Hap Stanley is an American inventor who created the Sharp Skate, a side riding honing guide that hold a blade at an angle to the stone, and then allows you to push it along the abrasion surface – but sideways – like a crab walking on the beach. I met Hap a few weeks ago in the Woodworking Show in NJ and had a chance to try his newest innovation – a diamond lapping plate that according to Hap is superior to any lapping medium made until now.
About Lapping Plates
If you use water stones to sharpen and hone your cutting tools, you already recognize how important it is to keep them flat. You probably heard that during use, you have to erode the stone as evenly as possible, or in other words – use all its surface for sharpening, rather than gravitate to use only the middle. At home, I use a 120 grit, DMT Dia-Sharp stone to flatten my waterstones, but at my school I use the special lapping plate that was developed by DMT. Other effective methods to flatten your stones include rubbing two water stones face to face, one against the other; using a steel lapping plate charged with silicon carbide particles; rubbing your stones over a special grooved Carborundum or ceramic lapping plate; lapping it over a wet/dry sandpaper placed on a piece of glass or granite, and even rubbing it over a flat faced concrete block.
But now we have a new kid in town. Recently, after developing and producing new diamond stones with a striking surface pattern, Mr. Stanley embarked on yet another ambitious project, to create the ultimate lapping plate.
He incorporated a technology from the semiconductor industries to make a long and wide lapping plate. At the heart of the plate are metal & diamond buttons that are connected to a heavy stainless steel plate. The buttons are a matrix of 60% metal and 40% diamond, which according to Hap, cannot be eroded with conventional tools or stones. The only medium that has power over them is another diamond stone.
I tried the plate over a water stone that Hap provided in his demonstration kit, and I can attest that it worked fast, leaving the surface true and smooth. The plate manages to glide over and erode the water stone faster than other lapping mediums and is able to do so with reduced adhesion or drag — that annoying phenomena that we all have to face when lapping stones. This is by no means a complete review of the new product, but rather a first glance.
At $399 for the 8” NL-8 Lapping Plate, the NanoHone product is a considerable investment. I am curious to hear how it performed at the hands of fellow woodworkers, so do leave a comment if you own it and have consistently used it.
To learn more about DMT lapping stone read Chris Schwartz’ entry here.
– Yoav Liberman