THE way to achieve a mirror-like polish everytime

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Review by jayman7 posted 08-19-2011 04:43 AM 9411 views 0 times favorited 9 comments Add to Favorites Watch
THE way to achieve a mirror-like polish everytime THE way to achieve a mirror-like polish everytime No-picture-s Click the pictures to enlarge them

I owned a series of King waterstones previously, and while they worked well, they still didn’t perform as I would’ve liked. And that’s in addition to making sure they get a good soaking well before your sharpening session, which makes a huge wet mess.

I’ve seen the Wood Whisperer use these Shapton stones many times before, but I have always hesitated due to the high price tag. It was one of those times where I said “Oh what the heck,” and I bought a set of 1000, 5000, and 8000 grit ceramic stones as a bundle so that they were cheaper than buying them separately.

After a quick lapping to make sure they were perfectly flat, I got to work honing my brand new set of Narex chisels. The 1000 grit was great since it removed a good amount of metal pretty quickly while still leaving a decent shine. I moved up to 5000 and already got a pretty darn good polish which I would’ve been more than happy to use right on the spot. But then I proceeded to use the 8000 and got a perfect mirror . I’ve never been able to achieve that before. You can see it clear as day in the 2nd picture. And it only took a matter of minutes!! Granted, the Narex chisels seemed pretty flat to begin with, and I also didn’t bother flattening the entire back since the first 1/2” or so is the most important as everyone knows. Plus you don’t need to use a nagura stone. I used my brand new Veritas honing jig and polished up the bevel to the same mirror shine. I could pop off the hairs off my hand like I was using a shaver! And it pared through endgrain like butter. I even went on to hone my crappy old Buck Bros chisels and got the same amount of sharpness (of course the edge won’t hold up as well as my new Narex).

They come in plastic cases that were designed as well as the stones themselves. They act as both storage containers and holders while you hone because of the rubber feet on the bottom. They have built-in holes in them so that the water can dry with the case closed. And that brings me to another great feature of the stones; you just spray them with some water and off you go without any presoaking. And the cases were also designed so that they rest perfectly on top of the other cases so they stack securely. Each case as a color that corresponds to a specific grit, making it easy to find what you’re looking for.

Bottomline, don’t be too put off by the pricetag if you can afford it. I recommend just getting the 1000, 5000, and 8000 grits since I don’t think you need anything more or less than that. As a side note, Shapton does make a 30,000 grit stone but that’s ridiculously overkill (plus it costs more than twice my set of stones). I don’t think you could get a better shine than what these waterstones give you. Don’t bother with any diamond plates, sandpaper, or strops. All you need are these three stones for all your sharpening needs. They will last forever in my shop.

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218 posts in 4364 days

9 comments so far

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17902 posts in 4047 days

#1 posted 08-19-2011 11:30 AM

Nice review, thx for sharing.

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

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276 posts in 4091 days

#2 posted 08-19-2011 05:54 PM

I also have a set of King stones. What grade of steel are your chisels, irons? I’ve been able to get a fairly good mirror finish with my Kings, but nothing like you have. When storing these stones are they stored dry? If they do dry off in the case, do you rinse them to remove any residue from adhering back onto the stone? I may have to take a look at these. Thanks for the review.

-- Don

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1121 posts in 4217 days

#3 posted 08-20-2011 04:16 AM

Great review, thanks. I do have a couple of questions for you, though. First, where did you buy them? Second, what did you use to ensure that they were flat?

-- Dave, Colonie, NY

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218 posts in 4364 days

#4 posted 08-20-2011 04:24 AM

Don: The chisel pictured is of the Narex chisel from Highland Woodworking, hardness of Rc 58. Shapton suggests not keeping them wet (i.e. leaving them soaking in water), but the holes in the case lets the stones breath and dry out on their own. I give them a rinse when I flatten them between sessions. Hardly any maintenance involved other than keeping them flat really.

Dave: I got them from They had the best price from everywhere I looked. They also offer free and extremely fast shipping. I use a 10” coarse/extra coarse DMT duosharp to flatten them (expensive I know). I easily could’ve gotten away just using sandpaper on granite, but the DMT allows me to flatten them and rinse them at the same time in my sink.

View jusfine's profile


2422 posts in 3784 days

#5 posted 08-20-2011 05:46 PM

Great review, I like mine too!

That is an excellent price, I paid much more through Rob Cosman here in Canada…

I also bought the diamond plate to flatten them and it is excellent as well.

-- Randy "You are judged as much by the questions you ask as the answers you give..."

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17 posts in 3546 days

#6 posted 10-02-2011 03:38 AM

I just received a set for woodworkers. 1.000-4,000-8,000 plus holder and velcro strap too hold them in the holder, from Craftsman Studio. $238.50 no shipping. rec’vd in 2 days. Perfectly flat. These are 1/4” ceramic set on glass to insure they are flat to within .00005” My question is can you use a DMT Dia-Plate to keep thse stones flat?

View bobasaurus's profile


3667 posts in 4042 days

#7 posted 06-19-2012 03:02 PM

I just bought the same set after reading your review. I hope I can get used to working with waterstones… I’ve always used oil stones that take forever to cut but clean up easily. Someday I’ll make a sharpening table to hold all this stuff.

-- Allen, Colorado (Instagram @bobasaurus_woodworking)

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17 posts in 3546 days

#8 posted 06-19-2012 05:27 PM

A few months back I bit the bullet and purchased the same Shapton set. After asking Chris Schwartz on the Dia-Plate which he uses, I snuck that into my shop. It was like buying a Lie-Nielson bench plane. Costly but well worth the expense. Perfectly happy with the investment.

View Woollymonster's profile


31 posts in 3099 days

#9 posted 11-17-2012 05:49 AM

I have the same three stones and they are just outstanding. I was using (and still have) Norton water stones. The Norton’s do work well but must be soaked and sprayed often during use. They also make much more of a mess than the Shapton’s and need to be flattened more often.

I use a DMT Corse Diamond plate to flatten the stones. A Veritas MKII honing jig, original Kell jig, and do a little free hand from time to time (though I am not that good at it). It’s a good set up. I have an old English made set of Marples chisels, a set of Lie Nielsen bench chisels, set Two Cherries mortise chisels, and numerous plane irons in top shape with this set up.

The Shapton’s are advertised to remove metal faster and I believe that is the case, certainly over the Norton stones. You won’t be disappointed if you can stand the price.

I would give these Shapton stones top marks.

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