How to tell grit of stone

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Forum topic by MarianPB posted 09-22-2015 10:11 PM 982 views 0 times favorited 8 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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4 posts in 1583 days

09-22-2015 10:11 PM

Hello there.

I’m Marian and I joined yesterday because I have taken an interest in hand carving some signs for friends. I am a newbie carver in every sense. I have used power tools, mainly jigsaw and bandsaw. I make pickleball paddle name tags with my scrollsaw. BTW: google pickleball because it’s something you might enjoy playing after a hard day of woodworking.

We travel around the country in our RV and friends of ours retired and are doing the same. So I’d love to learn how to make the signs that have their name and state and pet name.

I am also incredibly lucky in that I have inherited a hand-made tool cabinet. Not only did I get the cabinet, but I got its contents. 10 drawers filled with every kind of chisel, knife, gouge, etc, that I can even imagine. So my first order of business is sharpening the tools. Of course I’m going to need a lot of education on that. I’ve been reading all the posts here about sharpening. In this tool box, there are two stones and I’m wondering how I would know what grit they are. There don’t seem to be any indications on the box they are in or on the stone itself.

Thank you in advance for your help and all of your wonderful posts on sharpening and carving in general.


8 replies so far

View DrDirt's profile


4600 posts in 4347 days

#1 posted 09-22-2015 10:36 PM

Suppose with a jewelers eyepiece or a microscope you could examine the scratch pattern.

I suspecty that perhaps you can get together with somebody that has an array of grits, and find the ones that match based on how sharp and edge you get, and how shiney the surface is.

Be able to say that surface of the chisel looks just like if I use your 1200 stone, or 6000 etc.

Regardless – the prior owner no doubt like anyone else worked from Coarse to finer and finer grits. You should be able to “sort/rank” the grit of the stones.

Use them and see if your tools are sharp. in the end so long as it cuts good who cares it it was 6000 or 8000 grit for the final honing?

-- “The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.” Mark Twain

View BurlyBob's profile


6906 posts in 2870 days

#2 posted 09-22-2015 10:49 PM

I’m pretty sure you can find a YouTube by Mary May about sharpening. If you haven’t checked her, she got some great videos on you tube about carving.

View MarianPB's profile


4 posts in 1583 days

#3 posted 09-22-2015 11:09 PM

Thanks. I am going to start sharpening and not worry about particular grit. It’s pretty easy to tell which side is the coarse side and which is the fine side.

And thanks for the suggestion about looking up Mary May on sharpening. Found a video on youtube of hers that instilled some confidence in me so to the garage I go.

I love how active this site is that I can get a question answered so quickly and can use the info right away. Thanks.


View ClaudeF's profile


1057 posts in 2312 days

#4 posted 09-23-2015 02:54 AM

Depending on how sharp the tools are already, you may not need to use the stones at all. Stoping is all that is required to keep a knife or gouge sharp, once it is sharp to begin with. A strop consists of a thin piece of leather with some honing compound rubbed on it. The blade is pulled along this away from the cutting edge (back of blade leads).

If you don’t have a strop in the tool cabinet, you can easily make one. The simplest is a piece of cardboard from a cereal box, glued to a piece of shelving. Glue it grey side up along one edge of the board, then rub some compound on it. I use Flexcut Gold on one of my strops and some green chromium oxide on the other strop. Both are fine. Just make sure the compound is 0.5 micron grit. With a knife, carve away and every 15-30 minutes, strop it for 10-15 passes and you’ll keep it carving sharp without having to hit the stones. I have a couple of knives that haven’t seen a stone in 5 years, and they are the ones I use daily.



View MarianPB's profile


4 posts in 1583 days

#5 posted 09-23-2015 04:49 PM

Thank you ClaudeF. In fact, one of the stones is in a box with a lid and my cousin has already attached a piece of leather to it for stropping. Thank you for mentioning which compounds I should get because that was going to be my next question.


View Redman1's profile


13 posts in 1581 days

#6 posted 09-23-2015 07:01 PM

Are the stones gray in color? If so and since you mentioned you can tell which side is coarse and which is fine I would hazard a guess that the fine side is 220 grit and the coarse 60 or 36 grit I don’t remember that one. That is the grit sizes I’ve usually seen associated with such a stone.

View MarianPB's profile


4 posts in 1583 days

#7 posted 09-23-2015 10:48 PM

Redman1: the stone is grey!

I sharpened a chisel with it today and used the strop and while I don’t think I got as sharp an edge as I would if I actually knew what I was doing, it did cut the wood,whereas before I sharpened it, it wouldn’t. I watched a Mary May video and I think I understood what she was saying. I think if I keep at it (I probably stopped the sharpening process too soon) I will learn and understand what I’m doing.

View Redman1's profile


13 posts in 1581 days

#8 posted 09-23-2015 11:54 PM

Great! Keep at it, you will learn. I am still learning also.

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