Waterstone wearout

Sharpening stones: honing skill and knowledge

Ever thought through the process of using so-called Japanese water stones or waterstones? The principle of fracturing surfaces that create new cutting particles to abrade your steel makes good sense. We all want something that cuts steel fast when it comes to sharpening. Especially if we are in the business of selling Japanese Water Stones. Now it is a fact that all sharpening stones (whetstones) wear down regardless of whether they are water or oil stones (Arkansas stone, aluminum oxide stone and carborundum stone)and regardless of who makes them or where they are made. But now you must face another reality: If the surface of a stone is self fracturing naturally through use when sharpening edge tools, it must create a hollow surface down the length of the stone, which means that stone must then be flattened and flattened on a regular basis. The speed you then gained in cutting the steel rapidly is then lost in the process of flattening the stone. Now herein lies the second reality. To flatten the stone requires another stone to rework the surface flatness. That means you offer another stone to the water stone and rub that surface until flat. That is great, at least at the beginning, but eventually, not too long after starting, the second stone starts becoming rounded by the hollow of the waterstone, so now what do you do? Do you need a third stone to flatten the second and then a fourth the third? There is a method that works well and you never need to flatten a stone again and it has all of the benefits of using water stones with none of the flattening issues. The stone still wears out, but you never need flatten a water stone again.


  1. Hi,
    I am amateur, novice woodworker and use waterstones. I hate flattening them as it takes too much time. I usually do not have more than 1-2 hours a week to woodwork so even 10 minutes of flattening is too much. I rather make do with less sharp tools which is suboptimal.
    How can I get hold of the PDF file about avoding the fidddly flattening, you mentioned, Paul?

  2. Hello Mr. Sellers,

    I too would be interested in obtaining the PDF file you mentioned above. Please let me know how I might obtain a copy.

    Thank you

  3. Just started reading through your old blogs and wonder if the PDF file was still available. I would be very grateful for a link

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