Sharpening Stones

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Forum topic by woodworksbyjohn posted 01-10-2016 01:25 AM 1238 views 0 times favorited 7 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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87 posts in 2688 days

01-10-2016 01:25 AM

Topic tags/keywords: carving gouges sharpening diamond stones ceramic stones

I know this is a topic that comes up over and over but at the risk of irritating folks I’m going to open it up again! I’m getting more involved with carving lately. For my furniture work chisels and planes I use water stones. Carving gouges tend to really mess up the water stones so am using some very old oil stones with acceptable results except for the mess! Currently away from my shop for 6 months so need a better solution. Mary May uses diamond stones and they seem to be the way I too should go. Would really like some opinions from other users regarding preferred brands and grits/mesh/ or whatever grading system applies. Mostly want to maintain and polish the edges prior to stropping. If there was any major damage or chip (heaven forbid!) I’d go to the coarser oil stones first. Mary May’s video mentioned an 8000 and 12000 diamond stone but haven’t come across any sized that way. Or is ceramic better than diamond??
Appreciate your responses and opinions—John

-- John Visit my Blog:

7 replies so far

View FancyShoes's profile


550 posts in 1360 days

#1 posted 01-10-2016 01:49 AM

Im not sure about the quality of stone, especially oil vs water, or material they are made from,

I wish I could help, I want to ask if you have tried the wet sandpaper on a piece of glass or granite flate stone. Maybe you can have some better results.

There are some great youtube videos of people showing how to do that.

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David Taylor

326 posts in 1083 days

#2 posted 01-10-2016 02:53 AM

You might have heard wrong there. According to, Mary states “I tend to use the DMT stones – 1200 (very fine) and 8000 (very very fine). Arkansas stones are good. I have had the opportunity to use a Shapton stone too and was very impressed with them (on my Christmas list).”

These are also the stones she sells on her site, at

If you keep your gouges stropped, you should rarely need to take them to a stone, unless, of course, if you’re carving something very hard, or carving full time.

-- Learn Relentlessly

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87 posts in 2688 days

#3 posted 01-10-2016 03:01 AM

Thanks David for clarifying the stones and that she sells them on site. I still have a Christmas gift card so….... In the past I’ve used a paper wheel and notice that, as I feared, my edges are slightly rounded over. After doing two gouges on my old oil stones and seeing the difference feel it’s time to invest in the stones and do it her way. Then, agree with you stropping should be all that’s needed unless of an accident. Again—Thanks!

Fancy Shoes, I’m not a fan of the sandpaper/glass method. Tends to get pricey over the long run but do use the glass and wet/dry paper to flatten my water stones. Appreciate your response

-- John Visit my Blog:

View HapHazzard's profile


116 posts in 864 days

#4 posted 01-10-2016 05:34 AM

I love the DMT continuous diamond bench stones. They’re expensive, but very durable if properly cared for. You can use them with water or dry. Oil is a big no-no.

-- Unix programmers never die; they just > /dev/null

View Planeman40's profile


1175 posts in 2757 days

#5 posted 01-10-2016 04:56 PM

I have many sharpening stones of all types that I have tried over the years and what I keep coming back to are diamond “stones” for coarse work and Arkansas stones for fine work, finishing with stropping with leather strops. I don’t stop until the edge will easily shave the hair off my forearm. Arkansas stones are so hard and fine they don’t soak up oil. Oil just sits on the surface and can be easily wiped off when finished. Also, be sure to use a light oil like “3-in-1” oil. For carving tools use Arkansas slip and files


-- Always remember: It is a mathematical certainty that half the people in this country are below average in intelligence!

View rales's profile


1 post in 1451 days

#6 posted 01-12-2016 06:17 PM

For me, diamond stones and ceramics are the way to go – a lot less mess than oil stones. I love my DMT Dia-Sharps and always will but recently I came across the Ultra Diamond Stones at and bought the 3 stone kit (300, 600 1200) for $43 – about the same price for 1 DMT stone! They come with a lifetime warranty… hard to pass up and I’ve been very pleasantly surprised! One thing to remember about all diamond stones – they cut very aggressively when new and mellow out quickly… still work but at a finer grit level. For a final pre-polish/honing I use a Smiths ceramic stone… find them on ebay for about $5 – they work great and you can’t beat the price! About the same grit as a medium Spyderco ceramic. Final stropping on a demin strop with green chromium oxide.

View natdobs's profile


19 posts in 818 days

#7 posted 02-24-2016 10:19 PM

Definitely diamond stones. Usually goes great with my tools and I found them through this guide here:

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