When steel and an abrasive intersect, the typical result is utter confusion.
Today we have more choices in steel than ever before. The same goes for abrasives. And so wading into the issue of what abrasive to use with what steel is a subject that should be a book – not a blog entry. (If you need a book on sharpening, get Ron Hock’s “The Perfect Edge.” It is $20 well spent.)
All I want to do with this blog entry is to dispel a myth that oilstones can be used only with high-carbon-steel tools (aka O1 or W1). Good oilstones can sharpen A2, very hard Japanese tools, Veritas’s PM-V11 and other stuff. Lame oilstones can barely sharpen tin foil.
Why? Well you can look for the answer in a forthcoming article by Larry Williams and Don McConnell in the February 2013 issue of Popular Woodworking Magazine.