DMT ExtraCourse vs. Norton 220

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Forum topic by ramone posted 05-28-2014 02:03 AM 845 views 0 times favorited 6 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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18 posts in 894 days

05-28-2014 02:03 AM

Hello … I’m new to sharpening. I recently bought the Norton Combo Stone Kit – 220/1k + 4k/8k stones ... which includes … many would say … the (non) Flattening stone. I’ve read that many advise replacing the Norton flattener with the DMT course stone. But before I do that … and before I start using the stones … what do you think about using the 220 grit for flattening?

Thinking to myself … but what about when I need to grind ? ... I really wouldn’t want to grind on my flattening stone … would I?

Am I thinking about this correctly : /

Thanks for your insights …


6 replies so far

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1156 posts in 1314 days

#1 posted 05-28-2014 02:47 AM

Never used a Norton flattening stone, never wanted to because of what I’ve read about it. I got a DMT Dia Sharp Coarse to use primarily as a flattener. Also use for primary bevels every now and then, but as a flattening stone I love it. DMT now makes an official lapping plate, which is big (which I’d prefer over the 8”) and looks great, but for almost $150 I don’t need it that bad. Course plate is about $40, to me it’s worth it.

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18 posts in 894 days

#2 posted 05-28-2014 05:36 AM

Colonel … is there a functional difference between the course and extra course DMT? Could you post a link to the plate you use? I’ve been googling the DMT plates and it seems that there are a bunch of distinctions that are muddying my waters : /

... and btw … what do people who have a DMT use the Norton 220 for … like I said … it’s the other side of my 1000k stone …

Thanks …

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1156 posts in 1314 days

#3 posted 05-28-2014 07:54 AM

Keep in mind – sharpening is an art and a science. There are many roads to razor blade sharpness. You should experiment with all of them so you can find the best way for you. Waterstones, oilstones, sandpaper, Tormek, etc. – all have pluses and minuses, there is no one perfect way.

I’ve got the Dia Sharp Course. Difference between that and the Extra Course is…...

drum roll


Actually it is a little grittier, but too marginal (220ish compared to 325ish) for me to pay the extra 10 bucks. That’s all the difference I care about. I don’t know how a Norton 220 would compare to an Extra Course Dia Sharp. Diamond stones are supposed to last longer than waterstones, but they do wear down and you won’t ultimately end up with the grit you started. Mine has gotten just a wee bit finer than when I first got it last year, but that seems to be after a breaking-in period, otherwise I haven’t detected any difference. Good waterstones cut fast, which is why I like them. Some people hate them for that very reason because you’re always flattening them. And they’re right – no way around all that flattening.

Paul Sellers and Brian Burns influenced me the most with sharpening. They are minimalists, but what they preach works best for me.

I wouldn’t worry much about Course or Extra Course or 220 or 320 or 400, etc. See how your combination stones work. I had a King 1K/6K combo and hated it. Also hated that it cost me about $40 to figure that out. But sharpening is such an individual thing you kinda have no way around a bunch of trial and error.

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18 posts in 894 days

#4 posted 05-29-2014 02:10 AM

Thanks for sharing your experiences Colonel … very helpful … and cool cat ; )

View Tim's profile


3030 posts in 1381 days

#5 posted 05-29-2014 02:30 AM

Somewhere on LJ I saw a trick for using something like drywall sanding screens to flatten waterstones. I don’t see how that would work but I think even some other LJs mentioned it worked.

I went the diamond stone route because I didn’t want to deal with flattening. That said, there is a proper technique you can learn to even your wear out over the stone so you don’t have to flatten it as much.

View Fettler's profile


200 posts in 1417 days

#6 posted 05-29-2014 07:30 AM

The problem with the Norton Flattener is that it goes out of true really quickly. I actually used a fine DMT Diasharp for a long time for truing all but my 220 stones (which i rarely use anyway). I’ve since upgraded to a shapton setup but still use the Diasharp. If you’re saving your funds for other goodies then you could try some wet/dry sand paper on a good reference surface (float glass is fairly cheap).

I have a powertec grinder which cost me $95 from Amazon (see my review). It’s great for establishing primary bevels. The white aluminum oxide wheels really make a difference at preventing scorching the blade.

I rarely use my hone guide any more, instead i use Rob Cosman’s free hand method:

-- --Rob, Seattle, WA

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