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Sharpening Stone Lubricant.

FortyTwoBlades

Baryonyx walkeri
Dealer / Materials Provider
Joined
Mar 8, 2008
Messages
24,918
Water, usually. A nice water-soluble option is wanting more lubricity than water is to saturate a stone with unscented laundry detergent. It's low-foam, so it won't suds up badly. Mineral oil is good if you're cutting a lot of sticky conifers, as it'll keep pitch from gumming up the stone so badly, and it doesn't form a cruddy film like some other oils will over time.
 
Joined
Feb 1, 2012
Messages
13,174
Water.

Or dry.

As a young man I had a subscription to Popular Science. When this article about knife sharpening came out it had my undivided attention!

https://sharpeningmadeeasy.com/Juranitch1977Feb.htm

I used just that method for many years with fine results. Honing dry. But over time I found I got better and faster results under running water or by frequently rinsing the stone surface with water.

It didn't take long before holding the proper angle just became natural and I never needed an angle gauge again.

In the woods I still go dry with frequent wipes of the stone on my trousers.
 
Last edited:
Joined
Sep 11, 2012
Messages
3,954
I have went to water with a little bit of dish soap for my natural stones. I think the thinner water versus oil allows the stones to cut better and its just cleaner. The manufactured stones I have are either oil impregnated from the factory or hopelessly impregnated with oil.
I grew up thinking everyone just used saliva...
 
Joined
Feb 1, 2012
Messages
13,174
The manufactured stones I have are either oil impregnated from the factory or hopelessly impregnated with oil.

Norton doesn't even offer their chrystolon stones without oil anymore. They used to sell them. I even contacted the factory, it would be a special order to get them. But they have water stones now that they didn't offer before. Their tradesman's utility stone can still be had without oil. That's what I use in the shop at home for axes.
 

FortyTwoBlades

Baryonyx walkeri
Dealer / Materials Provider
Joined
Mar 8, 2008
Messages
24,918
Oil produces the best cutting action since it reduces friction the most. The greater lubricity allows the abrasive grains to cut without as much friction, which reduces wear on the abrasive itself. Water is better at this than a dry stone, but not as good as oil. Soap sort of sits between water and oil, lubricity-wise. Water does have a benefit of being more flexible. A stone may behave differently dry vs. damp vs. saturated, and with water you can switch back and forth between these phases easily. Some oils may evaporate off, but there's a tendency for it to either take a really long time for this to occur (mineral oil) or for it to develop a gummy, tacky residue or varnish (3-in-1) over time. And oils that dry rapidly without leaving a residue behind are usually ones that'll seep into your skin if you let 'em, so those are kind of gnarly to use for that kind of purpose.
 

A17

Joined
Jan 9, 2018
Messages
1,172
Mineral oil or kerosene depending on how fast the stone eats it. I mostly use carborundum oil stones when I use a stone. My favorite stone is a large two sided carborundum stone my grandpa gave me that he thinks came from his father.
 
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Nov 19, 2014
Messages
1,984
I just find oils too messy. Water (w/ a little dishsoap if I'm feeling fancy); the diamond stones even less water (w/ nothing added).
 
Joined
Jul 17, 2018
Messages
682
Soft, hard, hard black Arkansas stones and mineral oil seem to work well for me. The stones are small and easily transported afield with a small oil dropper. I just wipe them off with a rag before moving to the next finer stone. They cut slower than some of the new stuff, but I enjoy sharpening and seldom need to sharpen anything quickly. If I do, I have a set of DMT diamond hones but I find they are less forgiving of my crummy technique. They're also not as convenient in the field due to the size (I know there are some smaller ones, but that's not what I have).
 
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Feb 15, 2017
Messages
925
I get oil absorbent pads from work and I think any marine shop should have them,if you use oil on the kitchen table they make life much easier.
 
Joined
Jul 31, 2002
Messages
2,940
I've never been a fan of the mess of oil, and consequently don't regularly use any stones that require it. Some of my coarser stones and diamonds I use dry. Ceramic water stones get water. Simple Green for most everything else when I can. I like to use enough water/soap to actually wash and flush the swarf off the surface, even holding it under a stream of running water in the sink. If it's just moist with water or oil, it's actually worse since it just makes the gunk load up.

My Norton stone came "pre oiled" as well, but it ain't oil. The consistency is somewhere between axle grease and bee's wax. Everything sticks to it, and I hate it. Anyone know a good solvent that could wash it out? Soak it in paint thinner or something?
 
Joined
Nov 19, 2014
Messages
1,984
I've never been a fan of the mess of oil, and consequently don't regularly use any stones that require it. Some of my coarser stones and diamonds I use dry. Ceramic water stones get water. Simple Green for most everything else when I can. I like to use enough water/soap to actually wash and flush the swarf off the surface, even holding it under a stream of running water in the sink. If it's just moist with water or oil, it's actually worse since it just makes the gunk load up.

My Norton stone came "pre oiled" as well, but it ain't oil. The consistency is somewhere between axle grease and bee's wax. Everything sticks to it, and I hate it. Anyone know a good solvent that could wash it out? Soak it in paint thinner or something?

I have no idea, as I'm only using the Norton Utility File (which came w/o anything pre-applied), but acetone or paint thinner sound good to me.
 
Joined
Sep 11, 2012
Messages
3,954
I think most vintage novaculite stones came with the recommendation of sperm oil or perhaps neatsfoot? The majority of the ones I find are pretty gummed up with who knows what and will benefit from a good cleaning no matter what is used as a lubricant. If you are going to try water I think you need to degrease stones that have been previously used with oil. I am just talking about natural stones here.
This is one way to clean them and it has worked well for me.

 
Joined
Jul 31, 2002
Messages
2,940
I can't watch the video right now, but I did try boiling one of the stones for an extended period of time. It did not work. Oil deep inside stills seeps to the surface every time I use it. That's yet another reason why I like Simple Green. It makes water and oil work together.
 
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