Waterstones, what to get and what to flatten with?

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Forum topic by diito posted 02-03-2015 09:44 PM 2376 views 0 times favorited 16 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View diito's profile


30 posts in 2098 days

02-03-2015 09:44 PM

My primary sharpening method right now is my Worksharp 3000. It’s great (and fast) with my chisels but I think I want to add some waterstones as well, mainly to polish better but also for card scrapers and other things the WS isn’t great with.

I was looking at 1000/4000/8000 stones and a diamond plate for flattening.. that’s pretty pricey when you add it all up however. I’m not sure if I really need the 4000 either. What do you guys suggest? Brands? Price isn’t a show stopper if it’s worth it.

16 replies so far

View Gerald Thompson's profile

Gerald Thompson

1222 posts in 2740 days

#1 posted 02-03-2015 10:02 PM

I use the back of a ceramic floor tile to flatten my water stones. I have a 400 grit to use is needed. I start with an 800 grit and then to an 8000. I seems like a big jump but it works for me. I then strop the blade and off I go.

-- Jerry

View Richard H's profile

Richard H

490 posts in 2186 days

#2 posted 02-03-2015 10:06 PM

I use a course/medium Duo Sharp diamond plate to flatten my water and ceramic stones. Seems to work well.

The school I attended used wet/dry sandpaper on the back of a piece of marble which is another option.

if you are sticking with the Work Sharp I would skip either the 1000 or 4000 stone and just get a 1000 or 4000 and 8000 stone. You could probably get away with just the 8000 grit stone if you use the finer grits from Work Sharp but those grits get expensive and no matter what they say the grit on the sandpaper is the jump from sandpaper to stone is always a big one so the 4000 grit waterstone is probably the highest you want to start with.

I have heard that honing compound on a MDF disk works well on the Work Sharp to but I have never tried it and that might get you closer to the 8000 grit stone or even remove the need for stones all together. I hone edges by hand and only bring out the Work Sharp for reshaping so I use ceramic stones and the strop more than anything else. I use the work sharp up to about 400 grit sandpaper which is cheap and easy to find than 1000/8000 grit ceramic to get the microbevel edge I want. Ceramic however cuts different than waterstones so you might get different results with them.

View ColonelTravis's profile


1976 posts in 2399 days

#3 posted 02-03-2015 10:06 PM

Similar to Jerry – I go from Shapton Pro 1K to Kitayama 8K. A middle stone is unnecessary, learned from Brian Burns. Flatten with a coarse Dia-Sharp.

View StowawaySniper's profile


2 posts in 1771 days

#4 posted 02-04-2015 01:39 AM

You should check out StumpyNubs.Com and look up his “Work Sharp”. He gives plans and everything you need to know to how to sharpen your tools.

View sikrap's profile


1121 posts in 3864 days

#5 posted 02-04-2015 03:11 AM

You might want to check with “Stu Tierney” over at Tools From Japan. They sell a VERY nice Sigma set of waterstones (1000/6000/13000) set and it comes with an Atoma 400 flattening plate. Price will depend on the exchange rate when you place the order. I switched to these from the Nortons and couldn’t be happier. They are very fast and produce a very nice edge.

-- Dave, Colonie, NY

View waho6o9's profile


8767 posts in 3082 days

#6 posted 02-04-2015 03:42 AM

L-H Johnsen has a great review on one stone from Sweden and it’s around $60.00.

Seems to be of good value.

I use a Nagura stone with my 8000 water stone it creates a slurry and makes
a keen edge then I use green compound on leather to polish the edge.

Great advice above as well.

View Loren's profile


10477 posts in 4153 days

#7 posted 02-04-2015 03:59 AM

I use a floor sanding screen. It can be put on any flat
surface. Flattens stones quickly.

The major cause of stone dishing is using honing guides
that ride on the stone. I seldom flatten my stones because
I don’t use those guides and wear is distributed over the

I sharpened freehand for about 10 years, then annoyed
at the divots in my finishing stones I went back to the
Brian Burns system which uses a honing guide that does
not ride on the stone.

View bobasaurus's profile


3604 posts in 3689 days

#8 posted 02-04-2015 06:04 AM

I have shapton pro stones up to 15k grit. Unless you’re polishing chisel backs, you really only need the coarsest and finest stones. Secondary bevel on the coarse, tertiary bevel on the fine… you’re only removing metal on the very cutting edge with the fine stone, so no need for the in-betweens.

I flatten mine with a trend diamond stone… might switch to a DMT someday though, as they’re better with water.

-- Allen, Colorado (Instagram @bobasaurus_woodworking)

View paxorion's profile


1107 posts in 2551 days

#9 posted 02-04-2015 08:05 PM

Granite floor tiles and wet dry sandpaper here.

-- paxorion

View PatrickH's profile


51 posts in 2393 days

#10 posted 02-08-2015 05:23 PM

The Shapton Pros are hard to beat. I flatten mine with a coarse diamond stone. Though, there may be better options for flattening, I don’t find I need to flatten long or often.


View bonesbr549's profile


1584 posts in 3572 days

#11 posted 02-08-2015 07:36 PM

I got this when I bought my first stones. I like it. A quick couple passes and she’s flat.

-- Sooner or later Liberals run out of other people's money.

View BubbaIBA's profile


473 posts in 2882 days

#12 posted 02-08-2015 09:13 PM

My primary sharpening method right now is my Worksharp 3000. It s great (and fast) with my chisels but I think I want to add some waterstones as well, mainly to polish better but also for card scrapers and other things the WS isn t great with.

I was looking at 1000/4000/8000 stones and a diamond plate for flattening.. that s pretty pricey when you add it all up however. I m not sure if I really need the 4000 either. What do you guys suggest? Brands? Price isn t a show stopper if it s worth it.

- diito

A couple of thoughts….Water stones may not be the best option for card scrapers because they are so soft. I find oil stones and/or diamond stones work better for scrapers. Another option for use on irons, chisels and plane irons as well as scrapers would be the brown and the white Spyderco ceramic stones. they are inexpensive, stays flat and can be used dry. The fine white Spyderco will give you a very good polish on even the hardest irons such as D2, A2, or PM-V11. The only downside to the Spyderco’s is they are very slow, you need to use something like the Worksharp or diamond stones to prep the iron.

If you go with water stones the best option for keeping them flat is a diamond lapping plate made for flatting stones but they are expensive. There are several makers Atomia, Shapton, DMT, and i’m sure others. I’ve used the DMT Lapping plate for several years and it is still cutting well and flatting all my stones quickly, water stones, oil stones as well as the Spyderco’s.


View pjr1's profile


26 posts in 1720 days

#13 posted 02-09-2015 06:35 AM

I use 1000/4000/8000 Norton water stones and an X course diamond plate for reprofiling/shaping. I have a dia-flat plate for flattening stones and anything else. I’m happy with the setup.

View AmericanCraftWood's profile


8 posts in 2378 days

#14 posted 02-09-2015 07:20 PM

Everyone is going to have their own suggestions, and most are probably going to get you pretty good results if you get your system down.

I use Shapton GlassStones and they are freakin amazing. I bought a set with 1000/4000/8000. I do use the 4000, but could probably get away without it. What I will say is that going from 1k to 4k to 8k makes sharpening go real fast. That was the real difference to me when I switched to this set. Sharpening is so fast and easy now I don’t really put it off. These stones sharpen extremely fast, and they don’t need to be soaked, they only need to be spritzed with little water when you’re ready to sharpen; which makes them less of a hassle to use than oil or waterstones. Here’s a link to where I bought mine:

I also bought the Shapton lapping plate for flattening my stones ( ).

The set is expensive, but does such a good job and so quickly that I considered it worth every penny.

Here’s a pro-tip for you too. When you do get your stones, I suggest using the ruler trick for honing your plane irons (not chisels though). Here’s a link to Deneb from Lie Nielsen demonstrating sharpening and the ruler trick

Good luck!

-- Interesting woodworking projects & plans at

View jdh122's profile


1095 posts in 3323 days

#15 posted 02-09-2015 07:28 PM

I was surprised to that you mentioned that the Worksharp is not great for card scrapers. I find it works excellent for card scrapers, since you can skip the filing. I hold the card scraper by hand and use the WS to quickly grind away the old burr and then to re-grind the edge sharp. Then off to the bench to raise the burr and back to scraping in no time flat.

-- Jeremy, in the Acadian forests

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