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Thread: Help Me Evolve My Sharpening: Scary Sharpish to Sharpton + Naniwa Snow White

  1. #1
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    Help Me Evolve My Sharpening: Scary Sharpish to Sharpton + Naniwa Snow White

    I am still new to woodworking and have been sharpening my few chisels and plane blades via a granite slab and various grits of Norton paper (400 - 100 grit) and Veritas MK II, followed by a leather strop with green compound. Clearly not the sharpest edges, but I've been able to get some arm-hair removed with them.

    After reading about the various methods available for sharpening I'm setting my sights on a Shapton Pro 1000 (~$37 Japan version) and then the jump to a Naniwa Snow White ($87 at ChefKnivesToGo). With a little Christmas money I pulled the trigger on the Snow White which just arrived yesterday.

    For now the Shapton Pro 1000 will have to wait for more funds. The plan is to do the equivalent sharpening stage on the granite + paper, as well as flattening the SW via the same method.

    Questions for you guys: What wet/dry paper grit is equivalent to ceramic 1000? What grit would you use to keep the Snow White flat?



    (Dumb autocorrect keeps overriding Shapton to Sharpton. Can't fix the thread title now )
    Last edited by Matt Bainton; 12-31-2015 at 12:04 PM. Reason: Autocorrect!

  2. #2
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    If you use the search box in the upper right hand corner, you should be able to find some threads on this. Try flattening and Naniwa or Shapton. Like most things sharpening I think you will find opinions vary. I do not own either of those stones.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Matt Bainton View Post
    I am still new to woodworking and have been sharpening my few chisels and plane blades via a granite slab and various grits of Norton paper (400 - 100 grit) and Veritas MK II, followed by a leather strop with green compound. Clearly not the sharpest edges, but I've been able to get some arm-hair removed with them.

    After reading about the various methods available for sharpening I'm setting my sights on a Shapton Pro 1000 (~$37 Japan version) and then the jump to a Naniwa Snow White ($87 at ChefKnivesToGo). With a little Christmas money I pulled the trigger on the Snow White which just arrived yesterday.

    For now the Shapton Pro 1000 will have to wait for more funds. The plan is to do the equivalent sharpening stage on the granite + paper, as well as flattening the SW via the same method.

    Questions for you guys: What wet/dry paper grit is equivalent to ceramic 1000? What grit would you use to keep the Snow White flat?

    (Dumb autocorrect keeps overriding Shapton to Sharpton. Can't fix the thread title now )
    I have both of those stones. The main reservation I have is that the Shapton Pro stones are best suited to high-carbon low-alloy steels, and slow down on more abrasion-resistant alloys like A2. What sorts of tools are you sharpening?

    The Shapton Pro 1K uses 14.7 micron abrasive particles, which would make it about 1000 grit on the FEPA scale that Norton uses for most of their papers. You should be able to "plug the gap" for the time being with some 1500-grit SiC paper.

    IIRC the Snow White is about 1.8 microns, which is actually on the high side for an "8K" stone (for comparison the Imanishi 8K uses 1.2 um particles, and the Sigma 10K is sub-micron).

    If I were budget constrained I'd look really hard at the $55 "Takeshi Kuroda 10K mystery stone special" from metalmaster. I recently got one more or less for kicks, and it's actually a very good resin-based polishing stone. It's unbeatable for the price. It sounds like you're locked into the Snow White though.

    EDIT: Buying grey-market Shaptons as you describe is a no brainer. Those stones aren't remotely worth what Shapton's distributor wants for them in the US.
    Last edited by Patrick Chase; 12-31-2015 at 8:55 PM.

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    You can get 3 or 6 flattenings out of the 100 grit wet-or-dry sandpaper on your granite plate for your 8k stone. I'd do it under running water, and just keep it on 1/3 of the paper each session. Just rinse the paper off when done, and set it aside to dry for next time. It won't work so good for a 1,000 grit stone when you get one. Paper will flatten a coarser stone, but it eats up paper too fast to be worth it, especially on one as hard as the Shapton. I did that when I first started with waterstones. I sharpen in a sink, and have a 9x12 granite surface plate in one side all the time with an Atoma 400 sheet on it these days for flattening. Since you are not in a hurry, it seems, check out the lineup at Tools from Japan. I usually have something on a slow boat coming this way from Stu there. It takes a while to get something, but the prices are very hard to beat. I'm currently enjoying Sigma stones (some Select II, and some Power), and like them a lot. Some of us are real Stone Ho's. The Snow White is a good stone, and as good as anything in the 8k range. It should serve you well for a Long time.
    Last edited by Tom M King; 01-01-2016 at 9:50 AM.

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    Patrick, I've got vintage Stanley plane blades and a 750 chisel, as well as a Lie Nielsen A2 chisel. I assume that in the future I will have some additional modern steel but at this point its too early to tell if it will be a majority or minority.

    I searched the SMC forums and found people using granite + wet/dry paper to level their waterstones – BUT then I found this post by Stu from Tools From Japan where he adamantly advises against using sandpaper on waterstones. Looks like I'll have to get a diamond stone for leveling?

  6. #6
    The 400 grit Atoma works beautifully for stone flattening.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Matt Bainton View Post
    Patrick, I've got vintage Stanley plane blades and a 750 chisel, as well as a Lie Nielsen A2 chisel. I assume that in the future I will have some additional modern steel but at this point its too early to tell if it will be a majority or minority.

    I searched the SMC forums and found people using granite + wet/dry paper to level their waterstones – BUT then I found this post by Stu from Tools From Japan where he adamantly advises against using sandpaper on waterstones. Looks like I'll have to get a diamond stone for leveling?
    The usual low budget option is loose silicon carbide grit on glass, either with or without a plastic laminating sheet to "hold" the grit. Stu himself recommends this approach for stones that are so coarse that they would destroy a diamond plate (and that's why he includes loose 36- and 120-grit SiC with every Sigma Power 120 he sells :-). You can literally get the stuff by the 10-pound bucket from Amazon, or you can pay several times as much per unit weight at woodworking suppliers. 90# powder will work fine for your 1K stone, and maybe 400# for the polisher.

    The Shapton Pro will be a little slow on the L-N A2 chisel, but in its sweet spot with the Stanley blades and the 750. I'd personally go with the Sigma Select II 1200 or the Sigma Power 1000 hard instead. They work better with hard steels and they're reasonably priced.

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    Patrick, thanks for the suggestion of the Sigma Select II and Power. One thing that I liked about the Shapton and Snow White is that they can be used as splash and go instead of soakers. Not sure if I would prefer convenience or the performance of the SS II.

    Curt, the Atoma 400 looks nice. Sad that its the price of a good stone when I had assumed I could use paper for that job. Guess I'll have to wait a bit to be able to flatten the Naniwa and use it.

    Also, Patrick, I've heard about the loose grit + metal or glass surface, but didn't know people really use it. I remember reading Derek and some Aussie guys experimenting with diamond pastes and then abandoning it. That was for sharpening though, so I suppose it works more practically for leveling stones???

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    The Atoma 400 is worth every penny. it will keep your stones flat with as little mess as possible and will keep doing it for a lifetime if you don't use it for metal as well. sand paper sucks for keeping stones flat, but to each his own...

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    Loose Silicone grit works very well for flattening stones, but it is also very messy. Very.

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    Kees, I guess it makes sense for me to go for a legit diamond leveling stone if I'm trying to keep the complication/mess down. I hadn't thought about that aspect of loose media.

    Is the Atoma 400 the best value/performance offering?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Matt Bainton View Post
    Patrick, thanks for the suggestion of the Sigma Select II and Power. One thing that I liked about the Shapton and Snow White is that they can be used as splash and go instead of soakers. Not sure if I would prefer convenience or the performance of the SS II.

    Curt, the Atoma 400 looks nice. Sad that its the price of a good stone when I had assumed I could use paper for that job. Guess I'll have to wait a bit to be able to flatten the Naniwa and use it.

    Also, Patrick, I've heard about the loose grit + metal or glass surface, but didn't know people really use it. I remember reading Derek and some Aussie guys experimenting with diamond pastes and then abandoning it. That was for sharpening though, so I suppose it works more practically for leveling stones???
    Everybody who owns really coarse grinding stones uses loose grit on glass. As noted above such stones can/will destroy diamond plates in short order, so there's really no alternative. I know plenty of people who are on a budget and use grit for everything, and it's not that much of a hassle. Also loose grit is the preferred (fastest, cheapest) approach for honing plane soles and the like.

    Diamond pastes aren't useful for stone flattening. For starters most of them are oil-based and would ruin your stones. The water-based ones (for example Norton's water based line) would be compatible, but are too fine to be very useful for the most part and also extremely expensive. Diamond pastes are useful if you're lapping something that's too hard or abrasion resistant for your stones (some HSS variants for example), if you're in a hurry (diamond paste is fast), or if you want to get to a super-fine grit. For example 0.25 um diamond corresponds to about #60000. There are also diamond lapping films, which are probably best thought of a disposable fine-grit plates. Don't use those to flatten stones either.

    Please keep in mind that some folks on this forum, including Derek, appear to have one or two of just about everything (and frankly I fall into this category as well). You probably shouldn't try to follow that example unless you have a bottomless wallet or want to go broke in short order. From where you appear to be right now there are probably a lot of better things to spend your money on than an Atoma plate. If you're really determined to go the diamond route then take a look at Stu's iWood plates as well (and if you do buy an Atoma get that from him, too - they're a lot cheaper that way).

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    Quote Originally Posted by Matt Bainton View Post
    Kees, I guess it makes sense for me to go for a legit diamond leveling stone if I'm trying to keep the complication/mess down. I hadn't thought about that aspect of loose media.

    Is the Atoma 400 the best value/performance offering?
    It's not THAT messy. Just use a big enough glass sheet that it doesn't slop over the sides (mine are 9x13x3/8), and wash it all down the sink when you're done. It's pretty straightforward.

    The Atoma 400 is hard to beat for flatness and performance. The iWood 300 is maybe 80% of the way there and a lot cheaper. The only diamond plate that I know of that beats it for flatness is the Shapton glass plate, but you REALLY don't want to go there (I did of course - I own both).
    Last edited by Patrick Chase; 01-02-2016 at 12:42 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Matt Bainton View Post
    Kees, I guess it makes sense for me to go for a legit diamond leveling stone if I'm trying to keep the complication/mess down. I hadn't thought about that aspect of loose media.

    Is the Atoma 400 the best value/performance offering?
    The Iwood 300 is not bad, and about half the price. but the Atoma is worth the extra IMO, I have both. the Atoma is aluminium and stainless steel, it's light and comfortable and doesn't rust. I can't say the same for the Iwood. basically if you have an Atoma your set for life for keeping stones flat. just don't use it on something harsh like a sigma 400, you'd need an Atoma 140 to handle that without hurting the plate, which is why I don't own that stone.

    as Kees pointed out, this is all largely a mess issue, I wouldn't worry too much about loose grit if your using good quality stuff but the sandpaper cost will add up over time.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Matthew N. Masail View Post
    The Iwood 300 is not bad, and about half the price. but the Atoma is worth the extra IMO, I have both. the Atoma is aluminium and stainless steel, it's light and comfortable and doesn't rust. I can't say the same for the Iwood. basically if you have an Atoma your set for life for keeping stones flat. just don't use it on something harsh like a sigma 400, you'd need an Atoma 140 to handle that without hurting the plate, which is why I don't own that stone.
    Funny story: Long ago I once stripped most of the diamonds off of a DMT DiaFlat (this is before I knew about the Atomas and thought that you *needed* a 10x4 plate to flatten 8x3 stones) by trying to flatten a Sigma Select II 240. That was a $180 learning experience, the moral of which was that there's something to be said for learning on cheap tools when you're a noob.

    The Sigma 400 and the Cerax 320 are the coarsest stones I'll flatten with the Atoma 140 (did I mention that I have one of those, too?). Everything more coarse than that (Shapton Pro 120, Sigma Power 120, Sigma Select II 240, Bester 220) gets the loose grit treatment.

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