View Full Version : Diamond Stones
02-01-2005, 11:56 AM
I searched back and have been reading the sharpening posts, including Bob Smalser's (sp) excellent tutorial. I've noticed a lot of discussion regarding water verses oil stones, but I don't recall any mention of the diamond 'stones'. Are any of y'all using them? Are they cost prohibitive? What are their +s and -s? I use the Lansky knife sharpening system that has diamond stones in the handles and it works very well. But I've about decided that I need to get something better than the cheap reversible stone I've been using and I just want to examine all my options.
There really is a wealth of information stored up in the old posts on this site. All I ever have used the stone for is to sharpen my chisels. They don't get used nearly as much as most of yours do I'm sure, but I would have never thought to re-flatten even my cheap stone until reading these posts.
I do, however, think that I've discovered the sharpening x-factor. Honing with blood.
02-01-2005, 12:12 PM
Add some sweat to that blood and you'll have the perfect lubricant. LOL
I picked up a cheap set of sharpening devices (can't call them stones cause they're actually a plastic card with a metal thing glued to them supposedly with real small diamond chips affixed to it) and though they initially seemed to remove metal fairly aggressively, they wore out quite rapidly. Like I said, those were cheapos.
More expensive ones than those probably work better and longer but, as you mention, good ones are down right expensive. I have heard that some folks use them for flattening their water and Arkansas stones which would probably be a cost effective way to use them. I've not looked into them to any great extent as I've been more than satisfied with my water stones.
02-01-2005, 12:19 PM
I have no personal experience with them. I went to a sharpening class at the Homestead Woodworking School (http://www.woodschoolnh.com) a few months back, with Alan Mitchell (runs the school). Alan converses occasionally with Garrett Hack, who wrote The Handplane Book, since Garrett guest-teaches a class every now and again. Apparently, according to Alan, Garrett Hack is a proponent of diamond stones. I haven't heard Mr. Hack state this himself, so it could all be hearsay, FWIW.
02-01-2005, 01:42 PM
Just cracked my funny bone on that one. It is either hear-say or heresy.
02-01-2005, 01:46 PM
That's what I said. :P
02-01-2005, 02:14 PM
Ah, yes. A new word is born. Heresay to mean either/or.
02-02-2005, 03:22 AM
Diamond Stone Plates...HMMM!
Yes I've seen them and tried them..and yes they work well.Surprisingly well..at least when new.
My concerns would be Longevity ...and hear I'm talking 5 years plus...once the diamonds start to loose there cutting power..which they will eventually the stone is finished.
Cost..They are expensive for a large enough platform to cover the sharpening of plane blades.
Maintenance. you have to dry them after use if you use water as a Lubricant to prevent the nickel plated top plate from rusting or if you use oil a regimen if cleaning with kerosene.
On the plus side they will never become hollowed or gouged.
However... You need to decide whether that is a big enough advantage to sway you away from the alternatives.
Personally I don't find flattening Japanese Waterstones a big chore.....especially if treated regularly.
Rubbing two stones together or using a sheet of Silicon carbide paper a la flattening a plane sole gets them back to pancake flat in very short order and as this refreshes the surface to expose fresh abrasive particles it's as good as using a new stone after it's done.
Contrary to the criticisms that are levelled at Waterstones being quick to wear.. I haven't found this and am still on the first set I bought nearly 20 years ago and still have plenty of meat left...BTW they are 'King' brand stones which are about the least expensive and are still being made, so I'm not talking about the expensive fancy ones like Shapton's.
I'm perhaps showing my predjudice here as I've seen no need to change if I'm happy with what I already have.
Just want to provide some counter information about the criticisms levelled at alternative systems which don't provide the full story if you know what I mean... :)
whatever you choose..have fun
02-02-2005, 07:05 AM
Oh, don't mention that they're King stones at some other places. Some of those purists have nothing but bad to say about them. I picked up one of the King combo stones a while back and was amzed at how quickly they cut. The finer of the two stones is easily gouged, especially with narrow chisels, but that is due to my insistance on touching up freehand and still working on my technique more than the fault of the stone. And even with having to flatten out the gouging, it takes only a few minutes on some sandpaper. And I can hardly tell I've flattened away quite a bit of the stone.
02-02-2005, 12:54 PM
That surprises me...about the KING Brand stones..I mean..don't go trawling the net unless I have a problem or concern, preferring to stay blissfully ignorant and happy :)
So unless their quality has taken a nosedive I vehemently refute any suggestion that they are inferior to others as to their ability to make a sharp edge. I would say that until about a year ago I was using a soft Arkansas as my polishing stone but it started to flake and spall so bought a 6000 King and this seems as good as my original 800 and 1200 King's.
The reason that I'm so adamant about this is that after the fateful planing competition I was treated to a free sharpen and polish of my blade by Aimee Ontario Frazer who has authored and published wood working books and is a very keen 'Neanderthal'.
I guess she spent about 10 minutes on her Shaptons got out her Naguri stone etc etc the full Monty.. she then 'set' my plane and used it for a few swipes ...conclusion ..no better than the results I was getting.
We talked for a while and she admitted that the result I was getting on my cheapie Kings (to be fair she was not disparaging of them) was equal to her superbuck Shaptons..She could only say that the Shaptons would wear more slowly and more evenly.. didn't want to tell her I'd been using mine for nearly 20 years and at this rate they would easily see me through to the pearly gates and have enough left for a few years after that...sometimes it's best to say nothing and leave pride intact ;)
Now before anyone thinks that this is a brag...I do nothing different to anyone else..I do use a jig as I'm too idle to go naked and risk gouging the stone..sorry Jer no offence.. just meticulously follow the instructions given on many of the web sites out there and keep on top of things so that the next sharpen is a quick touching up and not a major operation to remove damaged metal because I left it too long.
so I'd love to know what the purists have against them, I really would.
02-02-2005, 01:43 PM
The Shapton and Norton folks, having spent major big bucks on theirs, dwell on that softness issue and the need to flatten them more often. I don't have a problem with them, and am still amazed at the few number of strokes I have to take with them as opposed to the AK stones. Having to flatten mine a little more often than theirs is well worth the bucks I saved. I've only a 1000 and a 4000 grit and so take them to the buffing wheel for a few seconds after the 4000. I'm real careful about not turning the cutting edge up too high and suffer the rounding I've heard others mention (thus their spending some more bucks on a hard felt buffing wheel). The cheapo ones from HD etc work fine for me.
I, too, am an advocate of touching up an edge often and keep trac of the chisels I use on a project so that I may touch them up before I need to go courser than the 1000 grit. I did have to touch up my morticing chisel in the middle of the project I'm doing now, as I got something of a chip in it. Working cherry and there are a few little bitty knots and I might possibly have cooked a bit of the edge when I ground that chisel. Too, it may have been one that I neglected to check with a file to see if it needed retemporing as these are all e-bay chisels and some where pretty ugly when I got them.
With plane irons, I generally wait till I feel I'm not getting the shaving I'm wanting.
There's some experimentation being done on one of the other forums using the Tormek system with the wheel dressed for a fine grind and not using the strop or whatever it is that the Tormek has for polishing an edge. While some are getting 1 to 1.5 thousandths of an inch shavings with properly tuned planes with this relatively rough edge, I would be concerned with longevity of the edge. I also wonder about the finish on the wood left behind. A nearly invisible nick in the edge of a plane iron leaves its telltale signature on the surface. I've had that happen and as far as I'm concerned less than a surface ready to have a finish applied from a finish plane is unacceptable. One of the reasons I use handplanes is because I hate sanding. Besides a few strokes on a couple fine water stones will buff up that edge nicely, so a few extra minutes spent there will save a significant amount of steel over the long haul.