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Forum topic by jaybellisle posted 03-18-2013 11:34 PM 1200 views 0 times favorited 3 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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10 posts in 1908 days

03-18-2013 11:34 PM

Hey guys its the newbie again and this time I think I put my topic in the right place at least I hope, but anyway I just purchased the Norton water stone starter kit and the flattening stone is not flat like everybody states and all I want is flat stones and I don’t have $200 bucks for a diamond flattening stone and was wondering about using sandpaper to flatten them and if that works. I just watched a short video from the wood smith shop and they had a water stone and sandpaper and it looked like there was no water on the stone and he sanded and flattened the stone in less then a minute. One more question about the flattening stone do you have to soak it in water along with the stone before flattening them?Do you have to soak the water stone before you use sandpaper to flatten them? Thanks a million


3 replies so far

View Kernal's profile


29 posts in 2276 days

#1 posted 03-18-2013 11:44 PM

A year ago I was in your boat – needing to sharpen chisels and plane irons but not wanting to invest a lot of time and money into a setup. I eventually followed the guide here and I’ve been pretty happy with the results. The author suggests this as a supplier of adhesive-backed abrasive, where you can get a few sheets of three grits for $15. You’ll need a flat backing also – I found a local glass supplier provided these for about $10. That just leaves a jig to keep the angle constant, which you can probably build yourself.

Good luck!

-- A new version of the old adage - "Count twice, buy once."

View paratrooper34's profile


915 posts in 2951 days

#2 posted 03-18-2013 11:50 PM

jaybellisle, the Norton flattening stone is notoriously poor. I almost bought one years ago, but ran across reviews warning not to buy one. Don’t know if you asked about it, but if not, sorry you got one.

I used sandpaper to flatten my stones for a little bit before I got something better. It does work, but I noticed that it clogs up the paper really quick. I got them flat, but burned up a lot of sandpaper before switching to something else. A decent diamond stone for flattening costs a little less then $100 and if you look around, you may find them even less expensive. If you are going to be using water stones to sharpen for the long haul, you will want something decent to keep them flat.

-- Mike

View Benvolio's profile


148 posts in 1931 days

#3 posted 03-18-2013 11:58 PM

for flattening my stones I use a marble tile sample from my local hard ware store. Cost me less than £5, and just top it off with any old wet ‘n’ dry paper I have laying around.

the method they use for polishing the tile when it’s manufactured ensures it’s flat within the tolerances we need, but if you want to check in the shop, the quick (but not fool proof) method for ensuring its flat is to hold it up at a shallow angle so you can see the reflection of a known flat/straight line. If the reflection in the tile is wavy then you can assume it was buffed in a different way to normal, but all the shiney marble/granite tiles I’ve found will reflect the light straight and true.

I then use some of that elephant skin non-slip matting on top of my kitchen worktop so I can work by the sink.

Job’s a good’n. It’s cheap, it’s effective and gives the same result as a more expensive solution.

Plus that tile is invaluable for tuning up your tools – you can use it to flatten the backs of your chisels and plane irons, re-establish bevels when your grittiest stone isn’t gritty enough, lap the sole of your bench & speciality planes. I’ve even used it to re-establish a straight edge on a metal rule.

-- Ben, England.

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