No announcement yet.

Sharpening Question

  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Sharpening Question

    OK I'm looking at all the sharpening stones out there and am confused. Should I get a $30 tri oil stone or spend the money and go with diamond or ceramic stones.

    From my reading 800 and 8000 grit ceramic stones and a good strop with red rouge would be the best, is this corect or is there a better way.

    Thanks again.

  • #2
    Re: Sharpening Question

    Hehehe! There ALWAYS seems to be a better way, and most everbody has found their own 'Better Way'. What works for one, may be a blunder for another. Now, ain't that just what you wanted to hear?

    I guess it depends on what you are sharpening. If it's just a set of bench and detail knives and perhaps a set of palm or small gouges, a pocket diamond hone from Wally World, or K-Mart's sporting good section, a good leather on wood strop with that red jewelers' roughe you mentioned will do you just fine. After that, you will probably want to experiment with one of the two or three dozen 'best' stropping compounds. Everybody's got their favorites!

    If you have large gouges and chisles, and they are ALREADY sharp, a larger diamond steel honing device works well to touch up damaged edges. I've found that a round ceramic rod and a small flat ceramic hone works wonders on all of the above mentioned tools. You can also power strop these on a bench arbor or grinder with either a flannel or felt wheel and that same stropping compound (whichever one you like) running at anywhere from 1700 to 3400 RPM , give or take 27 rpm.

    You can spend a small fortune on better and better stones and hones, but I do a lot of sharpening for our carving club members with just the pocket diamond stone and a strop with jewelers rouge, and although most of these are just touch ups, nobody seems to complain after I'm done.


    Then there's the Scary Sharp System that Hi Ho can better tell you about. Cheap, hardware store accessible and effective!

    Good water stones and oil stones will ALSO serve you well, but I'll pass a bit of heresey on don't HAVE to use water or oil! They will work just as well dry, but you will have to clean them once in a while. Mostly that's what the oil and water does anyway...carries off the metal dust from the abrasive action of the stone. Now that should get a rise out of some dedicated water and oilers......they are probably right!


    • #3
      Re: Sharpening Question

      You will probably get as many different answers as there are members to a question like this.

      I haven't tried the ceramic or diamond stones yet because I use a tri-hone for most sharpening/honing and am happy with the results. I did recently recieve a Lansky sharpening set and it seems to do a very good job of sharpening/honing, especially for setting the edge angles on new knives/tools.

      I have also tried the 'Scary Sharp' method with sandpaper and a sheet of glass and it worked fine but I couldn't see buying all the various grits of sandpaper for it when I already own a good set of stones.

      For stropping I have two pieces of board with old belt leather glued to them. One has valve lapping/grinding compound and the other has flexcut gold. Both work equally well for polishing and keeping the edges in good shape IMO.


      • #4


        I have been using my 'oil' stones dry since reading Juranitch's book, The Razor Edge Book of Sharpening and am very happy with the results. I clean mine when they get too dirty with a bit of water, a drop of dishsoap, and an old toothbrush.


        • #5
          Re: Sharpening Question

          the secret about sharpening systems is: they all work! :

          everyone discovers either through trial and error or blind persistence a method that works for them. That said, when I was new to the game and cash poor (now I'm older and cash poor but am now invested in stones) I would have liked to have known about the scary sharp system... basicaly sand paper and a flat surface. You will want a strop and rouge is as good as any. I use Tripoli because that is what I bought along time ago and it does fine for me. I had a stick of Yellowstone but danged if I can find it! LOL there is so much to learn and so many opinions often it is best just to read one book or opinion and use it. As you gain experience you will venture out and try different things but now just get to carving!



          • #6
            Re: Sharpening Question

            here is one link to Scary Sharp... pull a search I'm sure you'll get more . I figured with so many mentions of it you might be interested.



            • #7
              Re: Sharpening Question

              I've got a shop full of sharpening stuff, but what I end up using is

              A coarse diamond 'stone' for the rough work
              then for the other stuff I use

              soft (medium)
              hard (fine)
              black (extra fine)
              arkansas stones

              followed by a good stropping.

              I like to spit on my stones for lubrication (like said in a previous post what it really does is float away the junk).

              All that said, almost anything can be used for sharpening and stropping. I've used a piece from a broken crockery pot for a stone and stropped on my trousers (without compound) with good results (just a whole lot more work).

              One problem I have found with ceramic stones is that very few of them are truly flat. Lay a straight edge diagonally across the face and you'll see the 'dish out' in the center. Another problem is that once the surface particles become dull, the stone is very difficult to dress down to fresh sharp particles.

              Don't be afraid to spend money on sharpening tools, it will be the best money you'll spend on carving equipment. The best tool in the world is next to useless if it's dull, and it will get dull (quickly too).


              • #8
                Re: Sharpening Question

                One suggestion is to have one good quality coarse hone to make the initial edge geometry go reasonably quickly. Nothing more boring or tiring than working for hours and not see much progress. My first stones were Arkansas natural oil stones, the softest took forever to hone away the factory secondary bevel.

                A coarse oil stone, sandpaper on glass or wood backup, coarse diamond with mineral oil all work efficiently. After that initial profiling any of the suggested systems work well.

                If you cannot find a thin piece of leather for the strop. Try some particle board or thin cardboard on a wood base, the stropping compond is applied to the base material and these will also work nicely.

                Sharpening is one of the most essential skills required for any wood working tool.

                Fred Krow


                • #9

                  Or would a 325 grit diamond and a set of oil stones be just as good.


                  • #10
                    Re: Sharpening Question

                    Newby onboard...

                    but with a question on sharpening... or rather strop maintence..

                    WHEN RED ROUGE TURNS BLACK is it dead as an abrasive? ???

                    i use a 4' paper wheel, I made from brown paper composition board, cut out with a fly cutter on a drill press. then sanded true on an arbor to the roundness, shaft speed @1750 rpm motor to polish my blades and chizzles.. with red rough compound, :
                    i use same compound on my wood backed leather strops as well.

                    my particular problem, or question is about, the used-up rouge build up on the wheels and strops. i think its dead, or not abrasive enough to do more than waste time, after it turns black....

                    ok...when removing stone sharpening scratches, from the cutting face and sides of the blade surface,
                    you know after working the rough and the blade polishes out to a mirror finish the rough turns black, and builds up on the wheel..

                    at this point it seams that the rough dosent have the proper grit to polish anymore, and reapplication of rouge seams just to come off on the blade...

                    how do i remove the blackened rouge properly from the paper wheel without messing up the wheel. or is it necessary to remove it.

                    another question on rough, i have several colors i recieved from a gun smith.. 5 pound bars, green, red, white, black, brown, i use to know color to grit roughness, but it has escaped me, any help here. ? is there a chart?

                    WHERE'S THAT SMOKE COMMING FROM?


                    • #11
                      Re: Sharpening Question

                      Coarsest to finest:
                      Black, Brown, White, Red

                      don't know about the green.


                      • #12
                        Re: Sharpening Question

                        My Brownells gunsmith catalog lists green as micro-fine (.5 micron), how that relates to the rest????


                        • #13
                          Re: Sharpening Question

                          Caught a seminar on carving at the ICC taught by Dave who founded Flexcut tools. He's of the opinion that newbies should use power strops to sharpen their tools--he said they have a lot of trouble getting the angle right when sharpening by hand. He actually steered people away from the green rouge--it's made of chromium dioxide and chromium is a toxic metal in high doses...the red rouge he said is iron oxide or rust...FYI.

                          I actually got to talk to a guy named Neil at the conference (actually during the same seminar). I'll pass more of what he said on in another thread, but he had one suggestion that fit this topic.

                          The presenter said that wood works well as a strop if you load it with compound. There are sharpeners on the market made of shaped wood, but Neil said to just use a disk of MDF . He said to cut a circle out of MDF and attach it in place of a grinding wheel on a regular bench grinder. Then you can use it as is to polish your knives, chisels, or anything else.

                          I'd say that if you hooked it up to the grinder, you could actually shape it with a chisel and make a U-shaped or V-shaped profile to polish the inside of gouges and v-tools. Haven't had time to actually try it, though.



                          • #14


                            • #15
                              Re: Sharpening Question

                              thanks for all the replys,

                              its comforting to know i had'nt messed up YET! ha!

                              thanks for the warning on the green rouge..ill not use it daily if ever.... .5 microns. thats like the surface of glass huh?

                              i agree with you about power strops. and angles.. i use my $19.00 porter cable shopmaster 6'water wheel grinder after i have messed up the angle from using the wet stones for sometime..
                              then power strop the edege and blade sides back to mirror finish.. so they glide without pulling.

                              its just too easy to get the secondary bevel to open...
                              using your idea on power stropping and shaping other wheels to do gouges,
                              somewhere i read, a cheap way to hone gouges, was to use the chizzle to make the shape in wood then rub it with rouge, and hone away..

                              i thought the black stuff was abrated material from the blade as well as spent grit..
                              like in wore out sandpaper, the grit dulls..?

                              How i made my wheels.
                              as im on a limited income....
                              making the wheels out of MDF medium denisy fiberboard. gets tricky if you dont have a drill press to drill the arbor hole at 90 degrese.. wicked wobble can result.. i used a 4' side grinder with 80 grit to round out the wheel with the wheel running,
                              it soon rounded and viberation ceased.. One hint Wear a dust mask,

                              WHERE'S THAT SMOKE COMMING FROM?


                              Unconfigured Ad Widget


                              Latest Topics


                              • Dan A
                                Blades and Square Blocks
                                by Dan A
                                I don't have much doubt that I asked these questions to Denny in an email back when I got my Pegas saw from him. But none of my saved emails were transferred over from the old computer to this new one.

                                Since what I use mostly is 3/4-inch pine and 1/4 inch multiply which pegas blade would...
                                Today, 06:33 AM
                              • cwmagee
                                Reply to Another Celtic cross
                                by cwmagee
                                Alex, your creativity is amazing, keep up the great work.
                                Yesterday, 09:47 PM
                              • Harry
                                Reply to Toy jeeps
                                by Harry
                                Hi Jim.

                                The paints I used are mainly aerosol spray.

                                The green is Rus-oleum Painters touch, craft enamel.

                                The red is a stores brand own name, just called Wilko's

                                Don't know if you will get either of these in Mexico, but I'm

                                sure you...
                                Yesterday, 01:18 PM
                              • jim_mex
                                Reply to Toy jeeps
                                by jim_mex
                                Great work and patience needed to pull off these smaller toys. You did a fantastic job! I really like them.

                                I'm curious to know what type of paints you use if you don't mind sharing the brand name.
                                Yesterday, 10:15 AM
                              • jim_mex
                                Reply to Another Celtic cross
                                by jim_mex
                                Nice precise work Alex, as always from you.

                                I also find Celtic these designs fascinating due to their intricacy and geometrical symmetry but I doubt I have your patience to cut them!

                                Well done!
                                Yesterday, 10:12 AM