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Sharpening on Oil Stones

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I was out in the shop sharpening a few of my plane blades with my water stones, and since my shop has changed dramatically (much smaller), I find that the usual location I used to sharpen my blades is gone of course, along with my little bench I used ( I gave it away to make room for other things) and I figured I could just work off my existing workbench.

The problem with that is the slurry and sledge tends to splatter and eventually the workbench gets wet and etc etc etc and it's just become a mess to maintain any type of area for a water stone station space. 

I did a little research and found that oil stones actually provide a cleaner environment (less messy) than their waterstone relatives.

Of course there are pros and cons for both methods of sharpening, but I want to give oil stones a try and a strop.

I also understand that they are more receptive to free hand sharpening which is what I like to do, and they maintain a very flat surface with free handing.

I have a Washita Stone that I picked up a couple years ago, I believe it's soft grade for prelim honing, so I'd need Hard Arkansas? Not all oil stones are created equal either, some will sharpen the harder steels of today, O1 and A2 but others are only good with the older steels that may be found in the venerable Stanley's.


I think Steven Newman uses oil, any suggestions from Steve would be appreciated, and any suggestions and or personal experience from anyone is appreciated.


My questions:

  • What grades of oil stones do I need?
  • What type of oil do I need?
  • What type of compound do I use for stropping?
  • Any specific type of leather or is an old belt fine?


Please relate your experiences with me here in this topic, and please do not link me to outside websites or charts, there is a ton of information out there on this subject, but I want to hear from you guys. not the rest of the world.

Thanks a ton in advance!

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Thanks Gunny, I have a slow speed grinder I can use for heavy work, then the maintenance will be on my oil stones. Stuck on Oil Stones guys, and I aint moving, any suggestions regarding using oil stones and what are some great choices out there for the relatively newer steels in tooling today, etc etc, are appreciated, thanks!


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Just now, Woodbutcherbynight said:

Was it the $729 for the basic package plus accessories that spooked ya??  :JawDrop:

Besides @Stick486 recommended it, has to be good stuff..... :)

:lol: Well, price is a factor as always, but I really want to keep heading in the direction I am, slowly turning to most functions in my shop using human power, in another thread I stated I am going to build a Spring Pole lathe, I wasn't kidding! It's an exciting road I have put myself on, and actually I feel quite liberated with my decision. More than you wanted to know Gunny, but there ya have it.

That being said, I have never had a power sharpener for anything, I used the scary sharp method in the old days and transitioned to waterstones a few years ago, and now I am ready for oil. Thanks Gunny

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way back in the last century, i started with oil stones - some synthetic and some natural.   One of the nicest was a hard black arkansas (not inexpensive) which gave a nice shaving edge to an already prepared blade (knife, chisel, whatever).   I never had a strop (or got one used on me) so i can't give any advice on them, but there are certain folks who prefer the fine white (near translucent) hard stone for final finishing and i found one in a small size that was perfect for touching up incannel chisels.  It looks a bit like the one on the left...


i always found that any lightweight oil would work just fine to float the waste away. 

Amost forgot...the small round edge is perfect for touching up seam/thread rippers.   

Edited by p_toad
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4 minutes ago, John Morris said:

in another thread I stated I am going to build a Spring Pole lathe,

Yeah I saw that, when ya getting started.  Not like you don't have 562,289 other things to get done this week.:throbbinghead:


5 minutes ago, John Morris said:

and now I am ready for oil.

Well my supply is kinda low but you can have what I have currently.  Where do I send it?



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2 minutes ago, p_toad said:

I never had a strop (or got one used on me)

:lol: Thanks Peter, appreciate your input.

Seems most folks will keep two stones nearby, and a strop, since I have the Washita for preliminary honing I'll need one harder I think, then from what I can see if I glue a piece of leather to a board about the same size as the stones I am using, I can keep them all in one tidy little box/tray handy and at the ready.

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6 minutes ago, Woodbutcherbynight said:

when ya getting started

I hope Summer, but I always have wonderful ideas and plans that just seem to get set aside often, my woodworking has slowed waaaaaay down since the kids got bigger, two in high school and one in college, between the three kids I am busy with them most nights after work and my weekends are peppered with interruptions that are family oriented (in a good way). Then my day job seems to always get in the way, blasted day job! :lol:

So when I get an idea to build something like my spring pole lathe, it may or may not happen, just depends if this summer is laid back or not.

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I used to use a soft and a hard Arkansas. Long before that a Carborundum with two grits bonded , but that was just for pocket and hunting knives. Any light oil will work such as the 3-in-one I used.

    I use jigs so stopped using oil stones when my WW got serious and use Scary for flat work tools now.

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John, I hear you about life getting in the way of finding shop time. I’m glad your’s is mostly good stuff interruptions. I would give you advice about oil stones, if I knew anything LOL. I’ve Yet to sharpen anything, but scissors or knifes, so I’m sure in the near future I’ll be investigating that subject also. I will probably go more for the machine/quick, but people change (so they say, my experience is they don’t :) ).  I wish you luck in finding the information you seek. 

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