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Forum topic by bdresch posted 12-31-2014 03:37 PM 1498 views 0 times favorited 25 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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bdresch

121 posts in 1070 days


12-31-2014 03:37 PM

I want to move from using sandpaper to sharpen my chisels to stones. I currently have a granite slab with all the grits of sandpaper and one of those cheap $15 guides. I’ve been trying to dig into what stones to get, but it just seems like a maze of information.

I plan to make a strop and get some green stoping compund, but what to do beyond that is up in the air. I wanted to stay under $100, but could stretch to $150 if there is value there. Right now all i have to sharpen is 1 set of chisels, but i plan to pick up a couple hand planes. I only work in the shop a few hours a week right now and mostly with power tools, but would like to expand more into the hand tools so i need a good long term sharpening solution. Just from my reading, oil stones sound like a mess. Water stones sound okay, but having to soak them seems like a pain and my shop is unheated and can freeze. Diamond plates sound perfect, but I hear almost no talk about them in woodworking circles, so there must be some downside I am not seeing.

I was thinking I could ease into this, use my granite slab and sandpaper to do the rough bevel grinding and just buy a high quality double sided stone to finish. But even then, I am confused what grit I need and should I do water/oil/or diamond.

Any help is appreciated.
Thanks.


25 replies so far

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JayT

4776 posts in 1673 days


#1 posted 12-31-2014 03:48 PM

Any of the systems (oil/water/diamond) can work and work well—all also have pros and cons. I have settled in with EZE-Lap diamond plates and a strop for a few reasons. They work fast, never need flattening and can be used dry. The only major downside is the up front cost, but considering that they should last a lifetime, it was worth the investment to me.

I use Coarse, Medium and Superfine and then finish on a strop. Works well and I have no regrets. You could certainly start with a Medium and Superfine and add a Coarse later (it’s the most expensive). Keep in mind, however, that the Coarse stone gets used the least often, but takes the most wear, so will replace a lot of sandpaper.

Not sure why you don’t hear about them. Paul Sellers uses diamond plates, as do a few others. If you go that route, make sure to get the 3×8 plates. The 6in plates aren’t big enough for plane irons, especially if you are using a guide.

-- "Good judgement is the result of experience. A lot of experience is the result of poor judgement."

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waho6o9

7172 posts in 2039 days


#2 posted 12-31-2014 04:00 PM

JayT for the win!

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bdresch

121 posts in 1070 days


#3 posted 12-31-2014 04:05 PM

I guess it’s not that I haven’t heard, it just seems that 90% of the talk I’ve seen is about water stones. It seems to me that if initial cost is the only major downside to diamonds I would hear more talk. I really like the idea of the easy cleanup and storage with the diamond plates. If there really aren’t a bunch of downsides I am missing this might be the way I’ll go.

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Mosquito

8077 posts in 1755 days


#4 posted 12-31-2014 04:17 PM

I used to do scary sharp, and moved to stones instead as well. If you plan to do a lot of sharpening, sharpening stones is a must, unless you have a ton of cash to burn through buying sandpaper.

I first went with DMT DuoSharp stones, but didn’t like them (the holes are annoying to me, especially with smaller chisels). I also used a 6000 grit waterstone to finish with for a while too. I was never really that happy with the setup though.

I’ve also settled in with EZE-Lap diamond plates. I’ve got Medium, Fine, and Extra-Fine, and then I finish with a strop as well. If I need to do heavy flattening or redo a bevel I use 180 PSA sandpaper on a piece of granite (for flattening) and a wheel grinder (hand crank for me) for the bevel. It’s been more than sufficient for me. The EZE-Lap stones are cheaper than DMT stones, which is also a plus. They’re not too much worse than Oil or Water stones either, in terms of price. I quit using the waterstone because of the mess that was involved with using it.

Not all waterstones need to be soaked before use either, some allow you to just spray it with water before use. In my opinion, finishing with a higher grit waterstone would be used alternatively to a strop.

-- Mos - Twin Cities, MN - http://www.youtube.com/MosquitoMods - http://www.TheModsquito.com

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JayT

4776 posts in 1673 days


#5 posted 12-31-2014 04:36 PM

Water stones work the fastest if you keep a fresh surface, which is why I think so many people use them. Diamond is a tad bit slower, but not much. Oil stones tend to be the slowest cutting. I’m not convinced, however, that by the time you add the frequent flattening and the fact that they wear fairly quickly, that water stones are a better investment than diamond plates.

If you have a heated shop, another nice thing about water stones is that the water bath is there to constantly wash away swarf. There’s still a mess, but at least it’s localized. Not having a heated shop immediately negates that advantage for me.

Another reason that some may use water stones is the variety of grits available. The main reason I’ve kept my 6000 grit water stone is that it is finer than even the Superfine diamond. That’s not an issue for bevels that get stropped, but for paring chisels and smoothing planes, I want that finer abrasive for the backs. Water stones go all the way up to 15,000 grit or so and give a really nice polished surface, so some people want that. I think that much is overkill—a Superfine diamond followed by a strop gets edges sharp enough to shave an arm or take a .001” shaving from any wood I’ve ever used.

As I mentioned before, any of the systems can work well. Pick the one that has the advantages you want and go for it. Diamond plates may not get mentioned as much in woodworking circles, but there are people using them and very happy with the system. Here's a pretty good summary of the pros and cons of each system.

-- "Good judgement is the result of experience. A lot of experience is the result of poor judgement."

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unbob

718 posts in 1366 days


#6 posted 12-31-2014 05:47 PM

For oil stones, the Norton TriStones are a standard in many industries. They have 3 stones in a rotating holder in an oil bath. The standard set up has a coarse, and med/fine crystalon, and a fine India-reddish in color.
The stones are 2 1/2”X 11”. This is about good as it gets for oil stones, but finer edges do need an extra step.

View bdresch's profile

bdresch

121 posts in 1070 days


#7 posted 12-31-2014 05:53 PM

I was thinking 3 DMT 6×2” stones. I know they will be too narrow for wide planer irons, but I can’t see myself getting into anything bigger than a #5 jack plane. Any other reason than larger plane irons that I couldn’t save some $$ on the 2” wide plates?.

The only reason I’d get the DMT over the Eze lap is that I have a woodcraft in town and a 10% off birthday coupon.

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Mosquito

8077 posts in 1755 days


#8 posted 12-31-2014 06:05 PM

Having a local woodcraft and a coupon is nice, but then you’d also have to pay tax, presumably. I hate how that works out lol

Reasons for the 3×8” vs 2×6” EZE-Lap… Can you sharpen a plane iron wider than 2” on a 2” wide stone? Yes, skew the iron, or sharpen with the plane iron parallel to the sides of the stone. Both will work to sharpen a plane iron on a smaller stone. However, the extra 2” length is nice as it means fewer longer strokes vs more short strokes, which means faster sharpening. Certainly not a “deal breaker” on the 2×6 stones, but very nice if you’ll be sharpening many larger plane irons (especially if you use a jig, like Jay mentioned), and just reducing sharpening time in general.

This is, of course, my opinion on the matter, so only let it influence your decision as far as you agree with it.

-- Mos - Twin Cities, MN - http://www.youtube.com/MosquitoMods - http://www.TheModsquito.com

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ColonelTravis

1190 posts in 1356 days


#9 posted 12-31-2014 06:12 PM

2” blades will obviously fit on a 2” stone, but when I did that I hated it because you had to line it up exactly. Although I was using a water stone, not diamond, and was worried about chipping the stone. Don’t have that problem with a DMT. But I went to a 3” DMT and a couple 3” water stones because I also remember saying this:

I can’t see myself getting into anything bigger than a #5 jack plane.

And I think that lasted about two seconds after buying my first one. Plus what Mos said. I dumped my 2” for all 3” stones.

View Loren's profile

Loren

8302 posts in 3110 days


#10 posted 12-31-2014 06:14 PM

EZE-lap works well and the plates are not too expensive.
I go to an 8000 grit waterstone after the fine diamond
plate. A 4000 or 6000 grit waterstone delivers nearly
the same edge quality…. in fact I believe the edges
cut just as well but the really fine stones deliver a little
more edge longevity, with practice.

Get a nagura stone too if using water stones. I use
the Burns system now, which spreads wear over
the whole water stone so flattening doesn’t have
to be done much and gouging is eliminated.

View Richard H's profile

Richard H

489 posts in 1143 days


#11 posted 12-31-2014 06:21 PM

I use the larger DMT DUO-Sharp plates to refine my edges than use Shapton 4000 and 8000 grit stones to do the final honing with a leather strop for good measure. That works well for me but I have used water stones in the past and they work just fine as long as your shop doesn’t freeze like mine does than they become a pain. The Shapton’s and DMT’s you just splash a little water on and they are ready to go. I prefer the edge I get from 8000 Shapton stones over diamond plates but that’s me as I don’t feel even the extra-extra fine DMT’s leave the surface as smooth as I would like.

I have used black Arkansas oil stones and I really like the edge those add and a bonus is not needing to oil your blades afterwards but I have not made the jump yet as I have a fair amount invested in the Shapton stones already.

I use guides when I am rough shaping and restoring edges but freehand hone to refresh edges.

If you already have a lot of sandpaper maybe you should focus on just a finsh/honing stone and continue using sandpaper for the rougher work? In which case I would suggest a water or ceramic 8000 grit stone or black oil stone and use the sandpaper in place of the diamond plates. I didn’t see where you said why you wanted to switch.

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Gerald Thompson

808 posts in 1697 days


#12 posted 12-31-2014 07:27 PM

Loren;
What is the Burns system?

-- Jerry

View bdresch's profile

bdresch

121 posts in 1070 days


#13 posted 12-31-2014 08:35 PM


If you already have a lot of sandpaper maybe you should focus on just a finsh/honing stone and continue using sandpaper for the rougher work? In which case I would suggest a water or ceramic 8000 grit stone or black oil stone and use the sandpaper in place of the diamond plates. I didn t see where you said why you wanted to switch.

- Richard Hillius

A couple reasons:
1: not happy with the sharpness going up to 2500 grit paper
2: setup with large granite plate and cache of paper takes up a lot of space and is heavy
3: long term cost of paper will be high

View Richard H's profile

Richard H

489 posts in 1143 days


#14 posted 12-31-2014 08:58 PM

If you already have a lot of sandpaper maybe you should focus on just a finsh/honing stone and continue using sandpaper for the rougher work? In which case I would suggest a water or ceramic 8000 grit stone or black oil stone and use the sandpaper in place of the diamond plates. I didn t see where you said why you wanted to switch.

- Richard Hillius

A couple reasons:
1: not happy with the sharpness going up to 2500 grit paper
2: setup with large granite plate and cache of paper takes up a lot of space and is heavy
3: long term cost of paper will be high

- bdresch

I never liked the results I got even with 4000 grit paper myself and always ended up spending a lot of time refining it on a strop. It sounds like you should focus on one or more around 4000 to 8000 grit stones be it traditional water/oil, ceramic or diamond and slowly work down in grits until you have everything you want covered and can completely do away with sandpaper. As I mentioned above even though I like diamond for rough work I have never gotten great results on the finer grit diamonds without stroping and I love the convenience of my shapton stones but I also really like the edge a oil stone can put on a blade even without stroping and water stones are a lot cheaper than ceramic and can give a great edge as well. A lot of people however swear by diamond even at the finer grits. It’s more a matter of finding out what works well for you I am afraid.

View Don W's profile

Don W

17960 posts in 2030 days


#15 posted 12-31-2014 10:28 PM

for plane irons I go from an 8” grinder, hollow grind to a hard Arkansas stone and i’m done. I’ve got a complete set of DMT’s but I don’t use them for sharpening. They will work well, I just like the ease of my system better.

I had water stones, but my shop is unheated, so I knew that was going to work.

-- Master hand plane hoarder. - http://timetestedtools.net

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