Using Oil Stones Again, Water Stones Now Stowed Away
Ollie gave an excellent review of Norton Water Stones and I posted most of the comments below at that review. I think perhaps it was a bit out of place there and offer my apologies to Ollie.
I just wanted to present some of my experiences with water stones out in public in case there are others out there that are getting a bit disillusioned with using them. I’ll preface this with, “the vast majority of woodworkers will disagree with me and I certainly buck the current thought trend on sharpening”. Anyway, I thought I’d comment on why I’ve quit using mine and gone back to oil stones.
Water stones may sharpen a blade quicker than oil stones but I’ve found that amount of time to be almost imperceptible, good oil stones also sharpen rather quickly. I found that I spent almost as much time flattening the water stones as I did sharpening blades, I more than lost my time savings there. I bought a water stone flattening stone for the water stones but it also started to go out of flat after a few months of use. I just finished checking the flatness of my oil stones and after months of use, usually several times a week, they are still flat.
With water stones I also had to clean up the water mess, wipe down the sharpened blades, and oil them to prevent rust. I only wipe the excess oil off the blade with the oil stones. Water stones I had to soak to prepare for use and all I have to do with the oil stone is put on a bit of oil and it’s ready to go. I also sharpen freehand and found that once in a while I’d dig out a chunk of the water stone, this never happens with an oil stone. With oil stones while sharpening freehand I can tell I’m making desired even blade contact by the way the oil forms a bulge in front of the blade, water is not viscous enough to provide such a clear visual queue.
As I said, the majority of woodworkers, most of them more experienced than me, will disagree. But I wanted to throw a few thoughts out there for people to consider. I sincerely hope that whatever anyone uses to sharpen with that they are well served by it and satisfied. There are a number of good options out there and it’s just a matter of finding out what works well for you.
I’m curious if I’m correct in my belief that the vast majority out there are using water stones to sharpen with. What are the various members using to sharpen with.
What sharpening system are you using and what is your level of satisfaction with it?
-- There's no such thing as mistakes, just design changes.