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A form of this question has, no doubt, been asked a 1,000 times, but I need some specific guidance.

As and early Father's Day present, my wife bought me a Veritas Mk. II Honing Guide. Maybe this little dude is overkill (maybe not, tho), as I have never sharpened anything in my life, but I have been fooling around with chisels and not a one has been sharper than a table knife's edge. So, I'm pretty excited!

Of course, a honing guide has to have sharpening stones, and that gets me to the root of my questions.

My daughters bought a Naniwa Economical Waterstone (3000 Grit) and a Naniwa Flattening Stone to go long with the Veritas. In the mean time, a friend gave me a BearMoo 3000/8000 whetstone. (Boy is there a great difference between BearMoo and Naniwa -- the latter kicks the bear's butt.)

Now, the chisels I have are mostly from the early 20th century. Some have been used by my forefathers and others by heavens only knows who. Consequently, their bevels are mostly off by several degrees and none has a micro bevel. That in mind, I'm sure a 3,000-grit waterstone isn't going to cut it.

...which leaves me to wonder what stones I should buy, keeping in mind I can't break the bank on this purchase ($200)? I've been kicking around and come up with a plan, and I'd like some input on prospective/current sharpening media:

  • Buy four DMT 6" Diamond Whetstones, the very course, course, fine, and extra fine. I believe these are 60, 45, 25, and 9 microns, equivalent to 220, ~300, ~400, and 1,000 grit waterstones. (I used this chart to determine rough equivalences between different media and their grits.)
  • Use my 3,000-grit Naniwa and 8,000-grit BearMoo waterstones
  • Use a buffalo-hide strop with green compound. (I bought this a little while back for a different reason than sharpening chisels and plane blades, but it should work, right?)

I like the idea of diamond whetstones because they don't need flattening, and I hear they take off metal more quickly than a waterstone would. They seem ideal for getting my chisel bevels to the correct angle.

The DMT stones are on sale so I can get those for ~$120 for the group of four. If I bought them separately, they are roughly $50 per stone. However, the span of "grit sizes" seems awfully close together. I've not found any article that recommends going from 220 to 300 to 400 grit when sharpening chisel/plane blades, but maybe the "equivalense" chart is wrong about the comparison between microns and grit sizes.

If I were to buy just the 220/300-grit equivalent diamond stone, should I also get the 9-micron (1000-grit) diamond stone or would a Naniwa 1,000-grit waterstone be better? It seems like I would need one or the other.

I think the 3,000-grit, 8,000-grit waterstones and leather strop are all used for honing the blade. Since I already have these in hand, they are part of the "plan." I asssume I would go through the 3,000-grit waterstone when creating my primary bevel; however, do I need to use all three when finishing off my micro bevel?

Thanks for any insight/opinions. I'm really starting to feel overwhelmed by all the choices.

  • I'm sure this is the zillionth time, not the 1000th time ^_^ – Graphus Jun 10 '18 at 10:48
  • Unfortunately answers to this type of query will come down to opinion and Questions that will tend to receive opinion-based Answers are outside the scope of this SE so I'm voting to close. – Graphus Jun 10 '18 at 10:49
  • Re. grit/micron equivalence, see the top Question in the column at right under Related. Many of the other Qs in that same column will have info you'll find useful. Best of luck! – Graphus Jun 10 '18 at 10:53
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    i use a cheap hardware store store (<$10) for the very coarse work (<600 grit). There is nothing magical about any of the different sharpening media, just a matter of how fast they will abrade metal, how they wear, and how they are lubricated. How fast do you really need to sharpen? Alternatively, a bench grinder can replace the coarsest stones. – aaron Jun 11 '18 at 12:40
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First of all, the Veritas Mk. II Honing Guide is great. I have one and use it a lot. My edges got much better and much more consistent once I started using a guide.

As far as stone go, I'd consider a 1000 grit water stone. I started with a 1000-4000-8000 kit and used just those three for quite a while. A 500, or a course diamond stone would be nice for the initial bevel and flattening the backs.

Before I had a full complement of water stones, I would use 'scary sharp' - sandpaper on a piece of glass - to handle the initial shaping of my edges. This is an inexpensive option that some use for all their sharpening needs.

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