Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Cleaning Your Sharpening Stones

It is the inherent nature of sharpening stones to become clogged with waste material as the result of sharpening your chisels,planes,knives,tools,etc.One of the worst ways of contaminating your stones is by using oil on them.I abandoned this practice some twenty-five years ago.Since then I only use my stones dry or with some water but never oil!!! However,if you do have some stones that no longer function as they should,due to the use of oil. You can restore them by spraying WD-40 on them.Then you just simply work the WD-40 in with a green scrubby or a good stiff brush with non-metal bristles.After you have scrubbed the stones thoroughly,all that remains to finish this task is to remove the excess WD-40 and re-spray with WD-40 and wipe it off again.When your paper towel or rag is no longer black or gray with residue from you stone,you are done.You may have to re-apply the WD-40 several times.
Now it's time to talk about nagura stones.There are two kinds of nagura stones:natural and synthetic.In the picture up above the nagura stone on the left is synthetic and the stone on the right is a natural nagura stone.The natural ones are mined in Japan and only in one place in Japan.It has been my experience that the natural ones are more dense(harder) than the synthetic ones.I use the natural stone on my fine stones #4000 grit and up.
The synthetic nagura I use on my coarser stones that are coarser than #4000 grit.However, you can use the synthetic nagura stones on the very fine stones if you choose.
The nagura stones are also used to create a slurry on your fine stones to maximize the cutting efficiency and aids in keeping your sharpening stones flat and level.
The nagura stone(natural or synthetic) also possesses the ability to clean any type of sharpening stone.This is best accomplished under the faucet with running water and working the nagura stone across sharpening stone which will lift and absorb the contaminates from your stones.I have also cleaned some of my fine stones without the use of water,provided that they have only a small amount of contaminates embedded in them.
Now that you have your sharpening stones cleaned,it's time to clean your nagura stones which is very easy.You just simply use running water and a green scrubby until there is no more black or gray residue embedded in your nagura stone and that only takes about a minute or less.
The nagura stones can also be used for honing and polishing plus remove rust and stains.
The people at Lansky have available a product known as the,"eraser block"which they describe as, "a pliable abrasive that cleans alumina ceramic stones...........and also be used to erase stains on dozens of surfaces:porcelain,brass,steel(knife blades),etc".Personally,I prefer nagura stones.Although the Lansky eraser block does have its uses.However,if you want to remove a stain or rust off your knife blade I recommend using MAAS which I swear by.I will talk about MAAS in my future Blogs and on a future website coming soon.
So until then,may the Good Lord bless us all.
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