Norton Waterstone set IM83 in box

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Review by Ollie posted 06-28-2010 04:55 PM 12518 views 0 times favorited 7 comments Add to Favorites Watch
Norton Waterstone set IM83  in box Norton Waterstone set IM83  in box Norton Waterstone set IM83  in box Click the pictures to enlarge them

This is just a quick review of the Norton waterstone set in a carrying case.
I only purchased this set after a lot of deliberation and bargain hunting.
I paid £230 for the set, after first checking the price of all the stones individually, including the flattening stone.
It worked out that I was only paying £20 for the box and free DVD that comes with it.
I think that having the box is worth it just to keep the stones out of harms way and ready to go.

Upon receipt of the kit I first watched the short DVD on how to use the stones, to my surprise the guy on the DVD sharpens using a very similar technique to what I was already used to.

The kit comprises of 1×1000 grit stone, 1×4000 grit stone , 1×8000 grit finishing stone and a flattening stone all in the sturdy box which has 2 compartments. One for the triangular stone holder and a small one below for the flattening stone and I assume a rag or whatever, also the DVD.

So next I unwrapped the stones and attached them to the triangular stone holder which fits into the top half of the box. I soaked the stones for a few minutes in the sink then put some water in the reservoir in the top box.

I then began to sharpen a Japanese chisel that was quite blunt to say the least.

The first 1000 grit stone cut quite fast and flattened the back and bevel nicely, it feels strangely soft to use compared to others I have used.

The 4000 grit stone feels harder and also cuts fast. After the 4000 grit I was almost happy with the sharpness it would shave the hairs off my arm but not 100% cleanly.

The 8000 grit finishing stone feels harder again and I used a Nagura stone on this one to get a bit of slurry.
I am surprised that Norton do not include a Nagura stone as it really helps on the 8000 grit stone.
After really very few strokes on the finishing stone the blade was really razor sharp and polished to a lovely finish
It will now ping the hairs right off my now balding arm.

So to sum up It does the job very well indeed and I am happy with the set.

Pros. Makes blades very, very sharp indeed. Nice box is sturdy and easy to use, keeping stones safe and ready to sharpen. Flattening stone works fast and easy. The stones are large enough for plane blades, and very thick so should last well.

Cons. No Nagura stone Quite expensive (though not overpriced by any means) Not as fast as a grinding system (such as Worksharp) but stisfying to use.

I will just say that having used it for a while now it is best to use the flattening stone little and often to maintain a fully flat stone at all times.
Also one of the reasons I chose this method rather than the similarly priced Worksharp 3000 I was considering is that this way I will get better at sharpening freehand thus improving my skills, as well as the cost of the abrasive sheets required for Worksharp.

Sorry to ramble on. In short I would recommend this set to anyone serious about sharp tools ( all of you reading this no doubt included) oh and sorry about the photos..

-- Ollie, UK.

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146 posts in 4075 days

7 comments so far

View Ken90712's profile


17888 posts in 3990 days

#1 posted 06-28-2010 05:01 PM

Thank-you, I get sticker shock everytime I look for a some kind of sharpening system. This helps.

-- Ken, "Everyday above ground is a good day!"

View Jimi_C's profile


507 posts in 4036 days

#2 posted 06-29-2010 01:16 AM

Nice review. I’ve been considering getting the set that has the double-sided stones, it’s considerably cheaper (no box or DVD though…). Once I wear out my cheapo 1000/6000 combo I’ll probably pull the trigger on it.

-- The difference between being defeated and admitting defeat is what makes all the difference in the world - Upton Sinclair, "The Jungle"

View velo_tom's profile


123 posts in 3817 days

#3 posted 06-29-2010 02:09 PM

Since many reading this review may be looking at buying sharpening stones I thought I’d throw in some thoughts and experiences I’ve had. I’ll preface this with, “the vast majority of woodworkers will disagree with me and I certainly buck the current thought trend on sharpening”. I’ll also say that I hope you are as happy with your water stones as the majority of the woodworking community is with theirs. But I thought I’d comment on why I’ve quit using mine and gone back to oil stones.

Water stones may sharpen a blade quicker than oil stones but I’ve found that amount of time to be almost imperceptible, good oil stones also sharpen rather quickly. I found that I spent almost as much time flattening the water stones as I did sharpening blades, I more than lost my time savings there. I bought a flattening stone for mine too but it also started to go out of flat after a few months of use. I just finished checking the flatness of my oil stones and after months of use, usually several times a week, they are still flat.

With water stones I also had to clean up the water mess, wipe down the sharpened blades, and oil them to prevent rust. I only wipe the excess oil off the blade with the oil stones. Water stones I had to soak to prepare for use and all I have to do with the oil stone is put on a bit of oil and it’s ready to go. I also sharpen freehand and found that once in a while I’d dig out a chunk or a water stone, this never happens with an oil stone. Also, with oil stones while sharpening freehand I can tell I’m making desired even blade contact by the way the oil forms a bulge in front of the blade, water is not viscous enough to provide such a clear visual queue.

As I said, the majority of woodworkers, most of them more experienced than me, will disagree. But I wanted to throw a few thoughts out there for people to consider. I sincerely hope that whatever anyone purchases to sharpen with that they are well served by it and satisfied. There are a number of good options out there and it’s just a matter of finding out what works well for you.

-- There's no such thing as mistakes, just design changes.

View Ollie's profile


146 posts in 4075 days

#4 posted 06-30-2010 03:36 PM

Hi Tom.
I appreciate your comments and agree to some degree about the wear factor, in fact I have an old Norton India oilstone that belonged to my grandfather that I still use now. It could be 60 years old.
I have chosen the waterstones as I use Japanese chisels and I find they work better for these.
I also noticed that as I got used to the waterstones I began to use much less downwards pressure and just sort of “float” the blade over the stone, using this technique slows the wear and actually works better. Thanks for your input.

-- Ollie, UK.

View velo_tom's profile


123 posts in 3817 days

#5 posted 07-18-2010 11:58 AM

Thanks for your comments Ollie. Pressure may have been an issue but I’m sure letting the blade come up to to steep and angle was the worst problem. Maybe impatience caused me to apply excess pressure in an effort to get the job done and to much pressure played a role in causing the angle to stray.

I have to admit I was pretty inexperienced to free hand sharpening when problems were encountered. I’ve done a lot of tooling up to work with hand tools since then, including profiled blades and my sharpening skills have improved. You’ve got me thinking about pulling out the water stones just to see if I can work with them better now.

Sorry for late responce, all my Lumberjock notifiers had started going into the spam box. Finally got suspicious and looked there. Just noticed your responce to my comments a few minutes ago. Now to go see if I can fix the spam problem.

-- There's no such thing as mistakes, just design changes.

View treeman's profile


208 posts in 4250 days

#6 posted 07-18-2010 12:40 PM

I also have this set and like the waterstones but the flattening stone is another matter. I found that the flattening stone doesn’t stay flat very long at all and this transferred to my waterstones. I quit using the flattening stone and instead use 220 grit wet or dry sandpaper on glass to flatten my stones. I can now keep my stones flat without having to “flatten” my flattening stone.

View Rick's profile


367 posts in 4011 days

#7 posted 08-16-2010 06:36 PM

This may sound stupid but if you’re flattening your waterstones with sandpaper on glass, trusting the flatness of sandpaper on glass, then why not just sharpen your blades with the sandpaper on glass?

I currently use sandpaper on glass ans was looking into water stones.

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