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  1. #16
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    Sooo... trying to get my head around the waterstone options again and considering the M2 plane blades really are due any day now and might be coming with chipped or fragile leading edges, would the Sigma #400 plus the #1000-6000 ceramic set (hard 1000 and Suehiro base) be a good starting point for a neophyte water stone user?

    Also if you read this Stu, do you know typically how long the surface mail and SAL shipping options would take to get to Aus?

    Thanks,
    Franklin

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  3. #17
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    Ern,

    My really quite worn Atoma takes care of it fairly well, but there's no doubt the Atoma is working hard. It's not the abrasive so much as the binder, and in the Sigma it's pretty tough stuff. But it works, and that's all that matters. Judicious use will minimise dishing, and by eye you probably won't notice and dishing anyway.

    (You need to be pretty abusive to really dish it.)

    Fuzzie,

    The #400 works with HSS, and not too badly at that. The Mujinfang blade I have is exceptionally hard, and the #400 just does it's thing like it's normal steel. It's labelled as a Select II, doesn't really meet the definition by my way of thinking but it's completely up to the job anyway.

    I'd skip the Sigma Hard #1000 though if you're looking to really get stuck into HSS. Yes, it works but only if HSS is an occasional thing. For me, I have about 4 tools in HSS, compared to dozens in regular steels, so for me the ceramic stuff is ideal with 'occasional' HSS use.

    The Select II are much better at dealing with HSS, but I'd also skip the #1000 SII and go with the 3F Carbon #700. The 3F just seems to hold up a lot better, works faster and stays flatter than the #1000. Heck, the Select II #1000 is a monster but the 3F is that same monster cranked up another few notches.

    But if you're not using only HSS and have plenty of everything else that needs sharpening, then the ceramic (as in the set) will be ideal.

    Just a matter of priorities, and I'd hate to see you end up with standard stones to work over a mountain of HSS. It'd be a lesson in frustration, guaranteed.


    Those sets were intended for folks like yourself. Just click, wait and they show up. There's no fat in them, and there's no cheaped out crap. Just good quality stuff, all made to work together to make sharpening as painless as possible and no need to 'upgrade' later on down the track either. Wish they were available when I started buying stones, I would have bought one myself.

    And yet, folks still over look them. Oh well.

    Hope that helps,

    Stu.

    (Now, lets see how many #400 stones Sigma Power actually made in the first batch. Looks like I'm going to manage to zip them all out in under 3 weeks. )
    The Tools from Japan Blog (about Japanese tools and such)
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  4. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fuzzie View Post
    do you know typically how long the surface mail and SAL shipping options would take to get to Aus?
    ...
    Cheers, Ern

  5. #19
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    It's so hard working this all out. I've got probably a larger than usual selection of western gear. Lots of chisels and a largish number of planes and some machinery.

    None of this gear really gets used very much.

    Standard plane blades, I have a few, one with a Hock O1 blade . Then I've got a low angle jack with an A2 blade and now I'm about to receive 3 HSS blades. I probably don't need the HSS blades, I got into the batch order before I had a handle on the steel thing when I perhaps should have spent the $ on waterstones.

    I've also got 6" machinery planer blades (HSS ?) that I try and touch up at the moment on wet and dry paper.

    I probably spend more time trying to get my chisels right rather than my planes. So a set that does standard chisels and planes is probably the main requirement. Then the occassional touch up on A2 and HSS.

    I might even consider reselling the new HSS blades rather than fighting too many sharpening systems.

  6. #20
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    Fuzzie,

    The Sigma ceramic stones will be fine, so long as the HSS is put them in good shape and you don't ask them to start regrinding bevels and heaps of flattening and things like that. They're just not made for that kind of heavy work on HSS, but the occasional sharpening is fine, no trouble at all. Almost any good quality stone will do it, some are better than it that others.

    Shipping? It's there on the site. SAL/Small packet is 2-3 weeks in the post, plus up to two weeks for me to get everything together. Usually I have stone set parts on hand, until I run the suppliers out, which is often. Waiting on trays to show up today.

    Surface mail is 2-3 months.

    Actual time? SAL takes 2-3 weeks, usually...

    99% of stuff shows up in that time frame. Occasionally faster, rarely slower and I think I might actually have a missing parcel for the very first time.


    Just a small little gripe on the whole thing of shipping...

    I get asked about how much/how long more than anything else. I've spent hours of time and effort to make sure the shipping calculator works correctly and that the shipping times and conditions are as clear as possible in the calculator as well. I positively hate it when I have to ask about shipping, so much so that I won't ask, I'll go looking elsewhere. So I made sure mine was working, and if nothing else, that works perfectly.

    I just wish more folks would actually use it...

    (In the case of hidden shipping, I consider it an attitude of "you don't respect me enough/consider me important enough to be up front about the actual cost, so I won't respect you enough to give you my business".)


    Stu.
    The Tools from Japan Blog (about Japanese tools and such)
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  7. #21
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    Sorry Stu, I should have read the shipping faq first. It is interesting reading.

    I wasn't aware of the significant postage step at 4kg and the calculator for the 1000-6000 set plus the 400 came in at 4.59kg so that was what piqued my interest in the SAL option. I think Austpost used to offer SAL a long time ago but I haven't seen it mentioned anywhere recently.

    I do appreciate your order and post calculator and the easy with which it works and can be set for different currencies. I see the OZ$ has been taking a dive against Y lately as well.

  8. #22
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    Fuzzie,

    No problem. You're not the first and won't be the last. I can only belly ache at it, nothing more...

    The big jump is because it takes about an hour to plug in all the data points for the shipping module in the software, and the number of orders above 4kg is not that great.

    Besides which, any excess gets refunded.

    Every currency has taken a dive of late, which is good if I'm buying but I'm not doing too much of that. Luckily I caught the OZ dollar at a peak when I changed over a bunch of them to yen.

    What's really frustrating is trying to compete with pricing on some stuff, where you know the price you're up against is from 3-4 years ago. About 40% difference between then and now, and still I manage to do it. Somehow...

    And no, I'm not making anything resembling a fortune out of this. If the dang yen would drop 30% and be where it should, things would be better. But if wishes were gold, we'd all be rich!

    (Sorry for taking over this thread. Was not intentional!)

    Stu.
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  9. #23
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    Three questions

    First: I'm confused. What role does the new stone actually play?

    I'm realising that everybody seems to sharpen differently, but as far as I've come to understand it:

    Primary bevel: powered grinder or, for masochists like myself, the #120 Sigma.

    Sharpening/forming secondary bevel: 1000, 6000 grit waterstones

    Honing: Strop, 10,0000 grit stone etc. etc.

    In other words, I don't understand where a #400 grit stone fits in. I'm assuming it isn't used for the primary bevel - everyone seems to use a powered grinder for this. And I don't understand why you'd use such a course stone to form the secondary bevel - that takes less than a minute, even on the 1000 King I'm using.

    Second: I'd be very interested to hear whether this stone might do as a replacement for the #120 Sigma. That stone cuts very fast, but clogs so quickly (and requires such frequent and messy dressing) that overall, it's a rather slow way of removing metal. I'm wondering whether this new, magical stone might not be an adequate replacement. I've asked Stu the same question about the new King Deluxe #300, but this new stone sounds much more interesting.

    And finally; can I flatten this stone using SiC grit on glass? I don't own a diamond stone.
    Cheers,

    Eddie

  10. #24
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    Eddie, hoping this post will leave Stu to get on with sending out mine and ordering others in! .... this is Stu's website description of the stone:

    This whetstone was intended to be a 'bridge' stone between the coarse, aggressive Sigma Power ceramic #120 and Select II #240 stones.

    Conceived during a conversation with the president of Sigma Power corporation, I asked for some specific criteria to be met, if possible. This stone should not dish during use to any great extent, yet be easy to flatten. It should strongly resist clogging and cut aggressively yet consistently. It should be capable of working with all blade steels up to and including the exotic stainless, high speed and powder metal steels being produced. And, if possible, a minimum of soaking time would be preferred as this is not an 'everyday' stone, only one that might be used occasionally and rapid set up time would be a bonus.

    And it delivers on every point.

    From the initial splash of water, it cuts rapidly. The closest analogy I can make is that it is similar to a new diamond plate of similar grit. The stone will begin to load, but cutting speed is not diminished, and a splash of water clears the loading easily. After use, the dishing is minimal, and is easily made flat again with a diamond plate of similar grit. It performs well with all steels, and isn't affected by the amount of steel on the stone, a small bevel or a wide area, the stone is just as effective.

    However, this stone will not leave a smooth finish, it's job is to cut quickly and bridge the gap between lower grit stones and medium grit stones. At this task, it is without peer.


    Re your last question, yes of course. Reliable and cheap.

    And for reshaping bevels, in my book a bench grinder is the most efficient option. Recommend the Norton 3X wheel for hard steels (eg. Titan chisels). Try a coarse white or pink wheel for softer high carbon steels (eg. Bergs).

    HTH.
    .
    Cheers, Ern

  11. #25
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    I agree that a bench grinder would be more efficient. But, for the time being, I don't have the money (at least for a decent one) and I don't have anywhere to put it. Using stones is slow, but it's also quiet, clean, doesn't smell, is cheap, and takes no space. Plus, using the MKII I can get a perfect, straight and correctly angled bevel every time.

    It's not really that time consuming when all I'm trying to do is narrow the secondary bevel a little bit. In fact, I highly recommend it.

    But I'll admit that reshaping or rehabbing old blades is a much more daunting task - I've done about 20 with the Sigma, and I'm VERY glad to see the end of it at last! I doubt very much you'd want to try it with A2, either.

    The only thing that really bothers me is the need to constantly flatten the damn stone. It's disruptive, messy and makes a horrible screeching noise. It really needs to be flattened almost as often as a King to keep the pores unclogged. I'd happily trade a bit of speed for a stone that I need to flatten, say, only every fifteen minutes. I'm hoping that the Sigma Wunderstein might fit the bill.

    But anyway, I don't see why a "bridge" between the #120 stone and the medium stones is necessary. For that matter, what are stones below 800 grit actually used for, except setting primary bevels in lieu of grinding?
    Cheers,

    Eddie

  12. #26
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    Yes, flattening coarse stones is a sod. Like you I hate it, and think of it as a necessary evil .. like a session at the dentist.

    Why a bridge btwn Sigma #120 and Select II #240?

    Well I'm not sure it's essential, as often for lapping I go from Shapton Pro #120 to that Sigma and it works OK.

    But the heavy lifting is all down this end of the grit range, and when Stu says he's got a kind of wonder stone, I'm willing to give it a go. Will report back in due course.

    Why these coarse stones you ask? Well chisel and plane backs have to be lapped and polished to produce a plane as well refined as the plane of the bevel. No point in just doing the bevel. K, with plane blades you can use the ruler trick which simplifies things; but not with chisels.
    Cheers, Ern

  13. #27
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    Ah yes, flattening chisels. That's another thing I'd like a new stone for; the Sigma isn't wide enough to be really useful (there is a wider one, apparently, but I haven't managed to winkle it out of Stu yet) and is a bit too course for flattening, while the King 1000 changes shape too quickly and takes far, far too long on the super-hard Titans.

    So I'd consider buying the wunderstein just for flattening.

    As for the primary bevels, I'm guessing the best way to compare it with the Sigma #120 for total speed - including the time spent flattening and dressing the thing - is to get it and try it for myself. Hope he's still got a few left...
    Cheers,

    Eddie

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    Yeah, hope so.

    It seems many folk ignore lapping chisel backs, and while it's a lot of work it's also a good test of your hand skills, patience and your gear.

    That said, you only need to flatten the back once and to the depth you're usually chiselling to. And if you have to use a guide block, add that in as well.

    K, the Titans are hard; see the thread on hand power v horse power. Life is too short for midgets to battle titans.
    Cheers, Ern

  15. #29
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    Eddie,

    I swear you have so much grief out of that Sigma #120, I wonder if yours is defective somehow. I think I'll crack open a new one (again?!) and see if something's gone awry.

    I've run out of un-flat backed tools here, they're all flat now, courtesy of that Sigma #400 more than anything else. Seems to really love having masses of metal against it.

    What is the #400 for you ask?

    Yes, it's a bridge between the very coarse and middle grit stones. A #120-240 grit stone tends to be quite nasty in what it leaves behind, finish wise. Yes, a good #1000 stone will take care of it, but even the really good stones in this grit range have to work on it, especially with harder, tougher steels. There's a chance that all the good work you did on a coarser stone will be undone somewhat.

    So the intention was to have a stone that strongly resisted dishing, but was able to clean things up so that the medium stones don't have to work so hard, and the jump wasn't so large. For a time, I was using a King #300/400 which worked well enough, and ticked all the boxes. Stays flat, cleans up well, cheap and effective.

    The Sigma #400 is like a King #400 (which is a good stone in it's own right) and cranked to, not 11, more like 17 or something.

    There's nothing I own that will take something that's got a nasty finish on it, scratched up or slightly pitted, and fix it as quickly as the Sigma #400. Also seems to be able to grind a bevel pretty quickly too, which isn't what it was really meant to do, but it's an added bonus. And it stays flat in the bargain, which was what was really wanted, and it delivers.

    As I've mentioned, it's not an everyday stone. Even if you're using your tools every day, you might only use this thing once a week/month. But when you do use it, it's to save aggravation and annoyance from using a coarse stone (and needing to clean up after it) or spending too much time on a medium (#1000) stone trying to work out small chips and stuffed edge geometry that happens when edges actually get used.

    It's a stone that you pull down off the shelf, use it for a few minutes, and then put it back again. It's that quick to get using, it's that quick in use and that's what it's really for as a 'stone'.

    For flattening, it's a god send. Instead of fooling around with diamond plates that are expensive (not too bad, and I'm working on that too!) and fragile, you can just get it out, go for it as hard and fast as you want and as long as you don't deliberately try to dish it, it'll flatten out anything you've got. There's something about the abrasive in it that's just not 'normal', it stays sharp and hooks into everything very well. Just an oddity for flattening. It was not planned, but it works exceptionally well at this task.

    It's not a replacement for the #120, but a compliment to it. If anything, If I had to give up the #120 or #400, I'd lose the #120.

    Yes, I'm probably biased because it is MY stone. I asked for it, I got it and I pushed it into production. If I were wired like normal people, I'd be busy telling everyone it's the be all/end all stone whether it was or not.

    But the thing is, there was another #400 stone that was in the running. As it turns out, that one is a little darling as well, in a very different way and completely unlike what we've ended up with. I'll try and get that one out there as well, but you guys here should stay away from it. It's a knife sharpener's stone, not a toolies stone.

    Initially, I use the 'other' stone, and was nonplussed. Not bad, but not great. Then after a day, I used this stone. It shocked me at how good it was and easy to use. I've got nearly 100 stones now, so if you've seen it chances are I have to but also likely own it and have used it enough to form a solid opinion on it.

    Based on that alone, and I don't pull ANY punches when it comes to stones since there are no perfect stones I've ever used (they all have some warts), this one stands out as really not having anything bad about it, aside from it's regular price being a little higher than I'd like.

    And that's all I can really say I suppose. It's a danged good stone and does what it supposed to effectively. It's not essential, but if you have the means it's worth having, even if you have a grinder/linisher/diamond plates. It's the stone you use to take the load off the finer grit stones, no matter what you used before.

    That's all. Hope it's not too gushing and commercialised...


    And Ern, your stone left last week. Thought I'd mentioned that.

    Stu.
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  16. #30
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    Thanks Stu; looking forward to it.
    Cheers, Ern

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