I’m going to cover this subject for those who want to maintain an edge like that found on our refurbished tools. There are so many videos out there promoting a wide range of sharpening products so I thought it might be best to bring things into perspective. This will save many who read this loads of money for many years to come, without compromising the results.
Now I know everyone has their own sharpening method, some good and some not as good as they would like to think but it’s pretty obvious that if an edge can cut the hairs with ease from the back of your hand this is pretty much all you would need.
Let’s just examine diamond plates without going into all the technicalities such as monocrystalline diamond qualities over other diamond plates, it’s all salesmanship and they like to blind people with science, regarding how the diamonds are formed, etc. I’ve tested pretty much every diamond plate there is out there, from a £10 note all the way up to those well over £100 per plate. My assessment is this: the cheap ones are good for Christmas and the expensive ones don’t last much longer without losing their grit density, that’s even with using the top-of-the-range lapping fluids out there. Yes, the most expensive are flatter (not perfect) but then they should be for that price.
I’m not saying they won’t do the job for a while but instead saying they are extremely pointless if they don’t last. How can a tool be of quality if they need to be regularly replaced? If you have ever replaced one, you know what I say about this is true.
This is just another expensive way of using fine sandpaper, yes it’s got a sticky back that can be used on float glass but it doesn’t last very long and is a pig to remove and replace again. We just created a frame with two clamps on either end of the glass and used good very fine grade aluminium oxide sandpaper pulled over it tightly. Although this alternative method works better than scary sharp and is cheaper, we soon realised it was impractical due to the frequency it needed to be changed.
An oil-based lapping fluid is needed on all diamond plates, it’s recommended to extend their short lives. Some fluids evaporate relatively quickly to ensure repeat use and this can again be quite expensive if you choose the wrong type.
On oil stones, you need to use the correct grade of fine oil, preferably with a cleaning agent when using finer oil stones such as India or natural stones. A thicker oil such as 3in1 is better for Carborundum stones as thinner oils will dissipate quickly through the pores. Likewise, a thick oil such as 3in1 used on the fine stones causes an aquaplane effect and reduces the stone’s ability to sharpen.
Some people use a window cleaner but whilst this works in keeping the pores open on fine stones it fails to lubricate properly and causes excessive wear. It’s a cheaper solution but with side effects costs to a diamond plate’s lifespan or extra work when flattening stones more often.
Oilstones are far cheaper to buy and will last you years if maintained correctly.
We use 3 types of oilstones, medium grit Carborundum for course work, an India fine grit stone approx 1000 grit, a piece of natural fine grade slate (approx 8000 grit), and a leather strop with the superfine slurry from the slate. A second clean strop can also be used for a final shine. We have our own blend of lapping fluid which is not only better than any other we have used but economical too, check our store or search Acutus in our search bar at the top of our website.
Maintaining stones is best done at regular intervals usually once every 4-6 weeks depending on the usage. Natural stones are easy, just use aluminium oxide paper on a flat surface. The man-made stones can either be flattened using silicon carbide on a flat hard surface or with one of those cheap 4-sided diamond plates by lapping it back and forth using the same lapping lubricant.
We have tested many, many products and sharpening systems including Tormek, etc with the emphasis of advancing our production and quality of the edge it creates over the past few years. There has been lots of expense and much time and effort but in a way, we are glad to have figured out a cost-effective solution that is affordable to set up and use, whilst also being a long-lasting solution to those who adopt it. Our method ensures a sharp fine edge quickly, good enough to shave the hairs from the back of the hand.
Did you know?
The first sign of madness is having fine hairs on the palm of your hand!
The second sign of madness is looking for them 🙂