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View Bob Downing's profile

Which sharpening stones should I get?

by Bob Downing
posted 02-22-2012 02:55 AM


22 replies so far

View Mark Shymanski's profile

Mark Shymanski

5113 posts in 2370 days


#1 posted 02-22-2012 03:06 AM

I’d say try the water stones. I’ve used sand paper, oilstones and water stones. They all seem to work equally well. The only one I did’t like was the oilstones; mainly because I felt I never quite got the oil off of my hands before I went back to the wood.

-- "Checking for square? What madness is this! The cabinet is square because I will it to be so!" Jeremy Greiner LJ Topic#20953 2011 Feb 2

View Don W's profile

Don W

15045 posts in 1225 days


#2 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

View Loren's profile

Loren

7571 posts in 2306 days


#3 posted 02-22-2012 03:31 AM

All you need is a coarse friable grinding wheel, a 1200 stone and
a 6000 stone. The difference between 6000 and 8000 grit is
not big in terms of sharpness. Both stones will polish blades
to a very, very sharp edge.

4000 is a polishing stone. You can go straight from a 1000 or
1200 to 6000 or 8000.

The Nortons are nice because they are bigger than the Japanese
stones. That’s their main advantage.

You can get a 2 King stones in 1200 and 6000 for about $60 for
the pair. Then a white friable wheel for about $20 more and
you’re good to go. For good measure you can get a buffing
wheel for the other end of your grinder (no fancy slow-speed
grinder needed) and a stick of jeweler’s rouge for carving tools
and for polishing carving tools.

If you own the grinder already this stuff will set you back about $120.

Oh. Get a Nagura stone too.

-- http://lawoodworking.com

View rum's profile

rum

148 posts in 1244 days


#4 posted 02-22-2012 03:35 AM

I would recommend a set of Sigma Select II stones over the Norton’s. I have one of the two sided Norton and its “ok”, but the Sigma’s are faaaaaasssssttt in comparison.. Especially in comparison on harder steel like A2. They’re sold by http://www.toolsfromjapan.com and http://leevalley.com , I’ve heard some folks say the ones from Tools From Japan are slightly better, but am very happy with the lee valley ones.

I also have a set of “halls” Arkansa stones from knifemerchant.com (which had by far the best prices I’ve seen). These stay on the bench where I don’t want water.

If you do get a set of water stones (whichever ones) do also get:

- stone holders, totally worth it

- a bottle of “HoneRite Gold” also known as “No-Rust Water Additive”. Amazing stuff, keeps the rust off

- a truing stone. Don’t have to get fancy the $30 ones seem to work about as well to me (although pickier people will certainly disagree)

View yrob's profile

yrob

340 posts in 2310 days


#5 posted 02-22-2012 03:36 AM

I use japanese waterstones, 1000, 4000 and 8000. I flatten them pretty quickly with a DMT dia-flat lapping plate. I draw wavy lines on the stone with a pencil then use the diamond plate to remove the marks. Takes just a few strokes.
I prefer waterstones to oil stones because its way less messy. They cut relatively fast and produce a very keen edge.

-- Yves

View Bob Downing's profile

Bob Downing

43 posts in 1484 days


#6 posted 02-22-2012 03:41 AM

Loren, I’ve never heard of a friable grinding wheel. What is it and where can I get it?

-- BobD Chandler, AZ

View KenBry's profile

KenBry

449 posts in 1105 days


#7 posted 02-22-2012 03:54 AM

Bob, I have a king 800, norton, 1000/8000. I got them at woodcraft out there in chandler. I also recommend the stone holder and the veritas guide.

-- Ken, USAF MSgt, Ret.

View Loren's profile

Loren

7571 posts in 2306 days


#8 posted 02-22-2012 03:56 AM

Norton makes them.

http://www.amazon.com/Norton-Pedestal-Abrasive-Straight-Thickness/dp/B001DSZ35K/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1329882807&sr=8-1

Lee Valley sells them too. The wheels have some bad reviews on
Amazon, but my Norton wheel is not a problem.

Apparently some buyers have had wheels that vibrate, so
by from a retailer that will send you a new one without yanking
your chain if you get a bad one.

-- http://lawoodworking.com

View Loren's profile

Loren

7571 posts in 2306 days


#9 posted 02-22-2012 04:00 AM

After fussing around with sharpening systems for a few years
I adopted Ian Kirby’s grinder and waterstone method. I built
the simple tool rest he describes for my grinder. He did
write a book about sharpening, but I learned all I needed
to know from FWW article from some old issue.

-- http://lawoodworking.com

View Don W's profile

Don W

15045 posts in 1225 days


#10 posted 02-22-2012 04:02 AM

I agree with the aluminum oxide wheel. I do a lot of restores on badly neglected planes and they are invaluable when you need to cut back a major flaw. I also like the hollow grind for the first few times on the stone (what ever type you choose). Once the angle is correct, i usually don’t go back to the grinder though.

For a jig, I just bought a cheap eclipse type. I can’t recall the brand, but it was $13 +/-. It Works well. I’ve been doing more and more free hand, especially on the thicker blades.

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

View yrob's profile

yrob

340 posts in 2310 days


#11 posted 02-22-2012 05:00 AM

Lie-Nielsen also has a brochure on their website on sharpening. Very nice, one page and summarizes what to do when using stones. Its hung on the wall of my shop.

-- Yves

View Danpaddles's profile

Danpaddles

537 posts in 970 days


#12 posted 02-22-2012 05:13 AM

View Don W's profile

Don W

15045 posts in 1225 days


#13 posted 02-22-2012 12:59 PM

Well Bob, about the only thing not said was stick with sand paper. Deciding on a stone type is like deciding on the color of a dress shirt.
1. who likes wearing dress shirts
2. each store has a different brand, color and fabric
3. cost doesn’t always equate
4. and again, who likes wearing dress shirts

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

View rustynails's profile

rustynails

463 posts in 1187 days


#14 posted 02-22-2012 01:52 PM

Anyone using ceramics stones? I have heard good things about them, much like the DMT diamond stones.

View RGtools's profile

RGtools

3302 posts in 1312 days


#15 posted 02-22-2012 02:03 PM

There are more opinions about this subject than just about anything else.

If you are interested in my take on possible sharpening methods take a look. http://lumberjocks.com/RGtools/blog/25281

In brief…pick a system that you like that gets you to a razor sharp edge…they all work, you just need to find the one that works for you.

-- Make furniture that lasts as long as the tree - Ryan

View Bob Downing's profile

Bob Downing

43 posts in 1484 days


#16 posted 02-22-2012 08:38 PM

Thanks Ryan. I checked out your blog. Good info. Guess I just have to pull the trigger on one system and see how it works for me. I want to start sharpening freehand so I may end up with the waterstones and strop. By the way, I’ve been following your Occasional Table class because I’m moving away from power tools completely. Good job and thanks.

-- BobD Chandler, AZ

View handyrandyrc's profile

handyrandyrc

33 posts in 962 days


#17 posted 02-23-2012 12:59 AM

I use the Spyderco ceramic stones—the regular and fine stones. They are fantastic.

View Sirgreggins's profile

Sirgreggins

292 posts in 893 days


#18 posted 07-16-2012 04:13 PM

i currently have waterstone and just saw a dia-sharp extra fine stone on sale for ~$25. What grit is the equivalent to? Does the extra fine stone replace a 6000 or 8000 grit stone? thanks

View Don W's profile

Don W

15045 posts in 1225 days


#19 posted 07-16-2012 04:40 PM

Extra-Extra Coarse
Extreme repair of a very damaged edge (120 mesh, 120 micron)

Extra Coarse
Fix and restore a damaged edge (220 mesh, 60 mircron)

Coarse
Quickly sharpen a neglected edge (325 mesh, 45 micron)

Fine
Put a keen edge on a maintained tool (600 mesh, 25 micron)

Extra Fine
Sharpen to a razor edge (1200 mesh, 9 micron)

Ceramic
Start a polished and refined edge (2200 mesh, 7 micron)

Extra-Extra Fine
Extra fine polish to an extreme edge (8000 mesh, 3 micron)

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

View Emma Walker's profile

Emma Walker

560 posts in 768 days


#20 posted 01-27-2013 01:53 PM

sorry wrong thread, deleting

-- I'm a twisted 2x4 in a pile of straight lumber.

View Don W's profile

Don W

15045 posts in 1225 days


#21 posted 01-27-2013 02:01 PM

Emma, for $30, you didn’t do great, but you didn’t do bad either. The 102 is one of the nicest little apron blocks around.

The craftsman #6 can be whipped up into a nice user as well.

As for the handyman, well…..it can be made to work. The last one I bought I paid $2 for. I’ve restored several and decided the next time a vendor offers me one for $2, I’m going to pay him the $2 and ask him ti give it to the next guy that shows interest.

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

View Emma Walker's profile

Emma Walker

560 posts in 768 days


#22 posted 01-27-2013 05:11 PM

I wonder if you could go to a company that makes head stones and pick up some of there flat scrap granite and and use them as sharpening stones?

-- I'm a twisted 2x4 in a pile of straight lumber.

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