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Forum topic by sully909 posted 05-10-2018 12:43 AM 1189 views 0 times favorited 21 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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14 posts in 2600 days

05-10-2018 12:43 AM

I know this can get almost as hotly contested as religion and politics, but I would like to get a four grit set of wet stones for sharpening my basic hand tools of chisels, plane blades, and a pocket knife or two. When I go to my local high end tool shop the same grit stone can be three different prices. I don’t have any real reason for four grits other than i feel thats a reasonable number of steps. Minus a strop for finishing perhaps. Any and all opinions are welcome and appreciated.

21 replies so far

View bbasiaga's profile


1243 posts in 2768 days

#1 posted 05-10-2018 12:59 AM

Something like a 200 for faster reshaping, a 1000 for establishing an edge and then an 8000 for honing are all you really need IMO.

The lie nielsen guy told me at one of their shows that one could add a 4000 grit in the middle to help with lapping chisel backs. More steps make that easier since you have a larger surface to flatten.

I have a norton 4k/ 8k stone and a Lie Nielsen 1k/8k stone. The Norton Does the job but must be soaked in water, and it cuts slower and makes a mess. The LN needs only a splash and seems to work faster. They both work, but the LN one has some nice advantages.

So when you see those stone prices vary, there is something to it. But they will all work.


-- Part of engineering is to know when to put your calculator down and pick up your tools.

View TheFridge's profile


10859 posts in 2258 days

#2 posted 05-10-2018 01:22 AM

Coarse diamond, 1000/5000/8000

When reshaping. Bench grinder then coarse diamond.

When sharpening. 1000/5000/8000

When just honing between sharpenings. 5000/8000

Strop before use.

I don’t think 4 grits are necessary. If I had a choice I’d go with a 400-600 grit stone.

-- Shooting down the walls of heartache. Bang bang. I am. The warrior.

View NeophyteGrant's profile


133 posts in 1282 days

#3 posted 05-10-2018 01:32 AM

Sandpaper or diamond for coarse. 1/8k ohishi from LN. I have a 4k from norton and you can tell the quality difference. Has to soak, abrades differently, etc. I also have a dia-flat, which is great. I was using AO sandpaper on granite to flatten previously.

View Loren's profile


10477 posts in 4420 days

#4 posted 05-10-2018 01:51 AM

The basic water stones are around half the
price of reputable diamond plates or the new
water stones that don’t soak up water. The
drawback of the old King/SunBear style stones
is they can be messy and require soaking prior
to use.

I use a 3 stone approach these days. Coarse
diamond, ultra-fine diamond (about 1200 grit)
and an 8000 grit Norton stone. 1200 is sharp
enough for cutting most materials cleanly but
more polished edges last longer imo. The Norton
requires about 3 soakings with a spray bottle
over about 10 minutes before it’s ready to use.
Soaking works too but I have a piece of plywood
glued to the bottom I don’t want delaminating.

View NeophyteGrant's profile


133 posts in 1282 days

#5 posted 05-10-2018 05:12 AM

What do you like in the way of diamond stones Loren? If I could do it again I’d do your setup.

View Rich's profile (online now)


5613 posts in 1362 days

#6 posted 05-10-2018 05:19 AM

Shapton is the current favorite. I love mine. No need to soak and they last forever and give a perfect edge.

-- Half of what we read or hear about finishing is right. We just don’t know which half! — Bob Flexner

View Loren's profile


10477 posts in 4420 days

#7 posted 05-10-2018 05:27 AM

I have EZE-laps. The first one I bought about
20 years ago at a woodworking store because
that’s what they had. The second I got on sale
several years back. I haven’t worn them out
but I don’t use them very hard either.

I use the Burns sharpening method. I have a
2-bay box and since the diamond plates are the
same thickness I can switch them easily. The
2nd bay holds the polishing stone on levelers
to adjust for wear.

View Andre's profile


3566 posts in 2578 days

#8 posted 05-10-2018 06:22 AM

I only use a1000 and 8000 water stones, use a hand powered grinding wheel to hollow grind blades.
Flatten the backs on 180 -220 sand paper before honing and polish on the stones.
Started with a 1000/8000 combo stone from Norton which still has some life left.

-- Lifting one end of the plank.

View sully909's profile


14 posts in 2600 days

#9 posted 05-10-2018 10:00 PM

Thanks for all the great posts guys. I felt quite lost staring at all these stones with all the writing in japanese and not knowing what is was paying for. I live less then a couple hours from the Lie Nielsen factory here in Maine so maybe if I’m feeling rich I will make the trip and check out there stones. I believe they also have a few videos on sharpening technics as well. Has any body used the norton woodworkers kit? Two stones and a flattening stone for $150 on amazon. Good for a starter kit?

View Loren's profile


10477 posts in 4420 days

#10 posted 05-10-2018 11:17 PM

One thing about the water stones is they are
easy to hack up and then you have to mess
around with flattening them. I was into
sharpening without a jig for a few years and
got decent at it, especially with thicker blades,
but if you lose your focus for a split second
the stone gets a nick.

I went back to using a honing guide. With it
I can apply more pressure and get the job
done quicker. The stones don’t require
resurfacing very often. I just use a drywall
screen on a flat surface to dress the stone.

Knives are relatively easy to sharpen on water
stones without nicking the stone compared
to plane irons, imo.

I only use the one water stone these days.

If I were looking today I’d consider the Shaptons
because they don’t require soaking but you know
how the grass is always greener. The old water
stones like the Norton and King stones wear
quick and expose fresh abrasive held in a “clay”
binder. Now marketers are claiming the hard
“ceramic” water stones that don’t require soaking
cut fast, stay flat, etc.

View waho6o9's profile


8908 posts in 3349 days

#11 posted 05-10-2018 11:22 PM

Atoma diamond plates are cost effective on Ebay.

Enjoy your journey.

View TheFridge's profile


10859 posts in 2258 days

#12 posted 05-10-2018 11:47 PM

I have shaptons. I like a lot.

Atomas are nice as well.

-- Shooting down the walls of heartache. Bang bang. I am. The warrior.

View sully909's profile


14 posts in 2600 days

#13 posted 05-11-2018 01:54 AM

Anybody have thoughts on the Dmt diamond plates. The d8 series are very reasonably priced and can go up to 8000mesh.

View Aj2's profile


3081 posts in 2570 days

#14 posted 05-11-2018 04:37 AM

I also use Shaptons they are a not cheap. Plus they need to be kept flat with some sorta diamond plate that’s very ridge.Its not the only method I use I also have Dmt ,paper on glass ,Norton stones and a high speed grinder.
I used to have a Tormek but wore it out. Here’s my polishing setup for plane blade and chisels.

Start buying what you can only you will know if it works for you. :)

-- Aj

View aerialcopper's profile


26 posts in 785 days

#15 posted 05-14-2018 06:27 AM

When I am sharpening for myself I usually just do one stone, 2000 grit shapton because I don’t have to soak it and I rarely get my tools dull enough to warrant something coarser. Even planing end grain ebony, douglas fir knots, etc. I only do high grits on special occasions.

Desert island stone? Big pink 220 grit :) Words of wisdom from a guy who would take a brick to a desert island.

-- Dylan-

showing 1 through 15 of 21 replies

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