Norton Waterstones?

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Forum topic by ShipWreck posted 04-05-2012 09:10 AM 5007 views 0 times favorited 16 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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557 posts in 3955 days

04-05-2012 09:10 AM

I have been using the the scary sharp method, but I’m getting tired of replacing the paper. Anyone here use the Norton waterstones? What are the pro’s and con’s?

I have been looking at this kit:

Thanks….. John

16 replies so far

View Vincent Nocito's profile

Vincent Nocito

485 posts in 3566 days

#1 posted 04-05-2012 11:41 AM

They give a nice sharp edge and last a long time. I have had mine for about 7 years. They are a bit soft and you can gouge them if you catch an edge. With time, they can dish out so you need to use the flattening store also. You can store them wet or dry, just make sure it is presoaked before use. If you store them wet, a few drops of household bleach keeps the water from going funky. Overall, I am pleased with them. I have a 220, 1000, 4000 and 8000 grit and I can get a mirror finish on my chisels and irons. The kit looks like a good deal.

View jmos's profile


902 posts in 2572 days

#2 posted 04-05-2012 11:49 AM

I use Norton stones, pretty happy with them, but I don’t really have any thing to compare them to.

I’ve heard nothing good about their flattening stone; lots of bad reviews around it not working so well and breaking easily. Haven’t tried it. I use wet/dry sandpaper and a granite reference plate (pretty cheap from Woodcraft, Rockler, or the like.)

The stones will not be flat out of the box. Do not assume they are. I’ve had some Norton stones way out of flat.

In use they cut pretty fast, and flatten pretty easily. Just flatten frequently, don’t wait until you’ve created a significant dish in the stone, or it can take a while to get it out.

The water aspect can be a bit of a mess, but I haven’t found it to be a problem.

You will need to soak the stones for ~10minutes before use, or keep them soaking. You might want to take a look at the better Shapton stones, which you just need to spray with water right before use. Easier, but more expensive. When I need to replace my stones I’ll take a harder look at those.

Overall I’m happy with my Norton stone and can recommend them. Work well and not too expensive.

-- John

View Tennwood's profile


112 posts in 3384 days

#3 posted 04-05-2012 11:49 AM

I have been real pleased with mine. I echo what Vincent says on maintenance and storage. If you are not a real hard core user, save some money and get the combination stones. I got to DMT duosharp diamond stone (coarse/very coarse) to flatten the stones with. The reviews I have seen on the Norton flattening stone were not good.

-- Jim, SE Tennessee, "Don't spare the kindling Dear, we have plenty"

View helluvawreck's profile


32087 posts in 3069 days

#4 posted 04-05-2012 11:56 AM

Although I will admit that I did not give them a fair trial I came away from my experience with water stones with a bad impression. I had this very set I believe or the previous set that Norton sold. My impression has nothing to do with Norton or this particular set. I think that my main problem was that I don’t have a place in my shop to devote to sharpening because my shop is too small. Because of that I always end up making a big mess whenever I used water stones. I also did not like how fast water stones wear. So you have to flatten them frequently. However, they are efficient at sharpening a tool and do a very good job. Because of that I would like to give them another try but when I do I will have to set up some sort of semi portable sharpening station and have a better way of managing the whole system and keeping everything clean and ready to go. The only ones that I ever used was the Norton stones so I don’t have any way to compare brands. However, I didn’t have any reason to believe that they were anything other than a quality product either. If you have a setup and do it right and keep everything clean and maintained then water stones can be a very good way to sharpen your tools. This is why whenever I’m ready I will give them another try.


-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

View Newage Neanderthal's profile

Newage Neanderthal

190 posts in 2753 days

#5 posted 04-05-2012 08:06 PM

I concur with the statements about the flattening stone. Worthless. I got because it just figured I needed it. It dishes out faster than the stones, plus, you still need a way to flatten the flattening stone. Take whatever method you would use to flatten the flattening stone and just flatten the water stones with it. I use a diamond plate. before I got that I used sandpaper on a granite tile I got from home depot. I’m sure the tile wasn’t flat to the thou across it, but plenty flat for woodworking purposes and it was 5 bucks.

-- . @NANeanderthal on twitter

View Loren's profile


10477 posts in 3850 days

#6 posted 04-05-2012 08:18 PM

I have a Norton 8000 stone. It’s a good-sized stone and if you develop
your technique sufficiently to sharpen in a figure-8 pattern it won’t
wear too unevenly. A lot of problems people have with waterstones
getting dished or gouged have to do with sharpening technique.

It’s a good stone but 8000 is kind of redundant because 6000 grit
polishes just as sharp for practical woodworking purposes.

Get a nagura slurry stone. It cleans off glaze.

I flatten stones using a floor-sanding screen backed up by a flat
surface. Goes quick.

View Don W's profile

Don W

19014 posts in 2770 days

#7 posted 04-05-2012 08:27 PM

I paid just over $100 for a set of DMT’s on ebay. There is no way I’d ever go back to water stones. I kept my oil stones, sold the water stones.

-- - Collecting is an investment in the past, and the future.

View Bill White's profile

Bill White

5128 posts in 4163 days

#8 posted 04-05-2012 08:49 PM

I get really worn out with the subjective sharpening science issue. Just my old fa@t opinion, but I sharpen for pay. I’ve never had a call-back on any single blade I’ve sharpened with my Makita and some water stones that I use.
Those who use jeweler’s loups, and microscopes, to survey the results have way too much time to spend.
I’m sure that there will be some “EXPLOSIVE” comments, but there wasn’t any master WWer who ascribed to micro-sharpening. (I may have missed someone. Sorry!)
IMO, there is too much time spent on NANOSHARPENING. I’m not a brain surgeon.
Oh well… comes the slams. Wanna use some of my planes?
Just as a point of interest….I don’t do saw blades. Got any suggestions?


View BubbaIBA's profile


387 posts in 2579 days

#9 posted 04-05-2012 09:48 PM

1+ Bill White….I call it “working sharp”, if the tool turns end grain to dust it’s dull, if it makes shavings of end grain, it’s as sharp as it needs to be. For my use, water stones are too fussy, oil stones work and take little maintenance.

Saws are easy…a saw vice, a couple of files and a set….even if poorly sharpened, if the set is correct the saw will do a good job….much better than a perfectly sharpened but dull saw.

View ShipWreck's profile


557 posts in 3955 days

#10 posted 04-05-2012 11:03 PM

Thank you for all the responses guys. It is good to see you all getting good results with various systems/methods. I have bought some Hock blades to replace the blades in my old Stanleys. I have been using the old ones to practice sharpening/honing freehand. I used to sharpen freehand in my garndfathers shop, but that was almost 40 years ago. :) It took me quite a few tries and a truckload of paper, but I finally got it nailed down.

View Loren's profile


10477 posts in 3850 days

#11 posted 04-05-2012 11:35 PM

Agree with Bill White, incidentally. I will often just do a blade
on the Makita 1000 grit wet wheel and then hit it with a
buffing wheel with green rough on it. Yeah, it’s skipping
grits and all that but it gets planes and chisels sharp enough
to shave with in a jiffy (as long as the wet grinder is ready
to go). The edges are sharp enough for most work -
really quite sharp.

View Don W's profile

Don W

19014 posts in 2770 days

#12 posted 04-06-2012 12:34 AM

I agree with Bill. I don’t like waterstones, but not because they don’t work. Waterstones, oil stones, ceramic, dmts, scary sandpaper, it doesn’t matter. They will all produce sharp tools if used properly.

-- - Collecting is an investment in the past, and the future.

View hokieman's profile


191 posts in 3956 days

#13 posted 04-06-2012 01:11 AM

You’ll spend as much time flattening them as you will sharpening tools. Norton’s flattening stone is junk. You have to flatten that! Mine got dished. I bought a DMT to flatten the Norton’s then I said heck with that just use a DMT. So I use the DMT for flattening chisel and plane iron backs and establishing primary bevels, then use scary sharp for honing. Water stones are just too much maintenance.

View jaidee's profile


51 posts in 2982 days

#14 posted 04-15-2012 04:32 PM

I bought the lapping plate for flattening my stones. Works well and is pretty quick about it too. Another easy way to flatten was shown in another post using a plate of glass with sanding screen on it. If I would have seen that before I may not have bought the lapping plate.

-- I used to be all thumbs......'til I got a tablesaw!

View DKV's profile


3940 posts in 2706 days

#15 posted 04-15-2012 05:25 PM

What is wrong with sandpaper? I love it and it is cheap. Works great.

-- This is a Troll Free zone.

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