Why should I buy a synthetic whetstone instead of a natural one? Aren’t natural whetstones better?
Synthetic whetstones are much more cost effective than natural stones. For most of us, buying a whetstone that gives the most consistent results is desired. Because the manufacturing process and exact amount of abrasives and bonding agents are controlled, we can expect the same stones from different batches to perform the same. On the other hand, natural whetstones can vary greatly, even when mined from the same zone of a particular quarry. Also, because the additional human labor involved and their limited supply, Japanese naturals are often deem cost prohibitive for many sharpening enthusiasts.