How to clean up old arkansas sharpening stones?

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Forum topic by bobbycakes posted 07-16-2015 10:07 PM 896 views 0 times favorited 9 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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5 posts in 474 days

07-16-2015 10:07 PM

I have some new Japanese water stones that I use for sharpening plane irons and chisels but I also have some old arkansas stones. But over the years these stones have gotten all clogged with gunk after being used. What is the best way to restore this type of stone or is it not really worth the effort?

9 replies so far

View bondogaposis's profile


3972 posts in 1774 days

#1 posted 07-16-2015 10:48 PM

Let them soak in mineral spirits.

-- Bondo Gaposis

View David Taylor's profile

David Taylor

326 posts in 510 days

#2 posted 07-16-2015 10:57 PM

I had some super old really gunked up stones. I brought them up to the kitchen sink used some Dawn and a Scotch Brite pad and got them looking like new again. Need to flatten one as it’s a bit dished but it’s clean as a whistle.

-- Learn Relentlessly

View bigblockyeti's profile


3582 posts in 1144 days

#3 posted 07-16-2015 10:59 PM

Simple green and some type of scotch brite type pad has worked well for me.

View upchuck's profile


540 posts in 1088 days

#4 posted 07-16-2015 10:59 PM

It is worth the effort. Try mineral spirits. If that doesn’t work I’ve had luck putting a few rags in the bottom of a pan (or can) and boiling them for a while. The rags keep the stones from bouncing off the bottom of the pan and chipping as they boil. Pour off the funky water and refresh with clean water every once in a while. I like to let the stones cool some when adding fresh water to avoid temperature shock. I’ve heard of people who’ve run stones through a dishwasher cycle but the same people caught hell from their partners for leaving an oily film on the inside of the dishwasher.

View HillbillyShooter's profile


5811 posts in 1715 days

#5 posted 07-17-2015 04:16 PM

Yes, I agree it is worth it for several reasons. First, I don’t think the current stones are as good as the ones from several years back—simply a matter of using up a finite supply in nature; and, second, there is something nostalgic about the old Arkansas stone if you’re like me and started with them before water stones became the fad and before diamond stones even existed. My solution was not the most economical and took several years before I finally pulled the trigger, but I purchased a DMT Dia-Flat Lapping Plate (c.f., ) and have not regretted it one little bit. The DMT Lapping Plate renewed the dished out and clogged Arkansas stones that I’ve had since the early 1970s without much effort and I use it to keep my water stones true after each use—it’s amazing how much water stones dish out with even a single use.

-- John C. -- "Firearms are second only to the Constitution in importance; they are the peoples' liberty's teeth." George Washington

View mahdee's profile


3465 posts in 1190 days

#6 posted 07-17-2015 05:49 PM

I have had a Arkansas white for over 15 years now. I use cheap carburetor cleaner for an instant cleanup. Spray on and wipe before it evaporates. In between, after each use, if you wipe it with sawdust, you may have to clean it once a year or so.


View rwe2156's profile


2126 posts in 904 days

#7 posted 07-17-2015 11:18 PM

If they are old I would check them for flatness before investing any time in them.
I got ahold of some of my Dad’s old stones and they were dished so bad I couldn’t use them.
I don’t know what the heck he was using them for I guess knife sharpening.

-- Everything is a prototype thats why its one of a kind!!

View petercbrockman's profile


2 posts in 1491 days

#8 posted 09-17-2015 05:17 AM

I flattened a green Arkansas Stone with my DMT blue dot diamond stone. I used Gojo as a lubricant which pulled the oil out and at the same time cleaned off the diamond stone. After several hours the Arkansas stone was absolutely flat, but the diamond stone was incredibly smooth. It wouldn’t cut anymore. I called DMT and was told that the DMT diamond stones are for metal only, and the DMT DIA-FLAT lapping plate is specifically designed for to flatten sharpening stones. HillbillyShooter above has it right. I’ve used the DMT diamond stone to flatten water stones for a long while, but the Arkansas stone killed it. By the way, the DMT stone was brand new.

View bigblockyeti's profile


3582 posts in 1144 days

#9 posted 09-17-2015 05:31 PM

Would DMT warrant the diamond stone or were you left SOL?

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