Qs about oilstones

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Forum topic by Brett posted 11-17-2011 04:55 AM 893 views 0 times favorited 6 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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657 posts in 1774 days

11-17-2011 04:55 AM

Is an 8”x2” oilstone wide enough to sharpen plane irons? Should I use a 3”-wide stone?

I was given a small, old, greasy oilstone recently. Is there any way to figure out what the approximate hardness is? In other words, if it’s an Arkansas stone, can I tell if it’s a Washita, a soft Arkansas, or a hard Arkansas?

-- More tools, fewer machines.

6 replies so far

View paratrooper34's profile


788 posts in 2043 days

#1 posted 11-17-2011 11:53 AM

You will not be able to sharpen the big blades from a 4 1/2, 5 1/2, 6, 7, or 8 as they are 2 3/8 wide, I wouldn’t sharpen on a stone that couldn’t fit the full width of whatever I am sharpening. A 5 and a 4 have 2 inch wide blades which places them on the exact edge of a 2 inch stone. Get the big stone, you will be thankful for it. Good Luck

-- Mike

View hObOmOnk's profile


1381 posts in 3219 days

#2 posted 11-17-2011 02:48 PM

Your oil stone is either 8” long and 2” wide – OR – 2” long and 8” wide. It’s your choice. :)

Compare the stone’s grit to known grits of sandpaper.

-- 温故知新

View Don W's profile

Don W

16829 posts in 1658 days

#3 posted 11-17-2011 03:21 PM

I sharpen all mine on a 2” oil stone. Move the blade from side to side as you sharpen if you use a jig. When working freehand I skew the blade to fit.

I haven’t figured a way to tell how hard they are, but I compare the ones I find in the wild to a waterstone (4000 grit) i purchased. I hope someone has a better idea.

-- Master hand plane hoarder. -

View StumpyNubs's profile


6592 posts in 1891 days

#4 posted 11-17-2011 04:00 PM

It will be perfect for 2” wide blades! if you want to sharpen wider ones, turn it sideways and take shorter strokes. Use a piece of wood the same thickness of the stone next to it for your angle guide to ride on.

-- Subscribe to "Stumpy Nubs Woodworking Journal"- One of the crafts' premiere online publications:

View Dan's profile


3629 posts in 1971 days

#5 posted 11-17-2011 04:13 PM

“Danielson… Show me side to side” Sorry, Don’s comment made me think of that…

I often free hand sharpen side to side… Its more comfortable grip for me.

-- Dan - "Collector of Hand Planes"

View Don W's profile

Don W

16829 posts in 1658 days

#6 posted 11-17-2011 04:21 PM

I still haven’t got good enough to freehand a normal Stanley blade, the jig just makes it much faster for me. The thicker blades however I have. I can “feel” the contact with the stone. Also I haven’t figured out how to camber with the jig, so its a lot slower, but its freehand for me. The explanation here helped me a lot.

-- Master hand plane hoarder. -

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