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Dry vs Wet Whetstones?

Discussion in 'Knives' started by SpyderPrepper, Mar 9, 2014.

  1. SpyderPrepper

    SpyderPrepper Loaded Pockets

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    So I have always used oil on my Arkansas stones because that is how I was taught. However, some reading around on the internet has suggested that stones be used dry, even high end water stones like naniwa choseras! Now the theory behind this is that the suspended steel particles actually act as an abrasive and compromises the quality of your edge.

    A lot of work has gone into this, and while I don't doubt the physics and the theory I doubt the "clinical significance" of the findings. Basically, I feel that I don't notice, nor could I notice, the difference between the results from a dry stone versus a wet stone. I will probably always use wet whetstones.

    So do you use lubricants on your whetstones? Have you tried both?
     
  2. Freman

    Freman Loaded Pockets

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    I use soapy water on stones, and diamond plates I use dry. I don't use oil.
     
  3. Buckeye Jake

    Buckeye Jake Loaded Pockets

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    Might work if the stone is really fine , but I worked in a meat packing house and was taught by old masters . they used wet stones with mineral oil , they kept their knives so sharp like that.
    Jake
     
  4. Kilted1

    Kilted1 Loaded Pockets

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    I recall a magazine article 20 or more years ago that had micrographs showing the results of various techniques. The conclusion was that the sharpest edges are obtained either by using fluid only after sharpening to clean the stone, or using lots and lots of circulating fluid. Oil or water doesn't really matter. In practical application, the difference is negligible.

    So if you're not going to completely geek out on it and just want a knife that's sharp enough to use, whatever you've been doing is probably just fine. :)
     
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  5. SpyderPrepper

    SpyderPrepper Loaded Pockets

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    That's what I mean. I honestly feel that it is an academic difference and that the average user isn't precise enough to realize an advantage either way. Yet some knife nerds nearly froth at the mouth on this topic.

    I think it is more of a feel thing for me. I can't stand how rough stones feel when sharpening dry.
     
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  6. jackknife

    jackknife Loaded Pockets

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    For several years now, I've sharpened dry, no matter if I'm using diamond hones or my old boy scout silicon carbide. What we called 'carborunum' in the old days. I find that the knife shapens up faster, and gets a hair shaving edge easier and cleaner. No mess to clean up after, just dust off the stone. I'll finish on a leather strop and it shaves hair off my arm or goes through news print with barely a whisper.
    [​IMG]
     
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  7. Nick4305
    • In Omnia Paratus

    Nick4305 EDC Junkie!!!!!

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    I use gun oil on Arkansas as well too, and have never had issues.
    I have the finest (honestly don't know the grit, think about 3000) since 1980.
    Sharpens fast, have a clean with some cloth paper, couple of strops on plane leather and that's all.
    Nick.
     
  8. Blackheart

    Blackheart Loaded Pockets

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    It's Whetstone (whet: to sharpen). There are no wet or dry stones, just whetstones you use wet or dry.

    Just sayin'. :p
     
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  9. Kentucky

    Kentucky Loaded Pockets

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    Ive really taken to dmt diasharps lately..
     
  10. 8steve88

    8steve88 Loaded Pockets

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    I use a Lansky guided system, the stone hones I use light oil on. The diamond hones I use dry and occasionally clean under running water using an old toothbrush.
    I also use diamond plates, both the ones with holes in and a plastic backing and the no-hole paddle type, same treatment as the Lansky diamond hones.
    I've got a couple of mirror polished granite tiles that I put sheets of wet/dry paper of different grits on, I also use them with a piece of leather and Solvol Autosol chrome and aluminium polish as a strop and stropping compound.
    Whatever works for you, use it.
     
  11. Bobby Pin Ninja

    Bobby Pin Ninja Loaded Pockets

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    The purpose of the oil (in the case if an oilstone, such as an Arkansas) or water (on a waterstone) is primarily to remove the swarf, which are the particles of stone abrasive which break off in the sharpening process. The stone may sharpen just fine when it's dry, but only at first. The swarf will quickly clog the stone with smooth, spent particles, which will noticeably slow the cutting action. You will then have to lap the entire face of the stone in order to expose new abrasive particles. This will happen most rapidly on waterstones. Anyone who says that you can't get a good edge with a wet stone doesn't know what they're doing. Check out Leonard Lee's book, "The Complete Guide to Sharpening." It includes electron microscope photos of chisels sharpened on wet, 8000 grit waterstones. The edges look almost perfectly keen, even at that level of magnification.

    Edit: Diamond stones, of course, do not require lubrication, since the diamond particles do not break off, at least not with any regularity. The holes in the substrate of a diamond bench stone allow the steel particles to collect without impeding the sharpening action.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
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  12. Blerv

    Blerv Loaded Pockets

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    I understand it depends on the knife you are sharpening. Basic carbon steels are easily cut by normal queried stones while high carbide (like vanadium) need ceramics or diamonds to cut them. That and dry stones that are true flat remain that way longer/don't dish. Yu just have to clean them as they don't naturally produce a slurry.
     
  13. RichinVA

    RichinVA Loaded Pockets

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    Wet on everything, altho' I use only waterstones now. When I was using oil stones, I used mineral oil. Removes the swarf well, and is far less messy than "real" oil........


    <<< Even when the world is at peace, a gentleman always keeps a blade at his side.
    -The Strategies of Wu. >>>
     
  14. jackknife

    jackknife Loaded Pockets

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    Okay, some people here have the wrong idea from too many guru's writing books to make money. No, the stone will not get clogged if you sharpen dry, nor will it have to be lapped. If it gets a little dirty, just wipe it off or brush it off with an old toothbrush or chip brush. It's dry dust, not cement. I used oil for a brief period back in the 1970's, because the little pamphlet that came with the stones said to. But When I was younger I sharpened dry, just as our scout master taught us to, and when I got to be a bit older in the 1980's, I went back to sharpening dry. Just better results.

    Try it yourself, on a plain old Norton economy stone from Home Depot or Lowes. You may be surprised at the results.
     
  15. FenixArcher

    FenixArcher EDC Junkie!!!

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    I've used both and don't see a difference.
    I'll sharpen wet or dry.
     
  16. RichinVA

    RichinVA Loaded Pockets

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    Respectfully agree to disagree.


    <<< Even when the world is at peace, a gentleman always keeps a blade at his side.
    -The Strategies of Wu. >>>
     
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  17. calebklyne

    calebklyne Loaded Pockets

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    You might be correct about Arkansas stones but a Japanese water stone will become utterly useless if used dry and very fine stones will often become clogged even with the use of water. I can say from experience that a good set of water stones will put a better edge on anything when used correctly

    Sent from my SGH-I317M using Tapatalk
     
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  18. Freman

    Freman Loaded Pockets

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    John Juranitch, in his book The Razor Edge Book of Sharpening, described his experience sharpening without oil. He found his dry stones didn't clog, and that his hones just kept cutting. Waterstones, which if I understand them correctly, rely on a slurry to sharpen more than the stone itself, are probably different.
     
  19. jackknife

    jackknife Loaded Pockets

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    That book and author was the inspiration for me to stop using oil or whatever on my stones. I found it did indeed make no difference at all, except for a mess to wipe up after using oil. I started out dry as a kid with an old "carborundum" stone as we called it in those days, and after using Arkansas stones, diamond hones, water stones, I'm back to using the old Norton silica stone of my youth. I just dust it off when done, strop on some leather, and my knife is shaving sharp faster, cleaner, than ever.

    John Juranitch knew what he was talking about when he wrote that book.
     
  20. RichinVA

    RichinVA Loaded Pockets

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    Soooooooo, that book is good, but the others are not?

    I'm glad that you feel that your sharpening regimen is working for you, as mine does for me.

    Let's just leave physics out of it, who needs it anyway?


    <<< Even when the world is at peace, a gentleman always keeps a blade at his side.
    -The Strategies of Wu. >>>
     
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