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Lapping stones for flatness

Discussion in 'Maintenance, Tinkering & Embellishment' started by trailhunter, May 27, 2018.

  1. Diemaker

    Diemaker KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Apr 28, 2017
    If you only flatten a stone to it's lowest point leaving a witness spot you don't shorten it's life. As to flattening them on a diamond plate as long as you keep the slurry cleaned off it does no harm, you don't want the slurry to wear the bond. By far the worst thing you can do to a diamond plate is rub steel tools on them, that is what screws them up.
    MtnHawk1 likes this.
  2. Wowbagger

    Wowbagger Basic Member Basic Member

    Sep 20, 2015
    Where one needs a really flat stone is for flattening and polishing (sharpening) largish flat areas like the backs of these wood working plane blades (the backs are facing up). Sway back stones dub the edges and fail to hit all of the blade when using a few stones.

    Also when using a sharpening jig the stones need to be fairly flat so when changing stones and using the indexing stop the whole deal works as it should. On the Edge Pro Apex it is an adjustable stop collar and then the sliding guide block is moved and locked for each stone to compensate for the various stone thicknesses.
    (I still have yet to hear how Wicked Edge deals with stone wear and varying stone thicknesses when using several stones) . . . where's that face from the old days here with all the question marks around it . . . I miss that one.


    This is my oldest and most flattened water stone. A King 1200. Bought it back in the mid eighties and only retired it a few years ago. It's not too worn out is it ? It looks now about like it did in this photo.
    That was back when I was still using strops.
    The Stropping  Young Lads.jpg

    These are all of my Shapton Glass stones for the Edge Pro. A few years old now and used a lot. I don't flatten more than I need to. The stone closest to the Pattada knife Is the Jend 120. I don't use it much any more and it is pretty cupped because the awful thing is so blasted soft it just looses grit like crazy. It's junk ! The rest of them get used EVERY sharpening session and flattened when they need reconditioning of the surface or flattening. They are all hard enough that isn't often.

    I know, I know . . . I need an Atoma 140. Some day soon :thumbsup: :)
    I put them with the Pattada which is the last knife I got (just a couple of weeks ago) so you know this isn't an old photo; I just took it for this post.
    Lots of life left and these are tiny, tiny, tiny stones right ?.
    I flatten them li' this. Just enough.
    Last edited: May 31, 2018
  3. Blues

    Blues Lapsed SuperMod / Cattle Knife Rustler Staff Member Super Mod

    Oct 2, 1998
    @Wowbagger please check your PMs. Apologies for the interruption.
  4. jc57


    Nov 28, 2012
    I decided to buy once, cry once and got the Atoma 140 for flattening my Shapton Pro and other water stones. Does a great job at that. That is all I use it for. I expect that plate and the Shaptons will last me the rest of my life (0 to 30 years).
  5. Wowbagger

    Wowbagger Basic Member Basic Member

    Sep 20, 2015
    Josh finally was able to bang it into my head. The superiority of Atoma for the Shapton Glass stone conditioning.
    I lucked out and found the old post.
    Thanks Josh ! ! !

    PS: some one has pointed out I was mean and thoughtless.
    Sorry . . . I apologize. That wasn't where I was coming from. I do like to discuss this stuff from various angles and may have gotten "overly enthusiastic". Bratty only child here . . . what else can I say :)
  6. wade7575


    Apr 3, 2013
    I completey miss the part about where your commenting on the price of the atoma plate's if you type in atoma on ebay you can them for 42 to 50 bucks and about another 7 bucks to ship them that's where I get mine because most places that sell them in north america are more money then ebay and maybe it has more to with the fact they are made in Japan and being sold from there that the sellers from over there can get a better deal but either way all I know is I'm buying from where I can get it the cheapest.

  7. Blues

    Blues Lapsed SuperMod / Cattle Knife Rustler Staff Member Super Mod

    Oct 2, 1998
    Wowbagger, I'm afraid you misread my intended sarcasm in the PM I sent you. I didn't think you were mean and thoughtless at all...I did think you made ample and appropriate use of irony, however.

    If we all marched in lockstep, very little learning would occur. It's posts like yours, Josh's and others that help everyone up their game, and demonstrate that there are multiple roads which lead to the same destination.

    For the record, however, have you made the transition to the Atoma for flattening or are you still using the DMT Coarse / Extra Coarse?

    It's not clear if after "seeing the light" you actually acted upon it. Inquiring minds want to know. (Though it would appear, from your post a couple of days ago, that it's still on the "to do" list.)
  8. Wowbagger

    Wowbagger Basic Member Basic Member

    Sep 20, 2015
    And that day is today.
    Things are going well enough at work, knock on wood, I felt like I could splurge.

    I haven't used the stone yet.
    Please tell me what I need to know, watch out for, how to care for, lube with water if I reprofile on it?
    Obviously I'll be using water on if for stone flattening.
    I tend to use all my other diamond plates dry for sharpening but mostly for high vanadium fairly hard blades (hopefully not much build up from soft cheep stainless that way)(there never seems to be).

    The stone seems pretty groovy . . . in more ways than one . . . (traps water ?) shall I let it dry flat or up on edge . . . or maybe face down on a towel ?

    Sure I'm over thinking it.
    This is a monumental occasion ;)
  9. eKretz


    Aug 30, 2009
    Just make sure you do your lapping under running water. If you get a thick layer of grit caught between the hone and the diamond plate it WILL remove nickel plating and diamonds along with. On the subject of diamond plates smoothing a hone surface too much - this can happen even with a very coarse plate. Best thing for lapping/ flattening hones is a fresh new diamond plate. Once they dull a lot, they tend to glaze the hone surface. I used to use a DMT C and it worked pretty well. Then I got a brand new Atoma 400 and was amazed how much better it was. Until it was a few years old, and then it was about the same as the DMT. One thing definitely better about the Atoma plates is the increased space between the little dots of diamond. Does a good job of preventing the hone from sticking to the diamond plate when it's finally flat. The DMT can get darn near stuck.

    I just rinse mine and pat dry with a paper towel to get most of the standing water off, then let them air dry. For reference, I own a Dia-Flat, a DMT XXC, a DMT C, DMT EEF, Atoma 140, Atoma 400 and Atoma 1200.
    Wowbagger likes this.
  10. Wowbagger

    Wowbagger Basic Member Basic Member

    Sep 20, 2015
  11. HeavyHanded


    Jun 4, 2010
    Final plug for lapidary disks when it comes to lapping stones.

    An 8" aluminum master and 100 or 180 mesh top disk from Kingsley North runs about 40 bucks for both and will outlast any plates made for sharpening, even if used on hard vitreous stones.

    The heavy plating makes them a poor choice for sharpening, but a better choice for lapping. I wouldn't think of using a sharpening plate on a chunk of solid quartz, the lapidary plates turn it to milk.
    K80Shooter and MtnHawk1 like this.
  12. kreisler


    May 11, 2012
    my flattest sharpening stone is the 302UF.
    it's not really flat but i wouldn't dare trying to lap it because that would ruin the finish.

    i rather have a original non flat 3000 grit finish than a diy flattened 1500grit finish.
  13. 2stroke_fanatic


    Apr 29, 2019
    Flattening a Spyderco Ceramic is not even that hard and to get the original surface finish back just take the ceramic side of a Fällkniven DC4 and rub the surface until you are satisfied.
    kreisler likes this.
  14. MtnHawk1

    MtnHawk1 Gold Member Gold Member

    May 22, 2019
    HeavyHanded, can these be used for lapping by hand or do they have to be used on a machine? Thanks...
    K80Shooter likes this.
  15. kreisler


    May 11, 2012
    not even pro's do that tho.
    spyderco ceramics are made to specification. top quality made in USA. No need to mod the original product quality, you can ask the maker @Sal Glesser yourself.

    for sure i wouldn't rub the DC4 on my expensive 302UF only because someone on the www said so.
    and even if there was a youtube video titled tutorial showing it "live", pah!

    i would only consider this method if it was propagated by someone like Michael Christy. only then. sorry no offense but i believe that i am being fair enough here.
    Last edited: Jul 13, 2019
  16. eKretz


    Aug 30, 2009
    The Spyderco UF is just the same as an F but ground with a diamond grit cup wheel. Ask Sal yourself. It is not that big of a deal to get it flatter than it comes from the factory - and to produce a better finish - if you know what you're doing.
    David Martin and kreisler like this.
  17. Wowbagger

    Wowbagger Basic Member Basic Member

    Sep 20, 2015
    . . . er . . . OK
    Sooooooo howboutthat Atoma 140 ?
    This going to change my life . . . right ?
  18. eKretz


    Aug 30, 2009
    That's alright. This is one of those instances where you don't know...how much you don't know. Many here have done it, myself included. It doesn't bother me in the least whether you do. Or don't. All good.
    David Martin and kreisler like this.
  19. HeavyHanded


    Jun 4, 2010
    I just use it by hand, leave the arbor hole empty. Take it to the stone or stone to plate - the large surface area is a big plus.
    MtnHawk1 likes this.
  20. MtnHawk1

    MtnHawk1 Gold Member Gold Member

    May 22, 2019
    HeavyHanded, great info! :thumbsup:

    Just one more question, if you don't mind, since I've never seen these before. Should I get the PSA (pressure sensitive adhesive) top plate so it will stick to the aluminum master lap, or do you use the non-adhesive top plate?

    Thank you...

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