Choosing the Sharpening Stones

Although sharpening stones are the perfect way to keep your blades in top shape, choosing the most effective sharpening stone can be difficult - there are so many types! Choosing a sharpening stone is a matter of matching price and convenience with the amount of sharpening your blades require.

Using a Sharpening Stone

  • True grit. "Grit" defines the coarseness of a sharpening stone. The grit of sharpening stones can vary from 120 all the way up to 10000. The higher the grit rating, the smoother the sharpening stone will be.
  • Match the stone to the job. There are three types of sharpening: grinding, sharpening and finishing (sometimes called polishing). Grinding uses a coarse stone in the 120 to 500-grit range. Grinding is used to remove nicks and other imperfections from your blade. Sharpening requires a stone with a grit of around 2000. Sharpening smoothes out the imperfections of grinding and returns your blade to a fine edge. Finish sharpening uses a stone with a grit above 3000. Finish sharpening takes out minute scratches and removes burrs left behind by the other sharpening.
  • Keep your angle. The key to using a sharpening stone is to keep the angle of the blade consistent throughout its length. For beginners, there are stands and jigs to hold the blade at a selected angle.
  • Why choose just one? For many users, the most economical solution is a combination sharpening stone. A combination stone pairs different grits (usually sharpening and finishing) on one stone. Combination stones are a convenient alternative to purchasing multiple stones.

Pick The Right Stone
There are several types of stones on the market. The most common are:

  • Oilstones - The oilstone is a traditional sharpening stone that is lubricated with oil. Oilstones stay flatter longer than other stones, but some users find them messy.
  • Waterstones - Waterstones sharpen faster than oilstones and are lubricated and cleaned with water. Because waterstones use softer material, they must be repaired (using a process called flattening) more often than other stones.
  • Diamond - Using industrial diamonds applied to a metal backing, diamond sharpening stones sharpen quickly, but don't need to be flattened. Although their initial coast is high, diamond stones are long lasting and perfect for high-volume sharpening.
  • Ceramic - These man-made sharpening stones are water lubricated and leave a very sharp edge on steel blades.
Related Life123 Articles

Woodworking hand tools may never go out of fashion.

Learning how to use a sharpening stone is an essential first step to a long career in woodworking.

Frequently Asked Questions on Ask.com
More Related Life123 Articles

Since a utility knife can quickly become one of the most frequently used tools on your workbench, it's essential to learn some basic utility knife safety tips. Useful for trimming, cutting and even marking, a utility knife can be your best friend. Or, your worst nightmare. To function effectively, a utility knife must have a sharp blade. That sharp blade can cause serious damage if it's handled incorrectly.

Woodworking hand tools are not interchangeable. Each tool has its own use, and you need a lot of them if you want to do your woodworking projects right.

Although power tools have replaced many of the functions of wood planes, most craftsman still have several of these versatile tools in their arsenal.

© 2014 Life123, Inc. All rights reserved. An IAC Company