King Waterstone mismarked?


Hi,
I have a King combination stone. (1000 grit & 6000 grit). If you look at the manufacturer's marks on the stone it shows the 1000 mark on the tan part (smaller stone) and the 6000 mark on the reddish (larger stone). I can't really figure out which side is the 1000 part and which is the 6000 part. (I would think the finer, softer stone would be the larger stone because it would wear away faster but that is not the way it is marked.)
If I feel the reddish larger stone, it feels smoother so I'm guessing it is the finer stone. When I take a bench chisel that has been polished to a mirror finish on the back and use it on the larger stone, I see the mirror finish degraded and scratches develop on the back. (So I'm thinking this is really the rougher side even though it is marked as the 6000 side.)
Then I try the other side. (the smaller tan stone) When I feel it, it feels more coarse but I can polish out the scratches left by the larger reddish stone. I can't quite get a mirror finish as I can with Scary Sharp but I can get to a somewhat of a reflective finish.
On top of this, I was attending a woodworking workshop this weekend and I asked this same question of the instructors. I got a different answer from each of them as to which stone was coarse/fine! (No wonder why I'm confused.)
I have a hard time believing that the stone was mismarked by the manufacturer but the marks on the stone are in conflict with the results I get when I use the stone.
Does anyone have the answer for this?
Thanks for your help.
Zug
BTW, I can't seem to get a mirror polish on a 6000 grit waterstone. (Is that only possible on a 8000 grit stone?)
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wrote:

All the King stones I've seen have a brick-red 1000 grit composition. Finer grades are usually a lighter colour, but they vary.
In general you can _just_ feel the roughness of the 1000 grit with your finger but 4000+ is indistinguishable. If you press a finger nail into an edge though, you should feel that the finer stones are also harder.
You'll also see that water dropped on a dry King stone will soak immedietely into a 1000 grit, but pool up on the less-permeable finer stones.
1000 grit should leave a matt grey surface on steel, but no visible scratches unless you use a hand lens. 6000 etc. (even 4000) should give you a mirror surface quickly. It'll only do this on a flat surface though, so you'll often see the mirror developing at an edge or a central spot, then spreading outwards.
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zug wrote:

I have separate King 1000 and 6000 stones. The 1000 is reddish and the 6000 tannish.
Don't expect to get a mirror finish with the 6000. 8000 will get you closer to that. And diamond paste will literarily give you a mirror finish.
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HI,
Thank you both for replying. I think I've got it cleared up now. It is so great to be able to post a question and get a knowledgeable answer.
Zug
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You've gotten good answers so far. As another clue, I find that my King 6000 is smooth enough that when flattening the back of a blade, it will actually create suction and stick to the blade afer a few back-forth strokes. My 1200 stone doesn't do that.
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