suppliers located here in the states. Maybe some day, I'll be able to buy a natural water stone but it's definitely not going to be in 2015. Another thing that made this decision a bit easier is that it's too soon for me to be looking at Japanese Natural Water stones. I'm just now getting started in honing and I haven't even went past 8K yet so it would be a bad idea for me to get one at this time. I've not been honing long enough yet. Even though I'm confident that I can hone a razor from start to finish, it's just too early for me and I need to hone for a while before getting a Japanese natural water stone:
So the highest I'll be going will be the Naniwa 12K and there's no telling when I'll be able to get that stone. Next month my wet shaving gear will be slowing way down as I start buying liquid propane for the up coming colder months.