220 Water Stone Alternate

When I back off (eg-flatten the backs) on my bench plane blades I start with a 220 waterstone the first time. I find most commercial blades have some cup and a lot of material must be removed the first go.
The problem is that the 220 stones I use (Nortons) are quite soft and I can chew through a stone on a few blades. I went back to 120 oil for this step but is is very slow of course. Does anyone solve this problem with some other stone type or a horizontal wet grinder? (Can't use my vertical Delta for backing off)
Thanks, Fritz
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You can reflatten a water stone with a diamond "stone" or a ceramic stone made specifically for that purpose. They are available from many woodworking stores (I use Japan Woodworker). You can also use a second stone of similar grit. I flatten my waterstones with a coarse grit diamond stone produced by DMT. Alternatively, you could use a diamond stone to flatten your bench plane instead of the water stone.
Gary
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Fritz wrote:

For stock removal it's hard to beat a coarse diamond stone.
You might also want to take a look at the Harbor Freight Tormek clone http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/ctaf/displayitem.taf?Itemnumber236 , on which you can use the edge of the wheel for flattening. Note--watch the harborfreightusa site for a coupon and you should be able to get it for 60 bucks or so.
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Fritz wrote:

Piece of glass with 220 silicon carbide paper on top
--

dadiOH
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Yup. Or scrap of MDF for that matter.
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Thanks for all the replies!
Regarding flattening stones, I use a the Norton flattening stone to dress my stones. I think it is carborundum and works well. I expect that I may need the diamond some day for my harder stones. I have dressed my 220 stone and will no longer use it for backing off plane blades. One curious note about flattening one stone off another-I think this naturally results in a concavity-this is basically how telescope mirrors are made.
I certainly like the glass idea with Si carbide paper. I ordered some paper today and will try this. (I have used belt sanders to dress plane soles but never sanded the blades.)
I checked the Harbor Freight catalogue and it indeed has a few interesting machines. Seems like 40 years back there were quite a few sharpening machines at reasonable cost. I was surprised taking a look recently-there are very few machines out there. (Also I was surprised at how many plane makers names no longer appear in the catalogues). I would hate to have to equip my shop today. The Harbor Fright (;-> horizontal sharpener would probably be quite useful for 100 bucks. (didn't know about the coupon thing).
Thanks again- Fritz
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FS wrote:

If you're only using two you get one concave and one convex. If you use three and are careful you can get very, very flat--this is how optical flats are made.

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Aha-interesting! Always more to be learned. I work with a lot of optics but I have never made flats. I wonder if anyone has ever sharpened a chisel down to quarter wave (;->
Cheers Fritz
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On Wed, 25 Mar 2009 10:57:04 -0500, "MikeWhy"

...Scary-Sharp works for me, too!
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