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Thread: Flattening Waterstones... I think I like this Norton Thingie

  1. #1
    Join Date
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    Flattening Waterstones... I think I like this Norton Thingie

    All the articles I recall reading and the guides from Veritas and Lie-Neilson suggest using a diamond grit plate (or glass plate and sandpaper, or granite block and sandpaper). Can't say I recall reading anywhere about this, but I bought one when I was out of town visiting family and needed to flatten a combo waterstone I had left with my folks years before. (The state of the kitchen knives' cutting edges was not pretty).

    I ordered this thing (from a popular 2 day shipping online merchant)... https://www.nortonabrasives.com/en-u...attening-stone

    It worked so fast, I ordered one for myself back home and have not touched my DMT diamond lapping/flattening plate since.

    Anyone else use this? What do you prefer?

  2. #2
    That Norton flattening stone has some serious problems. Your working stones tend to dish in the center so when you "flatten" them on the Norton stone the Norton stone tends to become convex. To make the Norton stone work you have to keep flattening it. And to do that you need something like a diamond plate (I use the DMT diamond plates). If you don't flatten your Norton stone, you'll eventually be putting a concave surface on your working stones.

    But if you have the diamond plate, you had just as well flatten your working stones on it.

    Yes, I bought one of those Norton "flattening" stones a while back so I'm relating my actual experiences with it.

    I did keep it and use it as a very coarse stone for tools that are badly damaged. But for flattening working stones? No.

    Mike
    Go into the world and do well. But more importantly, go into the world and do good.

  3. #3
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    Here’s the hot ticket.
    A Shapton lapping disk. Then use the diamond plate to keep the flatness.
    This is what it looks like.
    Same principle as the Norton and one has to be careful not to dish out the softer stones. Like Mike mentions.
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Last edited by Andrew Hughes; 06-30-2019 at 11:20 PM.
    Aj

  4. #4
    At the very least, Norton should tell people that the "flattening" stone has to be flattened occasionally in order to work properly. Too many people purchase it and then, after using it for a while, wonder why their working stones are not getting flat.

    Mike
    Go into the world and do well. But more importantly, go into the world and do good.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Henderson View Post
    That Norton flattening stone has some serious problems. Your working stones tend to dish in the center so when you "flatten" them
    Hmmm... well, that is disappointing. I do have the DMT plate, and used to use it, but after a few times where the higher grit stones became suction stuck to it I became a bit disenchanted. I love how quick the Norton thingie works, and never any sticky stones.

    Now, I do tend to use a circular motion when I flatten with it, so maybe that is why I'm not seeing the convex edge you mentioned. (That or I've just not used it enough).

    I guess I'll just have to remember to true it up every now and again on the DMT plate.

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by Erich Weidner View Post
    I do have the DMT plate, and used to use it, but after a few times where the higher grit stones became suction stuck to it I became a bit disenchanted. I love how quick the Norton thingie works, and never any sticky stones.
    Try adding a small amount of dishwashing soap (such as Dawn) to your water when you flatten higher grit stones on the diamond plate. The soap won't hurt the stone and some people report that it eliminates or greatly reduces the sticking. Some people call it stiction.

    Mike

    [When you rub two surfaces together with a grit between them, the two surfaces conform. That does not mean they conform to two flat surfaces - it's much more likely that they conform to one convex and one concave. There's a process where you can use three surfaces in a certain order and get a flat surface. They teach machinist how to do it but I don't know the sequence. But if you're using only two surfaces, you'll most likely wind up with one convex and one concave.
    For hand grinding small telescope mirrors (up to about 8 inches), the process is to use two pieces of glass with a grit between them. The top glass becomes concave and the bottom convex. The top glass is used for a mirror in a reflector telescope. Edmund Scientific used to sell kits to grind your own mirror for a telescope. Today, mirrors of that size are cheap so no one grinds their own any more.]

    [Update: Well, it looks like they still sell those mirror making kits. See here for one example. I made a 6 inch mirror back in the 70's.]
    Last edited by Mike Henderson; 07-01-2019 at 12:06 AM.
    Go into the world and do well. But more importantly, go into the world and do good.

  7. #7
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    That Norton stone flattener does the opposite of its job description. It cuts fast, and will take off your pencil grid and any marks on your water stones every time leaving the illusion that your stones are flat. Like Mike says, two surfaces conform, but not necessarily to two flat surfaces. I still kept mine for gross stone repairs for random very dished stones I find or shaping stones for other stuff. That lapping stone is what I would consider a diamond stone killer. Also a waste of time to try and flatten it with sandpaper; not to mention it's a waste of sandpaper. It also deposits it's own grit every time you use it, so you might as well be lapping your stones with coarse cheap sandpaper in the first place. I don't normally hate on products but I've detested this thing since I bought one 8 years ago.

  8. #8
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    So the DMT becomes the reference to keep the faster Norton flat? Straightedge to verify results?

    This is how I use my coarse ATOMA, too.

  9. #9
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    I too had one of those Norton flattening stones, and I was so disappointed in it for the reasons already mentioned that I threw it away. I would have been ashamed to have even given it away to someone.

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by Erich Weidner View Post
    Anyone else use this? What do you prefer?
    I have been using the same stone for years and have found no reason to use anything else.
    “Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness..." - Mark Twain

    Diapers and Politicians need to be changed often... Usually for the same reason.

  11. #11
    Even tho its a bit flawed, the Norton stone is a useful tool.

    I use 80 grit on a flat surface a few strokes and your done.

    I don't like using a diamond plate to flatten water stones for the reasons you mentioned.

  12. #12
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    I have read that a concrete building block can be used to flatten the Norton stone. Anyone have any experience with this?
    Life's too short to use old sandpaper.

  13. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Glenn View Post
    I have read that a concrete building block can be used to flatten the Norton stone. Anyone have any experience with this?
    I've never used a concrete building block for flattening stones but it would seem that this approach would suffer the same problems. If you can flatten the Norton stone on a building clock, you could use it for flattening your working stones. Since the Norton stone normally wears to a convex shape, if you keep using the same building block it will wear it to a concave shape so you'd have to replace the building block on some regular basis. And store the block between uses.

    I think a much better approach - which I use - is to use a diamond plate to flatten your working stones. It's much smaller and it keeps its shape.

    Also, if you had some perfect reference to flatten your Norton stone, the Norton stone will have some error in its shape. You just can't transfer a surface perfectly. Then when you use the Norton stone to flatten your working stone you introduce a bit more error. You're much better off to use the reference to flatten your working stones. And, of course, when you use your working stone to sharpen, some additional error is introduced into the edge of the tool.

    Now, your working stones don't have to be perfect, and neither does the shape of the edge of your tool. As long as the error is small everything works fine. But eventually, the error caused by the shape of the Norton stone starts to get too large and your tool edge is way out of shape.

    Mike
    Go into the world and do well. But more importantly, go into the world and do good.

  14. #14
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    May 2019
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    White Lake, Michigan
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    Quote Originally Posted by Erich Weidner View Post
    All the articles I recall reading and the guides from Veritas and Lie-Neilson suggest using a diamond grit plate (or glass plate and sandpaper, or granite block and sandpaper). Can't say I recall reading anywhere about this, but I bought one when I was out of town visiting family and needed to flatten a combo waterstone I had left with my folks years before. (The state of the kitchen knives' cutting edges was not pretty).

    I ordered this thing (from a popular 2 day shipping online merchant)... https://www.nortonabrasives.com/en-u...attening-stone

    It worked so fast, I ordered one for myself back home and have not touched my DMT diamond lapping/flattening plate since.

    Anyone else use this? What do you prefer?
    My experience with that flattening stone is that it's about as useful as an ashtray on a motorcycle.

    Throw it away and get a diamond lapping plate.

    - David

  15. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Henderson View Post
    That Norton flattening stone has some serious problems. Your working stones tend to dish in the center so when you "flatten" them on the Norton stone the Norton stone tends to become convex. To make the Norton stone work you have to keep flattening it. And to do that you need something like a diamond plate (I use the DMT diamond plates). If you don't flatten your Norton stone, you'll eventually be putting a concave surface on your working stones.

    But if you have the diamond plate, you had just as well flatten your working stones on it.

    Yes, I bought one of those Norton "flattening" stones a while back so I'm relating my actual experiences with it.

    I did keep it and use it as a very coarse stone for tools that are badly damaged. But for flattening working stones? No.
    I used to use diamond plates for flattening stones. Now I use one of these:

    https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1

    It's easier to clean, and it's cheaper to replace (the diamonds wear out.) I flatten in a circular motion under running water, until the pencil marks are removed. It helps to do it often. I check for flatness pretty regularly. If I ever noticed it going out of spec, I'd replace it, it's only twenty bucks or so. I haven't needed any more precision than that.

    It's too hard to manhandle a surface plate into the sink to wash off the swarf thoroughly, I'm getting old.

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