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Additional stone for my sharpening kit?

Discussion in 'Maintenance, Tinkering & Embellishment' started by Papilio, Sep 6, 2019.

  1. David Martin

    David Martin Moderator Moderator Gold Member

    Apr 7, 2008
    jpm2, it sounds like you may have the aluminum oxide stone (it's more grey). The SiC stone is black. DM
    MtnHawk1 likes this.
  2. jpm2


    Nov 19, 2014
    I bought the 8x2 item 21165 also. It’s the same way. Their website lists both as silicon carbide, and they are more grey than black.
  3. David Martin

    David Martin Moderator Moderator Gold Member

    Apr 7, 2008
    Humm. Ok. Mine is black.? DM
  4. Based on the stones I've bought at ACE, they've used either of aluminum oxide or SiC interchangably for a given stone under one part number. I have 8" and 6" stones in each material from ACE, and their packaging & numbering are the same either way for a given stone size (p/n 21165 for the 8" x 2"). The online descriptions as either aluminum oxide or silicon carbide don't really mean much to me anymore, and I don't give that any weight. Need to eyeball them firsthand for color (black or grey), in the store, and also gauge what abrasive they are (AlOx or SiC) based on how they work. BTW, this was also true for Norton's 'Economy' 6" stones for some time, as they originally were in aluminum oxide, then switched to SiC, with no change in packaging or part number (or price, for a while).

    Pic below shows a few my oilstones in their oil bath storage. The two larger stones (8") at left are both ACE products bought under the same product number at different times, with the lighter one (grey) being aluminum oxide (more recent purchase) and the darker SiC (black/blue-tinged in that lighting), bought earlier. Both are good stones, relatively. But they do perform differently according to their abrasive type, with the AlOx stone being a little more limited in what steels can be used with it. As is common with an AlOx oilstone, it also doesn't readily shed grit like the SiC stone does. This is one of the more obvious perceptible differences in determining what abrasive type they probably are, in these hardware store-type stones.


    Being that I have both types from ACE and can compare them side-by-side, I've noticed other subtle differences as well. The weight of the stones feels different in-hand (AlOx is heavier than SiC, in a given stone size), and I've also noticed the AlOx stones tend to feel cooler in-hand than the SiC stones, when they're dry. When the stones were brand new and un-oiled, I also even noticed they smelled different in dry use, with the AlOx smelling more like a natural stone and the SiC having a strange sort of pungent, carbon/burnt rubber character to it's odor. I know this all sounds weird, but these are the things I've noticed.
    Last edited: Sep 10, 2019
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  5. Papilio


    Sep 6, 2019
    It is my fault. I did not mention that I don't live in the USA. I thought my bad English would speak for itself ;)
    Those Edge Pro are probably availabe. There seem to be different series. For example here (they have a German shop, too): https://www.knivesandtools.com/en/ct/edge-pro-sharpening-systems.htm

    Ok, thanks. I have taken a look at a grit chart more than once, but it is still confusing because they are not 1:1 interchangeble. The conversion from JIS to ANSI to FEPA is not always the same. I have taken those, for example:
    The last one is in German, sorry for that. That chart gives FEPA F (Stones), FEPA P (Wet and Dry Sandpaper), ANSI, JIS and Emery Cloth.
    Stones like India Oilstones are available but are mostly preloaded with oil. I prefer to lubricate stones with water. Therefore is it not that easy to find the right coarser one (India, Crystolon, whatever).
    Let us say a Soft Arkansas is 400-600 JIS. The first chart would give that as ~280 to 320 FEPA or 280 to 360 ANSI. Or 40 -30 Micron.
    The second chart lists a Soft Arkansas as 400 ANSI (22 Micron) and that is indeed not even close to ANSI 240 / 50 Micron (what would be a Medium India). I don't know if that SiC 240 would be a Medium India, but I refer to grit.
    Just to give an example, that is not that easy for me (and probably with me:)).

    Thanks again. You gave me a lot of input. I will have to read that again carefully. And then I will take a closer look at all those shops and stores. It is not only about the product but shipping has to be at a reasonable price, too.
  6. MtnHawk1

    MtnHawk1 Basic Member Basic Member

    May 22, 2019
    I like quality diamond stones but often prefer silicon carbide because it sharpens fairly quickly when I use some pressure, which I can't do with diamonds (although I've read pros and cons about this, depending on how much of the knife's surface area is in contact with the stone). I don't use oil because of the mess and don't have the time for waterstones.

    I prefer the Razor Edge Systems coarse hone because it can be used dry. It's around the same grit as the Norton Crystolon coarse (120), but feels grittier to the touch, for whatever that's worth, since the bonding agents, release rate of the abrasive, knife steel, etc., are also important factors in determining sharpening speed and efficiency.

    You might want to check out the DMT Double-Sided Diafolds. I carry these in my truck and in the wilderness more to maintain knife edges than to sharpen them, although they will do that, too.

    I don't have the time or patience to sharpen or reprofile for hours so for faster metal removal I go to a lower grit. I bought the 60 grit Baryonyx Manticore recently. Haven't used it enough to evaluate but so far so good and their customer service was great. You probably won't need to go this low for the knives you mentioned but it's good to know all your options.

    I much prefer toothy edges to smooth, so don't go above 400-600 grit.

    Grit ratings are definitely confusing because of how little standardization there is, but charts such as the ones you've linked to help a lot to at least estimate how similar the different grit classifications are to each other. I used to try to make sharpening into an exact science, trying to find the perfect stone for each knife steel, but then I started to lose my enjoyment of sharpening, as well as it getting too expensive. Now I'm happy knowing I'm at least close to having the right stones for what I want to do.
  7. David Martin

    David Martin Moderator Moderator Gold Member

    Apr 7, 2008
    OWE, your 2 stones at the bottom left look like the stones I have from ACE Hardware. The farther left being Al. Ox. and the one just right of it
    being SiC. DM
    Obsessed with Edges likes this.
  8. David Martin

    David Martin Moderator Moderator Gold Member

    Apr 7, 2008
    Papilio, your charts are all over the place. Here's one from Sharpening Made Easy site that I consider accurate. https://sharpeningmadeeasy.com/grits.htm
    In this your soft Arkansas is rated at 5-600. Which I consider accurate. You really like that stone but it is not a coarse stone. I wouldn't rebevel
    with a 300 grit stone. As it would take too long. I would use a 100-150 grit stone in Al ox or SiC. DM
  9. cudgee

    cudgee Gold Member Gold Member

    May 13, 2019
    I just bought a cheap stone from a hardware store $15 Aussie which would be under $10 US, made in China, it looks identical to the one above on the left. It came with no details, do you know what the grit sizes yours is.? And what oil do you use with yours.?
  10. jpm2


    Nov 19, 2014
    I think post #24 explains my situation.
    The 2 stones I recently got from ace hardware are the same color as the left above, and made in china.
    The way it performs suggest its aluminum oxide. Works great for low/no alloy steels such as 10xx and simple stainless, not so good for others.
  11. I use any simple mineral oil with mine. That oil bath bin I store them in is filled with the pharmacy-grade (laxative) mineral oil, bought inexpensively at drug/grocery stores (got mine at Walmart in USA). I sometimes use Norton's Sharpening Stone Oil, which is a lighter, finer grade of mineral oil than the heavier, more viscous laxative stuff. Norton's oil is also a food-safe oil, by the way.

    Not sure what grit spec my stones are. Most hardware store stones of this type often won't be marked other than 'Coarse' and 'Fine', and mine are marked as such on the packaging. In terms of the grind marks left on a bevel, the 'Fine' side of my aluminum oxide stone (at left in the pic) is probably around 400+ grit. The 'Coarse' side might be somewhere between 180-240 grit, in terms of the scratch pattern left. These stones always look relatively coarse by the eye alone, and might feel pretty rough in the fingers when they're brand new. But they taper off in aggressiveness pretty early, leaving a finish that usually seems 'finer' than what one might assume.

    The unknown with very inexpensive hardware store stones is, they still might vary all over the place in the size & uniformity of their grit. With cheap stones, the best way to figure it out is just to use it and see how it does.
  12. cudgee

    cudgee Gold Member Gold Member

    May 13, 2019
    Thank you for that, you have been a great help, i have never heard of an oil bath before, i might give it a try, thanks again, and you have a good day.
  13. cudgee

    cudgee Gold Member Gold Member

    May 13, 2019
    Thanks a lot. All my knives are carbon or stainless.:thumbsup:
  14. Papilio


    Sep 6, 2019
    I don't want to be too much obsessed with grits and charts. I had the impression that my kit isn't complete, that I need another stone. That's my I asked so much about the Arkansas, because I wanted to know where to put that stone in comparison to other stones. Now I have to find the right stone and then I should enjoy sharpening instead of racking my brains.
    I don't like oil, too. And I prefer splash and go. I like to sharpen impulsively instead of watering my stones. The diamond side on my Fällkniven DC4...well, I don't like the feeling. But diamond stays flat and sharpens in every direction. There are definitively a lot of pros and cons to watch.

    Thanks for the chart. Sorry for being that persistend about the Arkansas. I bought this stone recently and haven't used it a lot.
    I read that they are quite gentle to a blade, don't take away to much metal and stay flat for a very long time. So I thought I give it a try. The retailer listed it as a medium grit stone. A coarse stone - Al or SiC - is needed, that's for sure. The coarse one will be a man-made stone. I think 100 - 150 is a good grit for my purpose. Less than 100 would take away too much material.
    So many stones, so many possibilities.
  15. I used the oil bath, because these inexpensive stones come completely dry and not pre-filled with grease/oil as some others will be (Norton India, for example). These dry stones are very porous and will otherwise soak up a LOT of oil in use. So, the bath filled with the cheap laxative-grade oil seemed like it might help quench their thirst. :)
  16. cudgee

    cudgee Gold Member Gold Member

    May 13, 2019
    Well explained, and seems logical and common sense. I used to have a small sharpening business many years ago. No internet or forums such as this back then, i learnt from a very young age by, getting books from the library, asking old timers about sharpening techniques, and trial and error to get my sharpening skills. This forum is fantastic for such pursuits, everyone is willing to give information and their help. I am always and still learning. Thanks again for your help and information.:):thumbsup:
  17. Mr.Wizard


    Feb 28, 2015
    In the grit chart I produce I use the approximation of 22 microns given by Norton Abrasives, which puts it between JIS 500 and 600, and even with P600 paper.
  18. CasePeanut

    CasePeanut Gold Member Gold Member

    May 25, 2018
    Just wanted to say thank you for your unified grit chart. I keep a copy taped to my wall! It’s helped me so much as I try different sharpening Media and techniques. Thank you Mr. Wizard!
    Mr.Wizard likes this.
  19. David Martin

    David Martin Moderator Moderator Gold Member

    Apr 7, 2008
    Mine states made in U.S.A. on the box. DM
  20. Looking at the packaging for my two 8" ACE stones and at least one 6" stone, mine also indicate 'Manufactured in U.S.A.', exactly as per David Martin's example above. I'm curious now, if they've fully transitioned offshore for these. I hadn't been to ACE in a year or two, so I'll have to visit them again soon.

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