Diamond Plates size quality?

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Forum topic by jgerman posted 07-02-2012 04:42 PM 1485 views 0 times favorited 7 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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10 posts in 2124 days

07-02-2012 04:42 PM

I’m just getting started woodworking as a serious hobby. I’ve dabbled before and own some tools but I just recently decided to put more focus into it.

I’m a pretty big fan of Chris Schwartz already, and I’m going for primarily hand tools to start. Specifically I want to practice dovetails. So I picked up a Bad Axe saw, some Lie Nielsen chisels, a marking knife from Blue Spruce, etc.

My problem is sharpening. There’s so much out there it’s hard to figure out where to start.

I have several of the Paul Sellers ‘Working Wood’ DVDs (and the book). He recommends diamond stones for sharpening. I liked what I saw because it was simple and straightforward.

I’m curious about the size of the stones that would be appropriate for sharpening chisels and plane blades. 8”x3” seems common, is that enough?

I also haven’t seemed to be able to find the exact grits that Paul recommends, though I suppose that’s not that important as long as they’re close.

Anyone that sharpens with diamond stones want to offer some advice?

7 replies so far

View MonteCristo's profile


2099 posts in 2158 days

#1 posted 07-02-2012 05:45 PM

DMT is a big name in diamond stones. You can get them from Lee Valley, Lie-Nielsen etc. They are also very useful for flattening water stones if you go that route. 8”x3” is a good size but I like 10”x 4” if I can get them (DMT does this size).

Diamond stone technology seems to be evolving. For a while perforated diamond stones seemed to dominate but lately I am seeing unperforated ones on the market.

Even diamond stones wear out so I would also recommend investing in a good bench grinder and some good wheels for when you have to hog off a bunch eg when a chisel gets dropped or you decide to change the primary angle of the bevel.

Leonard Lee, the founder of Lee Valley Tools, put out a good book on sharpening some years back. A lot of excellent advice/info on tools, sharpening etc.

-- Dwight - "Free legal advice available - contact Dewey, Cheetam & Howe""

View ksSlim's profile


1274 posts in 2860 days

#2 posted 07-03-2012 03:00 AM

I used oil stones for years until I tried DMT diamonds. I now use a set of 4 diamond stones for honing.
I have a grinder for angle changes or big nicks. I learned to use a strop to keep an edge in good shape.
Learn to strop edges during or at least after use to save rehoning time.

-- Sawdust and shavings are therapeutic

View jgerman's profile


10 posts in 2124 days

#3 posted 07-03-2012 02:02 PM

Thanks guys, still trying to decide on getting the 4 stone kit at 8”x3” or springing for three 10”x4”. There’s $100 difference between the two so it’s a tough decision.

Chisels should be fine on the 8”x3” I’m more concerned about plane irons.

View Mosquito's profile


9280 posts in 2262 days

#4 posted 07-03-2012 02:11 PM

I have a set of 10”x4” DMT’s in Extra Coarse, Coarse, Fine, Extra Fine, and then I’ve got an 8”x3” DMT Extra Extra Fine. The 10”x4” is a good size for plane irons. The 8”x3” is ok, but you just take more and smaller strokes, which is ok with the 8000 grit that I’ve got it in. I’d say if you’re sharpening freehand, 8”x3” would be fine, if you’re going to be using a honing guide, the extra 2” would be useful.

-- Mos - Twin Cities, MN - -

View ELCfinefurniture's profile


112 posts in 2290 days

#5 posted 07-04-2012 05:25 AM

I would not be concerned about sharpening a plane iron on an 8 by 3. I do my final sharpening on my number 7 iron on a 6X3 oil stone. Its just a matter of skewing the iron on the stone. I would not worry about that. I have used diamond plates for sharpening and I highly recommend them. I am also a HUGE advocate of you learning with all hand tools at first as well ;)

-- {Current North Bennet street school student}

View jgerman's profile


10 posts in 2124 days

#6 posted 07-04-2012 10:35 AM

I went ahead and got the 8×3s. I was able to pick up 3 Ez Lap stones off of Amazon for less than $100 so it was an easier choice. I can always switch things up later.

My chisels came yesterday and I’m eager to set them up and start practicing.

Another question: In the Sellers video he does his flattening and polishing of the chisel back using sandpaper on a flat surface (granite). Is that simply because of the surface area of the back of the chisel is larger? I’m not sure I get why he wouldn’t just use the stones and strop like he does for the bevels.

View Gene Howe's profile

Gene Howe

10383 posts in 3398 days

#7 posted 07-04-2012 12:58 PM

Actually, either way is good. I would dispense with stropping the back side unless you really want a mirror finish. I do, so I strop.
Only about 3/4”-1” of a plane blade needs to be flattened after their first flattening. For chisels, I never flatten the entire length.

-- Gene 'The true soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him.' G. K. Chesterton

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