Are my oilstones "good enough"?

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Forum topic by Brett posted 01-11-2013 07:55 PM 1029 views 0 times favorited 8 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Brett's profile


669 posts in 3191 days

01-11-2013 07:55 PM

How can I determine whether my oilstones are adequate for sharpening chisels and plane irons?

I sharpen freehand, and can usually hone a cutting edge with my oilstones and a stop so that the cutting edge is sharp enough to slice through the edge of a piece of paper. What I’m unsure about is whether I could sharpen a lot faster with better oilstones. Is there any way to know whether I need to upgrade?

-- More tools, fewer machines.

8 replies so far

View bondogaposis's profile


5540 posts in 2859 days

#1 posted 01-11-2013 08:02 PM

If you are happy w/ the results, why change? Personally, I get faster results w/ water stones. The trade off is that they are messier and I can’t store them in the shop or they will freeze.

-- Bondo Gaposis

View Brett's profile


669 posts in 3191 days

#2 posted 01-11-2013 08:20 PM

I don’t like the mess of waterstones, and I’m concerned about them freezing in my unheated garage shop. I prefer oilstones for these reasons and others, but I do wonder sometimes if I’m spending too much of my (limited woodworking) time sharpening.

-- More tools, fewer machines.

View Kreegan's profile


1452 posts in 2655 days

#3 posted 01-11-2013 09:54 PM

How long does it take you to sharpen? If it’s less than 5 mins, your stones are likely fine. I use DMT diamond stones and finish with a strop and it takes me perhaps 2 mins to resharpen an edge dulled from use, a little longer if it’s gotten chipped or dented.

View Brett's profile


669 posts in 3191 days

#4 posted 01-11-2013 09:58 PM

Maybe 2-5 minutes for a chisel, a little longer for a plane iron.

-- More tools, fewer machines.

View Loren's profile


10477 posts in 4156 days

#5 posted 01-11-2013 10:20 PM

Oil stones can get clogged.

If you want faster sharpening, try hollow grinding the bevels.

View bandit571's profile


23781 posts in 3191 days

#6 posted 01-11-2013 11:50 PM

I use three different oil stones, that makes a total of five grits. IF they get a might too nasty, I will run them across the belt sander both to flatten them, and to clean them up a bit.

-- A Planer? I'M the planer, this is what I use

View Oldelm's profile


75 posts in 2683 days

#7 posted 01-12-2013 02:06 AM

In my experience if the method you are using allows you to cut (not scrape) end grain in the type of wood you use than you are probably OK. Most of the carpenters I learned from used oil stones of some type to sharpen everything in their kit. We have all kinds of methods today and myself I have some options. I use diamond stones for chisels and water stones for plane irons, knives and carving tools all followed by strops. In today’s world I feel like sharpening has become a hobby in itself.i would agree that if it takes more than 5 minutes to touch up a chisel you may need to add another grit to your method. I never saw a water stone as we know them today until I was thirty. I thought a water stone was one of those wheels you saw farmers using to sharpen their tools. I realize I’m a high risk of a whipping from the sharpening crowd on this one.

-- Jim, Missouri

View TheBronzeoakleaf's profile


36 posts in 2471 days

#8 posted 01-12-2013 02:17 AM

I, too, was new to water stones a couple years ago, but love them now. They should be resurfaced before every use, but they cut fast, and you can go to a much higher grit. I flatten mine with a DMT. Developing a system for convenient flattening and use makes the mess easier to control. Check YouTube for Rob Cosman using Norton water stones. He does it right.

-- Sam,

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