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An alternative to expensive grinding stones Answered

For some people buying a decent grinding or honing stone is a lifetime investment.
Prices of over $500 for a single stone of a very fine grid are not uncommon.
But what about the average Joe who just needs to sharpen a knife or tool every now and then?

If slicing and dicing is not your living than investing in a set of diamond plates might be better than getting a set of stones.
But there are limitations, firstly their size and then how long they last.
The later is really important if not used correctly as even diamond toold can be ruined quickly.
In some case these small sharpening tools are hard to handle.
The bigger plates can still be a pain if they don't come with a proper mount.
Well, and if you forget to clean them after use and put them in a dry place it will be quite hard to remove the rust.

A nice alternative I found is sandpaper, specifically sandpaper on a glass plate.
Good wet and dry sandpaper is available from almost gravel to a 10.000 grid, above that you might have to make a special order.
In general the finer the grid the more you pay due to the ingredients.
I use a glass plate from and old scanner as they are both heat proof and really strong, window glass is not recommended here.
The glass is covered with strips of kapton tape for the ease of later cleaning.
The tape is then evenly covered with a contact glue, preferably the spry king to get an even cover.
Same for the sheet of sandpaper.
I try to get the glue over the glass edge a bit and to have at least two sides of the sandpaper going over an edge.
Just to have an area to work close to the edge without risking to lift the paper off.
Once a sheet is too worn I place the plat in the oven for a few minutes so the glue softens and peel the sheet off.
If too much glue remians on the tape I replace it before I put a new sheet on.
Of course you need a bunch of plates although it works fine with two different sheets halfing a plate.

The thing works best under slow running water, so use your tinker skills to come with a suitable frame and water supply ;)
But even with just a spray bottle it is a cheap way to replace a costly stone, especially if you do require a bigger surface area.


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2 years ago

$500?! I've seen CBN bench grinder wheels for I think around $150 on Amazon
I bought a 60, 400, and 1000 grit diamond plates on eBay ($~4 each I think). The 60 grit is a fake useless piece of metal with unknown "dull" sand stuck to it (kind of as expected), but the 400 and 1000 seem to be real, they scratch carbide and glass... I can't speak for their quality and lifetime because I suck at sharpening EVERYTHING and I have nothing to compare them too, though.


Reply 2 years ago

Bench grinder wheels are no big deal and usually not of the same quality as a trua sharpening stone.
Trust me, nothing beats square when it comes to manual sharpening.
Too hard to get a decent run when you start on a round piece.
But from a certain diameter onwards those wheels come in handy.
At slow speeds and with water they produce a really nice hollow edge, like on a straight razor blade.

And I agree on the cheap diamond plates.
Cheaply produced by putting grid on a plate and then electroplating nickel on it.
In the finer grits this often causes the grid to be used off with the nickel holding it.
You are left then with a rough and pitted surface.
Quality ones do last though.
I have a block with 4 different grits and after over 2 years of good use it still performs like on the first day.

An alternative for the toolbox is a piece of ceramic tile.
Sometimes you are lucky and find an outdoor or wetroom tile with a flat surface and just the right roughness.
And in about 50% of cases the material is hard enough to be misused.
Not so good for the course grits but certainly a throw away alternative to very expensive honing stones.
Really good for the maintenance on a wood chisel.
Just run it over the tile a few times when done using it and it stays nice and sharp.


Reply 2 years ago

Pretty much no matter what I do, my chisels turn out about as sharp as a wrench. I need a belt grinder!


Reply 2 years ago

Made a similar tool from a sharpener that had its stones come loose.
They do have a purpose and work greate but only if you already have a properly formed edge.
In the kitchen I use it to keep the knifes sharp during long use.
But: Ever tried them on a slightly damaged edge?

In the just mechincal category these tools are in my top list ;)