Soak Waterstones?

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Forum topic by unisaw2 posted 02-06-2012 10:57 PM 2134 views 0 times favorited 11 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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209 posts in 3064 days

02-06-2012 10:57 PM

Topic tags/keywords: question sharpening waterstones

I have water stones that are 800, 3000 and 6000 grit. Lately I have been keeping them dry and just runnning water over them right before use.

This seems to work great, but I’ve always heard that they need to be soaked, but does any one know why?


-- JJ - Northern Illinois

11 replies so far

View oicurn2it2's profile


146 posts in 3867 days

#1 posted 02-06-2012 11:21 PM

hello ,Unisaw ,

i too use water stones 800,1200,6000 , as far as” needing to be soaked ” i believe it has to do with the veracious appetite for water when they are dry ,as you know if you take them out of the H2o before they are full they just dry out on the surface (please don’t take that wrong i know your aware of that ….)
i keep mine in H2o constantly , mainly for convenience, this allows me to only hit it with a spritz as i’m using it which is normal {mind you old man winter tagged me for a 6000 last year i forgot and a cold snap froze and busted it } so id recommend this only for spring to fall , unless you heat round the clock …..

for what its worth (not that much i assure you ).....[(;{>

-- "when you think youre going to slow, slow down just a little bit more" .... Pop's

View Bill White's profile

Bill White

4950 posts in 3989 days

#2 posted 02-06-2012 11:36 PM

I keep mine in H2O with just a touch of bleach to prevent gack. I do this to keep ‘em wet ‘cause it speeds up the process.
The stones for my Makita horizontal sharpener are soaked prior to use.
Just my anal way of doin’ stuff.


View unisaw2's profile


209 posts in 3064 days

#3 posted 02-07-2012 12:52 AM

Oicurn & Bill thanks for the replies.
Bummer about getting frozen, here in Chicago we have to heat or everything freezes, this has been an warm winter so far.

Ok, I’ll get them back in the water!

-- JJ - Northern Illinois

View Loren's profile


10476 posts in 3677 days

#4 posted 02-07-2012 01:02 AM

keeping ‘em wet they can get fungus. If they are kept submerged
it isn’t a problem as much but partially submerged all the time is not
good. A little bleach in the water helps.

The water helps them not glaze. When they glaze they don’t cut.
A nagura stone is essential in my opinion, especially with a wet wheel

View Roger's profile


20929 posts in 2833 days

#5 posted 02-07-2012 02:27 AM

add one drop o dish soap in yer bath also. it’ll help

-- Roger from KY. Work/Play/Travel Safe. Keep your dust collector fed.

View bondogaposis's profile


4770 posts in 2380 days

#6 posted 02-07-2012 02:39 AM

I keep my Japanese stones in water but not my Norton’s.

-- Bondo Gaposis

View jack1's profile


2107 posts in 4056 days

#7 posted 02-07-2012 03:26 AM

Glad I stopped by. I just learned a bunch of stuff. Great question and answers.

-- jack -- ...measure once, curse twice!

View unisaw2's profile


209 posts in 3064 days

#8 posted 02-07-2012 03:54 AM

While we are on this, anyone know the equivalent sand paper sizes to the 800, 3000 and 6000 water stones.
I am curious to know because I start sharpening on sandpaper before going to the stones.


-- JJ - Northern Illinois

View hhhopks's profile


651 posts in 2406 days

#9 posted 02-07-2012 05:12 AM

Another question.

How can you tell if a stone is an oil or water?
Some can be either while others are specific.

When you buy the stone used, often you don’t know.

-- I'll be a woodworker when I grow up. HHHOPKS

View unisaw2's profile


209 posts in 3064 days

#10 posted 02-07-2012 04:42 PM

Just did a basic search:

Water stone grits vs Sandpaper grits:
Japanese waterstone grades fall under three major groups: very coarse grits for fast removal of metal; medium coarse grits for refining the edge and removing the burr; and finish stones for the final honing and polish. These grades cover a range of 150 to 8000, and they don’t exactly match up with U.S. grades. For example, the abrasive action of a 1000 grit Japanese stone is the equivalent of US 500; and the Japanese 4000, a US 1000.
In comparison to the Arkansas stones, the Japanese 800 grit is equivalent to a Natural Soft Arkansas; the 1000 to a Hard Arkansas; and the 1200 falls between the Hard Arkansas and the Black Hard Arkansas. “

A good link to sharpening and water stones at Fine Woodworking:

Not reallly sure how to tell a water stone from a oil stone, but if it used the oil stone probably feels oily! :)

My water stones are not marked what grit they are, I just know by the color and the original instructions.

-- JJ - Northern Illinois

View Loren's profile


10476 posts in 3677 days

#11 posted 02-07-2012 06:31 PM

Water stones, at least the sieved and sintered ones I have
owned, are much softer than oil stones and you can carve
or scratch them easily with a knife, key or screwdriver.

The very coarse grinding stones in the 200 grit range are
much harder. I have found that coarse stones sold for use
with oil or kerosene work fine for sharpening with soapy
water as well. Fine ones would not.

If a used stone is blackened and clogged with a mixture
of oil and metal filings, it may be difficult to bring it to a
state of working. I don’t know a lot about oil stones but
it seems to me that a used stone should be quite
inexpensive if it is dirtied and clogged from misuse.

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