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Froggy

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Hi All, I'm looking to improve my sharpening and to this end I'm in the market for some new water stones. At the moment I have one King water stone (8000) and 3 cheap Rutland water stones (300, 1000, 3000). I also have the Trend diamond stone (300, 1000 combination). Any recommendations, advice re replacing the cheaper Rutland stones or any other sharpening tips would be much appreciated.
 

xraymtb

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What is wrong with your current setup? MIght be easier to recommend if we understand what you are unhappy with.
 

Froggy

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I'm not getting them sharp enough (which I know could lead to a much wider debate!), but if you can get 3 water stones from Rutlands for £29 then you would assume that the ones (like Shaptons and King) which are much more expensive, are better stones. I would rather have a discussion on here before paying out for these more expensive stones.
 

--Tom--

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This

What do you want?
Quicker
Harder/softer
Less slurry

Or is it just that you aren’t getting a good edge, in which case the rock you rub it on is less relevant than technique and process.

220 If it needs it, 1k, 6k, strop should give an edge that’ll take shaving off endgrain.

If you aren’t getting sharp off the 8k then you’ve probably not hit the apex
 

woodbloke66

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Only my two Euros (for what they're worth) but I tried waterstones back in the 80's when they were relatively new to the UK and hated them instantly. Messy things that went banana shaped far too quickly and I could never get anything really sharp on them.
I use the 3M 'SS' films now from WH and a Veritas MKII guide which make sharpening an absolute doddle :D Each to his own though and 'horses for dooberies' :lol: - Rob
 

thetyreman

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maybe it's more to do with technique? you should be getting good results, make sure there's a burr that breaks off, also are you stropping the blades after the stones? it's an essential part of sharpening.
 

Froggy

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I have, and use, the Veritas honing guide. And I have used the WH film, oil stones and diamond stones and started with water stones which I have now gone back to. This is over a period of more than 13 years. But I still feel my planes in particular could be sharper. But having spent many years trying to perfect my skills I am still not there. So I am looking in detail at every facet of the operation (one of them being my technique) but the other being the equipment. As I said earlier why would people pay for the King/Shapton stones if the cheaper Rutland ones were good enough?
 

Froggy

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Just an extra bit of info that may be relevant - it takes me a long time to get a burr on the back of the blade, once I've got that I tend to get an 'adequate' edge. I thought better stones might a) speed that process up and b) give a sharper edge.
 

Jon C

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If it’s taking an overly long time to get a burr, it could be that your secondary/micro bevel (whatever you call it) is getting too large or you just need to be using a coarser stone.
If the micro bevel is too large you’ll need to reform primary bevel on a grinder or sandpaper on a flat plate.

Before you go changing stones, definitely try stropping. From what you said, you are getting a burr but you might not be removing it fully.

The only 2 stones I own are a fine Norton India and a coarse/extra fine dmt duosharp.
After stropping, I can’t see/feel any noticeable difference between the fine India and extra fine diamond. The India is just slower.

For stropping, I was using leather and rouge but I’ve found I get better results using a metal polish (autosol, peek, etc) on mdf.

I’ve never tried green compound on leather (like the majority of woodworkers do), maybe the rouge isn’t abrasive enough?
 

Froggy

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Thanks Jon, I'll take another look at my technique (which I do regularly anyway, in a hope to improve!) and I'll definitely look at the micro bevel issue because it is often too big but that's because I carry on sharpening until I get a burr! Seem to go round in circles!!
 

Jon C

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If you do try polish on mdf, you have the advantage of being able to use your honing guide so you don’t dub over the edge.

The only issue is a bar of compound lasts a hell of a lot longer than a tube of polish.
 

woodbloke66

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Froggy":3bk8gnvr said:
Just an extra bit of info that may be relevant - it takes me a long time to get a burr on the back of the blade, once I've got that I tend to get an 'adequate' edge.
In my view, that's why the edge only feels 'adequate'. When you remove the burr, what you've got is a tiny hacksaw blade which you're then trying to refine to get really sharp. Not going to happen!
With my system, I start off the honed bevel on 30 micron with a three or four swipes back and forth. When I see a film of black swarf in front of the edge, I know the bevel is cutting but there's no 'burr'. Then onto 20 micron, 15, 9, 5 and 1. The last couple of films really polish the edge with the 'ruler trick' being done on the 5 & 1 as they take off next to nothing (but I can still see the black swarf in front of the edge) Sometimes I strops with the green gloopy Veritas stick and sometimes I don't bother...doesn't seem to make much difference. The whole process takes no more than a few minutes.
I never, ever try and shave hairs with the blades, especially if it's a Japanese chisel :shock: but a good test is to see if it will just catch on the back of a fingernail. I also never cut paper with them as it's a very good abrasive and will instantly take off your edge - Rob
 

AJB Temple

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You do tend to get what you pay for with water stones. Cheap stones tend to use a lot of binder and the grit sizes can be inconsistent. I use Japanese water stones for my Japanese kitchen knives and I find them very fast - as long as I select the correct grit to start with. People swear by particular brands such as King, Shapton etc. I use Naniwa myself (plus a couple of naturals bought on a trip to Japan).

I don't use them for sharpening tools, but in my experience having taught a few people how to sharpen Japanese knives, the biggest issues with it taking ages to sharpen are a) letting the knife get too blunt in the first place so a lot of work needs doing b) starting on too fine a grit c) applying excessive pressure, d) getting the angle wrong. The latter should not be an issue with a jig.

Water stones can wear quite fast and will do a poor job if not flattened regularly.
 

Ttrees

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Warren Mickley uses an 800 king before his arks, and I doubt he would have any time for faffing about.
I'd reckon its fairly likely that you aren't spending enough overall time on your 300 stone.
More time on the rougher hone and trying to keep that secondary bevel teeny, especially if your not grinding your primary.


Are you using a honing guide?
If so, how about setting it a hair back from the point that you had it the last time, to get a steeper angle as your secondary bevel grows.
I had this problem working on a washita and diamonds,
My setup would somewhat have taken stone wear out of the equation,
so I was able to be a bit heavier handed than with waterstones.
It was taking an absolute age with much much effort because I either...

Not really using the 400g diamond (now I have it bonded to a bit of granite)
Or not doing said technique of steepening the secondary bevel.
Probably both TBH

I have a 4000g king stone and it gives quite a hair popping edge.
I think its safe to say this would be an issue with the prior ones.
Tom
 

adrspach

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I have access to many water and oil stones and from what you telling me is that you wants something faster and at the same time finer which is not easy to achieve.
With the speed you really get what you pay for with exception of natural stones which are different.
You need to also consider how much skill you have and maintenance you want to do.
Cheaper stones often are slower and like to dish a lot however can be flattened easily.
If you want to try anything else try diamonds about 400 and 1000 grit with most of the work done on 400 which you then follow with your King and strop.
There are plenty of recommendations on this site on diamond hones.
If you want something messier but more fun try Naniwa, Shapton, Norton with similar grit and have fun.
 

woodbloke66

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Froggy":gxybwr5e said:
Thanks for that Rob. When you say 'microns' does that mean you use 3M film for sharpening?
Yep, the 3M films are for sharpening the honed bevel. Grinding the blade(s) is done on a Tormek with a coarse diamond wheel and I can grind back accurately so that all that remains of the original honed bevel is a tiny sliver of polished steel, which then forms the new honed bevel. I never grind back to 'zero' as you've then got the dreaded 'hacksaw' blade edge to start to refine.

It's difficult to exactly relate micron size to a Japanese water stone, but Matt's wife at WH did some research a while back and came to the conclusion that a 3micron film is roughly equivalent to an 8000g waterstone and a 1micron film to an 11000g stone, so from that it's possible to extrapolate what the other micron films equate to...sort of :D

It's also quite instructive to read through the reviews posted on the WH site, one of which is from Waters and Ackland in the Lake District and I know as well that Peter Sefton of this parish uses the same technique in his school. No affiliation to WH any others btw - Rob
 
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