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Thread: Arkansas stone vs Japanese Water Stone

  1. #21
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    I'm using small hard Arkansas to polish after aluminum oxide water stone.
    Sometimes I take that Arkansas along when I go for a trip.
    I'm using both stones with water.

    BTW, until quite recently in Japan, western construction alloyed steel knives
    are to be sharpened with oil and Arkansas. We believed that
    Japanese traditional water stones are only for carbon steel with
    chisel or convex ground edges.

  2. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ben Dover View Post
    Waterstones do wear a bit more quickly, but they cut much faster and smoother. And leave a more polished edge.

    They're much easier to maintain, and need no messy oil.

    Norton water stones are excellent quality, and Shaptons are even better. There are others out there that are also excellent, but I have no persponal experience with them.
    That's it in a nutshell-at least pretty close. Actually waterstones are quite a bit faster cutters than oil stones. That is why they wear so quickly. With waterstones you get speed and you deal with less longevity and the need to flatten them regularly.

    The polished edge is a matter of grit. Coarse waterstones are anything but polished. The finishing stones produce a polish like a strop but leave the edge profile crisper than a strop.

    I think they are not easier to maintain but rather harder to maintain because they need to be flattened way, way more often than oil stones. Flattening them, however, is less time consuming because they wear faster.

    Are Shaptons better? Well, some of them are better from my perspective. The reason is that the abrasive in some models is in synthetic matrix as opposed to a clay matrix which most waterstones use. They don't absorb much water so there isn't any need to soak them. You can just wet them and use them. I think they cut a little more slowly than clay matrixed stones but certainly don't wear as fast. I use Shaptons myself but there are plusses and minuses.

    Having said that, I gave up oil stones years ago in favor of water stones. Faster is better for me.
    Fred

  3. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by fujita yuji View Post
    We believed that
    Japanese traditional water stones are only for carbon steel with
    chisel or convex ground edges.
    Japanese society, as you know, is very influenced by tradition. This attitude doesn't surprise me but it is wrong. Water stones cut stainless just as well as oil stones do and quite a bit faster.

    The Japanese have a genuine reverence for blue and white carbon steels. As an example, the Japanese steel producers make some really good tool steels that perform magically in Japanese cutlery, both traditional and Western style. But the Japanese look down on knives made of such steels as lower quality and cherish the hard carbon steels instead. I can tell you from experience that I would take an SK tool steel bladed chopping knife over an aoko carbon steel bladed one every time for a lot of reasons. In fact, my favorite gyuto is made from SK tool steel. Aoko or shiroko are fine for yanagis and other slicers.

    The Japanese have been making hard carbon steel knives and swords for centuries. The tradition is ingrained in every part of their cutlery industry and their culture. Perhaps, in time, they will begin better appreciating some of the metallurgical advances their own companies have developed and brought to market. It takes time.
    Fred

  4. #24
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    Well said, Knife Outlet.
    And I am among such heavily influenced ones
    It took some time for me to recognize waterstone cuts more
    than oil stone which means I have to use less force.

  5. #25
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    For anyone who uses waterstones, is there any way to deal with the softness? I tried sharpening my SOG Twitch II on a 220/1000 combo stone, and even using a stropping motion, the tip was making little grooves in the stone. When using forward strokes, the choil notch at the base gets filled with grit, so I know its making a groove somewhere. The 220 side cuts very quickly, and replaced my worn Course India stone, but this aspect of water stones irritates the crap outta me.

  6. #26
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    What's the brand you're using? My King stones are alot like you describe. As someone said, they're made primarily of a clay mixture so they'll wear quickly. One of the best things you can do is get a flattening stone to use on them. I don;t have one but I had mine flattened at a woodworking supply store. That was a long time ago, and they're still fine for my scandi-grind blades.

    Watch the tip. If you're cutting a groove, you may be trying to shape or sharpen the tip too quickly, which is causing it to dig into the stone rather than wear away a little slower at a more shallow angle. That's my take, anyway.

  7. #27
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    I have no idea what kind of stone you are using that I'm not sure I have the point but ..

    Maybe you are putting too much force on the stone.
    Do not try to cut the stone with steel. Let the stone cut the steel.
    Just skate on the stone for the curved part.
    For the pointed part, even lighter.

  8. #28
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    I have a King brand now, but I had a large 800 grit stone of unknown brand, mostly because I cant read Japanese. It did the same thing, and in some respects was worse. For the King, its only an issue on knives with plunge grinds. Things like chef's knives, with a dropped edge and no plunge, dont do this. This is where most of the problem occurrs, right at the plunge/choil area. A choil notch helps, but most knives dont have one.

  9. #29
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    By plunge grind you mean a construction of secondary small cutting edge commonly seen
    among traditional western knives?
    If so, and If this kind of trouble does not happen in case of edge with larger contact area
    with sharpening stone, you are using too much force.
    Apply less force proportional to the size of contact point.

    There are many waterstones.
    Some of which are made quite hard that they are relatively easy to use with western style edges.

  10. #30
    Water stones!! WAD.
    Or belt grinder and buffer!

  11. #31
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    OK, I lightened up on the pressure and rebeveled a Schrade I got in trade this weekend. 23.5 degrees per side took a while, because I'm using light pressure and really taking my time, plus there were some nicks to get out. This blade had a choil notch, and I had no problems with the stone. It sure doesnt beat my belt sander, but its much less likely to do any damage. As a bonus, I found a hair shaving edge off the 1000 grit side. This was not something easily accomplished off the 800 grit stone. The edge may have been an accident, but the inability to get a hair shaving edge on the 800 grit was more likely my sloppier technique. It was possible, but you had to do everything right.

  12. #32
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    Ive never tryed water stones can someone point me in the right direction as to where to get some?

  13. #33
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    Waterstones in the USA:

    www.toolsforworkingwood.com
    www.highlandwoodworking.com
    www.knifeoutlet.com
    www.epicedge.com
    www.japanwoodworker.com
    www.hidatool.com
    www.sushi-knifes.com
    www.korin.com
    www.sharpeningsupplies.com
    www.thebestthings.com
    www.lienielsen.com

    Waterstones need to be flattened for best results. There are some folks who'll argue otherwise, but I'm going by my experience on this and dished stones have yet to make nice with my edges. Strops with wildly uneven surfaces, though? They work fine.

    King waterstones are the least expensive; Shapton "Glasstones" are most user-friendly; Norton waterstones work better than King waterstones on highly alloyed steels (and simple steels as well).

  14. #34
    woodcraft has free shipping til the 10th and japan woodworker is having 10% off on their anniversary (Saturday the 8th)

  15. #35
    There's a pretty big quanta of misinformation regarding "oilstones" in particular and Arkansas stones in general. But the consensus that waterstones are faster is true.

    I'm puttin "oilstones" in quotes, because they don't require oil. The stones work better and faster if you sharpen with water or dry. The stones only work well if they're fairly clean. They may be cleaned effectively in the dishwasher, and also by boiling with some dishwasher detergent.

    Coarse, as it applies to stone grits, is spelled with an "a" and not with a "u."

    Good quality Arkansas stones are available. However, just because stones from different quarries have the same names, doesn't mean they're equal. In fact, they aren't.

    Norton translucents are excellent. Hall's surgical blacks are just as good, but significantly less expensive. I'm not a big fan of Norton, Hall's or Dan's soft Arkansas, but prefer Norton by a slight margin.

    If you're a serious sharpener, you'll bypass the nominal "hard" stone because it's too slow for sharpening and not fine enough to polish. A good final stone after a fine India, for an ordinary kitchen -- but few ordinary home cooks still sharpen on stones. Take it for what it's worth.

    Going back to the translucent and surgical black: They both polish to the equivalent of around a Shapton Pro 5K, and will polish fairly hard steels -- if a little slowly. In exchange for the lack of speed, they require little or no maintenance, remain reference flat for years, and last virtually forever.

    I'm ambivalent about soft Arks (currently using a Hall's). Roughly the equivalent of a 1000k waterstone, they're much slower. Because of the speed, I use mine to refine and chase the wire I started on a faster stone (fine India), and as a time-saving intermediate step to the surgical black. I've used a soft Ark successfully on an edge as hard as a Hiromoto AS, but it took a lot of time, and time means it takes very consistent angle holding as well. I'd draw the useful line at right around 60 Rockwell "C" hardness.

    Hard to beat the Norton fine India -- as long as it's kept very clean. The rough equivalent of a 600 to 700 grit waterstone, they're a little slower but far more forgiving to inconsistent (freehand) angles, and leave fewer scratches up the knife. Nice consistent scratch pattern. They'll sharpen anything, no matter how hard, with patience.

    A Norton coarse India is probably the most forgiving of very coarse stones -- oil or water. I prefer it to Crystolon even though it's slightly slower. BTW India is aluminum oxide, and Crystolon is silicon carbide.

    To my mind the trade off in maintenance requirements between high quality oil stones and water stones, especially in the coarser grits, makes the oil stones a reasonable alternative for all but the hardest alloys. This is also, but perhaps slightly less true for the polishing Arkansas grits. If there's a really good soft Arkansas on the market, I've yet to find it.

    You can move swarf off the stone more quickly if you sharpen with water, but you'll get a faster stone that leaves a higher polish if you sharpen dry. If you sharpen a lot of knives in a session, use water. Oil makes your stones scratchy, slow and harder than heck to clean.

    Disclosure: My oilstone sharpening set consists of fine and coarse India, soft and surgical black (Hall's) Arkansas. My kitchen knife set consists almost entirely of antique (or very old) French carbon Sabatier. My pocket, tool-box, and camping knives are a motley bunch including some fairly hard steels. The knives and stones work very well together. I'll be purchasing another waterstone set one of these days. Either before or at the same time I buy a few Japanese kitchen knives.

    Hope this cleared a few things up,
    BDL

  16. #36
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    Well, I'm still wondering if you'll be expanding your kitchen set with some Aogami Super knives or a fine-grained stainless like the Grand Cheff line.

  17. #37
    Quote Originally Posted by boar_d_laze View Post
    There's a pretty big quanta of misinformation regarding "oilstones" in particular and Arkansas stones in general.
    such as?

  18. #38
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    So, if you have Norton India or Crystalon stones and have been using them with oil, can you switch to using them with water? If so, is there any interim step to doing this? Thanks.

    Q

  19. #39
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    Boiling them in a pan with water and detergent to remove the oil.

  20. #40
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    I use my hard arkansas stone with water.
    I carry hard arkansas as a quick field sharpening kit.
    The beginning was simply because I couldn't find oil in the field,
    so I tried water and it worked fine, even better than oil.

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