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Thread: Flattening waterstones

  1. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Jones 5443 View Post
    I'm guessing this topic has been visited and revisited over and over on SMC, but I'm still new here so I'll ask my question anyway.

    I flatten my Norton and King waterstones on wet/dry 220 grit sandpaper on a granite surface plate. Now that I'm sharpening much more regularly, I'm going through sandpaper sheets at a noticeable pace. I'd always heard that in the long run sandpaper is more expensive than other methods, but that was less relevant when I was sharpening less frequently.

    I did hear on this site that folks discouraged me from looking into the Norton flattening stone, so my plan is to continue with the wet/dry paper (plus, I already have the surface plate). The five-sheet packs are 7 or 8 dollars, though. I want to choose one brand and buy the largest pack I can find (probably 100 sheets), so I don't want to get stuck with something that doesn't work well.

    Who can help me make sense of the variables here? It looks like silicon carbide may be better at this grit than aluminum oxide. Agree? This is just for the waterstones. For me the other attributes that matter are: easy to reuse, gets flat again the next time on the plate, lasts through several flattenings, doesn't slide on the plate, and resists bunching up. Finally, I'd like to get the price down below $1 a sheet.

    Any other wisdom is welcome, even the contrarian view on the sandpaper method.
    I buy my sandpaper from an industry wholesaler, I buy 50 to 100 in a sleeve and the price is very reasonable compared to retail. I'm sure that you can do this too. I flatten my stones on 320 grit over granite. And often I'll flatten my finer stones on my freshly flattened 800 grit saving the sandpaper.

  2. #17
    Forgive me but I can't help myself. I always find flattening waterstone threads amusing. The easiest and cheapest way around the flat waterstone problem is to use Arkansas stones. Full discloser, I have and on occasion use waterstones but 90% of my sharpening is on either oil stones or JNats, neither of which, if used properly, need much flattening. Just to add, at least on the cutters I use, are as fast if not faster than waterstones if you include the waterstone monkey motion.

    ken

  3. #18
    Quote Originally Posted by ken hatch View Post
    Forgive me but I can't help myself. I always find flattening waterstone threads amusing. The easiest and cheapest way around the flat waterstone problem is to use Arkansas stones. Full discloser, I have and on occasion use waterstones but 90% of my sharpening is on either oil stones or JNats, neither of which, if used properly, need much flattening. Just to add, at least on the cutters I use, are as fast if not faster than waterstones if you include the waterstone monkey motion.

    ken
    I haven't found Arkansas stones to be cheap! I do use Arkansas slip stones with my carving tools for the reasons that you state. Well except for the cheap part!

  4. #19
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    Read this:

    http://www.sawmillcreek.org/showthread.php?175329-How-do-you-flatten-Japanese-Water-Stones&highlight=atoma+1200


    Pay special attention to this particular post in the thread:

    https://sawmillcreek.org/showthread....93#post1803493

    Bottom line, for most water stones, do not use sand paper. If you purchase a diamond stone, get one that is larger than your stone if you can, it is less likely that you will take it out of shape if you do that. I tried to flatten a really really touch stone with a smaller diamond plate, and it was not effective.




  5. #20
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    Andrew, thank you for this informative reference. I knew the topic must have been featured on these pages.

    Well, Stu Tierney certainly has developed a position on this. However, I did see, imbedded in his narrative, a disclaimer about Norton and King waterstones somehow avoiding the calamity he predicts from using the sandpaper method.

    After I carefully run the 1000 King or 8000 Norton stone over its own region of a 220-grit paper sheet, I rinse the stone and rinse the sheet. As I rinse the stone I can feel its surface, and I do not notice any foreign grit lingering on it. I usually reuse the sheet about three times before discarding it, and through those reuses the faint color remaining after the rinsing shows me where the 1000 goes and where the 8000 goes.

    Old habits die hard, and when established experts do recommend wet/dry paper, and since I've used the method in the shop of one of those experts, as well as on my own for over a decade, I think I'm going to continue to pour my money down the wet/dry paper drain for the foreseeable future. Wish me luck.

  6. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Jones 5443 View Post
    Andrew, thank you for this informative reference. I knew the topic must have been featured on these pages.

    Well, Stu Tierney certainly has developed a position on this. However, I did see, imbedded in his narrative, a disclaimer about Norton and King waterstones somehow avoiding the calamity he predicts from using the sandpaper method.

    After I carefully run the 1000 King or 8000 Norton stone over its own region of a 220-grit paper sheet, I rinse the stone and rinse the sheet. As I rinse the stone I can feel its surface, and I do not notice any foreign grit lingering on it. I usually reuse the sheet about three times before discarding it, and through those reuses the faint color remaining after the rinsing shows me where the 1000 goes and where the 8000 goes.

    Old habits die hard, and when established experts do recommend wet/dry paper, and since I've used the method in the shop of one of those experts, as well as on my own for over a decade, I think I'm going to continue to pour my money down the wet/dry paper drain for the foreseeable future. Wish me luck.
    I expect that problems using sandpaper are the exception not the rule, but the advise was repeated by three different water stone manufacturers. I do own numerous diamond stones, so it is mute for me. I probably used sandpaper on my two Bester stones and one of my Shapton stones many years back before I owned a diamond stone. As Stu noted, he was initially confused as to why it might matter. It is probably more important that you understand the why so that you can make your own decision and it allows you to look for signs that you might have a problem. I expect that any of the mentioned problems should be curable with a diamond stone so I am not entirely certain what the big deal is provided you recognize the problem. I also expect if you are able to identify the problem, you can easily fix it by buying a diamond stone or, gasp, even rubbing it on your driveway or sidewalk (with water).

    I thought he was pretty clear as to why some waterstones are expected to not have the problem and others might. Not having the problem was directly related to the binder. There is no "you will have a problem" unless it is in the context of statistically speaking, it is highly likely that you eventually will if you do it often enough. I that Shapton stones have a hard binder. My Bester stones are listed as "super ceramic", whatever that means.

    As for established experts, are they established with respect to woodworking skill, or the science related to the stones? I have been given a lot of wrong (or bad) information by experts. In my case, it is usually "that cannot be done", which is very different than your experts who are problem saying "I have been doing this for years". I had a professional sharpener tell me that it is not possible to sharpen a certain type of steel on an Arkansas stone.... I had no experience at that point other than having just purchased some, so I did some research. Oddly, the literature that I searched suggested otherwise. Later, I took the steel that I was told was not possible to sharpen on my Arkansas stones and I raised a bur. I now routinely sharpen it on my Arkansas stones. Note that for bigger jobs, I will turn to diamonds and also that not all Arkansas stones are equally good at cutting. I have not yet tried to sharpen S35VN or even PM-V11. I have seen suggestions that S35VN likes to be sharpened on diamonds because of the surface that it leaves.

    In the unlikely event you are ever in the middle of Ohio, stop in and you can try some of my stones (natural and otherwise) and then we can eat some food.

  7. #22
    What utter nonsense. Abrasive attached to paper won't work but abrasive either in a binder or dry will? BS and BS big time. I've used sandpaper to flatten water stones for over 20 years with no ill effect. I've also used lapping compound and it ain't magic, it's basically loose abrasive particles. I'll use lapping compound for lapping, say fresh valves to fresh cut valve seats in an engine, why on earth would I need it to lap a water stone? Sorry but this is complete nonsense. And when you pour these abrasive particles on your reference surface and start to lap the stone what do you think is happening to your reference surface? You're abraiding it!

  8. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chris Fournier View Post
    What utter nonsense. Abrasive attached to paper won't work but abrasive either in a binder or dry will? BS and BS big time. I've used sandpaper to flatten water stones for over 20 years with no ill effect. I've also used lapping compound and it ain't magic, it's basically loose abrasive particles. I'll use lapping compound for lapping, say fresh valves to fresh cut valve seats in an engine, why on earth would I need it to lap a water stone? Sorry but this is complete nonsense. And when you pour these abrasive particles on your reference surface and start to lap the stone what do you think is happening to your reference surface? You're abraiding it!
    No one said it would not work... As will flattening on concrete

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