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Thread: Sharpening

  1. #1
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    Sharpening

    Iím looking for an alternative to water stones as Iím tired of the mess and the constant flattening. What do people recommend? I was thinking diamond stones but they are very expensive. Are glass or ceramic stones better then water stones? Iíve seen that they are much cheaper than diamond stones but donít know if they are less work than water. Thank you!

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by Adam Herd View Post
    I’m looking for an alternative to water stones as I’m tired of the mess and the constant flattening. What do people recommend? I was thinking diamond stones but they are very expensive. Are glass or ceramic stones better then water stones? I’ve seen that they are much cheaper than diamond stones but don’t know if they are less work than water. Thank you!
    Oil stones & free-hand.

    Least expensive new stones is to go with a fine India stone (they wear in a bit and after a while the scratch pattern looks about like what an 800 or 1000 grit water stone leaves) : https://smile.amazon.com/Norton-6146...4463962&sr=8-2 ($22 at the time of posting)


    Baby-oil + kerosene about 50:50 as the honing oil.

    I use the leather wheel of a Tormek as my power strop so most of the time I don't bother using my other finer stones. Just spend an extra 10 seconds with the strop. If I'm not near the Tormek, I have a strop made from 2 layers of 3/4" MDF with butt-leather glued to one side. Charged with Autosol. Using that it takes maybe 20 or 30 strokes with firm pressure and for me the blade is ready to go.

    Works just fine with O1 and A2 steels. I have some chisels of older vintage "cast" steel and it seems fine and a few that I think are D2 and those also sharpen just fine. Just takes a few extra strokes or a few extra seconds of stropping with the harder stuff.

    I do have Washita, soft and hard Arkansas stones but if I'm near the power strop, I generally don't get them out.

    Always try re-stropping first before returning to the stones.
    Don't sweat the petty things and don't pet the sweaty things.

  3. #3
    This is pretty well plowed ground if you do some searching.

    Ceramics (for example Spyderco but I'm guessing there are others) would check your "no flattening' and "no mess" boxes but you will probably be spending well north of $50/stone and you will want/need several. Assuming you don't drop them onto a concrete floor, they will last you a very long time so your up front investment can be amortized over a fairly long service life. You do need to do a little research though. Some stones marketed as ceramics have ceramic abrasives that work well on tough steels but they are really a water stone variant so they have the flattening and mess issues that you are trying to avoid.

    There are a lot of different ways to get to the sharp edges you desire. My suggestion is stick with one system until you get there and then review your gear and approach and see if there are gains to be had. if you start looking before you master what you have, you will quite easily find yourself in a "grass is always greener" situation and find yourself spending $$ on tools/supplies that you might not ever master before the next great sharpening solution comes around.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
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    Columbus, Ohio, USA
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    I like the Shapton stones, which, although they are water stones, they are no soak water stones. I put down a silicone place mat, spritz them with water, and I can then move on. Still do need to flatten them sometimes, but they stay pretty flat. I do not want to soak my stones.

    I like my Arkansas stones, hardly ever need flattening; I have never flattened one. I prefer Dan's Whetstones. With a Dan's Whetstone, I will use the Soft, Hard, True Hard, and Black stone; don't bother with the expensive translucent, Dan's claims that the translucent is similar to their True Hard and that their Black is their finest.

    The Spyderco Ceramic stones are very nice and stay very flat. I was told to check them for flat when I bought them but I don't remember people talking about flattening them after use.

    Some people really like the Diamond stones, and they should stay flat. Over time they become "less coarse" with use, but if you do not abuse them, they last a long time.

    I agree with the Norton India stone mentioned already. They stay pretty flat, but, you will still need to keep it flat for woodworking tools. Lots of bang for the buck there. I use these often for things such as axe heads and knives.

    You can easily sharpen using sandpaper on glass or tile (I have glass and I have a flat granite stone). In the long run, this method (scary sharp) is more expensive, but, it is how I usually flatten the back of blades with sand paper since I only have to do the big job once.

    I should note that I do my primary sharpening with a Tormek, which leaves a "hollow grind" and then it is easy and fast to free hand. This means that I do not need to do a lot of work or put a bunch of strain on my Shapton glass stones.

    I do not remember noticing where you live, but, if you want to give any of these things a try, and if you live near the center of Ohio, just let me know.

    <added content>
    I see now, New York, nope, not near Columbus Ohio.

  5. #5
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    Adam, Hopefully you are ready for a book's worth of conflicting opinions.

    If you are lucky you may be able to find some decent stones second hand at an estate or yard sale.

    There really isn't one best choice for every woodworker.

    Something Rob mentioned caught my eye:

    I do have Washita, soft and hard Arkansas stones but if I'm near the power strop, I generally don't get them out.
    When my stones were kept in a tub under the bench sharpening didn't happen as often as it should. Currently there are actually three+ spots in my shop for sharpening. My water stones have a small bench next to my Power Sharpening System's bench. There is a granite slab ~6" X 4' with abrasive paper attached to it in another spot and another bench has a few square feet dedicated to my oilstones. Currently my oilstones do the bulk of the work.

    My diamond stones are mostly for use in the kitchen to touch up knives between sharpening sessions in the shop. (the diamonds tend to wear down over time and use.)

    Your choices depend on your needs balanced with what tools you use.

    If you have molding planes and gouges you may want to consider oilstones. (there are gouges in my water stones from trying to work curved blades.)

    If you have many A2 blades you may find your best choice is faster cutting water stones.

    Another consideration is do you have a powered grinder or sharpening system of any kind?

    My needs are different than your needs which are likely different than other folks needs. My set up sharpens various woodworking tools including lathe tools, drill bits, garden tools, hatchets, axes, kitchen knives and scraping tools. There is also other metal work to do at times.

    To provide a proper answer to what sharpening stones to use, it is necessary to know what kind of metal you are working with and what kinds of tools are being sharpened.

    jtk
    "A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty."
    - Sir Winston Churchill (1874-1965)

  6. #6
    I don't really think using the PSA lapping films and a flat surface is more expensive in the long run. I think very few workers who switch to stones buy just a few. Most end up with a collection of stones that cancels out any of the claimed savings.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eric Rathhaus View Post
    I don't really think using the PSA lapping films and a flat surface is more expensive in the long run. I think very few workers who switch to stones buy just a few. Most end up with a collection of stones that cancels out any of the claimed savings.
    After being down that road I guess I'd offer a different perspective. I used PSA on glass blocks for several years. It was effective, but very slow. The film was vulnerable to damage and wore out quickly. Still, it worked and seemed less expensive than stones. That said it was about $65 annually for replacement sheets and took time to cut and replace the worn film. Any serious material removal to repair an edge needed to take place on a grinder or a diamond plate.

    I wound up changing to the Rob Cosman method using a diamond plate and a couple Shapton Glasstones. I use a horsehide strop as a last step. It's much faster and my tools have never been sharper. The investment wasn't horrible and at my age the kit will last me the rest of my life. At the rate I was replacing film the payback will be a few years. I still have a few sheets of film and a granite block if need be, but there's been no need since last December.

    Link to original post here: https://sawmillcreek.org/showthread....89#post3078389


    Before:



    After:

    Sharp solves all manner of problems.

  8. #8
    Following Robís suggestion so time back I too watched the Rob Cosman videos on sharpening. I have the same set-up Rob shows but it is darned sure not as neat. I have all manner of water stones, abrasives, etc. the Current set-up is just so much cleaner, easier, smaller and the results have been excellent.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jack Frederick View Post
    ....I have the same set-up Rob shows but it is darned sure not as neat. ......
    I prettied it up for the photo shoot . Plus the melamine top is easy to wipe down.
    Sharp solves all manner of problems.

  10. #10
    Rob, I guess you're the outlier that resists the temptation to chase the perfect stone set up. BTW: I don't use a grinder for heavy material removal. I just use 80 grit paper (not psa film) stuck to the top of my table saw.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eric Rathhaus View Post
    Rob, I guess you're the outlier that resists the temptation to chase the perfect stone set up. BTW: I don't use a grinder for heavy material removal. I just use 80 grit paper (not psa film) stuck to the top of my table saw.
    I did all the chasing I needed to. I started with the Diamond plate (300/1000) and the 16K Shapton. I added the 6K Shapton as an intermediate step. The Shaptons cut so well I don't need any others.

    The reality is the Diamond Plate gets used very rarely, and only to re-establish the primary bevel. The 6K and 16K Shaptons take care of day to day.
    Sharp solves all manner of problems.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
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    San Diego area
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    OK, I'm not much in to sharpening, but need to be! I ordered the woodcraft deluxe honing guide set a month and a half ago and it's finally being shipped, so I need to get the proper stones now.

    I've decided on getting the diamond hones so would appreciate any recomendations of the set I should get.

    this is the longest chisel I have, 13" long, and the one I use the most for notching tmbers, so I need long stones. What set should I get?

    IMG_0185.jpg
    WoodsShop

  13. #13
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    Aug 2019
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    Pittsburgh, PA
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    I get by with a Washita stone when a tool needs to be resharpened. When repairing or refurbishing one, I use a bench grinder or sandpaper or a coarse diamond stone or a double sided crystolon or a medium India or a fine India, whatever fits the type of grinding needed. The constant flattening and the whole ritual of using waterstones steered me to oilstones.

  14. #14
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    Mar 2006
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    San Diego area
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    Thanks Rafael but I want to do with diamond stones.
    WoodsShop

  15. #15
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    Feb 2004
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    Perth, Australia
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    Quote Originally Posted by Adam Herd View Post
    Iím looking for an alternative to water stones as Iím tired of the mess and the constant flattening. What do people recommend? I was thinking diamond stones but they are very expensive. Are glass or ceramic stones better then water stones? Iíve seen that they are much cheaper than diamond stones but donít know if they are less work than water. Thank you!
    Adam, media choices will be influenced by how and what you sharpen.

    If you are sharpening O1 or high carbon steel blades, and using a honing guide to create a secondary bevel, then you can get away with most ceramic stones. In which case, for the least upkeep and cleanest sharpening, I would recommend a 600 or 800 grit diamond stone, to be followed by Medium and Ultra Fine Spyderco Ceramic stones. The downside of the Spyderco is that they are only 2Ē wide. I use these, but freehand sharpen, so the width is not an issue.

    There is a strategy within the recommendation above: when you reduce the amount of steel to work, you begin to level the playing field when it comes to sharpening media. So, even A2 and PM-V11 steels - considered by many to be among the more difficult owing to their abrasion resistance - will no longer be a challenge.

    There are two ways to reduce the amount of steel: if you use a honing guide, then simply add a micro secondary bevel. If you freehand (or use a guide), hollow grind the primary bevel. Then freehand on the hollow, which acts as a jig. This is what I do. To add to this, I use a 180 CBN wheel, which reduces heat and has much less mess.

    The Sigma ceramic waterstones are my recommendation, followed by Shapton Pro (not the glass stones). My personal selection is a Shapton Pro 1000, followed by Sigma 6000 and 13000. I use a 400 grit Atoma diamond stone for flattening. Once flattened, the stones are spritzed with a little soapy water. This prevent stiction and keeps the stones clean.

    Regards from Perth

    Derek

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