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Thread: Diamond sharpening stone

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2015
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    San Francisco, CA
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    Diamond sharpening stone

    So at the risk of starting another long debate about sharpening, I'm taking the plunge and buying a DMT extra coarse diamond sharpening stone. I've worn my Norton 220 grit waterstone to almost wafer thin and frankly am tired of the mess and maintenance of waterstones. I found myself spending more time lapping the darn things and cleaning up afterwards than actual sharpening and putting the sharpened tools to work. If I ever wear out my other three waterstones (likely only the 1000 grit) I'll replace them with the equivalent diamond stone.

  2. #2
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    Sep 2007
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    Stephen, After wearing out my low grit water stones my choice was to use abrasive sheets for the coarse work. In the past many more blades came through my shop that needed major work which quickly wore down my 250 & 800 grit water stones.

    These days not as many bad blades come home with me. When one does convince me to bring it home, sandpaper is more than adequate to get them headed down the road of recovery.

    Diamond stones will also wear with use. My coarsest diamond stone barely seems to abrade steel these days.

    Diamond stones do not seem as effective to me for the finer sharpening needs, though many find them to be adequate for their needs.

    My solution to "cleaning up the mess" of water stones is to have a small dedicated area with an automotive floor mat under the stones to hold them in place and to keep the water contained.

    Since my shop is sometimes below freezing in the winter there is another area set up for oilstones. They are less messy than water stones, but can have moments of oil getting where it isn't wanted.

    My diamond stone use is mostly in the kitchen. A fine diamond stone is used for quick touch ups on knives between trips to the shop. Usually if a tomato is not yielding to an edge a few quick swipes on a diamond stone brings it back to slicing through a tomato with little effort.

    Tomato slicing is my preferred test for kitchen knives.

    jtk
    Last edited by Jim Koepke; 09-24-2019 at 4:34 PM.
    "A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty."
    - Sir Winston Churchill (1874-1965)

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2015
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    Virginia
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    I have been really pleased with my medium India stone. It is not super coarse but removes material pretty quickly.

    I had a 220 norton and spent more time flattening it than I did using it.

  4. #4
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    Dickinson, Texas
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  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2015
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    SE Michigan
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    I use diamond and ceramic for the most part. I just tossed my extra coarse after a number of vintage blade rehabs. It seemed to wear down quickly from that sort of use. For rehab, or aggressive back flattening, etc., sandpaper seems to work most efficiently.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Location
    Lake Gaston, Henrico, NC
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    I have one of those. It cut real fast, when it was new, but has slowed down a lot. It also developed an aneurysm about an inch and a half from one end, which means I can't use the whole face.

    I solved the mess problem with waterstones with a dedicated sharpening sink. It has the sink in one end, and a 92" total length mainly drainboard. It has two faucets on it, with the center one a double swivel spout that will catch the whole drainboard that gets used for sharpening, or fill a bucket off the front. It has no trap, since it doesn't drain anywhere but through the wall into an Azalea bush, so no sewer gases to worry about, or drain to clog. If I'm not using running water on water stones, I'm using oil stones.

    That diamond plate only gets used for rough shaping when the CBN grinder is not handy.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Columbus, Ohio, USA
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    For serious work, I usually use sand paper or a powered solution (Tormek or slow sharpener with an appropriate wheel). I think that the truth is that if I need serious work, the diamond was too slow. If it is less serious work, I am probably using my Tormek. I wanted to explicitly state that because you might want to be using a course diamond stone to reset a bevel that is already pretty close (if you know what I mean).

    I use my course diamond stone to flatten my water stones.

    When I use a diamond stone to sharpen, I still am putting down fluid of some sort, so I don't find it that much less messy than a water stone... but when I am using a water stone I am already using a pretty fine stone.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2019
    Location
    Phoenix AZ
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    Very interesting... I have always used sandpaper for my limited sharpening needs and have been thinking about switching to diamond. The high cost has kept me from switching so far, but hearing that they wear down has really got me thinking I should just stay with paper.

    I had no idea they wear down that much. How much sharpening do you guys do before you notice the wear?
    “Pay no attention to what you cannot control..” Epictetus, 100 A.D.
    It costs nothing to be kind to others

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Location
    Boulder, CO
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    I have the dialap DMT super X coarse and it works as advertised (the big one)

    For just getting a blade back flat fast, I've had good luck with a steel plate from McMaster + 40u diamond paste. It cuts faster than the DMT and also doesn't need flattening (at least so far). Mess wise, it's way neater than waterstones, but slightly more messy than the DMT dialap. The plate is the precision cut mild steel in 12" x 4" configuration. I use the water soluble paste in 40u and then lube the stone with 3in1 oil.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Putney, Vermont
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    I have found the flat harbor freight, fine,coarse, and medium diamond plates that are about 2'x6' in size work well, for rough flattening of plane blades and chisels for the first flattening.
    Then follow up with medium india and my arkansas stones.
    The harbor freight diamond plates were only about 10.00 for the set at the time, and I have done quite a few flattenings with them.

  11. #11
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    Mar 2015
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    SE Michigan
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    Mark, I wouldn’t necessarily have our comments move you away from considering diamond stones. They last a long time when used for general touch up. It’s when you get into frequent major metal removal i.e. bevel changes, aggressive back flattening, and old edge tool rehab where they can really wear down quickly.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Mar 2015
    Location
    Virginia
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    I remember George Wilson posting something about using diamonds to flatten ceramic stones, and that it would ruin the diamond. He used them under running water to avoid that if I recall correctly. I wonder if the folks with worn out diamonds are using them dry, or with some type of cutting fluid, and if that makes a difference.

    I do not have any diamond stones, so this is really just a question.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jan 2018
    Location
    Vancouver Canada
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    191
    Stephen, I have 3 diamond DMT stones (Fine, Extra Fine and Extra Extra Fine), and I follow it up with green honing compound on a piece of Plywood.
    I've also found the plates take longer and longer to get the blades sharp.
    Once I can afford it, I may try some paste or ceramic stones.
    Shana Tova and all the best for the family
    Young enough to remember doing it;
    Old enough to wish I could do it again.

  14. #14
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    Apr 2019
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    Phoenix AZ
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    Quote Originally Posted by Phil Mueller View Post
    Mark, I wouldn’t necessarily have our comments move you away from considering diamond stones. They last a long time when used for general touch up. It’s when you get into frequent major metal removal i.e. bevel changes, aggressive back flattening, and old edge tool rehab where they can really wear down quickly.
    Thanks Phil- I just have a set of bench chisels and a couple irons for a block plane that I need to keep sharp. Don’t need to regrind bevel angles or anything heavy duty.

    Ive been using wet/dry paper used for auto body work and it works great but the paper tears easily and doesn’t last too long so I thought diamond would be a good step up.

    Im just not sure what grit diamond to use as they don’t seem to correspond well with paper. Have been thinking about coarse/ fine or coarse/ extra fine so I only need to buy one plate.

    Any suggestions from the experts?
    Last edited by Mark Daily; 09-26-2019 at 4:26 PM.
    “Pay no attention to what you cannot control..” Epictetus, 100 A.D.
    It costs nothing to be kind to others

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Mar 2015
    Location
    SE Michigan
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    I’m by no means an expert, but I have course, medium and fine diamond plates and an extra fine ceramic. For regular maintenance, I typically go medium/fine diamond then ceramic extra fine. If something starts to dull during use, I may just go a few swipes on a strop with green compound.

    My reasoning behind the whole simple set up is that I don’t have a sink in my basement shop, and just found the whole water stone thing a huge mess. Went with diamond/ceramic about 3 years ago and it works well for me. I use a diluted window washing solution for the stones and wipe them off with a rag.

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