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Ceramic Stones...any Info ?

rrpm1's picture

I'm going to breakdown and buy some ceramic stones. The only one I can see live is the Shaptons(sp?)at Woodcraft and, while they are expensive, I'm not sure if they are any good. Are there other brands that others use? The # on the that the actual grit?
I'm considering a #1500 and maybe a #5000 however, that's not set in stone... and am I correct in assuming you really don't need their flattening stuff...



VomSorb's picture

(post #98378, reply #1 of 21)


Also check out the offerings from Highland Hardware.   Do a search.

rrpm1's picture

(post #98378, reply #2 of 21)




DONC4's picture

(post #98378, reply #5 of 21)

I bought and returned Spyderco ceramic stones. They weren't flat and you can't amke them flat. The only one I kept was their microfine small stone. this is the same one that Wayne Barton (chip carver) recommends for honing knives. It is really nice.

Maybe there are ceramic stones that are flat BUT Spyderco is not one of them.


lwj2's picture

(post #98378, reply #14 of 21)

I've used Spyderco stuff for years.

What degree of flatness do you require? My stuff looks good against a Starrett ground rule.


Leon Jester

Leon Jester, Roanoke VA

DONC4's picture

(post #98378, reply #17 of 21)

All I can say is you are lucky Leon. My stones were dished 1/32".

lwj2's picture

(post #98378, reply #20 of 21)

Mine was probably in similar shape, although I didn't measure.

The el-cheapo diamond stone flattened it nicely. As I said, at about nine bucks or so for three, it's a cheap throw-away solution.

I do admit I take a bit better care of the black instrument-grade Arkansas.

I'm not really a person that is into dead-flat 8k grit stones. If it's sharp enough to shave my arm (or leg, if I've been busy), it's sharp enough to work with. I don't believe I've ever used anything finer than a 1k grit (FEMA) paper to sharpen with.

I figure if shaving sharp worked for Hepplewhite, Sheraton and Duncan Phyffe, it'll work for me — one of these days I should get as good as they were.

A couple of weeks ago, I got a Witherby 1½ inch chisel, probably made about 1850 or so from the markings, and ground a new edge on it. Some moron had ground a bevel on the back of the blade. Ten minutes on the 8 inch grinder, a few on the sander with 100 grit paper and a few on the Wa*shi*ta stone and it shaves again. Turned a nice apple haft for it, works just fine.

Edited: Wa*shi*ta comes out #### without the asterisks. Odd. lwj


Leon Jester

Leon Jester, Roanoke VA

rrpm1's picture

(post #98378, reply #3 of 21)

I'm trying to simplify the process to the smallest amount of paraphernalia as I can get away with...I rather use a spray bottle than a bucket of water....a smoother and scraper than sandpaper..most of my planes do quite well being reasonably sharp...the smoother I want at a higher level of sharpness and more frequent attention.
Now, just so you'll know, I spent way to much time re-flattening the 1000 waterstone last I'm pathetic too..thanks



Jellyrug's picture

(post #98378, reply #4 of 21)

I use regular waterstones, but if ever I have to replace, ceramic it will be.

The big difference is not sharpening so much with the wet slurry, but rather the stone itself. Ceramics are wetted only slightly, to prevent clogging, as opposed to soaking a water stone and then the mess, which comes with the slurry.

You seem to not care about flattening, but a ceramic stone wears slow in comparison, on the other hand it is more difficult to get flat and true.


rrpm1's picture

(post #98378, reply #6 of 21)

I started with the 4000 (Japanese) waterstone and 220 problem. With the 1000(Norton) I was getting no place so I switched to 80 grit..several sheets. When the paper was gone the stone was flat except for a spot in the middle...from the wheel of the eclipse jig. I don't bother with the 250 (Norton) anymore, it dishes from the fan.
Perhaps I did wait too long...



philip's picture

(post #98378, reply #7 of 21)

Just a comment here- I can't understand why people are having a problem with the wheels of honing guides like the Eclipse making depressions in their stones.The emphasis of your downward pressure is supposed to be on the edge being honed, not on the wheel. If yoy are pushing that hard to get the danged thing to work then there is a problem....
One can modify the Eclipse by replacing the roller with a wider wheel- but to my way of thinking this just gives stability and is not worth the bother. If one is really worried about stone damage then substituting a nylon or tufnoll roller should do the trick.
Being a lover of diamond plates that's my 10cents for the day.

Philip Marcou
AlanTurner's picture

(post #98378, reply #8 of 21)

I use both Shaptons, and the Spydercos, but for different tasks. The Spyderco stones are not very flat, but are hard as a rock, and so will not dish out. I use them only for carving tools as these tools are very hard on waterstones of any type.
I use the shaptons only for straight edges, such as chisels and plane irons. They stay flat much longer than conventinal waterstones, in my experience. To flatten, have a flat piece of granite (I use a granite floor tile, which I check with a straight edge), and some 90 grit silicon carbide abrasive powder and water. Only takes about 2 min. to do all 3 stones (1k, 5k 8k). I have not had a problem with either my eclipse or LV honing guides rutting the stones.
Both sets of stones are pricey, but seem to have quite good longevity.

aw1410's picture

(post #98378, reply #9 of 21)

I bought a $20 DVD from Lie Nielsen Toolworks on Handplaning and sharpening by Rob Cosman.  He uses waterstones, 1000 and 8000 grit.  For flattening, his method is to have two 1000 grit stones and use one to flatten the other stones before and during use.  I've tried the same thing using 1000 grit King waterstones from Woodcraft and it really seems to work extremely well with a minimum of effort.  The 1000 grit stones cost around $18 each from Woodcraft and are one heck of a lot cheaper than those high-priced ceramics!

rrpm1's picture

(post #98378, reply #10 of 21)

You raise a good point..but based on that approach, I'd need to buy another 1000 grit Norton waterstone, about $45 ...or a shapton for $52.
I plan to continue to use my waterstone, they have worked quite well. I just need to re-flatten more frequently in the future.
However, I'd like to have at least one shapton (maybe two) that are held in reserve for planes only...primarily for honing only. For instance, I don't anticipate frequent resharpening of the smoother but frequent honing to achieve the finish I want.



aw1410's picture

(post #98378, reply #11 of 21)

I'm using the King waterstones from Woodcraft. At $18 each, they are a good buy. Maybe don't last as long as Norton but I can get 2 1/2 for the price of the Norton and I am not a production shop.

arw01's picture

(post #98378, reply #12 of 21)

I recently switched from Scary Sharp to Shaptons. From Joel at tools for working wood, I got the:


stones, and plan to add the 11,000 and 220 sometime in the next few months.

They do stay flat longer than king stones. I base this on watching the Charlesworth sharpening video. They work incredibly fast, much faster than SC sandpaper.

For flattening I had bought a diasharp course stone a couple months ago, it only takes a minute or so.

for water I use a spray bottle, there is no soaking, the particles float right off the stone if you keep it spitzed, and come off with hand friction at clean up.

I would definetly buy them again!


rrpm1's picture

(post #98378, reply #13 of 21)

Both you and S4S use the 1k,5k,8k and have similar good experiences. From what I have read elsewere, the 8000k is basically the same as stroping with you agree with that or am I trying to hard to save money? thanks



arw01's picture

(post #98378, reply #15 of 21)

Never used the rouge and a strop or strop stick. Had been going to 2000 SS before. The 8000 produces a high polish that you can count pores with.

The 8000 is expensive, but you won't need another one for a LONG LONG time.


rrpm1's picture

(post #98378, reply #16 of 21)

I brought home the #5000 today and put the band new LN 4 1/2 blade on! I know now I'll be thinking about the #8000 ..

ps. I do need to give the wallet a bit of a rest.

Edited 4/30/2005 9:09 pm ET by BG


fishnskibum's picture

(post #98378, reply #21 of 21)

I currently use King and L-V traditional waterstones. I've figured out over the years that only a #1000 grit and a #8000 grit are necessary. I have a #220 grit also, but if I need it, I now go to the bench grinder instead.

I have looked long and hard at Shapton stones, and if I ever wear out the ones I have now, I may spring for them. The only big drawback to them is Shapton recommends that they only be flattened with their pricey $128.99 lapping plate. According to their web site, flattening them with sand paper leaves small ridges and valleys that causes the stones to wear faster than if lapped on their plate.

Also, their #8000 grit stone is $102 versus $40 for the Lee Valley.

At the rate my current stones are wearing out, I'll be about 267 years old when they are gone.


CliffKelly's picture

(post #98378, reply #18 of 21)

I have seen the originator of the Shapton stones demo them, and I am certain that some form of flattening is critical...absolutley critical. I was impreseed by the speed of the system, but remember that it is part of a system.

rrpm1's picture

(post #98378, reply #19 of 21)

I don't doubt that'll I need to deal with flattening in the future of hte #5000. However, given that I'm using it exclusively for the new blade on the LN 4.5...and that blade practically spans the width of the stone..I should get some even wear for some time.
I bought a big old oil stone for $5 bucks (Norton)at the antique tool auction week before last. I'm using that to do initial resharpening of chisels by well. I must say the oil stone has given rise to one of my old prejudicies; the smell of oil just seems more natural when your sharpening

Edited 5/10/2005 11:11 am ET by BG