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Why can't I use water on oil stones and vise verse?

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Forum topic by Sanderguy777 posted 03-18-2015 09:23 AM 2799 views 0 times favorited 20 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Sanderguy777

158 posts in 662 days


03-18-2015 09:23 AM

Topic tags/keywords: question carving tool blade carving sharpening

I have a water stone and an oil stone. I know that I can’t use oil on the water stone but can I on the oil stone?

My other question is, If I don’t have oil for the oil stone, what else works?

The oil stone I have is super cheap and it absorbs oil like a sponge in a forge; are oil stones like water stones where I have to soak them in oil before I use them?

Thanks


20 replies so far

View rwe2156's profile

rwe2156

2187 posts in 940 days


#1 posted 03-18-2015 11:36 AM

First of all, what are you sharpening? You have to use the correct stone for the job.

Like most things, you get what you pay for so a cheap stone may not may not be flat. If you’re sharpening woodworking tools with flat backs and edges like chisels and plane irons, then the stone needs to be dead flat.

As to your question, the purpose of oil or water is simply to float the metal particles away so they don’t clog the pores of the stone.

Light mineral oil will work fine on an oil stone. You don’t have to use oil, though. I routinely use soapy water on an oil stone. It works just fine. You don’t soak oilstones.

You don’t have to soak waterstones, but I think they perform better if kept in a stone pond. Water stones also need to be flattened with every use. Cheapest way is simply some 100 grit sandpaper on a flat surface like thick glass or a granite tile.

-- Everything is a prototype thats why its one of a kind!!

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Sanderguy777

158 posts in 662 days


#2 posted 03-18-2015 06:28 PM

I’m sharpening chisels, plane irons and a knife or two with the water stone. I only use the oil stone if I don’t care about the tool or I need to get rid of a lot of metal.

The only reason I have the oil stone is because it came with the sharpening jig… “It might be cheap if…it comes in a package deal with a $10 jig…. (I knew it was cheap before I bought it. I ‘m pretty satisfied with the performance.)

I knew I had heard something about soapy water but I couldn’t remember what type of stone it was used on.

I wish I had spent the money on a diamond stone so I didn’t have to flatten it all the time…. If I ever buy another stone it’ll be a good diamond stone. Although, I can just about get a used Tormek for the same price…..

What about using oil on the water stone? I understand that it will ruin it if I’m going to try to use water afterwards, but what if I just wanted to use it as an oil stone?

View ColonelTravis's profile

ColonelTravis

1189 posts in 1354 days


#3 posted 03-18-2015 06:42 PM

DO NOT use oil on a waterstone unless you want a new paperweight.

View unbob's profile

unbob

718 posts in 1363 days


#4 posted 03-18-2015 09:35 PM

The man made oil stones can be used as a water stone, if it was never used with oil. If used with oil, the oil will never get out of it, and water will bead up on it.
Often an old oil stone will be clogged up, most likely from using automotive oil that has waxy additives over a period of time. Then, the stone can be scrubbed in hot soapy water….that can take awhile.
Like everything, there are better quality oil stones and there are not so good.

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Tim

3110 posts in 1421 days


#5 posted 03-19-2015 12:02 AM

I’ve heard soaking in kerosene can also clean up an old clogged oil stone. Haven’t tried it, but I do have one that could use it.

Sanderguy you can get 3” x 8” Eze lap plates for around $50 each, though they have been going up a bit. I can’t imagine you can get a used Tormek for that.

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Sanderguy777

158 posts in 662 days


#6 posted 03-19-2015 12:12 AM

OK. I still have two questions though.

First, why does oil ruin a water stone? I understand that it would, if I used water afterwards, but why not at all?

Second, is there something other than water that I CAN use on the stone? That won’t rust, etc.

The reason I ask is this: I just don’t get why, when half the problems with hand tools involve water (especially here in the tropics), why anyone wants to use water on the blade of a tool. OK maybe in the dark ages when they only had water stones, but not today when we have every kind of sharpener known to man. (I do still want a Tormek though, so I probably shouldn’t talk my self out of it before I even get the money for one….)

I can get a Tormek for about 200 on craigslist ( though maybe not after a few people see this post …) It might be a grizzly but I think it was an actual Tormek. It was the basic T3 or maybe a model or two older.

Thanks

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Mykos

102 posts in 1254 days


#7 posted 03-19-2015 12:17 AM

The binding agent that holds water stones together works with water and not oil.

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Sanderguy777

158 posts in 662 days


#8 posted 03-19-2015 12:24 AM

Thanks Mykos. That makes sense.

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CharlesA

3018 posts in 1257 days


#9 posted 03-19-2015 01:09 AM

Someone will correct me if I’m wrong, but I believe that in western woodworking, the oil stone is the more traditional, and water stones have come on more recently.

-- "Man is the only animal which devours his own, for I can apply no milder term to the general prey of the rich on the poor." ~Thomas Jefferson

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Sanderguy777

158 posts in 662 days


#10 posted 03-19-2015 10:47 AM

I didn’t know that but even so, I still would think that people would have started to use other things to sharpen with.

I did use the water stone the other day for a chisel. I guess what I’ll do is use it till it dies and then either get a diamond stone or a Tormek or maybe just another water stone…. My problem is that I have to be careful not to use up my limited supply of mineral oil just oiling blades since I have to ship it in from the States. Not to mention that the bottle cost 1/3rd the cost of the stone…..

I used engine oil on the oil stone ( no idea the weight, though it seems like it would be like a syrup in a 60 degree room.) If I put a little mineral spirits in it would it hurt anything? I just ask cause I think it would work better if I had thinner oil.

View rwe2156's profile

rwe2156

2187 posts in 940 days


#11 posted 03-19-2015 11:21 AM

The reason water stones have superseded oil stones is they sharpen more rapidly.

I wouldn’t use motor oil on a stone. I don’t know if you can mix it. Mineral spirits even by itself might even work. If you have trouble getting honing oil then a water or diamond stone is your best option.

Some people also use sandpaper on a thick glass plate or granite tile.

I use diamond plates to flatten and do the initial honing up to 1250 grit, then progress to a 4000 and 8000 waterstone.

Then I liberally apply WD40 do disperse the water and prevent rusting.

-- Everything is a prototype thats why its one of a kind!!

View kaerlighedsbamsen's profile

kaerlighedsbamsen

1177 posts in 1173 days


#12 posted 03-19-2015 11:27 AM

Kerosene or even diesel oil works on oilstones and makes them cut well.

-- "Do or Do not. There is no try." - Yoda

View Tim's profile

Tim

3110 posts in 1421 days


#13 posted 03-19-2015 02:16 PM



The reason I ask is this: I just don t get why, when half the problems with hand tools involve water (especially here in the tropics), why anyone wants to use water on the blade of a tool. OK maybe in the dark ages when they only had water stones, but not today when we have every kind of sharpener known to man. (I do still want a Tormek though, so I probably shouldn t talk my self out of it before I even get the money for one….)
- Sanderguy777

Water is a problem for tools only over time. They don’t rust instantly unless you have some acid or other catalyst involved. If you use pure water all you need to do is dry them off and oil them and you won’t have a rust problem from using the water for sharpening. If you’re really concerned about it you can use WD-40 for it’s actual intended purpose of displacing water off the tool and then wiping it down and oiling it, but that’s so far beyond overkill. Again, just dry them, wipe with oil and you’re fine. If you have more rust problems you may need to do other things, but it doesn’t have anything to do with the water used for sharpening.

View unbob's profile

unbob

718 posts in 1363 days


#14 posted 03-19-2015 05:08 PM

I recently found some old waterstones in different shapes. Some of these stones are super fine grit.
A bit of a problem happens with finer grit oilstones, the tool will tend to skate on the oil, if working without a hone guide, its harder “for me” to feel the edge.
I think my hardest tool to sharpen is a Witherby draw knife that has a double curve. The waterstones cut more freely and have “the feel” making getting that difficult edge sharp much easier.
I am new to waterstones, and like them a lot.

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Sanderguy777

158 posts in 662 days


#15 posted 03-19-2015 06:38 PM

Tim I do have a catalyst involved…the tropics. I have sharpened chisels with water as the cooling agent and had the chisel starting to rust before I was even done sharpening it. It has not happened when I use the water stone, though. I understand that it won’t rust instantly but if it only takes 30 minutes to rust….. I take that long to sharpen a blade from grinding to final oiling.

I have been using mineral oil, is that OK or should I use wd-40 or silicone spray? I can get silicone spray and wd40 here so they are better if I can use them.

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