Thursday, January 31, 2013

Sharpening Stone Question

I'm about to purchase my first sharpening system (non electron power equipment of course) and need some advise. I've done a bit a searching for different stones/brands and have narrowed it down to a couple different brands. I'll just lay them all out, then go from there.

Shapton Pro Ceramics (1000, 5000, 8000) = $272ish
Sigma Power Select II (1000, 3000, 10000) = $240ish
Bester/Imanishi Ceramic (1000, 4000, 8000) = $186ish

Shapton's are highly recommended from several woodworkers/bloggers that I follow, but the price is what's holding me back from jumping on the bandwagon.

Sigma Power Select II, I've heard these are great stones that cut amazingly fast but wear pretty quickly because of they cut so quickly. I'm kinda leaning away from this type because of that fact.

Bester/Imanishi is carried by a couple different suppliers I am familiar with, but I don't personally know of any in the "wild", so to speak. Does anyone reading this have any or know anyone who does? According to the write-ups provided by the suppliers, they cut quite fast (much faster then Norton & other commonly available water stones). Bester/Imanishi Ceramics are also said to have equally high wear-resistance, very similar to stones that are much harder. This seems to be a good middle ground in many regards, cutting speed, wear-resistance, & price point.

Sigma and Bester both have a courser stone (240 @ $55ish / 700 @ $45ish respectfully). I really would like to get one or the other of these someday soon, because I know that I will have to re-establish a bevel angle, correct a chipped edge and/or fix a dropped blade someday.

Jumping to the crazy end of the finish scale, I also would  like to getting 1 or 2 polishing stones (in the distant future). Shapton makes Glass Stones that look really nice (but again I don't know of any in the "wild". Do you?). The grits I would probably get are 16,000 @ $130ish and/or the 30,000 @ $360ish.

As for stone flattening I am still on the fence between getting the Atoma Diamond Plate 400 for $100ish or the  DMT DiaSharp 220 stone for $92. I know a couple folks who have the Atome and swear by it. On the other hand, I don't know anyone with the DMT DiaSharp Stone. Because of the similar price and the fact that both seem to be really high quality, I can't really make up my mind.

One product line that I will not be buying into is the Diamond Bench Stones (you know, the ones with the yellow plastic substrate). I've actually used these before, but I don't have the best of memories of those. I'm not sure how old they were or how they were kept or stored, but they were NOT flat. I'm sure they were fine when they were first purchased. I just don't want to invest a very large chunk of money into products that can/will warp or twist over time.

**So, have you had an experience any of these brands or specific items, PLEASE let me know as soon as possible. I'm planning on making purchases early next month (Feb 2013).**

If I go with the least expensive set, the total for this group of purchases will be $278ish before tax & shipping. If I were to get the most expensive options of everything that I current want to get, the total would be $917ish. DANG! that's a lot of money.

Oh yeah, the suppliers that I'm looking at right now are: