Sharpening stones have been used since we started making furniture, the more proficient you become in sharpening your tools the more fun you will have with your woodworking.
The stones are very brittle and break very easily, so try not to drop it.
Sharp tools are a joy to use and just make the job easier and faster. The bonus being that your finished job will look better, no torn grain etc.
Remember dull tools reflect the light from the edge, sharp ones do not.
Heat destroys the temper in your cutting tools, that is why using a good sharpening stone makes good sense.
Remember tungsten tipped tools are not honed or sharpened using natural stone.
just a few and most common types that come to mind below.
All decent woodworking stores should have a nice selection of various types of the stones below.
Like most things woodworking, some find better favor than others, but you should have at least a few of these in your workshop.
MAN MADE SHARPENING STONES:
These are often called carborundum stones or oil stones and are often married to each other.
One side being coarse and the other a finer grit.
The lubricant used with these stones is a fine to a medium grade oil.
This floats the metal shavings and particle dust away. The life of your stone will be very short indeed if you forget to use a lubricant.
The stones vary in price, from very cheap to medium. They are probably the most commonly used stone in workshops around the world.
TIP: If your stone is old and gunged up, give it a rinse with some brake fluid, this is a natural degreaser.
b) Water stones
As the name implies NEVER use oil, only water as a lubricant.
Water stones were originally found in the Japanese woodworking culture.
They are both natural and manufactured.
They can also be found with two grits on one stone.
The particles are not as densely bound together so are constantly washed out. This keeps the stone nice and sharp, getting the job done in record time.
These stones go down to an extremely fine grit. You can get finer than 8000 grit but you will not see a noticeable difference in the finish.
This has over the years found favor with the more traditional woodworker. They are also very expensive and need to be maintained to be kept in tip top condition.
If used a lot they are kept in a special bath in water. The top is turned over and placed on the top of the bath ready for use.
Often there are three or four stones fitted next to each other, so all your grits are immediately available for use.
As they are used the top is flipped over every few minutes to keep the stones wet and well lubricated.
They cut well and fast, but must be regularly dressed to keep them true.
A nuguro stone is used to dress a water stone
c) Diamond stones
These are manufactured on a composite (plastic) or aluminium base.
The grit is just differing coarseness of diamond dust bonded to the substrate.
These stones can be used to hone your TCT(tungsten carbide tipped) tools
Most people believe diamonds are forever, this is not so in the case of diamond sharpening stones.
They need to be maintained and kept clean to continue working for a number of years.
Their big advantage is the ability to maintain a perfectly flat surface, so important in the sharpening process.
Some manufacturers prefer you to use them dry(Eezy lap) and some need water to be most effective (DMT)
d) Natural stones.
The first stones used were the natural stones. The harder finer stones for the finishing work and the softer coarser stones for shaping work.
They vary a lot in color. Black being the super fine and the softer coarser ones are a whitish color.
This is not always so,so be careful when buying these stones. Try not buy a multicolored stone as it could well wear down unevenly.
These are often much sought after and can be the most expensive stones you can buy.
As we have mined and dug up mountains of these stones they have become smaller.
There was a story doing the rounds a few years ago that some bright spark decided to mine the Arkansaw stones using dynamite, hense the small stones.
Though not sure about this, is would explain why the bigger stones are pretty scarce.
A 200x60mm Arkensaw stone is very difficult to get hold of these days and even if you could obtain one it will be exorbitantly expensive.
They do a fantastic job of keeping your tools in tip top shape.
Please call John on 041 585 6996 should you be in the market for Sharpening stones and want to be sure that you purchase the correct stone for your application.