When I teach people to sharpen edge tools, I am very much an “I’m OK, you’re OK” guy about the kinds of systems out there and whether you should use jigs or not. But there is one thing I’m all fire and waterstones about: Stick with one system until you know it – at least 12 months.
I call it “sharpening monogamy.” I also practice “saw monogamy” and the regular kind of monogamy (sorry ladies!).
About a month ago I finally rendered my Shapton Pro 8,000 stone unusable. It had been dropped many times by me and students, re-glued together and flattened until it was wafer thin. Then I glued the bits onto some Corian. Now the stone is about as thin as a Dorito (and just as useful for sharpening).
It’s time for a new polishing stone.
That Shapton 8,000 stone was one of the first to enter the United States when Harrelson Stanley introduced Shapton to North America. It has served me well, and my gut reaction was to replace it with another Shapton 8,000.
But I have a wandering eye, I suppose. And so I have been trying out other polishing stones.
The Shapton Pro 8,000 was, frankly, my least favorite of my three Shapton Pros. I love the 1,000 and 5,000 Pro stones and can’t imagine working without them on the road. (I have a backup 1,000 Pro stone in the wrapper, if that tells you something.)
The 8,000 just didn’t seem to deliver a fast and complete polish.
So here’s what I did.
I bought a Shapton Pro 15,000 stone from Craftsman Studio (I don’t care for the Shapton GlassStones because they don’t have enough media – 5mm – for me). I’ve been fairly happy with this Pro stone. I think I like it better than the 8,000 stone, and it’s the same price as the 8,000 stone.
I started using my Dan’s Whetstone Translucent oilstone for polishing. It is coarser (in terms of microns) than my waterstones, but I have always loved the wicked edge it leaves. Somehow the micon measurement of the stone and its excellent, excellent results don’t match up.
I purchased an Ohishi 10,000 polishing stone from Lie-Nielsen Toolworks. When attending the Lie-Nielsen Hand Tool Events I use their stones, and I quite like this one. It cuts fast, though it is no fun to flatten. It tends to stick to my diamond plate unless I use running water during the flattening process.
I don’t have any conclusions to offer. And I don’t plan to buy any more stones to test. That would cut into my beer budget. But I’ll report back in about a year on which one I like.
— Christopher Schwarz
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