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Tip: Cleaning (Sharpening) Oil Stones

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 
If you use oil stones to sharpen your knives, you know that whether you use oil or water as a sharpening "lubricant," or whether you use your stones dry -- the stones eventually load up with steel dust and filings. You may or may not also know that this significantly impairs your stones' sharpening performance.

At any rate, your stones need occasional cleaning. The conventional wisdom on coarser stones like silicon carbide, e.g., Norton "Crystolon" stones and aluminum oxide, e.g., Norton "India" stones is to use a Brillo pad. Arkansas stones clean fairly well with kerosene. THINGS OF THE PAST.

Put your stones in the dishwasher, my friends. The hot water, the fairly harsh detergents in dishwasher soap, and the speed at which the water is sprayed gets the stones much cleaner than anything else I've tried.

BDL

PS Try sharpening "dry." You get sharp faster, and a better polish.
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post #2 of 8
Sal Glesser of Spyderco (who produce the Sharpmaker) has recommended this for years.
post #3 of 8
Thread Starter 
He got smarter sooner.

BDL
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post #4 of 8
Hey Boar
Do you now where I can get clear directions on how to sharpen a knife using a stone?
I'm religious about running them on a steel before and after use, but even doing that, they loose their super-sharpness.
Any ideas? videos?

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www.foodandphoto.com

Liquored up and laquered down,
She's got the biggest hair in town!

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post #5 of 8
I just flatten my stones on a Norton thigee made especially for flattening stones. Not only does this keep the stones porous and free of crud/buildup, but also flat and smooth........
...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
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...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
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post #6 of 8
Thread Starter 
Yes. Lots of sources, lots of directions. You'll be relieved to know they're all mutually contradictory.

They sure do.

Lots of 'em.

I usually don't recommend free hand stones for most home cooks because it's a skill that takes time and patience and to master. There are easier, more consistent ways. Stones are good for pros because of their flexibility -- that is you can repair, set your own bevels for different purposes, choose an appropriate level of "scratch" or "polish" for a given purpose, and so on. On top of that there are a bewildering variety of stones many of which will be wildly inappropriate for a given user. The "skill" part is intellectually easy. It's simply a matter of keeping a constant, appropriate angle between knife and stone, learning a set of motions, and learning the proper pressures (yes, plural). After ten or fifteen knives or so, you start to develop consistency. For the average home chef that's about six months.

There's no right sharpening system for everyone. I think we can safely assume you're an enthusiastic home cook of some skill. That's you. Tell me what kind of knives you have, if you have any special needs, such as lots of decorative cutting, or lots of meat portioning, and we'll take it from there.

There are a few streaming videos on the web that are somewhat helpful -- none of them showing the method I use or recommend. There are several running around for sale going into far more depth than any sane person wants. Here's a streamer:
Learn to Sharpen a Knife using a Sharpening Stone

BDL
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post #7 of 8
Thread Starter 
Presumably you're using the "thingee" (Norton Stones Store - Norton Flattening Stone for Waterstones) for waterstones, as Norton recommends. The stone flattener does a good job of both cleaning and flattening.

My dishwasher recommendation is for "oil" stones, only. Man made oil stones like India stones tend not to need flattening more than every few years outside of a heavy-use situation, and little then. Arkansas stones hardly at all. Most people flatten them, when they need it, by taping coarse sandpaper to glass or something equally flat, then moving on to finer grits until the stone's surface is appropriately smoothed.

It's important to get the surface right with finer India and Arkansas stones or they'll act too coarse for a long time. That's because the surface of the stone is the sharpening surface, and the stones don't wear down quickly. On the other hand, a water stone is made up of particles held in a water soluble matrix. The stones sharpen by giving up the surface particles, which forms an abrasive slurry. It's the slurry that sharpens the blade, not the stone surface itself. That's why the stones wear and dish so fast.

I sound surer than I am. After almost 50 years of sharpening on stones (started in the Cub Scouts), I'm still learning, and trying new things and butting up against cherished assumptions turning out wrong. If the Norton thingee works, it works.

BDL
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post #8 of 8
This will cover it.
Buzz - with a Short Pilot Story

One day, long, long ago there was this Pilot who, surprisingly...........
was not full of crap....
But it was a long time ago.... And it was just one day. The End
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Buzz - with a Short Pilot Story

One day, long, long ago there was this Pilot who, surprisingly...........
was not full of crap....
But it was a long time ago.... And it was just one day. The End
Reply
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