OK, so...I've had a chance to play around with the new stones a little bit, so I thought I would share my impressions, in case anyone was thinking about them as an option.
For starters, these stones are very reasonably priced. The 1k is about $65 or thereabouts, depending on the exchange when you purchase. The Red Aoto 4k is about $85. That sounds pricey, but both stones are 3" wide and 8" long or bigger. The 1k is a full inch thick and the Aoto is 2".
Comparatively, the 1k is MUCH harder than my Naniwa SS 1k and has much better feel, as well. The Naniwa feels crumbly under my edge, where this stone feels much harder. Very reasonable speed, as well. Visible swarf in no time at all, even without any pressure.
The Aoto is like nothing I've used. It's very soft, and slurries really quick. It makes very short work of the 1k scratches. Literally, 30-50 strokes, and the edges were ready for the next step.
I used my Naniwa SS 10k as a pre-polisher. The transition from the Aoto to the 10k was very easy, and the Naniwa 10k made short work of the Aoto scratches.
Finishing up on Shoubudani 100 with tomo nagura through 3 diluted slurries, then with ILR slurry. Finished with clear water.
I've done 4 edges from bevel to finish off these stones. I've test shaved 2. The Wostenholm 6/8 hollow took the best edge it's ever had. I still think there is room for improvement on this razor, but it is currently shaving better than it has in the past. The Geneva Cutlery 11/16 full hollow also
took it's best edge since I've had it. The shave from the Geneva tonight is right up there with the best shaves I've ever had. Extremely close and comfortable.
All in all, I am very happy to have these 2 stones. Both cut very quickly, and the scratches are shallow enough that I think I could even skip the 10k and go straight to the Shoubudani. If I had a true progressive nagura set, I think it would be fairly easy...
1k on the left 4k on the right
I lapped the opposite side on both stones. I did not want to lose the stamps by honing them away, so I just lapped the other sides. Being synthetic stones it was pretty easy.
I will provide a woprd of caution: The Red Aoto is extremely soft. I have already put a couple of very small chips in it, just by tapping it lightly with the ILR slurry stone when putting them away. I strongly recommend sealing this one with shellac...