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What type of Sharpening Stone for Carbon Steel Folders?

Discussion in 'Maintenance, Tinkering & Embellishment' started by Lemmy Caution, Aug 24, 2013.

  1. Lemmy Caution

    Lemmy Caution

    Aug 17, 2013
    HI - I'm looking for a good 2 sided whetstone for sharpening my carbon steel folders and fixed blades. I have a Lansky Crock Box which does pretty well but I'd like to have a stone to start the process and get these guys razor sharp. Any recommendations that are good but not too expensive? thanks
  2. Birnando


    Jul 20, 2013
    Sharpening with a two sided stone and nothing more is absolutely a very doable thing.
    But, you will have to make some compromises.

    You say you want razor sharp, well, that means at least 8000 Grit, preferably even higher.
    So, a Norton 4/8K or similar Grit hone would sound good.
    But no, not if you plan on working on your bevels.
    That would take forever and a half.
    For that a 220 or 400 Grit stone would be much better.

    So, what you need to decide upon is this:
    What does razor sharp actually mean to you, and at what level do you start out?

    I would recommend you to get a 220/1000 Grit combo hone, like the Norton or similar.
    That will give you the opportunity to do some heavy work, and will provide a usable edge for many uses.

    But razor sharp? Not even close.
  3. yoda4561


    May 28, 1999
    When most folks say razor sharp they mean smoothly shaving armhair. You can absolutely do that on a quality two sided oilstone. Most sharpness feats used to show off a knife edge such as splitting hairs, push cutting newspaper, or treetopping armhair can be done no problem with a 400-1000 grit stone, a leather belt, and a great deal of care. Those edges also retain good slicing aggression. If you mean straight razor shave your face comfortably sharp, you're going to need to go much much finer.
  4. BJE


    Apr 12, 2006
    I use a norton India oil stone for setting up a new edge or bringing back a dull one, finished up on either an Arkansas stone or ceramic stick.
    I also have a norton crysolon like that is nice if I have a lot of stock removal to do or if the steel is more abrasion resistant than basic carbon and stainless. It cuts very fast but leaves a very coarse edge.

    I keep a small fine India and Arkansas stone at work in my tool box for touch ups when needed.

    I don't use any oil on my stones, just sharpen dry and I wipe the stones with a rag every now and then. I can easily shave arm hair and sometimes even treetop hair with my Arkansas stone.

    I have a bunch of sharpening gear I don't use, diamond stones, sharpmaker, lansky, dmt aligner, strops and polishing compounds, ect.
    I prefer the feel and tradition of sharpening on natural stones freehand just like my ancestors did, plus the results I get this way are awesome so why change?

    There are a couple knives in my collection that have convex edges, like my bark river, that I sharpen using wet or dry sandpaper on a piece of leather strop, but I don't use them very often.
  5. BJE


    Apr 12, 2006
    If I could do it all over again, I wouldn't waste so much money trying to have the best equipment. I have learned its not the gear that makes sharp edges, it is knowledge and lots of practice.

    I would get a large double sided norton India stone for the rough work and setting up a new edge, and I would also get a nice Arkansas pocket stone for finishing or for light touch ups.

    Maybe a Viking whetstone from Ragnar just because it is so neat to have and is finer than tadpole hair.

    The whole setup would cost less than $50 and take up little space, instead of the tackle box and dresser drawer full that I have now.

    Crock sticks are nice and leave you with a good edge, I just like practicing freehand on my little pocket stone.
  6. pinnah


    Jul 28, 2011
    Carbon is so great to sharpen!!

    I use a Lansky rod system (cheap) with the basic stones to reprofile edges and to bring bad really dull blades. I'm really sold on this as my life is just too busy for me to become as good at freehand sharpening as the Lansky gets. Maybe when I retire I'll get better. For now... I just pull out the Lansky. Back edge at 17. Next bevel at 20. Optional 25 micro bevel for hard use knives. Lazy-man's pseudo convex.

    For touch ups, I use a DMT credit card stone in the fine grit. I've gotten to the point where I can reliably get a carbon blade to arm hair popping sharp with the small DMT. Extra bonus is that it can travel anywhere in my daypack so I almost always have it handy.

    Lastly, for tools in the barn and shop, I have the inexpensive DMT course bench "stone". Handy for putting quick edges on the machete and chisels and such. Doesn't wear down like normal stones, which is good. About $25.

    Instead of a 2 sided stone, I would go with a course diamond stone for heavy grinding and portable fine diamond stone for honing and quick touch ups.
  7. pertinux

    pertinux Platinum Member Platinum Member

    Feb 1, 2012
    I learned a lot from this recent thread, landing on ... several different options (heh) but especially liking the Norton's combination India stone as has been mentioned in the posts above.

    ~ P.
  8. pistonsandgears

    pistonsandgears Gold Member Gold Member

    Aug 12, 2011
    The thread ~P mentions is very good.
    I use a DMT Aligner for re-profiling if that is needed. Especially if I am sharpening D2.

    For regular sharpening once I have the edge angle I want I use an Arkansas soft stone followed by translucent stone and finally a leather strop with green extra fine buffing compound on it.

    Not the two sided stone you were talking about but thats what I use.
  9. unit


    Nov 22, 2009
    There is a distinct difference between definitions of razor sharp from knife communities and razor communities.

    Even the term sharp is frequently discussed in this community (toothy vs polished, etc).

    I tend to agree that a number of steps in a progression from re profiling to polishing is necessary, but preferences vary.

    A co worker sharpens his old timer with 220 grit Emory cloth and it will shave arm hair when he is done. Depending on how long you work the stuff it actually behaves quite a bit finer, then you flip it over and strop on the canvas-like backing. That is a fairly in expensive means (we usually pull used strips from the trash).

    There are lots or roads that lead to sharp, it's the navigation that gets tricky at times;)
  10. fsatsil

    fsatsil Basic Member Basic Member

    Sep 15, 2009
    I reccomend a coarse/fine DMT hone and a strop to start.
  11. Ben Dover

    Ben Dover

    Aug 2, 2006
    A 220/1000 Norton waterstone and your Lansky ceramics will do what you need.

    Or if you're willing to spend an extra $20 or so, get a Shapton 500 Glass Stone. You may find that the shapton is all you need. The 500 will give you a semi-polished bevel and a slightly toothy edge. You can get (smooth) arm hair shaving sharp on the 500 Glass Stone alone. Follow it up with your Lansky Sticks and you'll have a really nice edge.
  12. Lemmy Caution

    Lemmy Caution

    Aug 17, 2013
    Thanks all so much for the suggestions. Yeah I think I'm just looking for arm-shaving, paper-slicing sharp not hair splitting sharp. I'm just starting out and right now my collection consists of a few carbon opinels, 2 mercators (one Japanese, one German), A Douk-Douk Baraka, a Mora Classic 2, and a handful of SAKs. I'm probably going to keep their factory bevel for now and just want to get them to a sharpness I know I can rely on. I'm thinking a 3 step process: 1) 400/1000 whetstone, 2) a few passes on the fine Lansky Crock sticks, 3) Leather strop finish, then steeling for maintenance. The thing I'm still getting the hang of is knowing when its necessary to sharpen or just strop a bit or steel the blade. I don't want to make the mistake of over-sharpening and wearing out the steel (or is this really not much of a concern?) Anyways I really value y'alls input. So it sounds like a lot of folks prefer the Norton 400/1000 stone over others? are there other brands you might recommend? Also will any leather strop and buffing compound do me fine?

    thanks again
  13. Jason B.

    Jason B. KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Jun 13, 2007
    First, what is your budget?

    For a strop they make strop compounds, buffing compounds are for buffers. I would recommend 1 Micron diamond spray on balsa wood.
  14. Lemmy Caution

    Lemmy Caution

    Aug 17, 2013
    Now I'm thinking of following Ragnar's suggestion and getting a Hewlett 2 sided diamond plate in 600/1800 and finishing on ceramic Crock sticks, Arkansas Translucent pocket stone, and a few licks on a leather strop or diamond 1 micron spray on balsa. I think this would be better generally especially for the Moras Scandi Grind. Does anyone know about the quality of the EZELAP diamind cards?
  15. Jason B.

    Jason B. KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Jun 13, 2007
    I never liked sharpening a scandi on diamonds, works much better on waterstones or wet/dry sandpaper.
  16. Lemmy Caution

    Lemmy Caution

    Aug 17, 2013
    thanks thats good to know. The Mora came so sharp from the factory I think I'm going to hold off on messing with it till I've got my skills down a bit more. Doubt it'll need much sharpening for a while.
  17. sir_mike

    sir_mike Gold Member Gold Member

    Jul 5, 2011
    So you have oil stones but dont use any oil or any liquid on them? Did you get the oil out of the stone that was from the factory originally before you started using the norton stones? If so, did you boil them (I heard this done before)? Lastly, if you were gonna buy/purchase/use only one Norton, which one would be your choice, the India or Crystolon?


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