DMT recently began offering what it calls the “Double-Sided Dia-Sharp 12″ MagnaBase System” — in other words, a two-sided diamond stone that attaches to a magnetic base.
I haven’t yet had time to give it a thorough workout (I’ll report back after I do), but after touching up the edges on two plane blades and three chisels, I can report that it’s nice. The diamond stone, (available in extra-coarse/coarse and fine/extra-fine) sticks securely to the base in use, but the magnetic attraction is not so strong as to make it hard to remove the plate and flip it for the alternate grit. And the rubber feet on the base helped it stay in place both on my clean bench and in our dirty sharpening trough.
But, the extra-fine side of the diamond stone translates to 9 micron, and on waterstones, I usually sharpen up to #4,000, which is equivalent to 3.68 microns. And sometimes I go up to #8,000, which is 1.84 microns.
Christopher Schwarz has been using the sharpening system a lot, and he agrees that it’s good…but he always sharpens to #8,000. So for him the DMT system serves for the first two steps in his regimen before switching to his Shaptons for the #4,000 and #8,000 passes.
But of course, you don’t have to flatten the diamond stones after use – just rinse them off and dry them. Plus, a student is far less likely to gouge them … a comment that will make sense when you read the June 2014 issue of the magazine and see the pain-inducing troughs in a Shapton.
p.s. Want to learn far more about sharpening than you ever thought you needed to know (in addition to what you really do need to know)? Get Ron Hock’s book, “The Perfect Edge.”