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Thread: Help me choose some synthetic waterstones...

  1. #1
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    Help me choose some synthetic waterstones...

    I have been using natural oilstones for years. I love them. But the allure of perfectly consistent grinding and honing every time has got me. Please help me pick a set of water stones! I am looking for medium through mirror polish. I have two parameters - no soaking, and hardest... I dont really care about cut speed as long as they are the Stay Flattinest of the bunch...

    I am looking at the Naniwa super stones. But thats about it. Any other suggestions? I have no problem mixing brands etc i know some higher grits dont need a soak no matter the type.
    Last edited by James Taglienti; 07-13-2012 at 1:39 AM.

  2. #2
    Funny...I just moved away from waterstones for the same reason

    However, since you asked, I used to use a Duo Sharp course/fine (red/blue) for flattening backs, flattening stones, establishing bevels, etc..... Then a Norton 8000 for polishing. Then onto a strop for final polishing and maintenance. No soaking required with the 8000. I didn't really like waterstones below 8000 because I find they tend to be soft and dish easily. I have a Shapton 16000, but I never use it. It's redundant with a strop IMHO.

    So that's what I used to do before I started using Spyderco ceramic stones (stones and strop just live on my bench, now), and a Worksharp for establishing the basic bevel.

  3. What stones??????

    I purchased mine from Stu at Tools From Japan. Stu knows his stuff and the shipping was much quicker than the 3 -4 weeks stated. I purchased the Sigma ceramics and really get a sharp, durable edge.

    http://www.toolsfromjapan.com/store/...ain_page=index
    Steven

  4. #4
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    I use a diamond stone to get rid of nicks,then a black then a white Spyderco,and a strop. Tried just about everything else over the years,and I'm satisfied with the ceramics. They never get out of flat.

  5. #5
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    If you use all carbon steel chisels, the superstones are fine. I think they're a bit lacking and load easily after that in the lower grits (though I've always liked the feel of the higher grit stones). Possible choices, especially coming from oilstones (where you'll be used to hard stones)

    * A set of shapton professionals (stu can hook you up with those, as could harrelson stanley or chef knives to go), or even just the 1k and 12k
    * A set of sigma powers (stu has those, not as hard as shapton, but really good stones for the price, and the final polish stone is the finest grit of the stones I've seen short of shapton's offerings that are in the $300+ range for a single stone)
    * A bester 1200 and a cheap finishing stone like a kitayama or imanishi 10k (if price is a concern). The bester 1200 is far and away, to a hard stone user, the bargain high performer - it's a super performer without regard to price at all - as long as you get it from some place that charges $45 for it and not $65. The bester 1200 and the 1000 are not similar, it has to be the 1200.

    The super quality cheap stones of the stone world are (at least considering they have to perform):
    * the kitayama 8k, which can be found for $65 if you look around
    * the 6k magnesia stone that "fujibato" (330mate_com) sells on ebay (really, really a nice stone regardless of price, but it's $38 for a full size splash and go stone that feels just like a chosera)
    * the bester 1200, somewhere around $45

    George's combination is good, too, and you might like spyderco's stones if you're used to oilstones (they're hard like oilstones, and finer). You can make a spyderco finish stone act like several different stones, depending on what you do to the surface.
    Unleaded tastes a little tangy, supreme is kinda sour, and diesel tastes pretty good.

  6. #6
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    I've not enough experience to make the comparisons that others make. I've used oilstones, but the superstones are the only waterstones I've used. That said, I like them, they've done me quite well in the 1K-5K-8K setup I have, and when I need a little more polish, out comes the compound on MDF or a strop. But, particularly in the lower grits, they don't keep super flat, which you mentioned being something you're looking for. I feel like this is exacerbated by one of the stones I have not seeming like it's quite bonded fully to it's base. I can push on the corner of it and it almost flexes a little - water certainly sort of gets squeezed out from between the base and the stone when I do this. They certainly need to be flattened in their working condition.

    I don't soak 'em, but I don't think they're quite splash and go - I run them under the sink as I flatten them before use - that gets them good and wet, but still a little less hassle then soaking. That little "prewet" goes a long way when I get off the first stone and start moving up, and keeping wet enough helps a lot with the loading they can be prone too. As the 8K dries out a bit, I get a nicer polish at the end. If I do just splash them, I find I need to let it sit for a while to soak in and recharge the water a bit more before I begin.
    " Be willing to make mistakes in your basements, garages, apartments and palaces. I have made many. Your first attempts may be poor. They will not be futile. " - M.S. Bickford, Mouldings In Practice

  7. #7
    +1 on David's analysis. +1 on whatever George has to say, always!

    I've got the Bester 1200 and the new Sigma ceramic 1200. Stu's Sigma 1200 is definitely better! Both, however, benefit from a short soak. I've never had either the Bester 1200 or the Sigma 1200 go out of flat: both are very dish resistant stones. I abuse the Bester 1200 (bought it used) and am amazed at how well it keeps working. However, it leaves a coarser edge than the Sigma and doesn't have nearly the feel (feedback) and is much louder in honing. Gesshin 4000 and 8000 don't have to soak and the 4k is one of the best stones I've used: amazingly flat, wear and dish resistant--though it's developed some microfissures (not a problem yet). Stu's 6k doesn't need a soak and is just about the perfect stone for achieving that bright mirror edge. It's hard! Above 6k soaking is usually not an issue with the Sigma ceramics, at least for the 10k or the 13k. Though I do soak, I see little difference unless the soak has been really long--then the mud is much easier to work up.

    Good luck.

  8. #8
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    I would think for hardness and Non soaking, Shapton Pro would be the choice. I find the naniwa superstores a bit soft. I use a diamond stone for coarse grinding and then 1000. 5000. 15,000.
    George Beck
    Fishers Laser Carvers

  9. #9
    I absolutely love my Shapton Pro, 5000 and 8000 stones. I had Nortons 4000 and 8000 and the shaptons are harder, quicker sharpening, and just amazingly fast at sharpening. I know a lot of accolades have gone to the Sigma Stones, but I can't really see how they're better, I think at that point it's about the feel more than speed and hardness. I have the sigma 800 and 1000 stone, and they're great, but require much soaking (I'd assume their higher grit stones don't require as much soaking?)

    There are a bit of stiction issues with the shaptons, as there are with any higher grit stone I would think, but these are overcome by simple adjustments in technique. I don't think you will be unhappy with these stones. I remember when I first tried them after being used to the Norton water stones, I was smiling at how fast they ate steel and how flat they stayed. Every time I use them I'm impressed.

    Jonas

  10. #10
    Oh let me just add that Shaptons stay relatively flat, but I still flatten them with a diamond stone failry often during sharpening (maybe out of habit). Their are no water stones that I know of that will stay as flat as a hard arkansas stone. It does sound like George's Spyderco's do stay that flat so if you don't like flattening with a diamond stone, etc, then maybe that is the way to go?

  11. #11
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    Spydercos would be it. The fine ones especially, from what I can tell they're actually harder than oilstones. If the surface glazes over, they sound and feel like a sheet of glass. You can get a really ridiculous edge off of them like that, but it takes a little bit of skill because they cut very slowly like that.
    Unleaded tastes a little tangy, supreme is kinda sour, and diesel tastes pretty good.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jonas Baker View Post

    I know a lot of accolades have gone to the Sigma Stones, but I can't really see how they're better, I think at that point it's about the feel more than speed and hardness. I have the sigma 800 and 1000 stone, and they're great, but require much soaking (I'd assume their higher grit stones don't require as much soaking?)

    Jonas
    I don't want to pick a fight here, but...

    Sigma don't make an #800 stone.


    Stu.


    Oh, I've some 'waterstones' that make my Arkansas stones look soft, dishy and slow. I kid you not.

  13. #13
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    That's the shapton 1000, right? The 800 stone? giggle...

    And I think a bester 1200 is more like a 1000 and their 1000 more like an 800 (and the 1000 is soft, though not a horrible stone because of it, it won't satisfy people who think it's a more coarse version of the 1200).

    The 1200 SP II should have the name "hard" in it somewhere.
    Unleaded tastes a little tangy, supreme is kinda sour, and diesel tastes pretty good.

  14. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by Stuart Tierney View Post
    I don't want to pick a fight here, but...

    Sigma don't make an #800 stone.


    Stu.


    Oh, I've some 'waterstones' that make my Arkansas stones look soft, dishy and slow. I kid you not.
    Ohh darn, sorry to upset the stone enthusiats.... I meant the sigma 700 stone. The 3F carbon #700 to be exact. From you Stu in fact. Great stone.
    Last edited by Jonas Baker; 07-13-2012 at 2:50 PM.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stuart Tierney View Post


    Oh, I've some 'waterstones' that make my Arkansas stones look soft, dishy and slow. I kid you not.
    Oh man what are they?!

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