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How do you maintain sharpening stones?

Sharpening stones need to be lapped in time. After all, maintenance is key to make sure your stone stays in great shape. In time you will notice the impact your knives have on your stones: they become hollow in the middle. That is when you need to lap them.

There are multiple ways to maintain your sharpening stone. Some recommend grinding paper, but it is a lot faster if you use another sharpening or flattening stone. Key is that the material you use is coarser than the sharpening stone you want to lap. This means: use a stone with a lower grain size than the stone you need to lap. A lapping plate with special lapping powder is also great. We will tell you how to work with these different products.

Diamond-coated sharpening stone

A diamond-coated sharpening stone is perfect to sharpen wet stones (not made from diamond). After all, diamond is harder than any other sharpening product out there. This means that a diamond-coated sharpening stone doesn’t wear out, even when you use it as a lapping stone. If you use a non-diamond-coated stone, you will notice that this stone will start to lose its grains which basically means you are wasting your time.

Flattening stone

There are also stones that were specifically made to flatten sharpening stones. These types of stones are often made from carbide or diamond (the top-layer). In addition, they often have been enhanced with diagonal grooves on the surface. This to make sure the removed sharpening particles won’t accumulate while sharpening.

Both stones should be used similarly. You place the stone that needs to be lapped on its back on a flat surface, so the sharpening side facing up. To check if the stone becomes flat you mark the surface by adding horizontal and vertical lines. After some time your sharpening stone will probably be slightly hollow in the middle. The lines on the sides will therefore disappear sooner when you flatten it.

Lap the sharpening stone by alternately taking each angle as a starting point.

After marking the stone you can add some water to it. Best is if you have a constant supply of water at hand. Afterwards you can start lapping. Move the flattening stone (or the diamond-coated sharpening stone) diagonally over the sharpening stone. By using all the corners as starting and end point you make sure you flatten the entire surface.

When the lines are no longer visible your stone will be flat again

Levelling kit

A third option to flatten your sharpening stone is using a levelling kit. Such a kit is comprised of a round piece of glass with rubber moulding. You put some water on the glass and some lapping powder, such as the rock-solid silicon carbide or aluminium-oxide powder. By rotating your sharpening stone over the mixture you are left with the same results as when using a flattening stone. Only a little bit of lapping powder will do the trick. These grains can also easily be used in combination with the Naniwa flattening stones.

By using one of the abovementioned methods on a regular basis you expand the life of your sharpening stones. To prevent your stone from getting that hollow middle. After all, during each sharpening job your knife will do more damage to the stone and sharpening will become a lot more difficult. Pay close attention to this!

In addition to materials to maintain your sharpening stone we also have a number of different sharpening stones accessories. Think, for instance, of sharpening stone holders, files and many more products. Discover them here!