Sharpening stones and their care. - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum

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post #1 of 22 Old 12-16-2008, 11:27 AM Thread Starter
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Sharpening stones and their care.

Most of the stones I have are hand-me-downs. Some oil, some water, most are still in decent shape.

The question came up the other day about how to clean and care for one.

For my oil stones WD-40 or straight kerosene and a toothbrush seemed to do a good job, for the water stones I've been using laundry soap, can't say I'm overly pleased with the results there.

Another question was how to true up the surface. The only answer I had was to use one side, flip it over and use up the other side, then replace it. Seems like a waste really and I thought a good topic for here.

With proper maintenance, a good stone should serve you well for years, so how do you do it?
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post #2 of 22 Old 12-16-2008, 11:53 AM
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I only have a couple oil stones, but literally 100's of waterstones. (really) The best thing for wet stones is to lap them together to flatten and clean them. It should be done often to keep them flat. It's as simple as get them wet and rub them together. You will know when they are flat because the slurry will be evenly distributed on the surface of the stone.
When I sharpen with the wet stones (frequently, I do run a sharpening business after all-plus I personally need to sharpen chisel/plane irons...) I have usually 3 in my "water well" (a cookie sheet ) of different grits. Working my way down to the finest. Then after and sometime during sharpening I rub the next courser stone to the one near it. Rinse it well and move on. I never put my stones away "unlapped". I store my stones dry, others store them in water (tupperware container) I don't see the point in that.
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post #3 of 22 Old 12-16-2008, 08:25 PM
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There are tons of online resources abour stones. I use waterstones. After a 20-30 minute soak in water, I will flatten them on a piece of 320+ wet/dry sandpaper attached to a plate of glass. I have heard that flattening can also be accomplished as Daren points out above or by doing figure eights on a cinder block. Whatever works. Use an accurate square to check for level. Also, check the web for several videos about using waterstones. There is a lot of great info out there.
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post #4 of 22 Old 12-17-2008, 09:25 AM Thread Starter
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Geez Daren, I thought 10 was overkill
I've only bought 3 on my own, the rest were given to me.

I had heard of using a slab of granite or a chunk of glass and sandpaper for sharpening, but not for flattening a stone. First I've heard of rubbing two stones together....but the light went on, makes perfect sense. I'd be a bit reluctant to use a cinder block though, something just seems wrong with that. Not saying it wouldn't work, I just get an uneasy feeling even thinking about it.

Thanks for the input guys. Noted and filed for future reference.
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post #5 of 22 Old 02-12-2009, 03:15 PM
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Flattening Waterstones

Must agree with Breakfastchef. I find a sheet of wet & dry works
really well on a piece of glass or I supose anything dead flat.
Have used 80 grade on badly worn stone rinsing the wet & dry fairly
often.Have tried a ceramic flattening, about as much use as a chocolate fireguard. All the best
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post #6 of 22 Old 02-13-2009, 08:51 AM
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I have some Japanese waterstones that I keep in a small tub always under water. I have heard it isn't a good practice to wet them, let them dry, and re-wet them. (breaks them down). Your opinions, please...

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post #7 of 22 Old 02-13-2009, 09:04 AM
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Quote:
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Your opinions, please...
Like I said I store mine dry (and clean) I can't imagine wetting/drying breaking them down...but if you take them out of the water and store them some place where they can freeze, they are toast. Make sure they are thoroughly dry. A couple problems with wet storage is algae in the water (a couple drops of bleach should fix that) and if the stone is not washed well and stored in fresh water the iron in the pours can oxidize (rust) and break down the surface some. That can be cleaned up with a quick lapping, no major damage.
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post #8 of 22 Old 02-16-2009, 11:11 AM
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I like to keep my water stones in the water. One argument here is that if you don't have good water in your area, when the stone dries, it can leave mineral deposits on your stone. Just a thought.
Ken

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post #9 of 22 Old 03-13-2009, 08:45 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Daren View Post
Like I said I store mine dry (and clean) I can't imagine wetting/drying breaking them down...but if you take them out of the water and store them some place where they can freeze, they are toast. Make sure they are thoroughly dry. A couple problems with wet storage is algae in the water (a couple drops of bleach should fix that) and if the stone is not washed well and stored in fresh water the iron in the pours can oxidize (rust) and break down the surface some. That can be cleaned up with a quick lapping, no major damage.
I suppose one thing an oil stone doesn't have much to worry about being stored in oil :D
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post #10 of 22 Old 03-16-2010, 10:48 AM
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Just to give a nod to the other stones. I use oil stones. I try to work the corners evenly and the centers seem to take care of themselves. We have a couple of black Arkansas stones in the Museum collection that are approaching "U". Tough to get a good edge! I have no idea how they got that way.

I use Ballistol on the stone and then carefully wipe it when I am done. I store my stones covered to keep dust and grit off them. I wipe the tool down with a clean rag before going to the next finest grade. To sharpen a new tool I go through up to 5 grades and a 1900's razor hone. For touch up honing one or two grades. But they must be protected from courser grit!
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post #11 of 22 Old 03-16-2010, 11:46 AM
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It is common practice to flatten water stones with a piece of sandpaper and glass or any flat surface. The glass, unlike your table saw, wont rust while keeping the sandpaper wet. This just prevents clogging and tearing of the sand paper. It is also common practice, and recommended to keep whetstones submerged, unless there is a possibillity of the water freezing. This will definetly break up the stone. Technically, wetting and drying a lot will degrade whetstones. Its basically a form of water errosion, but keep in mind this is such a subtle process that it probably wont effect the life of your stones if used occassionally.

I finally broke down and bought some DMT 8'' x 3'' Diasharp steel sharpeners in extra coarse, coarse, fine, and extra fine. These stone have a lot of advantages like, they never cup, they can sharpen higher grades of steel with ease, the corners dont round, and they are amazing at sharpening wide things like plane and chisel blades. They also have some disadvantages like being expensive as hell, heavy(not an issue for bench use, but wears your wrist out sharpening a pocket knife), and they are very thin. You need to set them up on something to use them on a bench.
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post #12 of 22 Old 03-16-2010, 12:15 PM
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I have a piece of stone from a flooring job that I rub the water stones on after using them. The stone has been ground flat at the factory and does an excellent job at truing my water stones. Talk to your favourite flooring dude.
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post #13 of 22 Old 03-16-2010, 05:23 PM
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A trick I learned from a guitar builder in Australia

You can take the glass panel out of your entertainment center or other such furniture, and use it as a flat surface for just about anything you need a dead flat surface for. Another guy I met who builds guitars has scrap granite from countertops.
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post #14 of 22 Old 03-18-2010, 06:01 AM
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try it

Want to share a tip with you that I read , soak your oil stone in a kerosene oil or rub its surface firmly with fingers.
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post #15 of 22 Old 03-18-2010, 06:24 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Martin Roy View Post
Want to share a tip with you that I read , soak your oil stone in a kerosene oil or rub its surface firmly with fingers.
I don't understand.
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post #16 of 22 Old 03-19-2010, 06:11 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Colt W. Knight View Post
I don't understand.
Ok ! let me explain again in easy words

Sharpening stone is one of the easiest way to keep your tools sharp , if you have oil stone then dip it in kerosene oil for several minutes before sharpening the tool to get best results.

Last edited by Martin Roy; 03-19-2010 at 06:18 AM.
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post #17 of 22 Old 03-19-2010, 06:10 PM
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Colt, If you are going to use glass, make sure it is tempered and it should be float glass, which is flat. Using kerosene (or any petroleum distillate) will dissolve the oxidized oil in the stone and allow cleaning. Use non-oxidizing mineral oil, like Ballistol, and avoid that problem.

Float glass or a granite slab and wet/dry abrasive paper to flatten an oil stone just as you would a water stone - just don't use water! Work in the corners and the center will take care of itself. Haven't had to flatten a stone in 15 years.
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post #18 of 22 Old 05-18-2011, 08:01 PM
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oil stone - for Darren

oil stone in a bath of aceton..... will i be able to use it with water if she's well clean?....thanks
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post #19 of 22 Old 05-18-2011, 08:08 PM
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Can i ask you a question?
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post #20 of 22 Old 05-18-2011, 10:35 PM
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I have norton water stones and keep them in water in a tupperware type container. I do dry them out occasionally and always do so during the winter because they're in my unheated garage. You also want to change the water occasionally to keep off mildew. I keep them in water so that I don't need to soak them for the five to ten minutes prior to use.

I also have a Shapton ceramic water stone that should not be keep in water. I just spray some on before using.

I have flattened stones in three different ways. One is using a granite block with 220g or 320g wet/dry sandpaper. Doesn't have to be a granite block but it needs to be flat. Float glass is suppose to be flat and I've used melamine. You don't need to tape the paper down. Just spray a little water on the surface and the surface tension will pretty much hold the paper in place. I really don't like the idea of a pretty big piece of glass hanging around the shop. I've used this procedure for flattening the nortons, but not the shapton. Shapton recommends against wet/dry paper because the grit on the paper can become embedded in the stone. This isn't a problem with Norton's as long as you make sure the grit is rinsed off. Use light pressure on your stone when doing this. You may get embedded grit if you use too much pressure. Draw pencil gridlines on you stones before you start flattening so you can tell when they're flat.

Second, I use the coarse side of a course/fine dmt diamond duo plate. I bought this when I bought the Shapton stone. It works well on the Norton's so I flatten my stones about 95 percent of the time with the dmt. I use the fine side for knifes that have gotten fairly dull before I go to the Norton's.

Third, I use Darin's method of rubbing the stones together. I have an extra 1000g Norton that I use for this purpose. I keep it flat on the dmt or the wet/dry paper and use it to flatten the Norton's I'm sharpening on. I don't use this method as much since I got the dmt.

All of the above, as well as other, methods work. The important thing is to find a flat surface to flatten your stones and flatten them often. Older water stones like King and Norton lose their flatness quickly (especially the lower grits) and need to flatten every few minutes during sharpening. The newer ceramic stones generally don't need it nearly as often.
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