Ceramic stone. Bester 1200 vs Sigma Power Select II 1200.

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Forum topic by Lemwise posted 09-17-2016 09:47 AM 3370 views 0 times favorited 9 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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80 posts in 759 days

09-17-2016 09:47 AM

Topic tags/keywords: pm-v11 sharpening ceramic stone

Recently I’ve switched all my plane blades from regular old A2 to Veritas’ PM-V11. It a wonderful steel, tough as nails and it stays sharp a long time. The downside is that it’s hard to sharpen. My Belgian Coticules really struggle to put an edge on it, even when I raise a slurry with my small Coticule rubbing stone. I’ve been doing some research and it seems a ceramic stone is the best choice for sharpening high alloy steel like PM-V11. I’ve got it boiled down to the two most highly rated stones, the Bester 1200 and the Sigma Power Select II 1200. I already know both stones can be permanently stored in water which is a big plus. The stone will be used at my place of work so it has to be ready to go all the time. Can anyone offer me some further insight on these stones?

9 replies so far

View JADobson's profile


1196 posts in 2253 days

#1 posted 09-18-2016 05:08 AM

I’m hoping to get one of these two stones myself. I’m bumping this back up (hoping someone more knowledgable can chime in).

-- No craft is very far from the line beyond which is magic. -- Lord Dunsany — Instagram @grailwoodworks

View jmartel's profile


8154 posts in 2292 days

#2 posted 09-18-2016 05:11 AM

PM-V11 should be way easier to sharpen than A2. Interesting that you’ve had the opposite experience.

I’ve got a set of Sigma Powers in 1000, 6000, and 13000 grits. They do a fantastic job.

-- The quality of one's woodworking is directly related to the amount of flannel worn.

View Andre's profile


2059 posts in 1948 days

#3 posted 09-18-2016 05:26 AM

Switched most of my Stanleys to PM-11s and have had no problems sharpening with a Norton 1000/8000.
+1 to jmartel actually find them easier to sharpen that A2 or O1 blades, also have the high end Lee Valley stones which work great but are much softer and tend to gouge very easy. Picked up a set of Lie Nielsen 1000/10000 stones at one of their demos last year but haven’t really had a chance use them, maybe when the Nortons start to wear out?

-- Lifting one end of the plank.

View Lemwise's profile


80 posts in 759 days

#4 posted 09-18-2016 07:45 AM

PM-V11 should be way easier to sharpen than A2. Interesting that you ve had the opposite experience.

I ve got a set of Sigma Powers in 1000, 6000, and 13000 grits. They do a fantastic job.

- jmartel

I find PM-V11 really hard to sharpen on my Coticules (A2 also takes a lot of effort on them). My guess is Coticules simply are the wrong kind of stone for this steel. I also did a test with 1000 grit 3M wet and dry sand paper and that was a whole other story. PM-V11 was way easier to put an edge on. This made me decide to go the ceramic route. And since I didn’t want to wait any longer I ordered the Sigma Select II 1200. On another forum the Bester 1200 was described as a lesser version of the Sigma 1200 which sealed the deal on the Sigma. I should have it by Wednesday or Thursday and I’ll post my findings on how well it sharpens PM-V11.

View Lemwise's profile


80 posts in 759 days

#5 posted 09-21-2016 08:37 PM

A quick follow up post on the Sigma. First of all I contacted Veritas to ask them why PM-V11 is so hard to sharpen on a Coticule. They said they tested a boat load of stones on PM-V11 and found a natural stone is not suited for anything but a final polish. They actually recommend the Bester 1200 or the Sigma 1200.

As for the stone, it’s very fast and sharpens PM-V11 with ease. I have a soft Coticule that easily releases the garnets and forms a slurry and I thought that was a fast stone. The Sigma however is at least twice as fast. It leaves a fine working edge with some bite that suits my daily wood working needs. It can however use some further refinement so I’m also going to buy a Sigma 2000. All in all a very good purchase that will serve me well.

View Tim's profile


3812 posts in 2104 days

#6 posted 09-21-2016 11:40 PM

Thanks for the follow up, thats interesting. If I ever get a Veritas plane or chisel, I’m going to spring for the PM-V11.

View Lemwise's profile


80 posts in 759 days

#7 posted 09-22-2016 03:52 PM

The Sigma really is an amazing stone. You don’t have to use any pressure on it. Just let the steel glide across the stone and it instantly starts to cut.

View Derek Cohen's profile

Derek Cohen

393 posts in 4111 days

#8 posted 09-23-2016 03:39 PM

The Shapton Pro 1000 is a faster cutting stone than the Sigma 1200 (I have both). Both stay flat the same, and both only require a sprinkle of water.

I use the Shapton on PM-V11, A2, M2, M4 and D2. It cuts everything.

Regards from Perth


-- Buildiing furniture, and reviewing and building tools at

View Lemwise's profile


80 posts in 759 days

#9 posted 09-23-2016 06:02 PM

That’s nice that the Shapton is faster but the Sigma is so fast I have no need for an even faster stone. Keep in mind though I store the stone in water permanently. According to the manufacturer this makes the stone even faster.

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