I just purchased several Norton oil stone slips, but I haven’t been taught the proper way to use oil stones. These are “India” medium and fine plus a “hard Arkansas.” The quotes are because these are almost certainly synthetic stones. The India stones are likely aluminum oxide. My question is, do they need to be soaked in anything prior to use and what is a good fluid to use with oil stones?
This topic was modified 1 year, 12 months ago by Ed.
The stones need no special preparation, other than a few drops of your favorite honing fluid before use.
“ Oil stones” is a bit of a misnomer. They will work just as well with a water based fluid such as Paul’s glass cleaner or a mix of water and simple green. Some kind of surfactant cuts the surface tension of the water and helps flush swarf from the stone.
If you want to use a petroleum based fluid, most oils like 3 in 1 are too viscous, especially for a hard Arkansas. Your tool will tend to skate over the surface. I find good success with NO odor mineral spirits with a few drops of ligh mineral oil such as pharmacy or sewing machine oil added – maybe a 20:1 ratio. It will cut well, keep the stone from getting glazed, and help protect your tool fron rust. And it’s a lot cheaper than “honing fluid”which is basically the same thing.
Some people use auto transmission fluid as the additive, but it stinks a little.
I have used the Thinner- oil mix on my translucent Arkansas for decades. I have tried water based fluid with it, but seem to gravitate back. It takes less fluid to keep the stone clean.
Be aware that some companies sell LOW odor mineral spirits. Translation – it stinks.
Get the NO odor version ( I use Crown brand labeled “odorless paint thinner “, which is barely noticeable to me. )