Wet Stones, Where do I start? (Hand Plane)

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Forum topic by jordanp posted 04-19-2013 07:26 PM 2500 views 0 times favorited 24 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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1086 posts in 1941 days

04-19-2013 07:26 PM

Topic tags/keywords: sharpening stones wet stones sharp planes hand planer plane

The only wet stones i’ve used before were for pocket knives, that being said what type of reasonably priced wet stone(s) would you recommend for maintaining a Hand Plane Blade?.

-- J. Palmer Woodworks - Rockwall TX -I woke up this morning thinking “man, I really hope someone posted some soul scarring sh*t on LJs today.” -- - Billy

24 replies so far

View Dallas's profile


3599 posts in 2488 days

#1 posted 04-19-2013 07:31 PM

If I were you I would start with the Scary Sharp method using wet-dry sand paper.
It’s a much lower investment and a decent return.
Then as you gain knowledge, try other methods.

-- Improvise.... Adapt...... Overcome!

View BigRedKnothead's profile


8515 posts in 1983 days

#2 posted 04-19-2013 08:15 PM

We’ve done a couple of blogs on just that topic.

IMO, I’d go with oil stones. Buy good ones and you’ll have them the rest of your life. Hope it helps, Red

-- "At the end of the day, try and make it beautiful....because the world is full of ugly." Konrad Sauer

View bondogaposis's profile (online now)


4733 posts in 2352 days

#3 posted 04-19-2013 10:00 PM

Are you talking water stones or oil stones?

-- Bondo Gaposis

View ScottStewart's profile


119 posts in 2133 days

#4 posted 04-19-2013 11:01 PM

I’ve been researching this for the past couple of months…

I think part of the reason that my hand plane and I don’t get along so well is that I don’t have it sharp enough.

After a lot of fits and turns, I think I want to use waterstones. Best place to get them seems to be If you don’t have a honing guide, you will need that, and then something to flatten your waterstones

My list:
Shapton Professional 1k, 5k, 8k stones
Veritas Mkii honing giude
DMT duo sharp stone for flattening waterstones

It’s more money than other options, but I am yet to hear people with the shapton pro’s badmouth them.

View Benvolio's profile


148 posts in 1932 days

#5 posted 04-20-2013 12:10 AM

if you want a budget start, then bear in mind a polished sample tile of marble/granite from home depot type shop with some shop bought fine grit sand paper will set you up for a decent point. That’s how I began before I got my waterstones.

It’s the same system as Scarey sharp but you’re not paying for the brand.

oh, and one other thing, while you’re in the mood for googling this, you might want to remember most people spell it `whet` stone not `wet` stone – no biggie, but I guess it’s one of those words you hear more than you read so might not have known


-- Ben, England.

View sikrap's profile


1121 posts in 3359 days

#6 posted 04-20-2013 12:17 AM

If you only have the one plane, sandpaper is the way to go. If you decide you want waterstones, contact Stu at Tool From Japan and get the Sigma set. It will consist of 1000, 6000 and 13000 grit stones. They were including an Atoma 400 diamond plate for flattening stones as part of the set. I bought that set last year and it was over $300, but the dollar has recovered quite a bit since than and I understand the set is considerably less now.

-- Dave, Colonie, NY

View camps764's profile


867 posts in 2360 days

#7 posted 04-20-2013 12:17 AM

BigRedKnothead did a great write up on sharpening methods.

Highly recommend checking it out.

-- Steve

View Tim's profile


3807 posts in 1962 days

#8 posted 04-20-2013 12:17 AM

Nice blog Dan. Mauricio covered diamond stones a bit but I would be curious to hear people’s experience with the extra extra fine DMT stones. They are listed as 3 micron which is supposedly equivalent to 8000 grit, but the reviews I have read mention they take a very long time to break in compared to larger grit diamond stones. People describe them as more like a 4-6000 stone at first.

View derosa's profile


1577 posts in 2836 days

#9 posted 04-20-2013 12:25 AM

I finally got sick of the scary sharp method and picked up the cheap 3 dollar stone from HF which is good for getting rid of nicks and heavier damage in the blade and a 1000/6000 grit water stone. To go with it I also picked up a strop and green stuff.
Paul Sellers has a great video for sharpening planes and chisels. He recommends eze-lap diamond stones but I found using the cheap stone with water for initial clean up and then the water stone and strop with his technique that my planes irons were sharper faster then I got them using the scary sharp method and the 60.00 total I have between the 2 stones wasn’t that big an investment. Leaves a highly reflective surface on the cutting edge.

-- --Rev. Russ in NY-- A posse ad esse

View jordanp's profile


1086 posts in 1941 days

#10 posted 04-20-2013 08:49 PM

Thanks for all the replies, I am currently using waterroof sandpaper with some oil. I have a Stanley No.4 and No 220
And I will be adding to this collection in the near future.

The deal at tools from Japan sounds great but between my two planes I don’t even have $80 invested, however once i start adding more planes and some new Hock blades I may look into that.

to answer Bondo’s question: water or oil stones?..... I honestly don’t know, which do you guys like better?

-- J. Palmer Woodworks - Rockwall TX -I woke up this morning thinking “man, I really hope someone posted some soul scarring sh*t on LJs today.” -- - Billy

View Don W's profile

Don W

18718 posts in 2568 days

#11 posted 04-20-2013 09:01 PM

I love Hock Blades. If you are going to buy blades, they are the ones to buy. The question however, why are you replacing blades? Of the couple hundred planes I’ve restored, I’ve only found 2 bad enough they needed replacing. A Hock blade will do nothing for a well tuned plane with an original iron (assuming its vintage).

I do often buy Hock blades for my infills though.

I hate waterstones. I just don’t like the mess, and I know I would leave them in my shop to freeze. I use DMT’s and oil stones. Well actually, just an oil stone. For the occasional flattening I use sand paper.

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

View bonobo's profile


297 posts in 2057 days

#12 posted 04-20-2013 09:07 PM

Wether or not you decide on water stones, oil stones or diamond plates (with stropping), I’d recommend choosing the DMT coarse plate over a grinding wheel.

Since switching to the Paul Seller’s diamond stone method, I’m sharpening a lot faster and a LOT more often. Before that, I’d used the methods outlined in the Krenov books – a hand crank grinder with a LV tool rest and the LV entry level water stone set (later on, with an eclipse guide). I was happy with the results but found it very slow work to establish the primary bevel on the grindstone because I was so paranoid about overheating the blade. I tended to put off grinding as long as possible.

I’ve found the DMT coarse diamond plate to be a much easier method for establishing the general bevel angle. The diamond plates won’t dish like like water stones and in 4 months I’ve overhauled all the edges in my smallish-sized collection, lapped the sole of a badly rusted block plane, taken the “lands” down on all my chisels, sharpened my combination plane cutters, etc…I’ve noticed that the 3 plates are getting stained with rust but still perform really well.

-- “The easy confidence with which I know another man's religion is folly teaches me to suspect that my own is also.” ― Mark Twain

View MrFid's profile


874 posts in 1905 days

#13 posted 04-20-2013 09:23 PM

Also, I’d use a honing guide for sure, no matter if you go with sandpaper or stones. The Veritas MK.II is what I use, and although it is pricey, it will save you frustration and blades in the long run. Also, it is WAY more accurate than any other honing guise I have used before. I plan on posting a review on here soon of that system.

-- Bailey F - Eastern Mass.

View Loren's profile


10401 posts in 3648 days

#14 posted 04-20-2013 09:31 PM

Climate seems to be a factor for some people. Waterstones
cannot be allowed to freeze while wet. If you live in a
humid climate where flash rust is a problem, you may be
happier with oil.

I use water stones. I live in an arid climate and don’t have
much of a problem with flash rust.

Most sharpening jigs will lead to uneven wear of waterstones.
I sharpen freehand and seldom have to flatten my stones.

View bondogaposis's profile (online now)


4733 posts in 2352 days

#15 posted 04-20-2013 10:42 PM

Ok, I was confused. When you said wet stones I couldn’t figure if you were talking water stones or whet stones which are oil stones. I have moved clearly into the water stone camp, currently my system includes a coarse diamond stone too. I have a 1000 grit King stone and a 4000 grit Norton and a 8000 grit Norton. Lots of guys get good results w/ oil stones, so I am not knocking them at all. There are some drawbacks to water stones, because you can’t let them freeze. For me that means I have to store them inside, instead of out in my shop. I like them though because they are fast to put on a good edge on and to flatten backs.

-- Bondo Gaposis

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