Back to water stones

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  • #558278
    Pavel Derka

    I’m sort of late to the party here, but thought I’d put one idea out. I’m away from woodwork for over twenty years now and have no experience with sharpening woodworking tools, but was a machinist and have used diamond plates extensively. It’s not mentioned how the OP was using his diamond plate, but if a diamond plate slows quickly in it’s cutting action, it sounds like the cutting fluid may not be used in enough quantity, or perhaps not being replenished enough during the cutting process. The fluid prevents the diamond plate from clogging up the cutting action.

    While I believe that water is the normally recommended carrier fluid, I’ve always preferred the commercial honing fluid we had.

    Lastly, for the finer stones, diamond paste speeds up the cutting process a great deal.


    I’m really glad to see this subject come up!
    I’ve been using Norton waterstones (200, 1000, 4000/8000) and a Shapton 30000 for all of my sharpening. The 200 doesn’t see much use, great for shaping, overkill for sharpening.
    I’ve been contemplating investing in some DMT continuous bench stones, but I think I’ll keep my Nortons. The Shapton is a splash & go that I keep dry when not in use. I store each NORTON in it’s own plastic bin with lid, covered with water. They’ve been stored that way for ~10 years now (changing the water at each use) with no ill effect on the stones that I can detect, and they are always ready to go.
    NOTE: Clean/flatten the stones after each use & change the water. Leaving them with bits of steel/iron on them while in water will stain them (DOH! Lesson learned).

    Flattening process that I use after each session (YMMV, disclaimers, etc):
    I always have swarf streaks on my stones when I’m done sharpening, so I use them to determine when I’m done flattening (swarf gone = stone flat)

    All of the following are done under a constant stream of water.
    Scrub the used surface of the stone with my Norton flattening stone (large motions, use the whole of both stones). Each time I check to see if the swarf has been removed, I turn the stone 180 degrees to minimize skewing due to poor technique.
    Get all of the stones flattened (swarf streaks gone).
    This leaves a rough “factory finish” on the stones that will scratch the heck out of my mirrors. To dress (smooth) the now flattened stones:
    I rub the 1k against the 4k and then the 8k surfaces (4/8 combination stone). This gets the 1k back to a 1k surface, and while the 4/8 stone may not be all the way back to 4/8, it’s much closer than the flattening stone finish.
    Next up, I rub the 4k & 30K together. This gets the 4k back to it’s 4k self, and greatly improves the surface of the 30k(again compared to the “factory finish” from the flattening stone).
    Finally, it’s the 8k & 30k to bring the 8k to its full spec & further improve the 30k.
    Dressing each face only takes ~30 seconds.

    I know it’s not perfect, and I imagine there are more than a few that are cringing at the thought of contaminating a higher grit stone with lower grit particles – I get it. Really, I do. But I don’t have the cash to buy a 2nd set of stones so that 1k only ever touches 1k, etc.
    Constant running water & thorough rinsing are the best I have for now.

    About the “mirror finish” – A mirror finish indicates that the surface is smooth, with tiny (if any) scratches in it. but that doesn’t mean that it’s flat. A sphere can be given a mirror finish.

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