Sharpening Supplies

My preference when teaching sharpening is to use diamond plates, and strop on leather. I find it easier for students to quickly get the hang of producing razor sharp edges on their tools.

I present here the products that I have used and recommend in both diamond and water stones, together with suitable abrasives for "scary sharp". In almost all cases, polishing on a strop will improve the sharpness, so I present a suitable polish and strop as well.

For control and repeatability of bevel angles, I have also suggested two possible honing jigs which I have found to be good. Mostly though, I sharpen freehand unless I need to re-establish a primary bevel.

Take a gander my series of diamond plate sharpening videos. The main techniques are applicable to sharpening with other abrasives, with the exception of suitable lubricant and applied pressure (remember, always use light pressure when working on diamond plates).

Sharpening Supplies

Abrasive 'stones'
for sharpening & maintenance:

Diamond Sharpening Stone

Double sided (300/1000) whetstone,
with anti-slip mat, cleaning rubber,
and protective case.

IMHO Super flat, quick cutting, and long lasting.
Axminster Rider 400/1000 Diamond Stone

Diamond Lapping Fluid

Use this instead of water
to prevent rusting and to
prolong diamond stone life.

IMHO Lasts for ages.
Saves the bother of drying off.
Rubbish dispensing nozzle.

Alternatives to Diamond Whetstones:

Combination 1000/6000 Water Stone

Entry level, single stone solution

IMHO My first experience of water stone
sharpening was using one of these, and I
think it's a great introduction. Wider stones
are an advantage for larger plane irons.

Coarse 800 Water Stone

for a multi-stone solution

IMHO Reasonably quick stone for
smallish changes to the primary bevel
of plane irons and chisels.
Tip: Store in water.

Medium 1200 Water Stone
for a multi-stone solution

IMHO Replaces 800 scratches, with
much finer ones. Especially quick when
creating a secondary bevel.
Tip: Store in water.

Fine 6000 Water Stone
for a multi-stone solution

IMHO Quickly creates a polished
tertiary bevel, or polishes the
secondary bevel.
Tip: Store dry, but use with water.

Super Fine 10000 Water Stone
for a multi-stone solution

IMHO Creates a mirror finish as
good as a strop.
Tip: Store dry, and use with water,
raising a cutting slurry with nagura.

Ceramic Flattening Stone 

for water stone maintenance

IMHO Quickly flatten water stones
that have been 'dished' by excess
wear. P60 sandpaper stuck on a flat
surface is equally fast.

Aluminium Oxide
for coarse to medium "Scary Sharp".

Self-adhesive backing

IMHO Fine when used on a flat
substrate, but can be hard to remove.
Tips: Stick on thick float glass.
Use dry, and brush off regularly.

240 - 2000 Silicon Carbide
medium to fine "Scary Sharp".
Wet & Dry for use with water

IMHO Not used this brand myself.
Tips: Use on thick float glass, and
'stick' with a thin film of water, or
with sticking tape fore and aft.

Honing Jigs/Guides
for control & repeatability:

Eclipse style honing guide

Many brands make this now

IMHO First honing guide style I used,
and still my goto guide.
I have ones from Draper & Axminster.

Alternative honing guides, like
this, are available, at a price

IMHO I have this Trend guide, and
it's easy to use. A beginner may feel
more confident with these guides.

Compound and Strops
for Polishing:

Blue Polishing Compound to

charge leather strop

IMHO Achieves a wonderfully polished
finish on tool steels.

Leather Strop for final polish

Make your own (see below)

IMHO Any sound leather mounted
on a hard, flat substrate works well.

Making Your Own Strop

Sharpening Articles
Chisel Sharpening     Plane Iron Sharpening