Artificial Intelligence

Are expensive whet stones worth it?

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I bought a cheap sharpening stone but I don't know whether I'm getting poor results because it's poor quality or if it's just down to poor technique (I suspect my technique is fine). There's a more expensive sharpening stone on Amazon which gets great reviews but I don't know whether to spend the money on it as a replacement or not. What do you think?

Edited by Artificial Intelligence

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If you don't know how to sharpen well you will have trouble with any stone.  If you are good, a good stone makes you better.  Sort of like swivel knives.

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It really totally depends on what you are doing.  You can spend a LOT on money on abrasives.  I sharpened a lot of knives and other stuff with Carborundum stones and Tri-hone stones dill I got heavily into Diamond Stones.  You can also use a sheet of glass and sandpaper to keep cost down and still have a bunch of grits available.  Wit 3M Feathering Adhesive and General Purpose cleaner, you can get by with sandpaper forever. You should buy a few slip stones (either diamond, natural, or synthetic) for hard to get into places and punches.  Get the really good (and expensive) stuff when you need it.

Art

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You can put an amazing edge on things with an inexpensive double sided Norton stone and a strop/fine steel. I put razor edges on knives with one of these for years

 

http://www.amazon.com/Norton-614636855653--8-Inch-Combination-Oilstone/dp/B000XK5ZDY/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1459563089&sr=8-1&keywords=norton+sharpening+stone

Edited by Colt W Knight

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Hi,

       That Norton combo is excellent, and the India side is just a fantastic finish hone.

Make a leather strop on a board with some green or white rouge and you are good to go!

I've had mine for 25 years and still going strong!

 

Edited by seagiant

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17 hours ago, seagiant said:

Hi,

       That Norton combo is excellent, and the India side is just a fantastic finish hone.

Make a leather strop on a board with some green or white rouge and you are good to go!

I've had mine for 25 years and still going strong!

 

Mine is 16-17 years old, and you can hardly tell its been used. I have a set of expensive diasharp DMT diamond stones, but to be honest, the Norton is way easier and quicker to use. I use the DMT stones to level frets on guitars.

 

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Hi,

        I worked with a guy that BEGGED me to sale my Norton....

I said, no way, go order your own!

I use it for everything,knives,leather tools, plane blades,chisles,ect.,ect.!

I buy a cheap combo diamond hone (Course-Medium) from Amazon, to make quick work of setting the edge.

Then go to the Norton India for finishing!

https://www.amazon.com/DIAMOND-SHARPENING-STONE-double-MEDIUM/dp/B000TY15AQ/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1475945813&sr=8-3&keywords=diamond+hone

Edited by seagiant

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May I suggest before you buy any other stones watch a few videos on how to sharpen. There are some on this site that are quite good and You Tube has tons. Practice is the key and polishing or stropping the blade is just as important as getting it sharp. Learning proper blade angle is key to getting it sharp. I use Japanese water stones and usually only need to strop to keep an edge but that also has a lot to do with what you are sharpening, the metal its made of and how you use it. Lots of ways to accomplish sharpening and each tool you sharpen will be different.

Dave

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I have lazy chefs for friends, and I use Naniwa 400, 800, 1000, 3000, 5000 and finally 8000 grit.

The way I do things, it gets really sharp on the 5000, not before. The 5000 stone is magic. Creamy, in a way.

I can recommend the Naniwa Chosera for the 400 to 1000, but then skip to Super series on the finer grits.

I've bought knives from "chefknivestogo", happy with them, they have stones as well. Buy a stone holder.

I'll be getting this: http://www.chefknivestogo.com/naao2kgrbr.html

Edited by ArildS

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I think it would be hard to beat the Norton  stone I posted a link for earlier in the thread. 

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A great stone means nothing if you don't learn how to use it.

Also, when you sharpen a knife, you wind up with what's referred to as a "wire edge", where there is a very thin amount of metal sticking out of the edge.  It will feel sharp, but fold over and become dull quickly.  To get rid of that, you use a leather strop after sharpening.  Many people think they've failed at sharpening the knife, but don't realize that it's just that last step that's missing.

As others pointed out, there are videos all over the place for sharpening.  And they're free.  Avoid the ones that are selling you sharpening devices.

If you don't want to invest in stones, get a series of very fine sandpapers.  (Some hardware stores sell it by the sheet.)  Tape the sandpaper down on something VERY flat - steel or a piece of glass.  (This is a technique woodworkers use called "scary sharp".)  Start with the lowest grit - maybe 400 - and work your way up to the finest grit - say 1200 or 1500.  Put oil on the sandpaper and it will make the process work better.  Wipe ALL the grit off the knife before going to a finer paper.

If you want to get really good at sharpening without screwing up your good craft knives, go in the kitchen and get all those dull knives out of the drawer.  When all of your kitchen knives are razor sharp, you're ready for your good knives.

 

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I use sandpaper and a piece of quartz for most of my sharpening.

For decades I gave up and threw knives into a drawer thinking I just can't sharpen knives...

Then a few years ago I dedicated some time to learn from videos. I watched a ton of them. Two videos stood out the most.

The first was a kid who used a cinder block and a red brick to get a pocket knife shaving sharp in about three minutes. That was frustrating to see.

The other was from a fallkniven distributor in Canada. He showed me how when you sharpen a knife for the very first time it takes longer. Everyone's hands do something a little different and you are putting your personal edge on to the blade. After this initial sharpening later sharpening won't take nearly as long. 

It was like a light went on in my head. It all made sense. I wished I had seen that video first.

Long story short, anyone should be able to sharpen a knife if I can. I'm also learning that aus8 steel isn't quite tough enough for my every day use at work. I may need to step up to some 154cm.

Good luck.

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I use a Lansky knife sharpening kit.

 

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As leatherworkers, we're obsessive about sharp tools, and probably rightly so.  It can make a huge difference.  Like Bikermutt, I couldn't get it right for a long time and watched alot of videos and read a lot of instructions, finally learned some of the same lessons he did, and am finally getting reasonably good at it.   Somebody on here posted a link to a video by Paul Sellers using sandpaper, as Art suggested and that's how I finally learned!  Scary Sharp with Sandpaper ..for those interested.  It has worked well for some time now, but I'm starting to look at other methods now that I'm more comfortable with sharpening.

Like the OP, I'm trying to decide what to get and have pretty much decided that diamond "stones" are the way to go.  They're expensive, but seem to have one big advantage: They're always flat.  Stones, no matter how good or expensive, all seem to have the disadvantage that they will eventually wear a dip or concave into the surface and then have to be flattened somehow.  

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3 minutes ago, billybopp said:

As leatherworkers, we're obsessive about sharp tools, and probably rightly so.  It can make a huge difference.  Like Bikermutt, I couldn't get it right for a long time and watched alot of videos and read a lot of instructions, finally learned some of the same lessons he did, and am finally getting reasonably good at it.   Somebody on here posted a link to a video by Paul Sellers using sandpaper, as Art suggested and that's how I finally learned!  Scary Sharp with Sandpaper ..for those interested.  It has worked well for some time now, but I'm starting to look at other methods now that I'm more comfortable with sharpening.

Like the OP, I'm trying to decide what to get and have pretty much decided that diamond "stones" are the way to go.  They're expensive, but seem to have one big advantage: They're always flat.  Stones, no matter how good or expensive, all seem to have the disadvantage that they will eventually wear a dip or concave into the surface and then have to be flattened somehow.  

After using some very expensive diamond stones (dmt diasharp) I can attest to the fact that they stay flat. The disadvantage is the grit will wear off over time if you use them enough. I have a few diamond stones with dead spots. 

I also have a few Norton stones that are decades old, and yes, they are not flat anymore. However, you can still use them and get a scary sharp edge. 

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I'll stick with norton looks like. I got a skiving knife from lisa and it's awesome but it's not razor sharp like I want it. 

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I have a tristone that I play with as well. I started out using the sharpy, sandpaper, and mouse pad method. Then I graduated to the quartz and sandpaper. 

It seems to me that on the tristone the fine rock is only 400-600 grit.

With the sandpaper (or the stone) I pull away from my edge turning it up just enough to grab the paper. After awhile you just get a feel for it. I work through my grits and then strop with the green compound from Tandy.

This is obviously not a master technique like Art would use (lord only knows what he's capable of), but it does work for me.

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I'm eyeballing a norton 4000/8000. There's a woodcraft store Close to me that may have them. May go look tomorrow to see what I find. 

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I recommend that your first diamond stone should be a DMT diasharp 1000.  You can use it to true-up your other stones.  I also recommend something that is easy like a tri-hone.  Baby oil (mineral oil) works just fine on these things and you can get things pretty sharp if you go up through the grits.  The the finest stone on the two tri-hones I have is around 600 grit one is an original Smith 6" and the other is a big 10" monster sold by Tandy in the late '70s or early '80s.  Both bought off of eBay for $20 or so.  The 600 leaves the edge sharp with enough tooth to make cutting easier.  A strop with green compound will refine that a little and make an acceptable using edge.  One of the big errors I see a lot is getting the edge too smooth by going to extremely fine grits.  The other thing is edge angle.  I often use a 20° edge for a head knife, 10° each side, and it goes through leather wickedly, but I am maintaining it all the time, I have the tools to do it, and when I roll the edge, the knife flat stops cutting and I fix it.  If I do it for someone else, a 30° to 40° angle is more appropriate for someone who doesn't sharpen a lot but knows how to strop.  I can't say I use the tri-hones a lot, but if I am packing light, it goes in the bag.

 

I use DMT diamond stones a lot.  I have 120 micron (about 150 grit) up to 3 micron (about 8000 grit).  I DO NOT use them dry, I use 50/50 simple green and water, it lubricates and cleans the stone.  Right out of the box, these stones grade 3 to 5 microns rougher than they marked, which means a 9 micron (1000 grit) will be more like a 600 grit and eventually (it takes some use) work it's way up to a 9 micron (1000 grit).  Edges on DMT stones can be brutal and I break the edges with a diamond lap.  These things should NEVER be your first stones unless you use it to lap your other stones.

 

Shapton makes very good stones, they call them ceramic whetstones, and I buy the stones they sell into the Japanese market as they are the same stones at a better price.  They come in 120 grit to 30,000 grit.  I don't go much higher than 8000 as it is hard to tell the difference between 5000 and 8000, much less 8000 and 12000.  30,000, I guess they just had to because they could.  The 1000 is a good finish stone except for something like a luthier's chisel, but no luthier would let anyone touch his chisels, much less sharpen them.  The number on the Shapton 1000 (Japanese) Ha No Kuromaku is #K0702, and I think it is around $40, great stone, great price.

 

Remember, too sharp and too polished are real conditions.  You need to sharpen based on the tool's use.

 

Art

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1 hour ago, bikermutt07 said:

I have a tristone that I play with as well. I started out using the sharpy, sandpaper, and mouse pad method. Then I graduated to the quartz and sandpaper. 

It seems to me that on the tristone the fine rock is only 400-600 grit.

With the sandpaper (or the stone) I pull away from my edge turning it up just enough to grab the paper. After awhile you just get a feel for it. I work through my grits and then strop with the green compound from Tandy.

This is obviously not a master technique like Art would use (lord only knows what he's capable of), but it does work for me.

I still use the Sharpie/Marks-a-Lot/Dykem to tell me what's going on.  Even on machines I use it.  Even with jigs I use it, because if the setup is wrong, the whole thing is wrong; and if you get your profile wrong by not grinding enough, it just won't cut right.  If you grind too much, you're just wasting metal, so those guide lines are important. If I'm just putting an edge on a tool I will get away without marker, but for something critical, or a customer tool, always.

Art

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I always learn stuff from your posts. Your previous post,told me I was probably getting my pocket knives too sharp.

I'll back it down and see if the aus8 will hold up a little longer at work.

I'm thinking 1000 with stropping after? Or 800?

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7 minutes ago, bikermutt07 said:

I always learn stuff from your posts. Your previous post,told me I was probably getting my pocket knives too sharp.

I'll back it down and see if the aus8 will hold up a little longer at work.

I'm thinking 1000 with stropping after? Or 800?

OR 600 with stropping.  But keep the angle at 40°, 20° per side if it is a heavy user.  The 1000 or 800 will work fine too, that doesn't have anything to do with edge strength or how long you will go between sharpenings.  That's more of an angle thing.  It is the old how sharp is sharp thing.  It needs to be sharp enough to do the job, and 600 with stropping or 800 or 1000 won't make a lot of difference, but the angle with enough steel behind the edge makes a world of difference along with what you are cutting.  Stripping out romex or cutting cardboard boxes needs more angle than cutting meat.

Art

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2 hours ago, Art said:

OR 600 with stropping.  But keep the angle at 40°, 20° per side if it is a heavy user.  The 1000 or 800 will work fine too, that doesn't have anything to do with edge strength or how long you will go between sharpenings.  That's more of an angle thing.  It is the old how sharp is sharp thing.  It needs to be sharp enough to do the job, and 600 with stropping or 800 or 1000 won't make a lot of difference, but the angle with enough steel behind the edge makes a world of difference along with what you are cutting.  Stripping out romex or cutting cardboard boxes needs more angle than cutting meat.

Art

Ha! Angles.

My technique kind of slowly develops a convex edge. It's not a very precision process I'm using.

Appreciate the help.

Edited by bikermutt07

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So I've been researching stones, since I feel I need to up my game on sharpening, and my old pocket knife arkansas stone isn't going to cut it anymore, no pun intended.   Well, maybe.

Anyhow, what I've gleaned is that the DMT diamond stones have an uneven distribution of diamond sizes, which leaves random large gouges in the knife bevel.  The Atoma 1200 seems less inclined to do that.  I seem to find them for $75-$120.

The Cerax 1000 is an excellent soaking stone for $50 - one of the best for the price.  The King KDS combination stone is about the same price, with 1000 on one side and 3000 on the other.  And also a great stone.

I don't think I want to start out with buckets of water, and wait an hour to sharpen a knife while the stone soaks.  But there seems to be a lot of balyhoo about how a diamond stone is harsh on your knife bevels/edges.

Will I need another stone at 3000 grit or higher to finish sharpening, or will a strop take care of the rest?

Am i being overly analytical about all this, or does it really matter for a leather working knife?

Thanks all for the time...

YinTx

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