Shapton ceramic stones

I have just received my first Shapton ceramic stone, I am very excited about this, I will seek appropriate medical help at a later date. I have used several different sharpening regimes since I got back into woodwork, scary sharp with a coarse waterstone was the option I had been using. It works great but I don’t want to have to think about soaking a stone, I don’t like the mess either and scary sharp requires continuous further expense and a continuing degradation of the sharpening medium from word go. So, I did loads of research and finally settled upon the Shapton pro ceramic stones. They are super hard ( so don’t require so much flattening) cut very quickly and best of all are splash and go. I had recently noticed that I was putting off sharpening because of the inconvenience and mess. I am expecting a 5000 grit stone imminently too. So with a 1k and a 5 k stone and a piece of 240 grit self adhesive diamond sheet stuck to my float glass I have a system which is convenient, I won’t grow out of, requires no additional expense and can all be permanently layed out over a very small footprint. It’s cost me 120 pounds odd, 150 if I include the float glass. Naniwa make some slightly cheaper splash and go stones and they are good but they do load up, they use a resin binder not ceramic. Naniwa also make crazy expensive splash and go stones which are extremely well thought of and don’t load up.
I know some people view my way of doing things with scorn, as though striving for great results is somehow odd and unnecessary, I make no apologies for being very much into sharpening. How do woodworkers work wood? With edge tools and an already difficult task is made more difficult if I don’t get my blades sharp. So what makes more sense. Using blunt tools and spending hours on every project troubleshooting the subsequent issues or putting in a little effort upstream of potential issues? It has always felt like a natural avenue to follow. A blade which shaves hair, cuts wood beautifully, a blunt blade doesn’t. Sharpening is a core skill of woodwork and I really like knowing how to get the best out of my tools; crunch rip and tear your way through the wood if you like that sort of thing though, if you try a really sharp blade it is noticeably nicer to use. Sharpening can be a pleasure as can the use and feel of a sharp blade. I can’t wait for the 5 k stone to arrive and I will update this post once I have some experience of the stones qualities. I don’t expect any negatives because I know they are universally loved by all the woodworkers whose opinions I value .


How do you grind your blades at home?

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What do you mean?
Freehand or jig?

I am going out. I just jumped on the stone. This is the aftermath of about 20 seconds of use. I raised a burr across the entire width of my block plane blade in that time. I have tried this out on another blade and it is really good. I have had some more use of this stone and I realise it was ultra quick on my block plane due to the blade being softer than my most modern blades. So bearing that in mind it has met my expectations and the claims made by various sources are correct. This is a very good stone with improved characteristics, compared to alternatives. It requires a little flattening but nothing drastic or greatly time consuming. This would have to be one of the stand out additions to my tools over three and a half years of woodwork .This stone is still very good, it’s fast and it’s hard and it’s a true splash and go, success at every level.

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I buy a lot of tools and I have learned to dampen my enthusiasm because so many tools are just lacking the basic pre requisite considerations which make a good functional tool. It feels good knowing the effort I put into researching was time well spent. I can’t work out why the Shapton pro stones are not widely advertised or endorsed over here in the woodwork field. If you mention these stones to a knife enthusiast they will usually know all about them.

Nice! How is the learning curve to hold the tool at the right angle while sharpening?
I was lazy and bought a set of the Lansky sharpening system:

I mainly use it for knives though.

Well I sharpen knives freehand I have never had an issue with angles, I sharpen curved blades by securing the blade and moving the stone and straight woodwork blades I use a guide. I like the distinct difference between the primary and secondary bevels. I find it easier to sharpen knives freehand than woodwork tools. It’s all about practice I think, even though you may not be aware of it, you would definitely develop muscle memory instinctively if you hand sharpened for a while but if a jig is working that’s good too.

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What do you mean, freehand or with a jig?

Ha ha , still getting the hang of the interweb computer thingy…der… I have never had any issues sharpening knives freehand I have always done knives freehand with good results. Curved blades, I move the stone not the tool and find I get no issues, straight woodwork blades I use a jig because I like the way it looks and I don’t have to think about the angle. I do sharpen some straight blades freehand. I think finding the angle is possibly less of an issue than I think because I never noticed any difference between my freehand efforts. I like jigs, I like freehand. The picture shows that the surface created is a uniform hazy surface with some very slight directional striating. The 5k won’t have any issues refining the surface. It’s sharp enough to use at 1k and a quick strop on some cardboard, you may be glad to hear that I have cleaned my tangle wood guitar tuner after seeing this picture. Apologies for the random sprawling nature of this post . I like sharpening and shiny things and endlessly editing these posts. So that’s a win, win, win, computer skills not so much…

Just wondering if you grind them with hand power (freehand or with a jig). Always felt that was the most painful part especially if there was a chip in the blade, if performing this by hand

Jesus, it screwed up again!

I use a regular grinder for really messed up blades, freehand. Mostly I use a cheap and cheerful 240 grit diamond plate, it takes a while. Now I know how fast the Shaptons cut, it would be nice to get a 120 grit or a 240 Shapton. The coarse grits are cheaper.

Because I have spent a bit of effort on my blades initially, all of my planes and chisels, router plane blades, cutting gauges etc are very easy to sharpen. I try to spend a little bit of time on the primary bevel each time I sharpen. I realised that when I neglected the primary bevel it took longer to raise a burr on the secondary. But you know what it’s like, I could do more to keep the primary bevels big.

Do you think we should ask the directors for a 30k Shapton? They only cost £500, we would be able to dissect gnats knee caps, if we felt like it. I never felt like it, but I think it’s good to be prepared.

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For sure

Could shave the hairs of gnats. Make a lot of money in Scotland as a gnat barber


Are you sharpening chef’s knives?

I modified my thoughts on these stones now I have more use of them. They are fast stones, weirdly the 5000 seems even faster than the 1000. They sharpen really hard blades no problem, tungsten vanadium, T10, O1( that’s 62 and 63 hrc)The edge is noticeably improved both when visually inspected and in use. It is very easy to get an edge, I have significantly ( and noticeably, from about ten minutes down to three minutes, that’s huge )reduced the amount of time I spend sharpening a blade and it’s very, very easy to achieve and it’s sharper. I just used my block plane and it is noticeably functioning better. I am not describing wishful thinking,if I had found problems I would have continued my search for a really good system. Honesty is key to woodworking if you want good results. The edge formed with these stones is visibly more perfect, from the very first use I noticed the edge had absolutely zero reflective surface ( there is absolutely no reflection where the bevel and the back of the blade meet, that was not true with scary sharp and I noticed it repeatedly over three years despite being able to shave with the edge) and the function is improved noticeably especially when shooting end grain.So, that’s a win, win, win, I am really happy I spent the money, I can’t see how any woodworker could be dissapointed !..

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It’s not perfect but a big improvement over my previous efforts. Still fine tuning the means by which I flatten the stone.
The faithfull diamond stone is crappy in terms of flatness but it does get the grunt work done pretty quick . I am going to try a piece of acrylic with 100 micron scary sharp. If that works I will get some self adhesive diamond sheet. If it doesn’t do it well enough ( flattening wise) I will attach the diamond to my float glass or buy a veritas honing plate and attach to that.
The point is that with 240 grit diamond sheet I can flatten the stones and do primary bevels etc so it’s a good system which covers all day to day edge tools. For cabinet scrapers and initial prep of blade backs I still have the scary sharp, I have only ever used two grits 1200 grit and 5000, never saw the point in loads of different grit sizes. Roughing can be done with diamond or coarse water stones. Another nice thing is that my desk lamp is in the perfect position to light my desk or my sharpening, result!

The diamond one on the right is the one we got fo ether space

Oh right, good it is aggressive and the 4000 grit stone makes sense if you start with the diamond stone. The diamond stone is not a bad stone it’s just not as flat as I would have liked. For general sharpening they are fine.They sell the 4000 grit stone at Tyzack’s.