I Think I'm Done w/ Water Stones


Well-Known Member
I've been stumped with my fine (4000 grit) water stone for a while now. It gives me fits. I can occasionally get an arm shaving edge off it, but not every time. I am almost certain it has to do with how soft it is. Even the lightest passes are like trying to sharpen with chalk. A thin layer of stone material is deposited on the opposite side I'm trying to sharpen. I have only had moderate success when using an edge trailing motion, but even that isn't a guarantee. It does leave a good finish, and the shine/appearance is basically the only reason I keep it. Any tricks to get more out of it, or am I asking too much from a 4k stone (King brand)?
I have the feeling there is a trick to the Kings that I haven't learned. I did return one and exchange it. It felt like honing on cobble stones.
did you left the stone into water for long time?
If yes you need to grind away the "rotten" shell, letting surface the sound stone again...been there, done that :(
Yes, at various times the stones are lapped. I don't lap them every time I use them, as they don't wear that fast.
Something to think about...... the methodology of sharpening with water stones. Most don't consider that water stones were originally used just the opposite of what most of us in this country consider "correct" methodology for sharpening. For most of us, common thinking when sharpening a blade on a stone is to make a motion as if you were trying to shave the sharpening stone....... the super fine grades of water stones (generally the softest) are intended/best used in just the opposite manner......dragging the edge away from, rather than into the stone. That's why they are such super fine grits.

I never knew this myself until I visited several Japanese makers, whom I saw using water stones in that manner.....when I questioned it, they looked at me like I was from Mars. When I showed them how I thought it should be done (like shaving the stone), they laughed at me. As I learned more, I came to understand that the way blades are made in the "western world", with edge bevels, versus a smooth convex/no edge bevel such as is traditional in Japan, means that the finest grades of water stones are simply not the correct tool sharpening "western" style blades/grinds. I don't mean to say that it's right or wrong, however you do it, only sharing what I learned about using water stones.
Yea, I've changed the way l sharpen with the 4K stone. I use it prior to the final edging on some kitchen knives. These knives have very small bevels, less than 1/32" wide, and dig into the stone otherwise.