I don't know what a bush knife is, but Woodcraft currently has the Norton
combination stones on sale for 20% off. That is a screaming good deal on
what many people consider a top of the line stone.
Perhaps a 220/1000 and 4000/8000 pair would serve you well ($100 on sale,
Keep in mind - waterstones must be kept flat. 220 wet\dry sandpaper on a
flat piece of glass\granite\marble\machine surface does well.
Posted via a free Usenet account from http://www.teranews.com
1000 / 4000 combination stones are cheap (try "King" brand). It's when
you buy wide stones, hard stones or naturals that they get expensive.
You can go coarser too, but it's >00 grit where they have their
On Fri, 21 Mar 2008 07:10:07 -0700, dafyddw wrote:
Sharpening tends to get "religion" status amon some woodworkers :-). As
far as waterstones go, the advice to get the combinations currently on
sale is a good one.
But, FWIW, after trying waterstones, diamond stones, and scary sharp, I've
gone back to oilstones.
I'm sure some of that is the fact I'm used to them, but I found the mess
and rapid dishing of waterstones to be a pain, the diamond stones don't go
fine enough for me, and scary sharp may have a low initial expense, but
the continuing expense is another story.
Of all four methods, I did find that scary sharp was the fastest.
At the Lee Valley all day sharpening course they suggested not going above
1000 grit for knives as they work better with a little "tooth" to them. Use
300 for removing nicks in the blade. The higher grits are only needed for
fine woodworking. I have the Norton 300/1000 and it works great (you will
need something to flatten it).
After I goggled Bush knife, I must say the steel of a bush knife don't
visually look that hard on the Rockwell scale. But that is just a guess.
I agree with the previous poster, don't go above 1000 on waterstone. IMHO,
you need at least 58 RC (Rockwell) or above steel to benefit from stones
5000 or above.
You might want to consider a diamond stone and finish with leather stop with
Google for Barbershop leather strop, or Razor Strop for straight Razors.
They should sell compounds at the same site as the barbershop strops.
Thanks for all the help thus far. I should have explained that by bush
knives I meant general purpose. hunting . fishing / fieldcraft knives.
I've a few made with ats 34 steel.
What's the scary sharp system?
Another silly question, do oilstoneS come in different grades?
Sandpaper stuck down to glass or another reasonably flat surface.
Yes. Washita is the coursest standard oilstone, from that you go to
soft Arkansas and hard Arkansas, and beyond that to black Arkansas,
then if that's not a fine enough edge, translucent hard Arkansas.
Note that these are not super fast cutting stones, but they polish
Personally I've got a set of Arkansas stones, a set of ceramic stones,
and set of diamond stones. When I have a really munged up edge I use
the diamond, then finish with the ceramic, and a strop after that, and
use the ceramic and the strop for touch up. I only use the Arkansas
if I'm looking for a "showpiece" edge. I've tried Scary Sharp and it
works fine--cheap to start out but if you sharpen regularly then it
can get expensive on the consumables.
A good diamond stone is a nice thing to have regardless, as it will
flatten any conventional stone.
For woodworking planes and chisels, just one more method of getting a sharp
There are many besides whetstones, oilstones, and waterstones.
again, needs at least RC54 steel, IMHO.
go to www.sawmillcreek.org and search for scary sharp. Several links.
Don't get hung up on the fluid used;
In North America, the most famous stones are the natural stones (mined and
polished) from the Arkansas hills.
(Aside note: pronounced as Ar-kansa stones, but refers to the Ouauchita
Many, many google hits on Arkansas oilstones.
BTW: my local ACE hardware store, an honest to goodness real hardware store,
sells artificial oilstones from Norton's brand of India stones (Aluminum
oxide) which resist cupping more than waterstones, IMHO.
http://www.nortonstones.com/home.asp look around for bench stones and
waterstones at Norton.
You should use Google to search old posts in this group on sharpening,
particularly those from Steve Knight (he makes planes). Steve actually
wears out sharpening stones quickly enough to have experience with
As for being a beginner, to me the most important thing is how much time
and elbow grease does it take to put on a good edge. If you are among
the rare few who enjoy sharpening; my recommendations won't make much
sense; just buy a translucent Arkansas stone and have at it. :-) That's
not too much different than the way I learned to sharpen.
The minimum is probably diamond paste on a piece of MDF
Of the sharpening stones that I've used, I like the ceramic waterstones,
especially the Shapton brand. I'd rate stones from best to worst like this:
Shapton stones, cut fast, and are hard enough not to dish - probably in
the same ballpark as Arkansas oil stones for dishing.
Other ceramic waterstones. They are hard and don't dish quickly but they
don't cut as fast as the Shapton stones.
Synthetic Japanese waterstone cut moderately fast (slower than ceramic
waterstones) but are soft and need to be reflattened frequently. You
need something to flatten them with another waterstone, diamond stone,
concrete block, or etc.
Arkansas stones. The traditional American choice. Usually used with
oil. Cut slowly. Can clog if you don't use enough lubricant or let
the oil turn gummy. Of course, any whet stone will clog, but I find
it easer to clog an Arkansas stone.
Diamond stones. Very flat. Great for flattening other stones and
touching up carbide. They don't seem to last as long as you might
think a diamond should - perhaps because carbon (i.e. diamond) will
dissolve in iron? They seem to cut a little faster than
Arkansas stones but don't leave as nice a finish.
Cheap supermarket, whet stones. Between Arkansas and Japanese
waterstones in hardness. Cut reasonably fast, good for rough
Any of those stones will leave a nice edge, except for the supermarket
stones. The main variables are how long it takes and how much the stone
costs; unfortunately, the less the stone costs, usually the more
work is required.
You should be each different class of stone has a different grit
measurement system. IOW, you can compare a ceramic waterstone's
grit to a ceramic waterstone's grit but not to a Japanese watersone's
grit without a conversion table.
For most people, a good whetstone is a lifetime purchase. If you
expect to do a fair amount of sharpening, I'd recommend starting
with the Shapton 1000 (Orange color) and a Shapton 5000 (Wine
color). You could consider getting a King 8000 grit waterstone
instead of the 5000 grit Shapton.
<(Amazon.com product link shortened)>
I once made the mistake trying to flatten my 5000 grit Jap. waterstone with the
1500 grit, and ended up with one concave, the other convex.
Now I have a diamond coated plate for flattening them.
firstname dot lastname at gmail fullstop com
i use two stones and a grinder.
i want a third stone though
for heavy heavy work i use the grinder for shaping and heavy metal
then i use a 1000x Stone and a 4000x stone
i want to get a 200x silicon carbide stone for heavy stone work but
its on the list.
I'll get it when a true need presents itself
I forgot to mention depending on what you're cutting with the knife
some people here are dead right using the 4000x stone might not help
on general purpose knives sometimes the razor edge does not help much
a rougher edge sometimes helps cut better BUT there is the other
when i'm working on site with the toolbelt (Usually in electronics or
AV type stuff) i keep several knives on me usually ballpark is three
knives one for rough work one for stripping cables and one sharpened
to a razors edge usually i use the first two but i can shave with the
But i also sharpen those knives to a thick angle to pry more than
slice if your knives might be used to pare off firewood or similar you
want a thick angle too to not always wreck the edge
more than anything else its not just what stones you use but how you
use the blade that makes the biggest difference
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