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 Post subject: New slate and shell stones
Post #1 Posted: Wed Oct 11, 2017 7:07 am 
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I'm ordering some new slate and shell stones from Aoyama Gobanten. I know this store isn't as popular here on these forums as Kuroki, but I found the prices to be much more in my range, and I don't think I can justify the expense of stones in the size I like from Kuroki, even the blue label ones. I decided on some size 36 jitsuyo stones, and some light color Kuri bowls. I'm hoping the stones look pretty similar to the ones in the picture on this page - https://senseis.xmp.net/?Jitsuyo - if so I'll be very happy with the grade I've selected. I currently play with glass stones that are either 10 or 11 mm, I'm not sure which. I've also played with ING stones before. I don't really like stones to be much smaller than that. My hands are pretty big.

What do I have to do with the stones before using them? I've heard that the slate ones come with excess mineral oil that needs to be removed. Should I wash that off completely, or should I just wipe them down several times with a clean cloth? I'm a little confused about the slate ones in particular - there is often reference made to them being oiled, but it seems like that would damage both the goban (mine is a 2" Hiba) and any of the shell stones that come in contact with them. Also seems like a lot of oil would end up in the bowl too, which would not be great if any other stones got put in there later. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!

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Post #2 Posted: Wed Oct 11, 2017 10:16 am 
Judan
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Hi mvk,

Congrats.

The oil is a personal preference:
some people like the oil feeling,
while others like me don't.

I wash all the oiled slate stones to remove any trace of oil before first use.


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Post #3 Posted: Wed Oct 11, 2017 1:24 pm 
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EdLee wrote:
I wash all the oiled slate stones to remove any trace of oil before first use.

And dry them with a clean cloth.


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 Post subject: Re: New slate and shell stones
Post #4 Posted: Wed Oct 11, 2017 4:46 pm 
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Congrats on purchasing your new stones!

Personally I feel like 36 is a bit heavy for me, specially if you will be using it very often to study or replay professional games. I own a size 32 (feels too light) a size 33 and have played a few games with my friend's size 36. I like the feel of 33 the most, 33 feels a little smaller than ING stones ( I imagine ING stones are probably around size 34 ?)


Returning to your question,

This is a quote from kgt website
Quote:
Oil is applied on the surface of slate stones to prevent them from drying out. Please remove the oil before use.


For your reference, http://www.kurokigoishi.co.jp/english/m ... w-to-care/

What I usually do is just wipe them with a cloth, it takes about 20 mins to clean them. For shell stones I like to wash them with soap in cold water before using, don't know if that's necessary tho.



Enjoy your new stones! :white: :black:


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Post #5 Posted: Wed Oct 11, 2017 5:11 pm 
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Quote:
And dry them with a clean cloth.
No, I like them dripping wet so everything is sloshy. :batman:

My standard routine: dry with 100% soft cotton towel, blow dry on low. :mrgreen:
Quote:
I imagine ING stones are probably around size 34 ?
Possibly, but I haven't yet measured with a caliper.

mvk20, if you have the opportunity some day, test-drive size 38 ( 10.7 mm ). :)


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 Post subject: Re: New slate and shell stones
Post #6 Posted: Wed Oct 11, 2017 10:02 pm 
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Thanks for the advice. I think I’ll go ahead and wash both sets. Hopefully the slate ones will be good without reapplying any oil - that would be much simpler, and I wouldn’t have to worry about getting the oil on anything else.

I think the size should be good - ING stones are listed at 10mm and size 36 is 10.1, so they should be in the same neighborhood. The stones I use most (and really like the size and feel of) were listed as 10mm when I bought them. But they came in this box: https://skpaduk.m.ec21.com/mobile/produ ... Id=1247788. Those are listed as 11.7mm. I don’t have calipers to check them out. They do seem slightly bigger than the INGs. So, I’m thinking the 36s shouldn’t be too big for me. As for 38s, possible that I would like those too. But I thought the 36s were a safer bet.

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Post #7 Posted: Thu Oct 12, 2017 12:09 am 
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mvk20 wrote:
I think I’ll go ahead and wash both sets.
Hi mvk20,

I don't know about your set, but Kuroki's shell stones came with a very nice coating of thin wax.
Both for protection (and great non-slip feeling) and for a nice shiny look.
The wax will naturally wear off over time (Kuroki had/has repair service for shell stones where they wax them again).
So for Kuroki shell stones, it would be a mistake to wash off the thin wax coating --
the shell stones are ready for use, straight out of the box.
(I washed the slate stones only if they felt oily on shipment.)


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 Post subject: Re: New slate and shell stones
Post #8 Posted: Thu Oct 19, 2017 11:59 am 
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Please post a few photos and your impressions when u get the equipment. And how pleased are you with your Hiba board? I only have a bamboo board and Korean glass stones. Which are not bad looking and usable. But it does sound sharp when u play them. I have looked and thought about a better set.... ( I am sure I am not alone in the GO world who does that)

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Post #9 Posted: Fri Oct 20, 2017 5:28 am 
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Best how-to about cleaning: https://erythen.wordpress.com/2015/09/23/how-to-clean-slate-and-shell-go-stones/.
See also this thread: https://lifein19x19.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=19&t=12286.


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 Post subject: Re: New slate and shell stones
Post #10 Posted: Fri Oct 20, 2017 8:11 am 
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Sybob - thanks for the links. I've seen those before, but they are indeed super helpful.

GoTony - So I got them yesterday, and overall I am very pleased. No time for pics, but I'll try to do that another day. All I had time to do was wipe each stone with a clean cotton towel and put them in the new bowls. The chestnut bowls are beautiful - way better than I thought for one of the cheapest wooden bowls on offer. On the Aoyama site they're not the darkest color nor the lightest. I don't like the light color because I prefer for the bowls to contrast with the goban. I don't like the dark color because I don't like how the grain comes out light against it. Personal preference to be sure. This color looks really good to me, and the bowls are really, really nice. The slate stones seemed to have no oil on them at all, but maybe I'm wrong. they felt completely dry to me. The size 36 is great - ever so slightly smaller than my favorite glass set that I think I mentioned above. The slate is slightly less black than the matte glass, but still a super dark grey that you'd probably call black unless you see the stones side by side. The shell stones are really, really cool. The vast majority of them have 6-12 pretty straight lines of grain running across. There are a few that only seem to have one to three lines on them, but I suspect that if I looked under a brighter light they have more, just faint. I was purposely not under a very bright light, because I wouldn't play that way anyway. The stones are very uniform in shape, although they do seem to have a little bit of a round dimple on one side (hard to explain) - I wonder if that has something to do with how they are made/formed. It's pretty subtle, I'm guessing many people wouldn't even notice. They are quite bright white, again, you'd say white until you put it next to the white glass and then they look a bit creamy in comparison. The shape is slightly less "severe" than the glass stones I have - those come to a bit more of a point around the edge, if you get what I mean. But they are super similar to the glass ones in size and shape, which is good - I love those glass stones. I don't know if the shell ones are waxed. They are very shiny, so I suspect they are, but not sure. My plan is to play with them with clean hands, and at some point when I have time (when is that ever?) I'll wash and wax. Seems like a good coat of wax would be the best way to protect, along with clean hands. One stone had a small chip in it, maybe the size of a pinhead? Not too bad. When I asked the dealer, he said I'd get 181 slate and 180 shell, and they don't sell extras. I didn't count the shell stones, but I did count the slate as I put them in the bowl. I counted 183, which either means I got a couple of extras, or I miscounted by two. I'll check that again when I have more time. Hopefully I have a couple of extra shell too, then the chipped one can get relegated. In either case, I may purchase a set of extras, blue label from Kuroki. Then I'd have some extras, plus I'd get to compare the two sets from two different vendors.

As for my hiba goban, I love it. It's Japanese, 2 inches thick, bought from Samarkand many years ago. I think they said if was from a goban maker in Osaka. I can't remember off the top of my head, but I think it's about 6 pieces, but it's joined well enough that I think you'd actually guess that there is a seam where there is not one, it's just the grain. Over time, probably 3 or 4 years after I bought it, one of the pieces expanded ever so slightly. It's not noticeable by sight on the playing surface, and it is barely noticeable if you run your finger over that seam. Where you do notice it is if you look at the side - that piece is now about .3 mm longer than the others, and sticks out a tiny, tiny bit. I love the yellowish color (again, love the contrast between white and black, board and bowls) and the grain is noticeable but not distracting. Subtle but prominent at the same time.

In fact, I love the hiba board so much I think I'm going to buy another one at some point. That way I'll have two great boards for my two favorite sets of stones, and who knows, maybe I'll get one I like even more than the first, and won't have that small expansion issue over time. Obviously I'd probably go kaya if I could, but that might be overkill for jitsuyo stones, and the few hundred extra dollars probably isn't going to happen. The hiba plus shipping will be expensive enough as it is. Not sure if I should get it from Aoyama or Kuroki. Wonder if the names of the vendors is the clue I'm looking for - Aoyama GOBANten/Kuroki GOISHIten. Hmmm.

I will say this regarding the board and stones - if I had to choose, I would take my hiba board and glass stones over my slate and shell stones with a much cheaper goban. The glass ones look and feel really nice - they are a nice set of glass and I know many are not. But that set and goban looks and feels really good. The slate and shell are an upgrade to be sure - but an expensive one even with this "budget" set, and it's not as big of an upgrade in my opinion as it would be to move up to a 2 inch board made of hiba, or maybe shin kaya. I've never seen a shin kaya board "in the flesh", so I cannot compare that with hiba. But from pictures I have seen, I think the hiba is more yellowish and shin kaya is more tannish in color, and I prefer the yellow. It's more expensive, so maybe I'm not alone in this preference?

If you've made it this far, thank you for reading my book. :study: :lol:


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 Post subject: Re: New slate and shell stones
Post #11 Posted: Mon Oct 23, 2017 11:04 am 
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Well the novel was interesting. ; )

You make the Hiba board sound lovely indeed. I have leaned to Kaya, since the board cost is not so different for a table top. But I have been tempted by Hiba also. It is the stone and bowl cost that gets outrageous. If u buy a nice new board you need nice stones to complement it. And that is what has held me back. Also if I have a nice board I would like to play others on it. But usually we meet and play somewhere else.

I looked at the Korean Agathis boards, but I do not care for the painted surface. I like the natural wood look and to see some grain.

Your glass stones sound like a better quality than my Korean ones. Did u use Japanese Glass stones? Do u think they are superior to the Korean?

I look forward to your posting of photos. Sometimes a picture is worth more than a description.

Best wishes and hope you enjoy playing on the board for years to come!

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 Post subject: Re: New slate and shell stones
Post #12 Posted: Mon Oct 23, 2017 11:52 am 
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Where have you seen Kaya and Hiba for close to the same price? Where I have looked, it's usually almost double, and Shin Kaya is even cheaper than Hiba and is probably a very nice option as well. I too do not personally care for agathis. I'd love to get a Kaya board, but I just can't see myself plunking down that kind of money. At least not anytime soon. International shipping is a killer on gobans. Where do you live? What can you get domestically? I couldn't really find anything I really wanted available in the US, so shipping from Japan it was, and probably will be if I get another goban.

I wouldn't worry about matching "levels" of stones to bowls to boards the way some people talk about. My approach has been and would be to take the current set I have, and upgrade the part I like the least. I got my stones (I'm pretty certain they are Shinkwang Gisung) as an upgrade from 6mm Korean glass stones. Those are my travel stones now. My stones are definitely Korean, and I can't see how the Japanese ones could be any nicer, really. I've heard they are, but I've also heard others say they really aren't any different. How thick are your glass stones? There was a world of difference from my 6mm to my current ones, which say they're 11.7. But the 6mm is nice for travel - much, much lighter.

Not sure when I'll have time for decent set of photos, but I won't forget.

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Post #13 Posted: Mon Oct 23, 2017 12:03 pm 
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Oh, and I did get a chance to count on the slate and shell - 182 slate, 181 shell. So the chipped one is an extra. Still might get a set of the extras from Kuroki though.

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Post #14 Posted: Fri Nov 03, 2017 10:49 am 
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mvk20 wrote:
Where have you seen Kaya and Hiba for close to the same price? Where I have looked, it's usually almost double, and Shin Kaya is even cheaper than Hiba and is probably a very nice option as well. I too do not personally care for agathis. I'd love to get a Kaya board, but I just can't see myself plunking down that kind of money. At least not anytime soon. International shipping is a killer on gobans. Where do you live? What can you get domestically? I couldn't really find anything I really wanted available in the US, so shipping from Japan it was, and probably will be if I get another goban.

I wouldn't worry about matching "levels" of stones to bowls to boards the way some people talk about. My approach has been and would be to take the current set I have, and upgrade the part I like the least. I got my stones (I'm pretty certain they are Shinkwang Gisung) as an upgrade from 6mm Korean glass stones. Those are my travel stones now. My stones are definitely Korean, and I can't see how the Japanese ones could be any nicer, really. I've heard they are, but I've also heard others say they really aren't any different. How thick are your glass stones? There was a world of difference from my 6mm to my current ones, which say they're 11.7. But the 6mm is nice for travel - much, much lighter.

Not sure when I'll have time for decent set of photos, but I won't forget.



I have looked at some of the cheaper kaya or discounted Kaya on Kurokogeshi (sp?) they are not cheap. But it seems the real cost when getting the board is the stones and bowls to go with it. Once a person is paying around $ 200 minimum for a board what is another $100 or even 200? Yahoo Japanese auctions looks tempting.

I have a very used thin set of slate and shell. And 9-10mm glass Korean stones. I also have a set of Yunzi in the cupboard. I like them but not sure about the lead issue. I have not plunked the extra money for the Japanese Glass stones. There is a Hiba board used on ebay that is tempting.....

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Post #15 Posted: Fri Nov 10, 2017 8:25 pm 
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I have a 30 year old Hiba table board I bought new and it is great. Still looks like new and love the yellow color and hardness- not super hard like bamboo.

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