Sharpening Stones

I was one of the early adopters of Japanese water stones for honing edges on tool steel. They are fast, they give a superb edge, and are relatively cheap. These are the manufactured stones by King, rather than the natural stones. The stones we have, and use every day, are 1200 grit and 8000 grit; the first for turning a burr; the second for polishing it off. When you are setting tools up you may need a coarse stone and I have a couple of 400 grit stones that students wear out with monotonous regularity. This has been the way of it for a long time now and I haven’t seen anything better coming along. We usually advise students to get a 6000 grit polishing stone and wear that out before splashing out on an expensive 8000 grit stone

However, there is plenty on the market, such as the Norton water stones; they have a range of 220 grit, 1000 grit to turn a burr, and either 4000 grit or the ultimate 8000 grit. I have seen these in use as a guy on a short course showed me what he had bought and they seemed to cut very well. They are more expensive than King stones but come in a nice waterproof box that helps to keep them damp. See them at

My thanks goes to Alex at Classic Handtools for telling me more about these. They are stockists in the U.K and you can find them at

For more high quality information have a look at our sharpening woodworking hand tools tutorial DVD


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