Home Repair

What are the best sharpening stones to use

This topic is available here on The Repair-Place forum
I need to sharpen a couple of tools like plane blades and chisels. What should I use to do this?
A grinding wheel is very tempting but use only as a last resort to remove big chips or nicks that can't be taken out with a hand stone.

At the time of purchase, the chisel blade will be protected by a thin coat of lacquer, which has been applied by the manufacturer to prevent the chisel from rusting before it's sold. This lacquer must be removed prior to sharpening the chisel, or it will clog up your sharpening stone. To remove the lacquer, dampen a cloth will lacquer thinner and rub it firmly over the entire surface of the blade.

Sharpening stones will generally have a two-color composition -- the light color usually represents the fine- grit side, while the dark-colored side is composed of a coarse grit.

Before using your sharpening stone, you'll need to apply a fine oil to the stone's surface. Some stones use water instead of oil so read the directions that come with the stone. This will prevent the small filings from becoming embedded in the stone and damaging the grit. Once you've applied a bit of oil, rub the face of the chisel in a circular motion on the oiled area of the stone's coarse, dark- colored side. This will ensure that the face is perfectly flat; most chisels have a slightly uneven face when they're shipped from the factory.

Next, you'll need to sharpen the bevel. To do this, simply apply a small portion of oil to the fine-grit (light-colored) side of the stone and rub the bevel against the stone in a circular motion. There are jigs that hold the chisel at the required angle as you slide it over the stone. See list below.

Here are some manufacturers of sharpening stones and jigs:

NORTON water stones
Arkansas Stones - uses oil
Arkansas Combination Stones - different grits on each side
DMT DuoSharp & DuoSharp Plus Diamond Stones
EZE-LAP DS Diamond Stones
Black Arkansas Stones - extra fine for final honing
Japanese Water Slipstones - for small or irregular shaped chisels
General Chisel and Plane Blade Sharpening Guide
Wolverine Flat Tool Sharpening & Honing Jig


Questions to Webmaster