Sharpening questions

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Forum topic by Jon1094 posted 12-29-2012 05:36 AM 1269 views 0 times favorited 6 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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41 posts in 2446 days

12-29-2012 05:36 AM

Not sure why manufacturers can’t just stick to one or two grit denominations. I’m having some trouble. I recently tuned up all my hand planes and noticed something that begs a question.

I currently have the following sharpening stones:

Coarse Diasharp bench stone
Very fine Diasharp bench stone

Fine (red) DMT diamond whetstone
Very fine (green) DMT diamond whetstone

800 grit Japanese water stone
8000 grit Japanese water stone

When tuning up my planes I used sandpaper to good effect. I started with 120 grit and moved up to 1500 grit. It appeared that 1500 grit polished the blades to a finer degree than the 8000 grit water stone. I have researched this and still haven’t found an answer. Could someone please tell me how to sort my varying types of stones from course to fine. And could you by chance tell me what grit sandpaper the 8000 grit water stone is close to?

Thank you for the help.


6 replies so far

View Dave G's profile

Dave G

333 posts in 2288 days

#1 posted 12-29-2012 11:01 AM

I too have been confused about this. The Norton company provides this cross reference type of information. The following link has a table at the bottom attributed to Norton:

It does not appear to explain your findings, the grits of the waterstones and sandpaper are displayed as approximately equivalent. There are lots of other factors at work in this process. Assuming you’re doing everything right then the question would be “Hey, what works for you?”

My own little bit of experience is to spend just enough time fretting over sharpening to produce good wood shavings then put all the stuff away. I’ll never be a sharpening expert and don’t want to be.

-- Dave, New England - “We are made to persist. that's how we find out who we are.” ― Tobias Wolff

View hhhopks's profile


654 posts in 2618 days

#2 posted 12-29-2012 12:34 PM

Differnt products different manufacturer. It is tuff to get everyone to follow a standard.
I got these used sharpening stone and forget what they are (grit, oi/water…...etc).
I 2nd Dave’s respone. Get it sharp enought to give you a quality cut and move on.

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

View JimDaddyO's profile


582 posts in 3319 days

#3 posted 12-29-2012 03:09 PM

the type of grit (aluminum oxide, ceramic, etc) and the bonding agent also play in how they perform too. A grit that fractures readily and a bonding agent that releases easily will work much faster because it is exposing fresh sharp edges more often. If the grit is harder to fracture, and the bonding agent holds on better then it will seem like it gives a finer finish, but slower to use.

-- my blog: my You Tube channel:

View Dave G's profile

Dave G

333 posts in 2288 days

#4 posted 12-29-2012 05:27 PM

Oh and worn sandpaper behaves like it’s much finer than its rating.

-- Dave, New England - “We are made to persist. that's how we find out who we are.” ― Tobias Wolff

View rum's profile


148 posts in 2826 days

#5 posted 12-29-2012 06:59 PM

That’s the great thing about standards there are so many to choose from.

The 8k stone will behave differently depending on how you use it. Quite wet and with a bit of a slurry worked up it should cut faster and coarser. If you rinse the slurry off and wipe it dry it should (after a few strokes) “bed in” and start polishing.

I’m pretty much with hhhopks, get it sharp however works best for you (by all means try a few ways but then pick one and stick with it). Sharpening is a learned skill the more you do it the better you’ll get, switching between systems a lot just confuses the learning process when you’re getting going. Its actually best if you can find a sharpening buddy (someone who can really get things SHARP) as its much clearer what you’re shooting for once you’ve used the results.

If you really want to get nerdy there are pretty cheap ($40) USB microscopes available now that let you see what the edge really looks like. That combined with some tests (i.e. the classic how many end grain paring cuts in soft pine can you make before it starts to tear) is a better guide than any arbitrary rating.

Actually let me correct that – if you REALLY want to get nerdy go hang out on some of the razor forums, those people are crazy. Luckily the type of edge they want is irrelevant to woodworking so we can mostly ignore them :D

View Bill White's profile

Bill White

5149 posts in 4201 days

#6 posted 12-29-2012 08:05 PM

Sharpening is/can be as exotic as you wish to make the process.
I tend to make the process s simple as possibe with as few devices needed to achieve the end result.
Its kinda like your tooling. How many tools do ya really need to make a box, how many planes does it require to rough out, square, and smooth a board?
Not an easy answer, ‘cause each craftsman has his/her own concept of the final objective.


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