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Reply by Don W

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Posted on Which sharpening stones should I get?

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Don W

15519 posts in 1312 days


#1 posted 02-22-2012 03:26 AM

I started with water stones. My major complaints with them were two fold. First, my shop isn’t heated, so that was a hassle. Second, they needed flattening a lot. I hated the mess. I never really went the sand paper route, but I’m sure they are better than that.

I then managed to pick up some oil stones in a lot of other tools I bought. I essentially got them for next to nothing. What I liked over the water stones was I didn’t need to use water, so I didn’t have the freezing issue or the mess. I used a diesel fuel / mineral oil mix which meant I didn’t worry about rusting my tools. The point I didn’t like was I never knew what grit I was using, (used vintage stones) but they worked well and I still use them. The oil is still messy, but not as near as bad as the water.

I recently caught a buy-it-now on ebay for 4 dia-sharp DMT diamond stones for a really reasonable price. I bought them on a whim. I like them so far. I’ve only sharpened about 5 or 6 planes on them, but they work well. What I like about them is I have a nice uniform set. A course, medium, fine and ultra fine. They do slide around on the bench a lot more than the oil stones, so I’ll need to get them in a base of some sort.

So for a suggestion. If your a flea market, antique shop, trying to find the second hand stuff, go for the oil stones. You can get them pretty cheap, they work really well, and in a reasonable amount of time you can have a set. By a set, I mean a course, medium and fine stone. I’ve got 6 or 8 I’ve picked up over the course of time, some I like, some not so much, but I don’t have $50 in all of them.

If your going new, its a tough call. I would love to have a set of new oil stones. I think in reality for new, diamonds may be a woodwrokers best friend. They never need flattening, you can use glass cleaner, water and murphys oil soap, and a host of other lubricants (I understand you shouldn’t use diesel fuel or similar substrates) and they are suppose to last a very long time.

Its an interesting question. I’m cheap, so I’m glad I found what I did.

-- Master hand plane hoarder. - http://timetestedtools.com


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